Friday, June 30, 2006

Unity

I am sitting in an hotel room in St. Louis, MO typing this blog post. Our family has just spent the last 4 days at the NACC - North American Christian Convention in Louisville, KY. We have not been able to attend any other cofc and Christian church gatherings yet this year, so this was our first.

So much has taken place here that my head is swimming with thoughts and ideas, questions and plans. I love that the 2 streams in our fellowships have taken 2006 as a year to make an effort to work together and act like family. I love the hope that it holds out for the future. I love the impact it is making all across the world as mission teams unite (Mozambique, Kenya etc), as American churches serve the hurting together (Gulf coast), as US churches merge (Seattle, Washington) and as others partner to pray and get to know each other. No one is asking for us to give up our unique congregations and be one but we are being asked to work alongside each other so that God is glorified. How cool is that!As Jeff Walling said last night, it is time for us to stop acting "nice" (emotionally removed, pleasant but distant) and start acting like family (intimately connected at the core).

100 years of division and family feuding is not taken away in a one year unity effort, but I can testify that more has been accomplished over the last 6 months than either Rick Atchley or Bob Russell could have dreamed of. Last night Jeff Walling and Dave Stone (preacher at SouthEast Christian) swaped bibles and so did many others representing our churches, colleges, worship teams and other organizations. The stage was full of people hugging each other holding each others bibles as symbols of unity with tears streaming down their cheeks. It was history in the making - a new chapter. One that I am proud to hand down to my kids. We were there. Wow.

There was so much more. I can barely recount at a keyboard all that took place. I am thankful to have been a witness to it and to have the plea for unity for God's glory on my heart.

2 comments:

don said...

About 10 years ago, a group of us from Central who all played bluegrass and western music together during the week, and were the praise team on Sundays, were asked to go to Dumas and lead the worship service at a Christian church, then join them in a potluck lunch. (Their potluck was indistinguishable from one of ours, by the way). We arranged for another worship team to be at Central that day, and went up there, doing three new things: 1) We led them in traditional songs, but also taught them some new songs we had been learning as well; 2) they heard a bunch of guys from the church of Christ using our instruments in a Sunday morning worship service, something we weren't used to; 3) the preacher there told us later that we had "mended a bunch of fences" that day. It felt right. I still remember that day with a great deal of fondness and goose bumps, and am thrilled to see the efforts going on nationwide in this vein. (Ask Johnny Weems and Kelly Utsinger about that Sunday. I think they're the only ones of the guys still in town.) It was genuine worship, enjoyed with family. I'm glad you were able to go and do the same.

Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

I appreciate your testimony to unity. May God have mercy on our sinful division and give us courage to let your Spirit flow through us to heal your family.

Shalom,
Bobby Valentine
Stoned-Campbell Disciple