For 20 years, we’ve believed that when united the Church has the power to transform communities. We asked Gavin Calver, Director of Mission at the Evangelical Alliance, why church unity is so crucial for the sake of struggling children.
‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.’ These words from the American author, Helen Keller, are as poignant as ever and present to us a great challenge as we navigate our way through an increasingly divided and fractured society. In a world of brokenness, pain, confusion and lack of trust, surely there are few things more important than the call for the church to unite? A united body was what Christ longed for before he was arrested because he knew that if the church could be one and stand together, then many more people would be drawn to him.
Encouragingly, this cry for Christian unity seems to be getting louder, perhaps because many of the divisions in society are growing wider. In our culture separation, hostility and isolation are seemingly rampant - physically, tribally, spiritually, geographically and emotionally – and yet the Father calls his children to cross all of these divides by coming together and reflecting his glory. Surely in a world that is torn apart, the reality of a united body becomes even more infectious to those who are lost?
Scripture gives a clear mandate - unity is essential – and it’s a God-given unity centred on mission and the primary truths of faith. Jesus prays passionately in John 17 that the church may be united. Unity is not an option, it is something that is on God’s heart for his children, so we can be certain he will aid us in seeking it.
It’s a unity that needs to be tangible and is outward facing so others will hear the Gospel.
Such unity is particularly important in our work with younger generations. The overwhelming majority of people who come to faith in the UK are under 25 and it will take the church working together to be most effective in this. It doesn’t matter which individual church has the most young people but that the church overall has them. If we work together, pray together and share resources with one another we can do incredible things amongst new generations. In my 14 years working previously at Youth for Christ the ministry amongst younger generations was immeasurably more effective when the church was united in her approach.
The wonderful ministry of TLG provides us all with an incredible opportunity to be united in reaching some of the most broken children and young people. The vast majority of the teenagers I have met over the years have needed parent and grandparent figures far more than they’ve needed more friends. The church is the one place where generations can happily live side by side and invest in one another.
I am so excited to think of what could be possible if we all worked together and got behind TLG as they seek to reach many who are marginalised. I thank the Lord that their ministry exists and hope and pray that the next 20 years are even more effective for the Kingdom. For the sake of the world, and the younger generations coming through, let us fully embrace this opportunity to be united for a purpose.
Find out how your church can get behind the ministry of TLG here
Gavin Calver is the Director of Mission at the Evangelical Alliance and Chair of Spring Harvest. Formerly the leader of Youth for Christ, Gavin's an evangelist, speaker and author with a burning passion to see the Gospel reach every person in the UK.