From the Pastor's Desk Unity Among Us

Unity Among Us

This morning at our men’s bible study, we kicked off a new study on Paul’s letter to the Romans. It’s a big letter, covering all manner of things – but the (easily overlooked) intention of the letter is what we spent the most time on today:

The pivotal importance of the unity of the church.

For the Romans, it was a matter of the Gentile Christians and the Jewish Christians learning not just to get along, but to love one another and look to the other’s interest first. Paul knew this was pivotal because they had work to do: to be witnesses of Jesus in Rome! It wouldn’t work if they were fighting, looking down on, or squabbling with one another. 

The unity of the church matters, not first for itself, but for the sake of our mission in the world. 

I was reflecting on this today – and it brought to my mind two very important things I want to make sure you know.  

First, Jesus knew that we would hurt, disappoint, and even sin against one another. We’re humans, after all. Humans experience conflict, even (or especially) in families. So it should not surprise us that there’s occasionally conflict in our own family (which is what a church is). It’s why, consistently across his teaching, 

Jesus made forgiveness and reconciliation primary themes. 

He has big and challenging – and transformative – teachings about forgiveness – which is what we’re going to dive into in our next series. Forgiveness truly is “Easier Said Than Done”, so we’re going to learn what it really is (and isn’t) and how to do it, so that we can not just say it – but actually do it. I want to invite you to come for each of these sermons, and open yourself up to hearing his Word! 

But I also know that we all have people in our lives who struggle with forgiveness, unforgiveness, resentment, and everything in-between. For this series, take a chance and invite those people to come and hear what Jesus has to say to this difficult topic. 

The second thing I wanted to make sure you know about is this: I know that as pastor, sometimes what I do (or don’t do), changes I enact, and things I say can also hurt or disappoint you. I can be the reason for a disruption of church unity! I am not above ‘sinning against you’, unfortunately. And I also know that it can be difficult for you to confront your pastor when you are hurt or disappointed with me. So what can you do in that case?  

First, if and when you’re feeling that way, I want you to know that my door is always open for you. I try not to be (and I don’t think I am) that intimidating of a person to confront. I know I’m not perfect and fall short regularly – and I am receptive to hearing about my failures – so please feel comfortable speaking the truth to me in love. I want to know if I’ve hurt or disappointed you, because I care about you and don’t want to hurt or disappoint you – and I want to grow as your pastor!  

And second,

if you are intimidated to speak with me or feel it best to have someone else to talk these matters through with, please reach out to our Pastoral Relations Committee.

Their job is to be a kind of go-between between the church and myself, preserving anonymity, encouraging healthy biblical conflict, and making peace between the church and pastor in times of conflict. The committee right now consists of John Taylor, Bob Brooks, Laurie Gentry, and Linda Lentini. I am personally encouraging you to reach out to them if they are needed (and always feel free to speak directly with me!). 

These things matter because our (church) family matters and because our mission together matters. If it was important enough for Paul to pen Romans and send it along to the Roman Christians, and important enough for Jesus to speak to repeatedly, it ought to be important enough for us to take seriously as well. 

May we take seriously Paul’s words from Romans 12:18,

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Grace and peace,


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