13 Nov 2006

Unity & Mission

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Kingdom, Mission, Restoration History, Unity

Unity and Mission

I remember having discussions back in my college days about the purpose of the church. Most agreed that near the very top of the list of purposes was the task of missions: spreading the good news of Jesus the Christ. And they are right. Did not Jesus tell his church “Go” …

But do we realize that mission is dependent upon a prior commitment on the part of disciples? Do we know that world evangelism is simply impossible without something undergirding mission? As I read the New Testament there is.

What is this prior commitment that makes missions possible? It is unity! Unity of heart. Unity of mind. Unity of purpose. Unity in the cross of Christ. You see for some reason divided Christians; Christians that cannot get along, Christians who argue over trivia destroy the very essence of the message Jesus told us to proclaim.

The greatest threat to world mission is not a lack of money but a lack of unity among the disciples of Christ. The greatest hinderance to bringing non-believers to saving faith is not evolution but the division of the church. Without unity the message of the cross is seriously compromised – indeed Christians do the Evil One’s work for him by remaining in a divided state.

You see the power of the message is seen in diverse people caring and loving for one another. When the world sees women and men; white folks and black folks, rich people and poor people all together … caring for each other, sharing together, the world will take notice.

But division among Christians voids the message! Why? Because the message at its core is one of reconciliation. Those claiming to believe that message while remaining at cross purposes become exhibits of the percieved failure of the message of peace. It become a “reason” for disbelief.

The congregation in which I serve cannot fix other churches but we can make sure that the message is not subverted here. Unity provides the foundation to world mission. Unity is what makes the message believable.

My prayer is … that all of them may be one, Father … so that the world may believe you have sent me” (Jesus in John 17. 20-21).

Bobby Valentine

25 Responses to “Unity & Mission”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    But Bobby wasn’t there great growth in number during the debating days and segregated congregations?

  2. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Compared to the population growth I am not sure you could say that we “grew.”

    Bobby Valentine

  3. David Cook Says:


    excellent, relevant post in our contemporary society. I am afraid that most do not want unity but would opt for uniformity. There is a tremendous difference. A Kingdom divided against itself will not prosper. The evangelism of the world has always been an act of God that he perfomed through His people whom he unified in purpose. Even Israel wal called to grant the alien what they had recieved from God.

    Great Post

  4. Steve Puckett Says:

    Excellent thoughts and greetings from the Sunshine State where today it’s 72 degrees and wondrously beautiful.

    That’s the heart of the controversy in Acts 15. We must come to unity on salvation by grace through faith so that we present a unified message to both Jew and Gentile alike. Paul and Barnabas’s mission would have been in jeopardy if they had not received the support of the leaders and believers in the Jerusalem church.


  5. Tim Archer Says:

    Years ago, someone showed me an article that talked about “the biblical standard of success” for a congregation. The author was talking about baptisms. That got me to searching for what the Bible says, and I came down on it being love and unity.

    That’s the long way to say: amen!


  6. Glenn Ziegler Says:


    ISTM that the best plan for achieving and maintaining the unity that supports evangelistic outreach is to seek it in ourselves, and then encourage others around us to do the same. We can no more accomplish this as groups than we can even force our groups to come together to discuss it. It is an individual’s responsibility to love his brethren, and no amount of good feelings generated by a group of Christians towards another group of Christians can substitute for having to answer for our own attitudes and actions and beliefs.

    That’s my 2 cents worth. Good post, bro.

    Blessings, ]


  7. Stoogelover Says:

    Very good point!

  8. Laymond Says:

    Bobby no doubt you are right unity is necessary to teach anything. one teacher can’t teach history one way and another teacher differently and expect a unified class. First there has to be unity in belief, if everyone agreed to preach strictly from the bible without embelishing ideas, or opinions then we might have a chance for unity. but as long as we have those who see the word differently we will be condemned to division. unless the premilinist are right and Christ will rule earth for one thousand years. there will not be unity until the day when we will be unified in resurection and divided again by eternal life and eternal death. or heaven and hell. May God Bless.

  9. DJG Says:

    Yancey uses that prayer of Jesus as an example of how his prayers were also unanswered.

    Until we are truly working for the “kingdom” our purposes will be selfish and therefore divided.

    Great thoughts!

  10. Danny Says:

    A huge AMEN to this post Bobby. No quicker way to disqualify ourselves to a skeptical world than division. God calls us to an authentic oneness!

  11. Mike Exum Says:


    Love produces unity. Love God; love each other. Love enough to lay down your life. And love your enemies.

    Then comes unity.

    Amen, Bobby, Amen.

  12. John Roberts Says:

    Great thoughts, Bobby. If we can’t get along with each other, we don’t have much to say to the world about love.

  13. Tony Arnold Says:

    I echo John’s comment. If we cannot be unified, we cannot serve effectively.

    We are stronger together than individually.


  14. Velcro Says:

    I wonder how many unbelievers look at us and say, “They say they serve a God of Love, then why is it obvious to everyone else that they can’t get along with eachother?”

    Good post.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Sometimes I think we look at unity as meaning we have to agree. I would be a very secluded and lonely person if that were the case. Simply because I have yet to find one person that I completely agree with including my wonderful husband.

    As a matter of fact, my husband and I have renegotiated the terms of our covenant many times without losing our committment to it. Psalm 1 has many times spoken to my heart. Jesus is the living word of the law. It is something rooted but also continoulsy growing. Good post Bobby.


  16. Vonnie Says:

    I agree 100%. I have been reading your blog for quite a while but I don’t think I have ever commented. Probably thought you were “too scholarly” for me. LOL
    If you haven’t visited my blog you might want to stop in and take a look.

  17. Matt Says:

    It blows my mind that people can be so self-centered to divide over something as silly as clapping or kitchens. When are people going to realize that what God is looking for in our congregations is so much more significant than that? We can become such experts on the most minute issues that we miss the heart and soul of what God desires of us. If we aimed as big as grand as God does for his church we wouldn’t have half the fights we do. We would be spending our time discussing important issues that actually have something to do with HIS plan instead of ours!

  18. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Vonnie, Glad to have you here at my blog. But how can a “Stoned-Campbell” be very scholarly, 🙂

    I don’t even have feet of clay … their more like MUD, 😉

    Bobby Valentine

  19. Ancient Wanderer Says:

    Knowing that there is ‘A’ message from God.
    Reconciliation with God.
    Unity with God.

    Putting those things first will always result in unity of ________.

    There are some words in the ….. of your quote from John 17.20-21 that speak to these very things. Some of those words are “through their message”; “just as you are in me and I am in you”; “May they also be in us”.

    BTW: I am fairly certain that God the Son and God the Father had uniformity in Their unity. Unless of course they just “agreed to disagree” or were (and I love this one) “united in their differences”.

    I vote YES for unity in the Son as He was/is united with the Father even to the point that we have uniformity in our relationship with God.


    KC- 100%

  20. Dee O'Neil Andrews Says:

    I like your post, too, Bobby. Bill Williams over at Spiritual Oasis has some thoughts today on simplicity and the New Testament church that somehow remind me of your post here on unity. I guess because man manages to make Christianity so complicated while God wants to keep it simple and straightforward in unity so that the world may be changed.

    Last week’s Newsweek had a cover story on Christianity that had some good thoughts, too, in that and some related articles dealing with a more global view of Christianity and evangelicals and its mission in this world. It’s on people’s minds and I think any time that is good it’s a step in the right direction, don’t you? Have you seen and/or read last week’s Newsweek by any chance? I was interested in the fact that it for the most part dealt with Christianity in a positive way, which is more than we can say of the media in most instances these days.


  21. John Says:

    If the truth be told, lack of money for missions is probably due to a lack of unity.

  22. Alan Says:


    That is one of the most profoundly true posts I have read in a long time. Thank you for clearly articulating what I’ve been trying to say on my blog for over a year.

    Jesus prayed to his Father to make us one. I think that is because only God can do that. Of course we must make every effort. But we definitely need to be praying for this also, as Jesus did.

  23. Jim Martin Says:

    A very good post. I am afraid that some of us have just given up on this one given the current state of things among Christians. Nevertheless, what you have said is important.

  24. Candle (C & L) Says:

    Bobby -I think I have commented before that Jesus prayer for unity is “the core of the gospel” as far as I’m concerned. The first & second commands deal with love and love yearns for unity through our common bond with Jesus.

    I liked Glenn Ziegler’s observation that this starts with me. It is only as individual Christians see it as their primary calling to be united in Jesus that we will learn as groups tobe united even when we feel compelled to do some things differently.

    What I mean is “were Paul and Barnabas “divisive” or “united in Christ” when they decided to go their separate ways because of the dispute over John Mark?” I think this is a good example of keeping the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace while still having serious disagreements over some things.

    God Bless

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