by Steve Dunn

Maybe I am naive, but I take seriously the words of Paul to the Corinthians.

“12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many …  25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” ( I Corinthians 12:12-14, 25-26)

I believe that individual congregations are part of that Body called the church. That means each church has a part in the kingdom plan of our Heavenly Father. We are not programmatic competitors nor doctrinal adversaries. We are partners in the work of Kingdom, but more than that, we are interdependent parts who really need one another.  And we need to exhibit far more concern for the health and well-being of one another.

When congregations flounder in problems or are weakened by conflicts, what is our response? Do we pray for them or do we sit back and watch and then scoop up their losses to swell our numbers and increase our statistics (or staff our Sunday School since we have already burned out the teachers we had)?

Do we offer to help our sister congregations regain their unity and health?

Or do we simply continue to “grow” by rearranging the current kingdom population instead of focusing together on the lost and the unchurched?

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