What do you think of other church denominations other than yours? What do you think about the Baptists? The Methodists? The Presbyterians? The Vineyard Church? The Assemblies Of God? The non-denominational churches? Do you have positive thoughts about them? Do you see them as the competition? Do you see them as having incorrect doctrine? The truth is we all feel something when we see other churches, and it’s related to how you were brought up to think.
One of the biggest things that stood out to me when I first started attending the church I go to was that each week the pastor would pray before his sermon. In that prayer he would say, “Lord, I bless the Methodist church down the road meeting this morning. I pray for Pastor Johnson at the baptist church this morning. Speak through him. I pray over our Anglican brothers and sisters meeting this morning. Holy Spirit, meet with your body of believers this morning.” Each week, he would call out different pastors and churches in the area and bless them.
God uses those prayers to remind me that we are all One Body and co-laborers together. Each of us has a part to play in the Body. We are not in competition with each other, but in cooperation in the Great Co-Mission. Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 12:25, “The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part” (MSG). God’s desire, and design, is that we learn to work together and to become depend on each other.
We are not to be in competition with each other or against each other. Remember, if a house is divided, it can’t stand. We need to look at our commonalities and give a 100% on building relationships around those things. I’ve been on staff at a church that had 50 denominations represented in the audience with people from over 50 different nations. We worked and worshiped together as one. This is God’s design for His Body, and it starts with us individually focusing the things that unite us rather than what separates us.
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I’ve been intrigued with the story of the Tower of Babel since I was a kid. If you are unfamiliar with it, after the flood wiped out the entire human race except for Noah and his family, there was one language on earth. As the population grew, they began to separate and move away from each other. One such group moved to the area of Babylon and decided to build a great city and a tower. Genesis 11:4 says, “And they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower whose top reaches to the heavens. And let us make a name for ourselves…’” (LEB). God saw what they were doing and confused their languages. They separated into groups again and moved apart.
I’ve always heard this story come at the angle of pride or as the origin of languages. I’d like to take what they did and apply it to what we as the church could do today. In verse 6, God says something powerful that we can build on. He said, “Behold, they are one people with one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. So now nothing that they intend to do will be impossible for them (LEB).” If we, as the Body of Christ, could learn to be one people with one language, there would be nothing impossible for us.
When you look at the task of the Church given to us by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20, we are required to go into all of the world to preach the Gospel and make disciples of Christ. God said if we had one language and one mission, that nothing we intend to do would be impossible for us. We have the ability now, more than ever, to fulfill the Great Commission. We have the technology, knowledge and ability like no other time in history to do the impossible. What are we doing with that ability though?
I don’t think God minded that the people were building the Tower of Babel. I think the problem was that they were doing it to make a name for themselves. Some versions say it was to make themselves famous. When we do things in His name for our selves or to make our name famous, it will fail. If we learn to do things for His and to make His name famous, we will succeed. We have to get past trying to grow our churches and denominations for our own glory. We have to move past trying to get switchers from one church to another. We weren’t called to do that. We were called to grow His Church by winning the lost.
If we all focus on winning the lost rather than each other’s members, we’ll see explosive growth in the Kingdom. We can only do that if we have one voice and one mission. We were already given the one mission. Now we just have to learn to speak with one voice and to work together. Nothing will stand in our way or be impossible for us. Our desire should always be to make His name known, not our own. Our goal should be to proclaim His Gospel, not ours. That holds true for you and I on an individual level as well as our churches on a corporate level. What can you do today to make Him known to those around you?