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Sometimes It Looks Like Unity, But It’s Not

August 17, 2007

Had a good meeting the last 2 days with some old pastors and some younger campus ministers, and some admin people who are neither young nor old. We were making important decisions about how our churches and campus ministry will work together in the future.

No matter the topic, often these established leader/emerging leader meetings are fraught with misunderstanding and miscommunication. Not this time. 

During our meeting people boldly, passionately and bluntly disagreed – but they always did it respectfully and in a good spirit. Despite the disagreements, we walked out of the room at the end of 2 days in unity. We didn’t all agree on everything, but we all left in unity. 

I have been in meetings many times when it looked like unity, but it wasn’t. It looked like unity because no one voiced any disagreement. They disagreed. They just didn’t say anything. At least not in the meeting. When this happens, we think we have unity. Until the whispers of disunity gradually become a shout.

I have also been in meetings where everyone felt the liberty to boldly and bluntly express their disagreement. Problem was it was done with little humility, respect or love. This obviously destroys unity.

To have real unity, leaders must create an environment – a moment – where people are free to disagree and to express that disagreement. That’s the easy part. The hard part is making sure all who express disagreement do so in humility, respect and love – and in the appropriate setting. This is the only way I know to lead toward real unity.

I’m certainly not an expert at this, but I know this is what is required of leadership. And, I thank God for leaders who are bold enough to express their opinions and humble enough to realize that their opinions are sometimes wrong – leaders who know that, despite our disagreements, God expects us to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Eph 4:3)

(New post on my accidental missionary blog with a link to "young Tim" with hair.)
 

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