Building a Unified Church

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Age Group

Adult

Brief Description

Every Christian is a priest, a minister, and a representative of God on earth. Each of us is an extension of the very life and ministry of Christ in a world that deserves to see his love expressed in the gathered community we call church. More than an institution, the church is a living, vibrant organism whose purpose is defined by God as the place where the divine chooses to manifest the work of grace. The church is the place where, in Christ, the love of God is received, shared, and contemplated in both worship and mission.

The sessions in this unit reflect on the work of the church in light of the cross, challenging church members to consider how priorities in worship and ministry witness to the wisdom of God, which is Jesus Christ crucified. In his letters to the Corinthians, Paul calls the church to unity of mind and purpose. Yet, perhaps surprising to some, the Apostle’s concept of the mind has far less to do with agreement on right doctrine and far more to do with a way of right living in the world. Paul’s succinct but profound insight—one that the church has yet to contemplate fully—is this: If God chose to reveal divine love in the cross of the Son, then surely the community gathered in his name would do well to show that same love, both to each other and to the world. What common purpose unifies the church? What strengthens the church? What weakens the church? What are the building blocks upon which our church is built? These are the central questions for the following unit that reflect on our call to build a unified church that is resolute in its understanding of the wisdom of God that humbles the great and lifts up the lowly. We long for the kingdom to come where we are one in ChristJesus, but in the meantime, we also work in the present to make the kingdom happen through our memory of the cross and its message of redemptive love.

These sessions challenge the church to make the wisdom of God, which is Jesus Christ crucified, a priority in living. The call is to allow the cross to embrace the church so that each of us can understand anew the heart of God and see all that is aflame with Christ’s presence in the world. In the process, we are to be both transformed and transforming through the power of divine love.

by Robert C. Shippey Jr.

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The purchaser of this file has permission to print twenty copies of this Learners Study Guide. Neither the file nor the printed contents may be sold copied or transferred to another person or church. The purchaser may make a backup copy of the file.

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