Fathers, Sons, and Brothers…Together for the Gospel

It didn’t take much thought to pick up on a theme that seemed to run through every sermon, every presentation, every hallway conversation, and every shared meal at the SBC Annual Meeting two weeks ago. In fact, this theme didn’t just pop up when everyone descended on Louisville, KY – it was evident in conversations and meetings I had been a part of in our state for several months.

Jesus prayed for it in John 17, Paul called the church at Corinth to display it in 1 Corinthians 12, and Paul called for the church at Ephesus to protect it in Ephesians 4.

The bottom line is that if we are going to see a true, Great Commission Resurgence…a true move of God in our denomination…or any denomination or church or anything else for that matter…there must be a healthy, gospel-centered unity already in place.

The call for unity in the SBC is a call to move past generational and methodological differences in an effort to partner together for gospel advancement in our cities, our nation, and around the world. We can do far more together than any of us could do apart. And when we display gospel unity to the world, they see and believe in the One we love, worship, and preach (John 17).

The flip side is also true…when we bicker, compete, fight, slander, gossip, and act like fools, we do serious damage to the gospel work God has called us to locally and globally.

Uniting around the gospel is hard…kind of like sometimes your marriage is hard, your kids drive you crazy, and you wonder if it’s all worth it. But to disregard it and act like we are exempt from it is to completely disregard Jesus’ prayer for us to be one.

The gospel-centered unity that we need is not just in our individual churches. While certainly that is important and applicable, the greater need is that we begin to see gospel-centered unity in our cities. That pastors who love Jesus and are focused on the Great Commission lock arms together for the gospel in their city. That church planters are welcomed with opened arms by existing pastors and churches. That older, traditional church pastors and young, hip, contemporary pastors meet at the same table with the same broken heart for the city and the same determination to see the gospel advance and the same commitment to work together to see it happen.

Over the next couple of days, I am going to share 3 key relationships where I think this kind of gospel-centered unity needs to be more clearly seen. In each relationship, there is a natural posture and there is a needed posture. The natural postures fight unity because they’re born in pride while the needed postures foster unity because they are born in humility.

I hope you’ll track with me and engage in the conversation. Let’s get together…for the gospel!


8 Comments on “Fathers, Sons, and Brothers…Together for the Gospel”

  1. Chris Reeder says:

    So true! It’s an awesome thing when God’s church(s) gets a “for The Kingdom” mindset!

  2. yea, but quarreling over food offered to idols is so much more fun. 🙂

    i think this sentiment is crossing over the receding denominational borders as disciples of Jesus are uniting around the gospel and the life it produces.

    everything else is just balderdash.

  3. jayhardwick says:

    @ Jason – You’re right – the gospel should trump denomination…but it doesn’t excuse a denomination from working against each other. We need to see both/and. And, excuse me, but did you just say balderdash? 🙂

  4. Jeff Johnson says:

    Good words Jay. God is obviously bringing this topic to the forefront in His church. Personally I think one of the next big obstacles will be a new sense of measuring “us” and “success”. For so many decades we have measured health and growth on a Campus level… and I think this new unity of which you speak will require a completely new way of measuring those things, on a City level. Sure each church will still take care of the sheep entrusted to it, but no longer will pastors say things like, “We are really growing” unless that “we” means the City, not just his little campus.

    I am still not sure what that system is going to look like or who is going to run it… but I am fairly certain it is one of the practical corollaries to your point on City-wide unity.

  5. […] for the Gospel: Sons and Fathers 2009 July 8 by jayhardwick Yesterday, I wrote an introduction for this series of posts on healthy, gospel-centered unity. If you missed it, make sure you read it […]

  6. […] for the Gospel: Fathers and Sons (Part 1) 2009 July 9 by jayhardwick Be sure to read the introduction and first part of this series of posts on healthy, gospel-centered, mission-driven unity. This […]

  7. Jay,
    It is good to read how God is moving in our lives. I have been reflecting in the many men and women who guided and blessed me as a student, pastor and missionary. I am forever grateful for their safrifices and influence in my life. At 68 years, I still remember!!! and my joy encouraging young pastors to never forget the journey. May God continue to use your excellent communications skill to share the transforming message of Christ.

  8. jay hardwick says:

    @ jeff – no doubt…the scorecard is changing!

    @ fermin – thank you for your encouraging words and Jesus-honoring example out on the other coast!

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