By John Moreland, President, Colorado Baptists
Of all that describes the times in which we live, most notable in my mind is divided. We are divided among racial lines, political parties, class, personal interests, and too many more factors to name. Thus, as I’ve prayed about our focus, the theme of unity has been pressed deeply into my spirit.
I recently had the privilege of worshipping at Hope Church, Las Vegas, and listening to Pastor Vance Pittman. On this particular morning he invited us into the prayer closet of Jesus, and allowed us to listen in as Jesus talked to the Father, in what Vance described as what is “…arguably the most holy and intimate conversation ever recorded in human history…” (John 17). In light of his impending death, Jesus asked the Father to cause the Apostles to “…be one as We [Father and Son] are one…” (Emphasis added).
In a word, Jesus was asking for unity to exist among those who would carry on the work which He began during His earthly ministry. In the verses that follow Jesus gave the rationale for His request, “…that the world may believe that You [The Father] sent me.” Wow! Unity of believers is evidence of the very ministry of Jesus. As Colorado Baptists carry out the mission, which we believe has been given to us by God, and articulated by our Executive Director, Dr. Nathan Lorick and the leadership team, our efforts are futile if our hearts are not unified in at least three areas.
Above all, we must be unified in our love. John declared in 1 John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren…” As division defines the condition of our world, we must make a statement that confronts the status quo. Our unity must first and foremost be displayed in the single, clearest mark of the Christian, which is also the principal attribute of God Himself-LOVE! Some may doubt our message, question our tactics, and be skeptical of our faith, but may they never doubt our love.
Additionally, we must be unified in our mission. Inherent in the 5 paradigm shifts of our network is a foundation of unity, which propels the local church, rather than the State Convention, to the front line of pushing back lostness in our state. The call for every pastor, church, and Colorado Baptist, is to carry out our mission with prayer-filled passion and Spirit-led intensity.
Above all, we must be unified in Gospel truth! While there are many cheap alternatives to truth-universalism, postmodernism, atheism, agnosticism, and plain ole’ ignorance, you and I know that the Gospel still works if we work it! May we never compromise the potency, offensiveness, and life-giving truth of the Gospel. This is what has defined Southern Baptists for nearly 175 years, and may it be so until that glorious day when we hear the welcome voice of our Lord say, “Well done my good and faithful servant…” Until then, may God grant each of us strength to be faithful and unified on our journey together.