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Five Intentional Ways to Promote Unity and Community at Grace Life Church

***This blog post is part two of our current focus on church health. Listen to the sermons here and read part one of the blog here.


As we continue looking at the Biblical description of a healthy church, there’s no better example to turn to than the early church. The premier passage to life in the early church is seen in Acts 2:42-47, the text of Scripture we looked at this last Sunday. 

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42–47)

How the early church lived in Christian unity within Christian community should be important to us. While the modern culture we live in is vastly different than the ancient culture they lived in, the importance of Christian unity within Christian community remains the same. 

I want to give you five intentional ways you can promote unity and Christian community within our church. (Note: there are obviously more than five ways, these five are more applicable to our context.)


Agree to disagree on matters of second and third-order theological differences.

The early church devoted themselves to the Apostles’ Teaching or the teaching of the character and work of a Triune God. 

We all have differing opinions and beliefs and those differing opinions and beliefs are often the source of conflict in our relationships. Within a church family, it is important to understand what is my opinion or personal belief and what is a matter of Theological importance. There are theological matters that we believe must be held for someone to be a Christian. As Dr. Al Mohler states,

“First-level theological issues would include those doctrines most central and essential to the Christian faith. Included among these most crucial doctrines would be doctrines such as the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Jesus Christ, justification by faith alone, and the authority of Scripture. These first-order doctrines represent the most fundamental truths of the Christian faith, and a denial of these doctrines represents nothing less than an eventual denial of Christianity itself. First-order issues determine Christian identity and integrity. Second-order issues determine ecclesiology. Third-order issues are doctrines over which Christians may disagree and remain in close fellowship, even within local congregations.”

We agree that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (first-order example) and we believe that baptism is the immersion of a new believer (second-order example), but the enemy will use the difference in those third-order matters (end times timeline, what day Jesus died, etc) to divide even the most doctrinally sound of churches. In those times of good nature discussion on third-order matters where a conclusion is not reached, agree to disagree with your brother or sister. 

It should also be stated that beliefs on matters outside of the teachings of the Bible should not be the cause of disunity within the church. 


Join a LifeGroup

We see the early church gathering together in homes to enjoy one another’s company and to grow in their faith. This is the goal of our LifeGroups. We want to gather throughout the week in homes (and the church building) for mutual encouragement and to study Scripture together. 

Our Sunday morning gatherings serve an important purpose in our lives, but there is not enough time to build meaningful relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ. LifeGroups provide this opportunity. 

This semester of LifeGroups begins the week of September 11th. To join a group, click here.


Invite someone to do something with you.

As you go about life throughout the week, ask yourself this question: “Is what I plan to do something I can do with someone in the church”?

Are you planning on going to the beach? Invite someone from church. Going to a movie? Invite someone from church. Taking your kids – or dog –  to the park? You got it. Invite someone from church to go with you.


Get together for a meal.

The early church appeared to enjoy food in the presence of good company. Despite the change in cultures, we still do the same. We have to eat, so be intentional about inviting someone over for dinner or going out for a meal. You don’t have to pay for their meal, though you could. Just a simple invite to go eat some Chick-fil-a or enjoy a cup of coffee fosters Christian community.


Watch out for brothers and sisters by themselves.

I want to encourage us as we approach our Sunday morning gatherings. I want us to look for other people. Look for someone you don’t know and sit with them. Look for someone by themselves and sit with them.

Let’s be more about the people of the church than the preferences we love. This is what fosters unity in the local church and by God’s grace, we will continue to gather and connect with one another, knowing it is Jesus alone who brings us together.

By His Grace,

Pastor Matt

New Year, Same God

It is the first day of the year 2021, a day we have eagerly anticipated. A typical New Year brings the possibility of new adventures, new enjoyments, and new excitements. This New Year brings those possibilities and it brings relief. Relief that 2020 is over and a New Year is upon us.  Who knows what we will see and experience this year; only the Lord knows!

One thing we do know about the 364 days ahead of us is the gift of God’s mercy. The Prophet Jeremiah says in Lamentations 3 that the mercies of God are new every morning. New mercies every morning. Look at what Jeremiah says:

“Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” – Lamentations 3:19–26

Jeremiah is heartbroken over the sins of the people of Israel. He weeps and cries out to the LORD to see his affliction and his turmoil. Yet even in the pain, he remembers the character of God. He remembers God’s covenant faithfulness to His people. He remembers the Lord’s extravagant mercy.

Theologian Wayne Grudem defines “mercy” as “God’s goodness towards those in misery and distress”. God’s mercy is an act of His goodness towards us not an act towards our goodness. We are undeserving of His mercy and that is what makes His mercy so extravagant. The Lord gives His mercy out of His love for us.

When you wake up in the morning, awaiting for you is the gift of new mercies given to us by our Father in heaven. As sure as the sun rises from the east, the mercies of God are lavished upon us. Every new day brings to us a new opportunity to rest in the goodness and grace of God. When your life is in turmoil, remember God’s love and mercy for you. When you have sinned, remember God’s love and mercy for you. When you are feeling anxious, remember God’s love and mercy for you.

The reason God shows this mercy to us each and every day is due to his unending and faithful love He shows His children. He knows we need His mercy and He delights in being merciful to us. This is who God is. The mercy we receive is not based on who we are or what we have done, it is solely based on the character of a Holy God.

One of the more popular mindsets heading into the New Year is “New Year, New You”. The New Year provides an opportunity to lose weight, save money, chase that dream, or to just try something new. Resolutions are made to bring about the new you you want to be. But after a few weeks, those resolutions are stuffed in a drawer until next year. While we seek to change, our God never changes. The Psalmist states,

“Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you”. – Psalm 102:25–28

The Apostle James writes,

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” – James 1:17

Did you see that? Everything changes, but God remains the same. And our response to God’s immutability, that is, God’s unchangeableness, is to know that we are secure in Him. His promises never change, His character never changes, His Word never changes. God remains the same and when the calendar changes to a new date, God’s mercies will be there waiting anew. Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace. 

This year brings different adventures, different possibilities, or it may bring more of what we have recently dealt with, but the year also brings 365 new days where God will show us new mercies. It’s a new year, but we serve and trust in the same, unchanging, and faithful God. Let’s celebrate Him.