Unity and Diversity
People who attend a church usually have one reason above all others that keeps them coming back. For some it’s the people they connect with each week. For others, it is the opportunity to sing and listen to music that lifts the soul. Some are fed by hearing the Bible read and its meaning explored each week. Still others are looking for opportunities to do mission work in the world. There are a multitude of reasons why church gives meaning to our lives. It would be a mistake to assume that what is important to me in church is important to everyone.
One of my pastor-mentors is a man named Al Gephart. Al was a pastor for several decades, but he originally served as a choir director, which had a significant impact on how he viewed the church (and by proxy, it had an impact on how I see the church). Al seemed to understand that having a diversity of voices in church leadership made for a robust community just as a diversity of voices in a choir makes robust music. But diversity can also turn into chaos if there are no harmonizing principles. In other words, the church thrives best at the sweet spot between having a unifying purpose and allowing it to be expressed in unique ways.
So what is our unifying purpose? How would we describe our raison d’etre? St. Andrew’s has a mission statement. Do you know what it is? (hint, you can find it here on the website). Does it guide our fellowship, inform our worship, and shape our mission? Do we turn to it when we are making decisions or allow it to supersede our personal interests? Interestingly enough, St. Andrew’s mission statement mentions diversity as a core principle. Are we grounded enough in our unity to allow for diversity?
Questions to ponder,