After over 30 years of citywide prayer, unity and outreach I believe I have a platform to speak concerning this subject. In 1998, Billy Graham and his staff chose me to open in prayer at his Crusade here in Jacksonville, Florida. This is an honor that I won’t soon forget! This happened even after I had been left out of the local organizing committee by local jealous leadership. They knew I didn’t play games then, and they know I won’t play games now.
I want it clearly understood that I am a hundred percent in favor of citywide and regional unity in the Body of Christ. How else will the world know we are legit and authentic representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ?
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
What I am not interested in anymore is hyped up events done inside the walls of buildings. Either we have a love for each other, or we don’t. There is no other fuel for unity. Cold theology of the Trinity will not impress or affect the world. Does your particular flavor of theology need protecting? Then why cause division in the name of unity? Open the doors and let His Glory come in!
Below you will find some points which are essential if we are going to step up and rise above the mediocrity of years of failed attempts. Let’s learn from those things that have worked and come together as the Lord builds His ONE Church among us.
- A Neutral site or Location– If a Church building has to be used neither the leader of the congregation or the congregation can have history of division.
- An Organizers/Core Group must be formed. Nobody likes being invited to approve something that they or their representative had no part in forming.
- An Equal Place at the table– No special platform seating for certain leaders, reserved tables or green rooms.
- An Equal Place on the Program- No preaching, worship by chosen few. It’s not “showtime at the Apollo.”
- An Equal Place for all congregations regardless of size. Some of the larger congregations actually are the biggest perpetrators of division and competition in the Body of Christ.
- There must be Racial, Gender and Age Diversity. We need intentionality when it comes to all these things
- Honesty must prevail. Must not be used to play into some leaders or congregations’ hidden agenda.
- A History of Unity– Program and Platform leaders must be men or women that have a history of choosing unity over building their own Kingdoms.
- Only Unity can look like Unity- A representation of all of God’s people together ministering, not divided groups representing their own congregation.
- A Need for Authentic Unity– The Focus must move Beyond the Event- If our unity is over when the event finishes, we are fakes looking for City approval or leaders looking to posture themselves over others.
- No Place for Rituals or “Flash in the Pan Feel Good” Events– The focus of the event must be our oneness in the Lord and provide for entry opportunities for continued practical forms of unity in the city or region.
- Understand Spiritual Warfare– No event of this magnitude will go uncontested by darkness and the ruling forces over a city. This is no place for the faint at heart. A concerted effort must be made to have prayer before, during, and after any such endeavor.
I know that some of these things or all may hit the religious right in the teeth. When you truly represent the Lord you will not capitulate, conform, comply, concur, concede or compromise because you know Whom you will face some day.
Finally, Because of what I have described above, no one should attempt to organize any such event without a verbal command from the Lord. Where He guides, He provides! Let’s not just do something and expect the Lord to back it because it was a good idea. We humans are too good at getting ahead of God. Now if the Lord commands us (plural elders in the city) and the Body of Christ agrees, every Angel in Heaven will battle for us to assure a time and place victory on this Earth!
Jose L. Bosque