Let Us Be Different, But Not Divided
Dear pastors and leaders,
Lets face it. The “science” is divided. The “facts” are divided. The country is divided. Let’s not let the church be divided.
Doctors and experts say different things weekly. The only thing experts can agree on is that their models were wrong and some are useful. The CDC now says the virus is not easily spread on surfaces.
But I believe there is a deeper root issue that needs to be addressed in the body of Christ, to handle both the pandemic, our response to it, and how we reopen our churches and ministries.
God spoke to me recently and said: “Differences are not divisions.” Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:10, “...let there be no divisions among you…” But how is that possible with so many different points of view, and even the Body of Christ being polarized in some ways on these issues?
It’s simple; we have interpreted DIFFERENCES to be the same as divisions, and that can make people intolerant of different points of view. Intolerance is not God’s way. Division is from the devil. Differences are from God, and there is nothing wrong with them when accompanied with empathy and open-mindedness.
God is a BIG BIG God! And He casts a wide and inclusive net. We should celebrate our differences rather than be divided by them. The Body of Christ must learn to embrace unity with diversity both locally and globally. That means different points of view on how to re-open; how to express our constitutional rights, and just about everything else.
So I’m taking my cues from Solomon. Instead of splitting the baby in two, the rightful mother makes the sacrifice, to avoid the death of the baby.
Save the baby by not dividing the body of Christ into camps. We need to be proactive in conveying that we understand there are going to be differing views and celebrate the freedom to have differences without being divided by them.
Then we must lead our congregations according to the peace of God, ruling in our hearts and the Holy Spirit leading us in our decisions with kindness and tolerance.
How does that look? Something like this:
As we prepare our re-opening plan, please know that we can have differences without divisions. There is no shame in you seeing it differently than me or any others in our church. We want everyone to come back as their faith leads them; as the peace of God leads them.
Some people will wish we could gather sooner.
Some people will plan to stay home longer.
Even when the government says churches can reopen today (which I believe is the constitutional position we should maintain), I still wouldn’t have services onsite yet. Not because I’m afraid. But because at this moment with all the restrictions, the dynamic of fellowship will still be missing. Let’s trust the Holy Spirit to lead us. “For all those who are led by the Spirit of God, are sons of God.” Romans 8:14
I personally believe that society and churches should re-open fully, applying both faith and wisdom.
But pastorally, I believe the psyche of our society has been negatively affected by the way this pandemic has been presented. And there is so much uncertainty about how to behave.
So in the meantime…I believe we should go “all in” on building and improving our online church experience.
Churches are behind in technology. Many unintentionally treat the online community as a step child sometime (nothing against step children). But we don’t give it the TLC we give to ONSITE members. That’s where we need to shift our thinking and lift our vision—the fields are white for harvest.
Let’s heal the psyche of the people with teachings on freedom from fear and anxiety. Let's train the people to walk in wisdom and mutual respect. And let's prepare the people for re-assembling by creating closer connection online, in the meantime, rather than just waiting to gather sooner rather than later.
God is the King of taking what the enemy sends and turning it into something good. my church hears me say it ALL THE TIME: what the enemy sends to defeat you, God bends to complete you.
Let's trust Him and be led by His Spirit.
For over twenty-five years, Gregory Dickow has helped millions of people find healing, hope, and transformation through the love and grace of Jesus Christ. His revolutionary breakthrough teaching, Fast from Wrong Thinking, has become a global movement, bringing effortless change and miracles. As founder and senior pastor, he has led the multi-site Life Changers International Church into a worldwide ministry through online streaming and television. As a prolific author and conference speaker, Gregory Dickow is leading a hurting generation into emotional health and healing. He created Chicago's top-ranked Christian talk show, Ask the Pastor, and hosts the popular television program, Power to Change Today, reaching millions of households worldwide.