There seems to be a call for unification across churches in the Columbus area. This is the theme I have been hearing on a regular basis. What does unification mean?
People have used it to describe things from congregational harmony to a single universal church. However, I would like to offer up a simple definition that can be readily achieved: All believers working together to ensure everyone has an opportunity to hear, accept, and promote the Gospel.
There are 2.1 million people in the 11-county Columbus area (MSA). Research by the Barna Group shows that 15% of these claim to be “captive Christians,” those that profess their faith and regularly attend a church. If that is true, we have over 300,000 people that attend one of the 1000+ churches in the area.
We need to activate and coordinate activity among the churches and for the believers. For the most part, local churches run independently, asynchronous to outreach opportunities with fellow churches even a block away. This isn’t out of malicious intent. Indeed, most pastors would admit that they’re busy enough trying to run their own programs than having to coordinate with others. Of course, there are doctrinal differences which have limited cooperation in the past, by tending to focus on our differences instead of our similarities.
For the most part, we are happy being in our isolated congregations. We have invested time and money there and our best friends are there. That’s not a bad thing.
What about the 1.8 million people that can’t say the same? If we could reach a tipping point in our area we could see some major benefits across our city. Lives and communities would be radically changed. We can achieve that if we can have 20% of the population talking and promoting the same message.
I propose we unify around “gospel awareness, gospel acceptance, and gospel sharing” in our communities. We can continue to run our individual congregations the same as we are now with a slight change that we add a unified, external, community, gospel component.
This can start with church leaders and pastors agreeing and joining the movement. They have the best ability to activate and enable their congregations. Several organizations exist around Columbus to coordinate each of the three areas so there would be no additional burden to church staff besides dealing with the rapid increase in attendance.
This isn’t something we have to pray about. Jesus told us to be united. He told isn’t make disciples. We just have to figure out who will be a part and how we will move forward. Let’s win this city for God!