Tuesday, October 26, 2010

From Unity Musings to Unity Charter

Thanks for the comments on the musings. One of my friends has already used it with his leadership team and said it was very helpful. After another brainstorm with the elders, we have reworked our musings into a charter that we intend to model and teach to our community. Hope it can be helpful to yours too. Here goes.

1) Because we believe that Christ reconciled us firstly to God, but secondly to one another in his body the church, we will make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit both between local churches and within our local church. Unity does not mean complete agreement or conformity. Through the cross we can be united in diversity as we attain to the unity of the faith. (Eph 4:1-16)
2) We maintain unity primarily by speaking the truth in love to our neighbor, rather than speaking about them. We recognize that the tongue has the power of life and death, and acknowledge that the sinful nature has a tendency to avoid face to face communication and resort to gossip, malice and slander, which grieve the Spirit. (Eph 4: 16 -32)
3) We acknowledge that whether we take offense or cause offense, the initiative remains with us to go and seek peace. Forgiveness requires that we send our debtor away debt free, because we have been sent away debt free at the cross. (Matt 18:15-35, Matt 5:23-24)
4) We consider it a person’s glory to overlook a minor offense, and that one who covers over an offense promotes love. Christian maturity means at times that we deal with the offense alone with God. Overlooking an offense includes forgiveness, as well as resisting the urge to share the offense with others. (Proverbs 19:11, 17:9)
5) We also recognize that the gospel includes both pardon and a quest for reconciliation. While forgiveness may not ensure the restoration of a broken relationship to it's original state, we heed the scriptural encouragement to 'be reconciled to your brother' (Matt 5:24)
6)We intend to eliminate gossip in this community, by neither initiating, nor participating in it. We will instead devote ourselves to a culture of encouragement and honor, which is the culture of heaven. (Jn 3:22)
7)We may hold opinions that are different from what is taught, but we will not be divisive by actively spreading dissension on issues of theology leadership or decision making. We also honor the specific biblical warning not to entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. (1 Tim 5:19)
8) it is our conviction that initiating a lawsuit against a brother is unbiblical and against the interests of maintaining unity. Instead we will seek wise mediation within this church. (1 Cor 6:1-11, Matt 5:25,26))
9) While we embrace the use of social media in building church community, we will avoid the use of email, text messages, facebook or Twitter in resolving conflict, acknowledging that face to face communication is best in resolving conflict.
10) We believe that a church united in diversity reflects and glorifies the Triune God, and brings his commanded blessing. We also see that a united community is good for the gospel. "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another." (Psalm 133, Jn13:35)

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