“Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
~ Henry Ford
Too often, we believe that our ministry is successful because we had good attendance at our church, because we served a record number of neighbors at our church, because we our church is growing and maturing in Christ. But, it is easy to see success when we are only looking at ourselves, comparing ourselves to ourselves.
The Church is the body of believers all over the world. Let’s talk about our attendance now, our service to date, our growth and maturity in Christ based on our fellowship with other churches, with all churches. The Church needs to be evangelized as we are not so connected when we step outside of our four walls, when we leave our pews or our community. We stop singing, stop holding hands when we start to talk about other churches. Because we have a good thing going here. And they might mess it up.
Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor company, presents a potential measuring stick for success and coming together is only the beginning. It is easiest to gather for a meal, for a march, for a mission because afterwards every one gets to return to their corner of the community. It is a limited amount of time with a set purpose and goal. Once the dishes are put away, justice has been served and the mission accomplished, we’re free to go.
“Keeping together is progress.” Staying together, staying connected is an improvement upon the relationship. Intentional fellowship without reason other than common interest in the other person. Dare I say, creating a friendship.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live, dwell, keep together in unity” (Psalm 133.1). It is not enough to share a pew on Sunday morning for an hour or two. We need to take a seat in the homes of fellow believers of other cultures and contexts and stay awhile.
But, even this is not the end all, be all. Ford says, “Working together is success.” And I would agree. It is easy to share a cup of tea or coffee, share words while in conversation but sharing power, even spiritual power, can be difficult for people of faith. And finding agreement though we believe in the same God, the same Savior of the world and rely upon the same Spirit, now you’re pushing it.
Yet, this is what we must do. We must push it. We must push the boundaries of our tradition, our program, our routine. We must be willing to roll up the sleeves of our theology and get involved in the mess of life: the differences and diversities of life.
We must push ourselves beyond what has been done and do something new. Agree to worship and work together to the glory of God and the success of His Church.