I'm praying for unity

...on all fronts.

My heart is somewhat heavy about the fellowship. We've experienced a growth spurt this year, which is something that was very exciting at the beginning. Yay, more people, that means we're doing something right... right? I've been so blessed by our students and was incredibly pumped when they took the vision of witnessing communities to heart. Every week I hear about students sharing their faith with people at bus stops, on the quad, and in classes. There are so many new faces and new faces are being transformed by God. Students have been letting God heal them from major brokenness and are committing to lives lived out for Jesus.

At the same time, there are the murmurings in the fellowship. Paul writes about this over and over again... about gossip, malice, jealousy, factions, slander. Complaining about community, complaining about the way things are done. Sometimes it's frustrating to hear about expectations from students because it's often about how expectations are not being met. And it's frustrating because so often the expecations are unrealistic for a group of a hundred or so broken people gathered together.

In some ways it's the age group we work with. I'm entirely guilty of active participation in "What's wrong with InterVarsity" discussions that only led to feelings of entitlement and self-satisfaction. Pat pat on the back for being able to accurately describe how the fellowship is messing up.

It's always awesome having conversations with alum who tell me that they don't know why they got so worked up about stuff. Confessions of "I wish I had more grace for people." It takes a lifetime to learn grace, perhaps because we are all born with zero. I'm trying to re-read "What's so amazing about grace?"

Paul wrote about broken group dynamics because they existed back then. They exist now and always will. We'll lose people who are dissatisfied. That sucks. I have to keep reminding myself to not get caught up in the finger pointing and have the grace for others that I wish they had for the group.

In some ways this reminds me of the election and how divided people became over things. Here is a photo project someone created. Somewhat cheesy but I like this attempt at encouraging people to seek unity despite disagreements. What it looks like practically, I don't know but I think I know what it's not.


Jerrissimo said...

I think learning what I did last year in working within a team helped a lot this year (duh) and gave me a bit more perspective.
Even then, I've still had to learn a lot this year and although I've gotten upset about certain things, I'm glad that I was able to talk it through with people and work things out.

And yeah, it's hard especially when emotions run high about certain things. Sometimes I don't know what to do when I hear these murmerings. Am I supposed to say "let's all hold hands and be happy!" or do I address them? Is it nosy of me?

Alice in Wonderland said...

I'm praying for unity too! I've been reflecting on Philippians for the last few months:

"1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

The funny thing is I was actually praying for humility--and now realize it's integrally linked to unity.

Juliana said...

Hey Pegs,
I would love to ponder with you sometime an idea I have...which is that we imagine unity to mean no discontent or no conflict - which to me is unavoidable and not good for growth (in numbers or character). But what if there was a way to have unity to one another, but still have a space for conflict, dissent, critical (as in editing, not attitude) feedback that led to growth and more unity? I see my "critism" of the body as an expression of my commitment to it - not that I always convey it in a helpful way, but it comes out of passion, love, and hopefulness for the full expression of christ's love and maturity...but what does it look like for that to be a welcome, helpful, and forward-focused part of our fellowshipping? let's discuss someday...