Recently I have been thinking a lot about Vision, and it's implications on Unity. And the more I think about it, and look around for examples, more I am sure that Vision has great implications concerning unity.
The church must be united. We are all one body. God has given a global vision to his church. But at the same time, God has created great diversity in the world, and gives different visions to different people. All of those visions together fulfil the global vision: build the Kingdom of God. And that's all very well, but it is a utopia to think that we can be in the same small community with people that have different visions and missions.
Let's put this into a formula. The greater the difference between the vision God as given to two different people/groups, the greater the distance between those two people/groups should be, in order to maintain unity.
I know, it seems a contra sense. But think about it. If one has the mission to reach teenagers, and the other elderly people, they can never really be in the same small group. Neither of them would be able to fulfil their purpose in all its fullness. The ministry of one will hinder the ministry of the other. They will be able to have synergy concerning more global events, but never in a very small environment.
For that reason, when you start a house church, it is of utmost importance to be sure that you are all with the same vision. If you are not, everyone will start compromising, and all of us will be very far from our potential.
Have you ever noticed that in the Bible Unity and Gifts are themes that go together many times? For example, you can see that in Ephesians 4:1-16 and in 1 Corinthians 12. Is it a coincidence?
I don't think so. The fact is that people with different gifts tend to push an agenda that has everything to do with their gift. A pastor will push the church to be a caring community, neglecting other areas. A evangelist will push it to be a missional one. And so on. And if we are not careful with that, we will sacrifice unity in the process, because people with different gifting will feel displaced (not to mention that the community will be seriously handicapped). Conflict will arise, churches will split, and new denominations will be born.
There is nothing wrong with emphasizing our area of ministry. But as members of a local and global community, we have to be sensitive to the fact that there is no single gift that is more important than the others. In love and humility, we need to recognize the advantages of the gifts other people have, and what is lacking in our own gifts. This way we will learn to respect every person no matter what their gift, maintain a spirit of unity in the body of Christ, and have well balanced communities.