There is a command that God gives which takes a lot of work to obey. Here it is:
(Eph 4:3) being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Churches approach the doing of this command in various ways that I think ultimately reflect the personality of and the experience of their leaders. For me, here is my thought on what best “perserves the unity of the Spirit”:
Act 2:17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;Act 2:18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
The unity here unites “all flesh”. This includes gender division (sons and daughters), age division (young men and old men), and social-economical divisions (“even on my male servants and female servants”, meaning the poor and lowly in status are included in the “in” group). Add to that the reality that Peter is speaking to the ethnically diverse group of people there in Jerusalem for Passover and Pentecost, I find the type of unity found in Acts 2 to be one that crosses even harsh racial-ethnic boundaries.
So what was this unity that had such great power to unite? It was a unity found in being filled by the Spirit of God. But for what purpose? For the purpose of mission, for the purpose of the gospel, for the purpose of being a witness to a dying world.
From this I find the deep conviction that a church will be most united when the mission of Christ is at the most forefront of their hearts and minds and prayers and preaching and budget and planning. The camaraderie and fellowship that is experienced in the mission of Jesus is not different than the camaraderie experienced by soldiers in real life. Their bond and care for each other makes unity based on common sports teams or common political views or common entertainment like feel trite at best. One feels like bonds forged in the moments of life and death and the other like moments strung together in the fluff of chatter and temporary amusement.Unity comes when the members of a church are filled with the Spirit. The rest of Acts 2 proves this to be true and to what radical extent it is true.
So then, I find my best means as a leader and part of a leadership team to foster unity is not necessarily picnics and holiday events and even peer groups. I shepherd the flock towards unity best by pushing towards mission and the gospel, if by grace we might find a common empowering of the Spirit for the mission and in the process discover the unexpected experience of UNITY in CHRIST.