CULTURE OF UNITY
Ever caught yourself accidentally mimicking someone’s accent in a conversation? (Just me?) It is so easy to mimic and mirror behaviors we are immersed in. This is the effect of culture. In an organization with cut-throat competition, I become more competitive. In an easy-going, low-pressure job, I behave more relaxed. It is human nature to act in accordance with the atmosphere around us.
When my ear became more inclined to listen, my heart became more inclined to love, my mind became more inclined to trust, and I actually wanted my life to be poured out; I knew I was immersed in Kingdom culture. I was taking in and mirroring the generous hearts, thoughtful minds and servant-leaders I was surrounded by. I observed the effects of Dinner Parties, how people’s lives were enriched through this space of connecting, and found myself encouraged every week. I observed team setting up every Sunday with a joy unmatched by any other volunteering I’ve seen. I felt the joy in my own heart. Joy, encouragement, peace, safety… all markers of a unified Kingdom culture.
That being said, wherever people coexist, therein lies opportunity for offense. Pastor Josh preached that our unity is our greatest witness to the world, how we love one another speaks louder than any podcast. I have been on both sides of disagreement and offense, and seen God’s grace provide power to reconcile completely. Because our leaders have decided to step into His unity, it has become our culture, so love has room to show its strength. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of grace after a mistake, you know what I mean. Hearing our pastors preach about unity monumentally shifted my perspective — it’s not something we need to create, it’s something we are invited to join. We aren’t deciding the terms of unity, we are agreeing with the living word.
By becoming fully planted in C3 NYC I have opened myself up to grow and bear fruit, through pruning (those uncomfortable moments where weakness is exposed) and sinking my roots in deeper (resting in His grace) for the purpose of a more fruitful life. Extensive church hopping and resisting being planted can put a cap on the fruitfulness of our lives.
As a leader, I have made plenty of mistakes and been corrected with love. Love takes the first step toward unity, and is the first to approach with an open heart. It sets the standard for handling issues in a healthy way. When we are quick to ask, give, and receive forgiveness we are living in the unity God so extravagantly paid for us to have. This calls me to honor God’s unity over my desire to be right - way easier said than done! Though, significantly easier when it is a habit of the culture.
This is the kind of accent, an emphasis on grace and love, that is so sweet to the ear; the distinguishing sounds of unity. What a worthy culture to join and carry together.
— KATHRYN AVERY