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That They May Be One as We Are One

Engaging and Collaborating

From the series Engage—Collaborate—Serve

This is the third in a series of blogs focusing on the core values of ChinaSource: Engage—Collaborate—Serve

Last week I wrote of the time period during which Dr. Brent Fulton was being led by the Lord to begin ChinaSource and I was being led into a more expansive understanding of what happens when God’s people engage, collaborate, and serve together. Over the past twenty years, the Lord led me from pastoral ministry into executive leadership in two international Christian organizations serving in Asia.

Along the way, I had the privilege of collaborating with Brent and the ChinaSource team on several initiatives in Asia and North America and attended many ChinaSource gatherings. I met amazing kingdom people, some of whom I have enjoyed serving alongside for many years.

Last week we looked at the words of Jesus in Luke 6:38 and I shared how the Lord had taught me in a variety of ways that serving with our hands open, helping to build up and encourage his church, for his glory, always results in fruit that remains.

This time let’s look at Christ’s prayer for us in John 17:20-23:

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

When we embrace Christ’s great commission in Matthew 28:18-20

Go and make disciples of all nations . . .

with his new command and promise in John 13:34-35,

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another . . .

and his prayer for us in John 17,

. . . that they may be one as we are one . . .

then we experience—and his Spirit manifests—the glory Jesus refers to in John 17: 22, 25.

I have seen this glorious manifestation many times. In every case Christ’s people have been called upon to humbly, lovingly, sacrifice themselves by faith. Then his glory came.

Many years ago, I was thankful to be invited to a conference involving many national and international leaders serving Chinese communities. It was a time for visioning and strategic planning.

There was a major problem, however. No matter how hard we all tried, there was such a tone of unrest and conflict in the room that we were going nowhere. For a day and a half we were totally stuck.

Thankfully, a very sage Chinese elder, called us to prayer. He called upon us to worship, confess, and repent.

As we did, something hit me that I had never considered before. Our Lord is simultaneously fulfilling his great commission and his prayer for oneness in us, by way of his new command. One will not take place without the other. No amount of skilled visioning, planning, or gifting will alter his will on this. It’s one of the reasons that how we treat each other in the body of Christ eternally matters.   

As we began to confess to one another, the Lord healed many long term hurts, turned adversarial relationships into loving, understanding ones.

So much more was done on the relational level at that conference than at the visioning level, but now I see that was what the Lord intended all along.

There are no short cuts to advancing Christ’s kingdom. He will not allow us to bypass kingdom community and relationships in the name of kingdom results.

Over the last twenty years, I have watched Brent and his team sacrificially and lovingly introduce, network, inform, and partner with leaders, organizations, and churches during some very difficult times.

During crises like 9/11 and the 2008 recession, when finances were limited both for those supporting kingdom ministries and those leading them, ChinaSource would speak on behalf of others, blessing the people of God in a variety of contexts without asking for anything in return except that the glory of God would come. ChinaSource will be at its best as we continue to follow his lead in this way.

Personally, I am hearing our Father’s call to serve the ChinaSource team as we, in turn, are engaging, collaborating, and serving the Chinese church and the Lord’s wider global community.

The chorus of Michael Card’s song “The Basin and the Towel” beautifully sums this up:

The call is to community—the impoverished power that sets the soul free. In humility to take the vow, that day after day we must take up the basin and the towel.

May they be one as we are one.

Image credit: enriquelopezgarre on Pixabay.
Kerry Schottelkorb

Kerry Schottelkorb

Rev. Kerry Schottelkorb is the president of ChinaSource. For twenty years Kerry was involved in local church planting and youth ministry, both in the US and Hong Kong. He was the founding pastor of the Cle Elum Alliance Church in Cle Elum, Washington and one of two founding pastors of Evangelical …View Full Bio

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