Colorful hands overlapping one another symbolizing unity.

Spoiler Alert! Yeshua did not die for a denomination. Aww…. You already knew that didn’t you? Yeshua, not man, established the church. Yet we have such a hard time accepting the fact that if a believer goes to a different denomination than the one we attend, he/she just cannot be in sync with us. Really?...

Then complete my joy by having a common purpose and a common love, by being one in heart and mind (Phil. 2:2, CJB)

Be respectful to all - keep loving the brotherhood, fearing God and honoring the emperor (1 Pet. 2:1, CJB)

I remember after the Sandy Hook massacre, someone in the crowd asked a pastor to pray over the situation. He was then harshly rebuked by the head of the denomination he belonged to for praying with other pastors not of the same church denomination. Huh? What? How dishonoring that was to our Savior and God! Some would say that represented ecumenical participation. To that I would respond: you do not understand the Word of God or salvation.

Salvation is by faith, repenting and receiving Yeshua as your Savior; that is it. Not a church representation. Yet, there is an invisible wall we put up when it comes to fellowship with believers of different denominations. Ecumenical is joining force with a cult, sect, or false religion, not other believers. In Israel, the Lutherans have little to no fellowship with other Lutherans there. It is ridiculous, but even worse, it is a horrible testimony to the lost. Jewish people have a hard enough time accepting Lutherans as it is, and then to see them bicker with one another, well its tragic.

The church is not a social club. It is not an ethnic body. It is the bride of the Messiah (Christ). I love the unity the churches of Austin, Texas have in reaching the lost. One denomination has no problem in sending new believers or seekers to another denomination if the other church will better meet their spiritual needs. They are multi-cultural. It is not a competition. Our church is growing beyond what many thought would be possible. We have visionary pastors who see beyond blood lines and ethnicity. They see a lost and dying world in need of salvation. They joined in partnership to see Austin saved.

I attended the LCMS convention in St Louis years ago as an exhibitor of Apple of His Eye. Three ladies came to our table and raved about hearing one of our children speak at a woman’s meeting in their city. As I rejoiced with them, they then got very quiet and remarked how sad it was that our child had joined the Baptist denomination. They said that they were praying that our child would return to the Lutheran church. Wow, what?

I told them that we were rejoicing in the choices this child had made and that he/she was an active church member serving full-time in outreach. I then told them to focus their prayers on one of our children who had denied the Savior. I was awakened to the fact that these women were more in tune with an organization than with God’s Word. If any of these women eventually enter heaven, they will surely go into shock to be fellowshipping around the throne of God with Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Church of God, Brethren, etc.

Look at our news. The world is surely under the influence of Satan. We need to unite with other believers and win the lost to Yeshua. The cults are out in force. Where are we?
Here are some prayer requests that every church should have:

Pray For

  • Your pastors and their families (they are under spiritual attack continually)
  • The unity of your congregation
  • The unity of your congregation with other congregations
  • Your youth (struggling in a world of insane confusion)
  • Your city
  • Our country
  • Your involvement in the church

Yeshua, the only begotten son of God, is the foundation on which the church was established, and no evil force can prevail against it. But a house divided against itself cannot stand (the local body).

Yeshua himself established the church (see Matthew 16); He is the rock upon which it was established.

Then complete my joy by having a common purpose and a common love, by being one in heart and mind (Phil. 2:2, CJB)

We cannot walk closely with God without fellowship with other believers. That is why Sunday assembly in our congregations is essential. As a former foreign missionary in Russia, we had no church to attend. We were the church in this godless country. We were amid baby believers and seekers. As we established our churches (we planted two churches), we had fellowship, but in the beginning it was lonely.

In a city of 11 million, there were five missionary couples doing the work of evangelizing and establishing churches. We were five couples of different denominations and all of us, all of us, had been instructed by our sending denominations to not fellowship with unlike denominations. Uh, guess what, we all ignored that directive. We needed each other. It was a communistic desert, void of God in any manner. The orthodox church was dead except for a handful of struggling starving priests with no buildings (churches buildings had been turned into ammo warehouses or motor pools). We brave few who came on God’s call to the former Soviet Union, met every 3-4 weeks for prayer and private fellowship. How sad that the church leadership did not understand who established the church! Unity was a necessity, and those times we spent together were a god send.

Not neglecting our own congregational meetings, as some have made a practice of doing, but, rather, encouraging each other. And let us do this all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb 10:25, CJB)

Why should believers assemble together as a church?

  • To worship. When we gather, we praise God in song, giving thanks. Worshipping lifts our spirits and strengthens our souls. Our songs should be full of theological truths that educate and encourage us about our blessings in Yeshua.
  • To learn the word of God. In church we can learn from those with biblical training or deep spiritual maturity. Always check your teaching against the whole counsel of Scripture. We are living in a time when people do not want to listen to sound doctrine, they prefer to have “their ears tickled” – that is, to hear only what sounds good to them (2 Tim. 4:3, CJB).
  • To fulfill the great commission. Most of us cannot move to Russia or other foreign countries. But as a body, we can send missionaries to far-off places. We support them through prayer, letters or email and financial support. Together we fulfill the command to take the good news to the nations (Matt. 28:18-20, CJB).
  • To protect themselves. When one stops attending church, it is almost inevitable that he or she will begin to drift away from God. Hearing Scripture truth weekly helps hold believers accountable to high moral, ethical and spiritual standards. Otherwise, the world’s messages will tend to distract us from the voice of God.
  • To exercise spiritual gifts. Our supernatural blessings such as administration, prophecy, and mercy are to be used “for the common good” in the body of Christ. (1 Cor. 12:7, CJB).
  • To develop an atmosphere of support. The New Testament is full of advice concerning how we relate to others. As believers, we are told to love, forgive, accept, encourage, and serve one another. Also, we should be patient and always seek to comfort, inspire, and fellowship with other believers. And lastly, Scripture calls on us to confess our sins one to another (James 5:16). Working together believers are able to accomplish God’s will. No pastor is able to reach everyone.
  • To strengthen and broaden the Christian impact. When believers are united in a local fellowship, the influence of that church is greatly multiplied. Together a church can raise funds for local ministries, missions, and develop effective ways to reach the communities. God works powerfully through churches where each person believes he or she is making a valuable contribution to the work of the ministry. In God’s eyes, all believers are equally important and loved.

And now, brothers, shalom! Put yourselves in order, pay attention to my advice, be of one mind, live in shalom — and the God of love and shalom will be with you. (2 Cor. 13:11, CJB)

Love from my heart,


Nancy Cohen is the Director of Women's Ministries at Apple of His Eye

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