A mosaic of colorful broken glass symbolizing disunity.

I have had the privilege of being in over 1800 congregations since I began my ministry in 1976. During that time, I've experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly in the body of Christ. With my background in social studies, I have had a lifelong interest in what motivates people and why they do what they do....

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought (1 Cor. 1:10, ESV)

We who are members of the body of Christ have a clear mandate God's word. I believe that one of the best ways to unify a group is for them to join efforts in a common cause and work together to reach the goal.

For those of you who know me, you know that my personal passion is to reach the world with the gospel with an emphasis of reaching my Jewish people. I also have a passion to urge the church to join in that mission. It is urgent to add intentionality to gospel proclamation among the lost sheep of the House of Israel!

So why is it today that so few people are engaged in bringing this message of hope so desperately needed to those who do not know him? Perhaps if we understood better the causes of disunity within the church, it might help us ferret out the root causes and bring forth a new, refreshing zeal and compassion for those who are facing a Christ-less eternity.

Some of the Causes of Disunity in the Church

(1) Lack of Communication

It is hard to think in our world of mass communications social media and personal apps which clog our time and minds that one might experience clouded communication within our churches today. Perhaps we ought to say there is a lack of clear, concise, and effective communication to help inform, equip, and motivate us forward in the mission of the church.

How many emails do you get in a day? How many unsolicited phone calls go to your smartphones? It is almost enough to cause us to build walls against all outside communication just to protect our own sanity. But when we do that, we close ourselves off to the vulnerability and the needs of others to which Christ has called us to care for and share.

(2) Lack of Clear Direction

If someone were to ask you what is the mission and vision of your church, what would you say? Can you clearly articulate it in a couple of sentences? Do you agree with it? If not, why not?

Without clear direction, a church is bound to be pulled a million different directions by different people within the church (especially the loud people). By making a clear path and direction, or mission, there will be a clear vision and expectation. This vision allows the leadership to acknowledge other members of the church’s personal vision and then ask how it aligns with the vision of the church.

(3) Lack of Expectations

When I was a new believer in Jesus, I was introduced to a book called Dedication and Leadership by Douglas Hyde. He was a leader of the Communist Party in England in the 1940’s. He chronicled how he would train new people who wanted to join the party.

He gave them some party propaganda newspapers and sent them to a busy street corner to sell them. The expectation was not that they would bring in money but rather that they would be confronted by the public about the party doctrine. These neophytes would then face questions about the party to which they had no competent answer. That created in them a need to receive training to be able to respond with conviction. They were given classroom training and then sent back out to the streets so that they could articulate the answers in their own words.

This back-and-forth process would take place over a couple of years, and the result was a highly articulate communicator of the Communist Party doctrine.

Mr. Hyde became a believer in Jesus. He left the Communist Party and joined the church. Upon joining the church, he was immediately put into a class for new believers and catechized in the basics of Christian doctrine. The reward for completing that class was to move on to another class. And finishing that, he was pointed to yet another class. Never once were opportunities provided to take the information that he was learning and go and express it out to the public where he could formalize and articulate these truths in his own words.

So, it is in our churches today! High emphasis on training, verbal lip service on sharing your faith, but no practical means or vehicle for the individual to articulate faith in public settings.

No wonder Christians are fearful of SHARING their faith. They lack practical experience, and specific expectations are never set to have meaningful engagement.

(4) Lack of Focus on God and His Truth

As followers of Jesus, I believe we are called to maturity and spiritual growth during our days here on earth. Yet with our overly busy schedules, we engage in hyperactivity filling each hour from rising to going to bed. These activities that may indeed be good, but they clog our spiritual senses from focusing on God. We become unplugged from the actual source of God's power - the working of his Holy Spirit in our life.

My wife Nancy has a sign that has impressed me from the early days when we met that reads, “Change of any sort takes great courage.” It is hard for us to bring about change in a vacuum, we need to be in community where we can be upholding one another and helping our brothers and sisters who may be struggling in their relationship with God. If you need help, I urge you to reach out to your pastor and ask for help in your life to be restored to your first love of Him.

Being vulnerable before the Lord, confessing our sin, and drawing near to those in your community of faith, are critical for building unity and destroying disunity.

Perhaps these scriptures might encourage you…

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought (1 Cor. 1:10, ESV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you (2 Cor. 13:11, ESV)

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification (Rom 14: 19, ESV)

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:11-13, ESV)

Let’s focus on eliminating disunity and band together with the body of believers to bring light into this terribly dark world.


Steve Cohen

Steve Cohen is the founder of Apple of His Eye

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