Dave Ramsey, entrepreneur and financial coach, runs a company that is comprised of over 300 team members, does millions of dollars of revenue per year, travels the country teaching people about leadership and has the biggest talk radio program in the country. His company is unified, which is why they have been so successful. Other than the Bible and the Almighty, Ramsey is probably the third best place to look for guidance in unity.
How can a congregation, how can the church worldwide, how can a family have the unity which is God wants in His divine organizations?
First, we have to see whether or not God actually wants unity in those places.
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” – 1 Corinthians 1:10
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,” – Ephesians 4:11-13
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:1-4
So, yes, I’d say unity is to be in all of those areas that God has given mankind.
Let’s look at the 5 main enemies of unity that Dave Ramsey believes will kill an organization, and that I believe will kill a congregation, the church or a family.
1. Lack of Shared Purpose
This is really what Paul is trying to convey in 1 Corinthians 1:10. He wanted the Corinth Church of Christ, a church with a lot of problems but the willingness to work through them, to realize that a shared purpose of following Christ at the expense of selfish ambitions and opinions was the only way that they were going to be effectively unified and work through the problems to reach the end result of being pleasing to God Almighty.
2. Sanctioned Incompetence
This is an interesting point that Ramsey makes. Now, he’s speaking of a company with the ability and obligation to fire those that aren’t quite working out. Frankly, the church doesn’t have that freedom and we shouldn’t! Sure, we are to withdraw ourselves from the willful sinner amongst us (1 Corinthians 5:11) but we can’t just go around firing Christians from the church simply because they make a mistake or don’t “work out”.
But, there can still be incompetence that is sanctioned by the church’s leaders. Elders, preachers, teachers and deacons that do not address problems where a brother or sister do not understand are allowing that Christian to continue in ignorance and thereby opening up the congregation to harm because when we don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing, we will cause others to not know also.
3. Poor Communication
If you haven’t recognized it yet, the first two stem from this enemy! Communication in a family, business, church or any other type of organization is vital to its being able to continue in unity and strength. When we do not regularly communicate our purpose, the group loses sight of that purpose. When we lose sight of the purpose, we become incompetent to reach our goals.
But it goes farther than that, just wait.
4. Unresolved Disagreements
Poor communication causes something to happen that is much worse than a momentary lapse of vision and purpose. It causes disagreements to be “solved” by not saying anything!
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother” – Matthew 18:15
There’s a reason why Jesus said that. Not dealing with a disagreement or problem will kill unity within a matter of minutes. When someone doesn’t believe you, as a leader, have done the right thing and that isn’t dealt with, you lose credibility with that person regardless of whether what you did was actually wrong.
Dave Ramsey has a rule on gossip in his company that I really like. He calls it his “Zero Tolerance + 1” rule. That means, if you gossip and you work for him you get talked to one time about it. If that talking doesn’t stick and you gossip again, you’re fired on the spot.
“Gossip is when a negative is discussed with anyone who cannot fix the problem.” – Dave Ramsey
Now, I’m not saying we have a one-and-done policy in our congregations or our families, but we have to fight this disease with every bit of force we have at our disposal!
The only good that comes from gossip is merely perceived unity with the person to which we gossip and most of the time they really don’t care about the situation and if they do, they wish you had gone to that person instead of bad mouthing someone to them.
“For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults” – 2 Corinthians 12:20
Without unity, everything we try to do as a church, congregation, family or business is a failure. Without unity we are causing harm to what God has given us. And the only way to have unity, is to fight for it!