the weblog of Alan Knox

Some Examples of Real Relational Unity

Posted by on Apr 29, 2013 in chain blog, unity | 8 comments

Last week, I started a new chain blog called “Chain Blog: Real Relational Unity.” In that introductory post, besides explaining what I mean by “real relational unity,” I also made the following request: “So, in this chain blog, I’m asking you to consider “real relational unity” among brothers and sisters in Christ. Your posts can be theoretical, exegetical, conception, and ideal. But, I also ask you to include real examples of living in unity with other followers of Jesus Christ – especially with those who may be different than you.”

I did not provide examples in that post, so I’m writing this eighth post to provide a few examples. Each case is an examples of steps toward “real relational unity” with other followers of Jesus Christ who are different than us in some way(s). Also, in each case, I offer to struggles that we encountered.

First, a few years ago, our family hosted a weekly get together in our home. I call it a “get together” because that’s exactly what we did: we got together to share a meal and to talk about what God was doing in our lives. There was no other agenda. We invited some friends whose views about the church were very similar to our own, but we also invited some neighbors who were part of various church organizations and denominations. The biggest struggle that we had was that for many of my neighbors, this was simply a dinner with neighbors – there was nothing (or little) of spiritual significance involved because it was not considered “church.” The “local church” created the biggest boundaries to continuing in real relational unity for us. We continued meeting together for 2-3 years, but, while we continued including people who were different than us, they rarely joined us for more than one or two dinners.

Second, soon after the first example, our family (and then some friends) began spending time in a government assisted housing development near us. While getting to know the people there, we met many who were (or had been) part of various local churches. We did not introduce ourselves as representing any “local church” and kept our conversations about Jesus Christ – not any church organization or denomination. In this neighborhood, we worked with the neighbors to help them server their neighbors in Jesus’ name. To be honest, the only struggles we faced in this neighborhood were issues of trust. Most of the neighbors assumed we wanted something from them. Once they learned that we loved them and were truly interested in them as people, those trust boundaries began to fade.

Third, not too long ago, we worked together with a megachurch in our area. Some friends of ours who are part of that church organization lead a food pantry ministry out of that church’s building. They needed help from believers who would be willing to talk to the people while they waited to get their food. We worked with them weekly to talk with and pray with the people who were waiting. The people who came to the food pantry were often amazed that we were not “members” of that particular church organization. They were surprised that we would work with them. It was great to be able to talk about our unity in Jesus Christ and our desire to serve others in his name. We did face some organizational struggles in this situation – not caused by our friends, by the way. But, this ministry is still going on, and they continue to work with people who are part of different church organizations.

So, those are a few examples from the past several years in which we attempted to get to know others or to serve others in Jesus’ name in order to live in the real relational unity we have in Jesus Christ.

Obviously, each case above demonstrates how we are only imperfectly living in that unity and how there continue to be struggles when we share our lives together in Christ. In many ways, each case is a small step toward that real relational unity. And, in each case, Jesus Christ was the center of whatever we were doing together.


Chain blog rules:

1) If you would like to write the next blog post (link) in this chain, leave a comment stating that you would like to do so. If someone else has already requested to write the next link, then please wait for that blog post and leave a comment there requesting to write the following link.

2) Feel free to leave comments here and discuss items in this blog post without taking part in the actual “chain.” Your comments and discussion are very important in this chain blog (both on this post and the other link posts in the chain).

3) When you write a link in this chain, please reply in the comments of the previous post to let everyone know that your link is ready. Also, please try to keep an updated list of links in the chain at the bottom of your post, and please include these rules at the bottom of your post.


“Links” in the “Real Relational Unity” chain blog:

1. “Chain Blog: Real Relational Unity” by Alan
2. “The Treasure of Unity ‘in’ our Relationships” by Jim
3. “So The World May Know – Observations on the Road to Unity” by Christopher
4. “Christian Unity – What it is and What it’s not” by Nathan
5. “Steps to Relational Unity” by Randi
6. “Learn to Live or Live to Learn” by Greg
7. “The Limits on Unity” by Arthur
8. “Joints of Supply” by David
9. “Some Examples of Real Relational Unity” by Alan
10. “An Example of Relational Unity” by Greg
11. “Relational Unity Begins at Home” by Kathleen
12. “Do Not Seek Christian Unity” by Jeremy
13. Who will write the 13th link post in the chain?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 4-29-2013

    great examples. will try to post some of my own too.

  2. 4-29-2013

    Approximately 4 1/2 years ago a young couple moved across the street from my wife and I. I had a conversation with him shortly after they moved in. He was nice, but we never spoke again. I periodically saw them going in and out of their garage and there were times I was, well frustrated with their “unfriendliness”. Then I realized I was a child of Christ and we needed to be a light to the world, including our lost neighbors (who can at times be the hardest to reach.) So my wife and I began praying for them at night and I asked the Lord for an opportunity to reach out to them and be a witness to them.

    In December of this past year, while hanging my Christmas lights, my neigbor came over and asked if I needed help. He then told me he and his wife were Jewish and that he didn’t know much about Christmas, but he’d be glad to help me. Soon we invited his wife across the street so I could introduce her to my wife and soon the 4 of us had a conversation in the driveway that day. After 4 1/2 years of no conversation, we were suddenly engaged in one. Since December we have been reaching out to them to say hi and talk. They are coming to our house next week for dinner, our first get together with them. The Lord has opened a door I thought was shut. I hope to eventually follow up and provide an update of how this new relationship with this young couple is growing. I think the biggest obstacle all this time was me.

  3. 4-30-2013

    My wife and I work with a local truck stop ministry. Recently, we helped a couple of folks who had suffered some misfortune. Since then (we are still working with them in several ways), they have asked several times what church we go to. Among our workers, we represent several local congregations of various stripes. These men, a father and son, are having a difficult time grasping that people from these different churches do this ministry together without promoting their denominational affiliation.

    Two things I want to mention:
    1. I find it truly sad that the divided church obscures the truths about The Church, which is the Body of Christ;
    2. That very division has been an opportunity to explain that our unity is in Christ which has led to an opportunity to explain the Gospel – that we have a relationship with the Lord Jesus – We don’t practice a religion.

  4. 4-30-2013

    Hi Alan, I’ve got a blog post nearly finished to add to the chain – unless anyone else wants to put one up first.

    – Kathleen

  5. 4-30-2013

    hi Kathleen, and everyone. Ive sneaked this in, as I have to run back to work. I’m only getting a few hrs a week of free time lately, and I apologize for not commenting much on some really, really great posts. I’ve quickly written this offering of one treasured brothers, who we won back with Jesus love, and that resulted in deeper unity among us.
    It’s the 10 post and it’s up here:

  6. 4-30-2013

    Greg beat me to it, but I’ve put the 11th link in the chain up at
    It’s called “Relational unity begins at home.”

    – Kathleen

  7. 5-1-2013

    Thank you everyone, and thank you to those who shared your own examples. I hope that more will share their examples as part of the chain blog.


  8. 6-19-2013

    I didn’t really include stories in my post either. Maybe I will have to go back and add some as well.

    These stories are great!

    With your neighbors who were not spiritual, when you talked to them about what God was doing in your life, how did they respond?


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