This blog post will highlight the podcast ministry featuring a radio interview with Clint Hall. Clint is just the kind of leader in Kansas City you would expect for our inaugural radio/ broadcast / podcast. He’s been pastoring for over four decades in this city he loves. His heart for prayer and Bible engagement across throughout KC come across loud and clear in this podcast. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE SATURATE KC PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH CLINT HALL.
If you were to cut Clint, he’d bleed unity. He genuinely lives out oneness in Christ. We, too, can experience a deeper degree of unity as we follow examples such as Clint who are burdened to see pastors across town supporting one another. Saturate KC is all about joining together in unity around the mission of Jesus in Kansas City!
But can we really experience modern-day unity as one church in the city, much like we see in the New Testament? Observing patterns of leadership in people like Clint is a great start (see Phil. 3:17), but Clint will be the first to tell people not to put him on a pedestal, which can actually hinder unity across a city. How? Dynamic veterans of ministry, like Clint, could have many Christians entertaining thoughts of making their favorite pastor the basis of unity, such as finding identity expressed in “going to Pastor Clint’s church.”
Such practice as this is so common today, that we don’t even question it. We think this represents the biblical norm. Did we speed read over passages that rebuke such a tendency? In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, ones were saying, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” The text continues, “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? (Phil. 1:11-13; see also Phil. 3:4-5).
A church is Christ’s body in a given place (1 Cor. 12:12, 27). A church, biblically understood, is everyone that belongs to the body of Jesus in a particular city. Paul is writing here to the church of Corinth. No divisions. No schisms. The reality of actual church included all believers living in Corinth (1 Cor. 1:2), yet some began seeing things differently. Instead of embracing a unified body of Christ in Corinth, some were making their favorite apostolic leader the basis for unity. So, Paul reproved such a conveniently small view as immature and fleshly (1 Cor. 3:1-4). Without Paul’s correction, different sects would have formed throughout the city, each staking their claim to be “the church of Paul” next to “the church of Apollos” that’s across from “the church of Peter.”
Let’s not undercut the biblical basis for unity in Jesus by putting leaders on a pedestal or excluding anyone Jesus accepts as belonging to His body. Let’s courageously see beyond signs on buildings that say “church” or documents of legally incorporated “church” status. Let’s bravely look beyond institutional constructs that fall short of Christ’s reality of the Church of Kansas City.
First-century apostolic leaders didn’t imagine more than one church in a city. New Testament writings to a particular church were identified by the name of their city (Acts 8:1; 13:1; 18:22; Rom. 16:1; 1 Thess. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:2; Rev. 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14). No matter where God’s people occasionally gathered, they shared a connection to the rest of the church in that city. Today, the situation is quite different. People identify “their church” around their favorite pastor. Church has become a weekly event at a building with a sage on the stage. These exist all across town, most competing with other “churches” to attract attenders. Is this acceptable practice for the body of Christ? I’m reminded of Jesus lifting His eyes to heaven, saying, “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me” (John 17:23).
Will modern-day Christians learn to live out such complete oneness in Christ? Unity isn’t meant to be a pious platitude. How about we actually experience what we read about in the New Testament, which exhorts you and I, in the name of the Lord Jesus, “to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose” (1 Cor. 1:10). Here’s the amazing thing—this was written, not to one “local” church amongst many, but to the “translocal” church in the entire city (1 Cor. 1:2) joined together in unity around the mission of Jesus!