by Macy Johnson
“Those who accepted Peter’s message were baptized,
and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
(Acts 2:41 NIV)
There was a big elephant in the room, and no one wanted to talk about it. The Methodist church had divided and gone separate ways, or so it seemed. More than half of the local congregation became Global Methodists while the remainder stayed with the United Methodist Church.
Everyone touched was broken and pulled apart. Their love for each other refused to allow them to lay blame on anyone. Like a family torn apart by divorce or death, this church family was in pain.
One day over lunch a dear friend, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, shed new light on the situation for me. She suggested that this separation might be one of God’s ways to spread the gospel. People who had previously walked away from church returned. We witnessed the Holy Spirit breathe new life into all Methodists.
The meaning of “Divide and Conquer” is to win the battle by getting one’s opponents to fight among themselves. That might be Satan’s strategy, but God’s is to “Divide and Multiply.” By splitting a congregation, He created two new, more effective bodies in His world-wide church.
“Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them,
but Paul did not think it wise to take him,
because he has deserted them in Pamphylia
and not continued with them in the work.
They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company.
Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus”
(Acts 15:37-39 NIV)
In the case of Paul and Barnabas, the gospel spread exponentially, because God created two new missionary teams out of one.
I will thank God for His sometimes painful, yet effective ways to pour His love on all people. I hope you will, too!