I am convinced that much of what is said about church unity misses the mark. That is, there are those who hold to the view that the purpose of unity is to be united. However, rather than teaching that unity is an end in itself, Scripture reveals that unity is simply a means to a goal which is much greater than itself.
In writing to his friends in Corinth, Paul addresses divided loyalties among them. He therefore asks the rhetorical question regarding who they believe either he or Apollos to be. His answer is that they are ‘only servants, through whom you came to believe’ (1 Co 3:5). Now interestingly, Paul highlights the distinctions between their ministries, in that he was responsible for ‘planting the seed’ of the Gospel among them, before Apollos ‘stepped in’ and ‘watered it’. The wonderful thing is however, that by serving one another, these two ministers of the Gospel served the Lord ‘who made it grow’ (1 Co 3:7).
Therefore as we meet together from different churches, with different callings and unique distinctions, let us remember and rejoice in the fact that unity is not an end but a means. Indeed, we work for the same goal as Paul and Apollos; namely that God would be glorified and receive the praise, honour and adoration which he so richly deserves.