I just returned from the Together 2016 event in Washington on the National Mall. What an extraordinary time!
I arrived in Washington on Friday afternoon just prior to the start of the event. That evening I attended prep meeting with other speakers and coordinators. Shortly after I walked into the room Josh McDowell walked up to me and announced “Robert? I’ve been wanting to meet you.” He indicated that the leaders of TOGETHER 2016 had told him about my call to unity in the Body of Christ; he said that he really wanted to get to know me, and see how he could support the work I was engaged in. During the prayer time that all of the speakers shared on Friday evening, I was able to lead a segment of the group prayer time focused on the building of unity.
The TOGETHER 2016 event on Saturday was amazing. The estimates were that over 320,000 individuals attended. The entire day was filled with powerful, well known speakers, musicians and intercessors leading the crowd in worship and prayer, and challenging them me to “reset” their lives according to God’s priorities — unity, prayer, studying the Word, and sharing their faith. The thread that ran through the entire day was that the body of Christ needs to unite and as one body we can be a powerful light to the world.
As you may know, I was originally invited to introduce a video greeting from Pope Francis. However, due to some controversy regarding this the video once it was announced, they elected not to show the video. Instead, Nick Hall (the main organizer of the TOGETHER 2016 event) spoke briefly about the controversy and indicated how pleased he was that Pope Francis had been so kind as to record the video,. Nick then asked me to address the issue of Christian unity before we prayed. As we prayed, God reminded us that we are called to speak out the heart of God that we would unite as Jesus prayed in John 17. If the body were united the way we should be, there would be no need for us to fight is battle. We are determined to walk through every door that the Lord opens with grace and love. The Lord blessed our obedience.
I shared the stage with Prof. Mateo Calisi (the founder of the Jesus Community, and a leader in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal), Pastor Bruno Ierello (one of the lead pastors from Catch The Fire in Toronto), and Lou Engle (best known for his leadership of The Call), a program that hosts twelve-hour prayer rallies in cities around the country. I shared a deliberate call to understand our diversity in the Body of Christ, and that it does NOT need to be a cause for division. I shared that we were SUPPOSED to be different, just like all of the parts of the body. God showed up in power, and He blessed. The message he shared was well received.
If you have a heart for unity in the Body of Christ, I encourage you to share the video with your family and friends. Let’s get the message out that we are ONE BODY, and that we are designed to be different. Also, please pray that we’ll see God moving His Church, all of those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord, into closer and closer unity.
Blessings to all who are in Christ,