ONE: Finding Unity in a Divided World - Week 1 Discussion Guide

CoreGroup Guide | ONE: Finding Unity in a Divided World - Week 1
Guide written by Dan Hutti and Chris Burford


In a world that is so divided along cultural issues, politics, money, and faith, how do we find unity with people that are different than us? Does unity even matter? The Bible urges us to live in unity with one another but that seems impossible in a world of division. In this series we will talk about what unity is, why it is worth it, and most importantly how we can achieve it especially with people that we deeply disagree with.

Ice Breaker

Before we dive too deep into this guide, what is a lighter example of a time you needed to come to an agreement with a person or a group in order to move forward? It could be a restaurant choice? Maybe a movie? Describe the circumstances to the group.

Opening Prayer

Jesus, thank you for bringing this group of people together. We come here with different backgrounds, perspectives and struggles. Please be with us now as we seek to know you better. Help us treat each other with humility, patience, and gentleness as we learn together today. It’s in your name we pray. Amen.

The Head

This sermon series focuses on a verse from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, the people of Ephesus. Ephesus was “a huge city, acting as the epicenter for worship of most of the Greek and Roman gods” (1). The city was located in present day Turkey and was home to the Temple of Artemis (named after a Greek goddess). The temple is now destroyed, but it has been included among the seven wonders of the world (2). This is one of the cities where Paul tries to spread the news about Jesus. Paul eventually converted many Ephesians to Christianity, although it was not without controversy. Acts 19 describes how some Ephesians, particularly those devoted to Artemis, rioted in response to his missionary work (3).

Ultimately, the purpose of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is related to our current sermon series on unity. Through Jesus, people outside of the Jewish faith were now included in the church. There are now many different groups of people worshiping together under this new church— people with different histories, languages, and customs. Paul’s letter teaches them (and us still today) how to work together through Christ.

Read the following scripture and then reflect on the questions below.
Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. 2 Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, 3 and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. 4 You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all. (Ephesians 4.1-6)

  • Regarding the concept of unity, what sticks out to you in this passage?
  • What does it mean to be “one body and one spirit” as Paul proclaims?
  • What are some of Paul’s suggestions for preserving this unity of the Spirit? Describe or define them. 
  • What makes any of these suggestions particularly easy or hard?

The Heart

Through Paul’s letter, and with our sermon series, we are taught the following lessons on unity and what it is not. We are taught that unity and unanimity are not the same. We do not have to hold the exact same beliefs. We do not have to be unanimous in all things in order to be unified. We are also taught that being unified is not the same as being uniform. We do not have to be the same, dress the same, enjoy the same music, love the same people and more. We are not color blind through unity. Lastly, we are taught that unity does not mean we have to be together physically. We can maintain healthy boundaries and space from people and still have unity. These concepts were probably pretty difficult for the Ephesians! They are undoubtedly difficult for many of us today.

  • Which lessons from above have you struggled with in your daily life, or within the past week? 
  • Who comes to mind for you? This could be someone at work, school, family or friends, or through other interactions you may have had recently. Please share as you are comfortable. 
  • Reflecting on those same people, how can you practice humility, patience, and gentleness? 
  • Is it easy or even possible to “accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together?” Explain. 

The Hands

This week, make an effort to practice humility, patience, and gentleness with someone you identified in the prior section. Share back how it went with the group next week.

Closing prayer

Jesus, thank you so much for this time together. Thank you for opening your arms and accepting all of us into your family. We all come from different places, and yet you love us all still the same. Please be with us this week, as we strive to extend that same love to the people all around us. It’s in your name we pray. Amen


(1) Book of Ephesians | Guide with Key Information and Resources
(3) Acts 19:23-41 NIV - The Riot in Ephesus - About that time - Bible Gateway

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