Take The Pizza Test

Dan Lovaglia, Camp Pastor, Camp Paradise | May 6, 2024

that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
John 17:21-23

It has been almost 30 years, and I just found out that my wife doesn’t like mushrooms, especially on pizza. I also realized that day that I hadn’t ordered mushrooms on pizza for about three decades. Fascinating. But what does this have to do with Jesus’ prayer for His closest followers and future disciples in John 17? I’m glad you asked.

If you are serious about building authentic community, I highly recommend what I call “The Pizza Test.” The task is simple: ask a mixed group of people to order a pizza they all 100 percent agree on. It’s a great team-building discussion because it forces people to seek unity and find consensus on a low-stakes mission. With all the styles, crusts, toppings, and restaurants to choose from, the process of ordering a pizza as a group can be a beautiful experience or a recipe for disaster. Add multiple generations, ethnicities, and dietary restrictions to the mix, and who knows how it will go. You may end up united or completely at odds. Believe it or not, lifelong friendships have dissolved over which deep dish to get or if it’s legal to cut a pie in squares. You see where this is headed, right?

Just before Jesus died and rose again, He prayed with deep conviction and intentionality for the future of His church. Christ experienced discord and division at every turn, even among His mixed bag of disciples. It was essential for Him to set the table for unity and steer His followers toward authentic community before returning to the Father in heaven. Today’s passage is an earnest cry to our triune God—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—to make out-of-this-world oneness a reality here on earth.

There’s no evidence that the disciples ever ordered a pizza, but they ate together a lot. I imagine they bickered from time to time about what should or shouldn’t be on the menu. Over time, they discovered how to pursue solidarity over sameness, unity without conformity, and consensus over competition. They, like us, had different ideas, perspectives, experiences, personalities, spiritual gifts, ministry passion areas, and more. Jesus never prayed for people to be carbon copies of one another. He knew, as we read in Rom. 12 and 1 Cor. 12, that as a body is made up of many parts, the same is true of His church.

With all this talk of pizza, I’m getting hungry. Are you? Gather a few friends and take the pizza test with Jesus’ prayer in John 17 in mind. I guarantee you’ll be one step further into authentic community.

Next Steps

If you haven’t experienced a Rooted Group or joined a small group, it’s time! The best way to walk closely with God is in relationship with Him and in authentic community with others. Click here to find a group today.