By Rev. Ron George
I can only imagine what heaven on earth would look like. Can churches work together? What can we do together? What more could be done? What about your community?
Working together we can do more to bring Christ the glory and to accomplish more in the battle for souls than we can do alone. We can help each other, encourage each other, and support each other in the work of the gospel.
Why seek to build the local churches and join the United Soul Miners of the Mountains?
Community culture and identity has suffered loss since most of our schools have been consolidated. Regain the community pride of spiritual work through Christians in the local area. Spread the Word as a living testimony of the power of God in the world today. We can give the community a new identity. Your area could be known as a place where even the pastors and churches work together. How cool would that be?
Community ministry can resume or begin anew with the support and work of God’s people. These folks want to share the gospel and know that the individual local churches can do so much more by joining together. The ministry and the outreach are more important than which church the saved ones go to for ministry and service. When we all get to heaven your efforts to help the others will be plainly seen.
People who won’t feel comfortable in your church may be accepted and encouraged in another one of the sister churches. This may stop the rush of church members out the doors and into the night to not be seen again. Our churches are growing smaller and so we need each other to continue to provide ministries in the community. VBS services, revivals, community youth services, and others could be ongoing work in the community on a daily basis.
Can you work with others? How about sharing? Would you be willing? Just how much do you love your neighbor?
Helping your brother or sister in need, loving your neighbor as you love yourself, and using the talents you have received to increase the Kingdom of God are the goals of the Christian Mountain people. We are more concerned about the soul than we are our bank account; so much so that we would even dare to help you and your church to grow in the ministry to the local community.
Why not just scrap the local churches and start all over? Raising the dead may not be as exciting as having a new birth, but it is still an act of almighty God in that life comes out of the nothingness. God can do it, but He chooses you and me to make it so. We are His feet, hands, mouth, body, and mind. What do you think? You could be the one who sees that the unity of the churches is what Jesus wanted and prayed for in John 17.
Many are the number of the dead in our local churches, or maybe they are just zombies and not really dead but just staggering around and in need of a spiritual awakening. Can you imagine how they will feel when the local pastor from down the street and the other churches start to pray for them and encourage them? It will be life changing.
God is at work in these hills to show us a better way to reach out, but first reach out to your neighbor brothers and sisters in the Lord. t isn’t our goal to take them from their church, but to help them in their ministry and their church.
This new goal of seeing the whole kingdom of God vs. your church will raise the awareness of your congregation and help them to see the greater picture and the greater good that could be accomplished through the Union of Soul Miners in the Mountains. This could even revive some of those in your church who have become disillusioned by the whole church picture. It may be that they don’t get the picture when most all of our efforts to save the lost are mainly given to self-enhancement. How sad it is when our own church members don’t see the need to give their money, their time, and/or their talents. Why should they give more? Where is the need? God needs you and wants you to reach out to others right here in your neighborhood.
We can bring the community together by bringing together the Christians in the mountains. In Racine this summer, the Baptist and Methodist churches joined together to hold a VBS for the town and over 100 students came to share in the joint effort. Praise God! He has been at work before we even recognized what He was doing.
The churches in Fayetteville, which is my “hood,” join together to worship and work in the gospel ministry. Together they worship in a fifth Sunday sing service, they hold joint revival services on a rotating basis. They support and finance a local after-school youth center in downtown Fayetteville. This past summer the churches coordinated their VBS meetings so the children in Fayetteville could attend a continuous VBS for 5 straight weeks through the summer. Recently they have been working together to establish and improve on an emergency response shelter in case there is another disaster similar to the one we experienced on June 29.
The churches of Ansted hold combined revival services and they sponsor the local community resource center that supplies needy folks with clothing, food, and supplies that they can’t buy with food stamps. Combined support for food banks is another example of what we can do together.
This type of Christian Co-Op is just the beginning. Our love for one another, our care and concern for each other, and our help will grow, so that we will all be stronger for the union of believers. United soul miners will supply the weak with the help they need to continue to go and to grow, and for the strong to find an outlet for their mission efforts that reaches all the way the to house of worship next door.
Praise God for your commitment to Him and not just yourself. Mountaineers are always free in Christ.
(George is pastor of the Fayetteville Baptist Church.)