Two predominantly white and black church congregations came together for joint worship on Sunday as pastors from both churches offered messages on how Christians can pave the way for racial healing in America.
About 285 congregants from Faith Baptist Church and Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Raleigh County attended the service at Faith Baptist Church’s campus in Prosperity. About 40 to 50 of those in attendance were Mount Vernon members.
Worshipers were treated to “shared” worship music as praise teams from both churches came together.
Faith Baptist Pastor Chris Chesley, the Caucasian pastor who inspired the event, was the first to give a message to the two congregations. He was followed by Mount Vernon Pastor Damon Hamby, who told the crowd of his struggles with race being of half-Greek and half-black descent and explained that wasn’t fully accepted by either community growing up.
“We challenged our congregations to be courageous enough to address racism when it comes up and is presented to them. We want them to speak to the truth of God’s Word and Christ’s love in a nonjudgmental or hostile manner but [also] not to stay silent either,” Chesley told The Christian Post.
“We also challenged them to live out the message of unity. To make sure that even while we embrace a specific culture and embrace the ethnic group that we are part of, above that we pursue the unity of Christ and unity as the Body of Christ higher than those things.”
Chesley explained that Christians must “elevate who we are in Christ above any other identity.” The pastor added that if the church is “weak on unity, it will be weak evangelistically” in trying to fulfill the Great Commission.
“What I drove home was that we can have the message down to a science but if the world looking in on the Church sees a fractured and divided Church, then no matter what we say, no matter how right it might be, it’s going to fall flat to [the unchurched population],” Chesley said. “They have enough disunity in their lives as it is. So if they see that, there’s not going to be anything different that would make us attractive to them. There is not going to be anything that they see they need in us.”
At the end of the service, Chesley said congregants lined the room in a circle and held hands while a prayer was given to ask God to take the momentum from the service and let it spill over to help congregants live out the message that was preached.
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Source: Christian Post