Inasmuch United Brings Unity

The following story is the kind that makes what we do at Operation Inasmuch so rewarding, and encourages us to keep on keeping on!

There are two Concord Baptist Churches in Chase City, Virginia. Following the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, the black members of Concord Church requested permission to form their own autonomous congregation. Property was donated adjacent to the original, separated by the cemetery, and the two congregations have been neighbors for more than 150 years, and share the same name.

Here is the story as shared by one of the pastors, Rev. John Mann of the original Concord Church, and published in The News Progress, posted May 3, 2017.

“The two Baptist churches have existed separately, but no one can recall when the two congregations ever did anything together. Last summer, during a time of significant polarization across our nation, the pastor and deacons of the original Concord Church reached across the cemetery to invite their sister congregation to stand in Christian unity and solidarity with each other, recognizing that what unites us is our shared commitment to minister to our community in the name of Christ.

The two deacon leadership groups began to meet later in 2016 and decided that a shared ministry was the perfect place to begin expressing our unity in Christ. Operation Inasmuch was selected as the vehicle of that outreach, since the older Concord Church had already engaged in several previous Operation Inasmuch events in the past.

Plans were made, and publicity was sought in the local newspapers. Then on April 29, 2017, the two churches gathered for a kick-off event with a balloon launch, and then proceeded to spread all across the Chase City community, wearing the distinctive red shirts displaying the Inasmuch logo and the verse in Matthew (25:40) that gives the activity its name. Approximately 75 persons staffed 10 different bi-racial teams that provided assistance with loading groceries into cars at a local Food Lion store, paid for laundry machines at a laundromat, washed windshields at a gas station, offered free blood pressure screening by a nurse in the congregation, visited to local nursing and rehab centers, offered free breakfast sandwiches outside the food store, and gave water bottles to persons walking the sidewalks in town.

Another unusual activity included a $1 car wash, with the driver receiving one dollar and a note of God’s love when the car was finished. One final group spent the morning writing thank you notes to all local fire and rescue, police, mayor and town council and other public servants.

Both pastors marveled at how unified the two congregations have become over the decision to minister in the name of Christ. Rev. John Mann is pastor of the congregation that founded in 1824. Rev. Raleigh Bagley is pastor of the church founded in 1871.”

The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 133:1 (NIV), “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Later the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus regarding gifts of ministry from the Spirit in Ephesians 4:12-13 (NIV), “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Jesus’ love and his command that we, His followers, love one another is the binding force of unity in the body of Christ. Meeting people at the point of their need, hand-in-hand and side-by-side doing “works of service” demonstrates that love and that unity of spirit to the community.

Perhaps your church might want to join forces with a neighbor church and conduct an Inasmuch United to demonstrate such unity and love through compassionate service. We can help! Give us a call or send us an email and we’d be pleased and privileged to help you plan such an event.

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 15:5-6, NIV)

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