Marilyn and I were blessed some years ago with a home in the Coconino National Forest a couple of hours north of Phoenix. We spend as much time there as we can, especially as it makes for a quiet setting for thinking and writing.
When we’re up there, we fellowship at Blue Ridge Community Church, a small congregation with a big heart for the community. This little church excels at ministering to local needs. The people of Blue Ridge CC typify what a church is to be and to do. Disciple Nations Alliance believes that “Jesus is King, and His primary agenda is to advance the Kingdom of God by discipling all nations. The key agent in this task is the local church, ministering wholistically and incarnationally, and operating intentionally from a biblical worldview.” Blue Ridge is just such a church.
I’m happy to point our readers to a recent article at WORLD that features Blue Ridge and another local congregation, Calvary Bible Church. The story of how these two congregations, once characterized by distrust, came to a place of not just harmony but cooperation, is a testimony of what should be true of all churches.
Here’s the story, published recently at WORLD.
They will know we are Christians by our love,” sang 40 gray-haired members of Blue Ridge Community Church in Happy Jack on a brisk Sunday morning. The refrain could be the motto of the church, but it wasn’t always so.
Happy Jack, an unincorporated area in rural northern Arizona, is home to about 900 year-round residents (mostly retirees or semi-retirees), not including the hunters, campers, and snowbirds.
Blanketed by a pine forest on the side of a rocky mountain, Happy Jack might seem an idyllic setting for the golden years. Yet when Pastor Danny Allen arrived as a fill-in preacher in 2008, he found a divided community. Members of subdivisions with homeowners associations looked down on subdivisions without HOAs. Residents disagreed over how the fire department should be run. Worst of all, Blue Ridge and the other Protestant congregation in town, Calvary Bible Church, were at odds with each other.
Much of the trouble had started in 2003, when Blue Ridge hired as pastor a charismatic, likable man who brought new members into the congregation but clashed with church officers. That pastor led a church split, started Calvary Bible, then two years later resigned and left town amid scandal. The fiasco left hurt feelings between Blue Ridge and the new congregation, Calvary Bible Church.
Go here for the rest of the story.
- Darrow Miller