I enjoy concerts and hearing choirs sing. There is something special about when a group of people come together and blend their voices to produce a beautiful song.
Recently, MOJAX developers purchased land in St. Louis to build 30 new houses. This is a move that has been vehemently opposed by the community, as there are concerns with the water supply and drilling new wells. This proposed development would also alter the slow, village-like pace of St. Louis. Many residents moved to this community to escape the hustle and bustle of the urban life, and now it seems like the urban life is attempting to move to the village.
As these events unfold, the real question is, well, what should we do? And what can we do? As the pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in St. Louis, our church is affected because many of the proposed new houses will be built near the church, so that is my stake in this game. I have learned from experience to win any engagement there has to be a strategy, and this brings me to the subject of “one voice.”
To be sure, there are angry and concerned community leaders and residents. There are politicians who have promised to help us fight the development, but there has been “radio silence” since this “promise.”
As pastor of an African American Baptist church, I sought to enlist the ear and support of several established churches in the area. When churches can unify in the community – both in prayer and focus – change can occur. How wrong I was to expect other churches in the area to unite or even meet to discuss ways as a community of believers we could together at a minimum pray about this urban encroachment. Maybe the color of my skin is still a barrier to simple dialogue and prayer between churches? One voice is impossible when even believers can’t get together to talk.
My intent is not to bash local churches; my intent is to lament any show of support for activity that is happening right in our back yards. The Bible talks about going to Judea, Samaria and then the other parts of the earth. Right now, the St. Louis and Middleburg area is our Judea.
Finally, political voice. We elected leaders recently to advocate for us. It's time to blow the trumpet for a call to action. Our agenda will not become their agenda until we keep sounding the alarm.
Which brings me back to one voice. If churches and elected leaders would come together and listen to each other’s needs and concerns maybe more can happen than just a meeting. We may not stop development in our community, but I am still old fashioned enough to believe the power of unified corporate prayer. I still believe elected leaders work for the people. My call is to come together, practice together and lift one voice to say we oppose this rapid development in our community.
Mt. Zion Baptist Church