When a black megachurch in Jacksonville, Florida absorbed a smaller white church last year to help it rise above its debt, it experienced "miraculous" growth and incredible financial gains.
Shiloh Church campus pastor Dan Beckwith believes that it was their merger with the Ridgewood Baptist Church that blessed their congregation.
"With former Ridgewood members, local Shiloh members, and new people coming in from the community we have seen tremendous growth," said Beckwith. "Financially the Lord has also blessed this new work. We managed to meet budget and we kicked off a capital campaign to further eliminate the debt. The Lord's hands have surely been on this merger and renewed this church to a place of effective ministry in this community."
The union started last year when Shiloh Church, which boasts of 8,000 African-American church members, wanted to expand its campus. Ridgewood Baptist Church, on the other hand, had 500 members and wanted to rent money from Shiloh.
In the end, they decided to merge with Shiloh Senior Pastor H.B. Charles Jr. leading them all, according to Christianity Today.
"God is forcing us as a church to put our money where our mouth is," Charles said earlier. "This is a step of faith for us. We're learning to love beyond our culture and others learn to love beyond theirs. It requires humility, unity and a willingness to change and grow, but they're good challenges that we're looking forward to facing."
Charles said their union hopes to prove to the world that Christians respect each other regardless of race and ethnicity.