In a nearly unprecedented move last year, a black megachurch absorbed a smaller white church in a bold statement about racial relations in the church and in America.
Now, Shiloh Church is experiencing “miraculous” growth and financial blessings, which campus pastor Dan Beckwith attributes to the merger.
“With former Ridgewood members, local Shiloh members, and new people coming in from the community we have seen tremendous growth,” Beckwith says. “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.”
Shiloh Church—an 8,000 member African-American church—wanted to expand its campus. At the same time, predominantly white 500-member Ridgewood Baptist Church was deeply in debt and wanted to rent from Shiloh.
When push came to shove, the churches merged with Shiloh Senior Pastor H.B. Charles Jr. at the helm.
“God is forcing us as a church to put our money where our mouth is,” Charles said at the time. “This is a step of faith for us.”
Now, Shiloh Church is a pinnacle of race relations both in the church and beyond.
“We’re learning to love beyond our culture and others learn to love beyond theirs,” Charles says. “It requires humility, unity and a willingness to change and grow, but they’re good challenges that we’re looking forward to facing.”