Let’s inspire each other by sharing breakthroughs, being supportive, understanding and most all loving by faith.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:2-3).

Are we stronger together? Most definitely yes!!! Socio-economics is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general, it analyzes how societies progress, decay, or regress because of their local or regional economy, or the global economy.

Should we stop the decay in our communities? Should the church do its part in the communities? The church is one body and should function as such in the communities. Remember the story in Acts 2:42-47? There was a pulling together of resources by the church to show the compassion of Christ in serving the people’s needs in the communities.

Life together is a must for the real body of Christ (Eph. 4:1-8). Church should have genuine fellowship, a family environment, outreach and education on biblical principles. The Bible is the final authority for all things and the means by which God provides principles for living in a way that protects from harmful thinking and behavior.

The business plan for the church has already been developed and the consultant is Jesus Christ, who is also the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2).

An author is an originator or creator, as of a theory or plan. The Greek word translated “author” can also mean “captain,” “chief leader” or “prince.” We all should know Jesus as Lord and Savior. How supportive is Jesus (Heb. 13:5)? How understating is Jesus (Heb. 4:15)? How loving is Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:8)?

Church consolidation and mergers is an absolutely must for real capacity, sustainability and growth in the communities. Pine Bluff’s population estimate in 2016 was around 43,841; in 2010 it was 49,083 and in 2000 it was around 55,085. The median household income in 2016 was $30,942 per household and per person income was $17,222 with 32.5 percent in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The ordinary SSI payment in 2018, without any reductions for income or additions for a state supplement, is $750 for an individual ($750 x 12= $9,000 per year). Church consolidation is not a bad thing, a defeat and/or a lost.

And honestly, most local churches have been around for 100 years some less, while never building real capacity to address issues of their members and community. Ministries’ staffing, building size, program development and continuous and funding are issues facing the church. God’s master plan is not to have a bunch of Me, Myself and I Christians, unattached individuals, to go under or swim on their own. No, God has placed us into a family. His family is called the church.

People ages 18 to 45 are not as visible in the church (congregations) today and the average age is 37 to 39 years in Pine Bluff. All the generations need support and ministries to encourage their relationships with God. Have some real conversation with your congregation leadership and look for opportunities for an actual church consolidation and merger.

Yes, some will say where there are two or three gathered together, God is with them and that’s very true, but God also wants us to reach more than just 2 or 3. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life (St. John 3:16). If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand (Mark 3:25).

Anthony A. Armstrong is senior pastor at Unity Christian Fellowship Church at Pine Bluff.

Editor’s note: Pastors or associate pastors interested in writing for this section may submit articles to pbcnews@pbcommercial.com. Please include your phone number and the name and location of your church or ministry.