Chestnut Ridge Progressive Primitive Baptist Church used its annual 100 Men In Black service Sunday to call for more Christian men to step up in their congregations.
The service, staged by the Pastor’s Aid group, also mentioned ongoing efforts to turn the historic Ridge Westfield School into a community center as the church plans to increase its aid to others.
“The fact is, it is written in the Bible about men being the head of the family and God being the head of the church,” said Pastor Elder Jeffrey Gravely. “More godly men acting in church, modeling for young men, is important. Women ( in many churches across America) are doing a lot. Men are active as well, but they are not taking on more (of a leading role). I tell my members it’s not about me or them, only what we do for the Lord that lasts.”
Gravely said in a time when many analysts are forecasting continued declines in churches across America he tells worshippers when they put the Lord first in their lives and work “the least of days will be great” and God will cause an increase in their lives and in their churches.
He said he feels many churches nationally would be better served by going back to the basics and the Word of God and making Christianity relevant to everyday lives.
“We can’t just talk about the Word, we have to be real,” Gravely said. “God will make a way. Follow Jesus, first to be fed through the Word and not worrying only about the physical and people will follow. Look to his disciples, that is what they did.”
Gravely also said the congregation is seeking local support and grant money to renovate the historic Ridge Westfield School, which is beside the church, for use as a multipurpose community center for all people.
“This school is part of the area and the church’s history. We will use it to help support one another,” said Gravely. “It’s a landmark here. I’m told it was the first black school in the area. We are on the move here at Chestnut Ridge. Our motto is no games, no gimmicks, just Jesus.”
Deacon Ricky Mitchell served as master of ceremony for the two-part service Saturday afternoon at the church with Wayvell McCarther giving worshippers the official welcome to the event. The featured group at the first part of the service was The Family Five. More than 30 men opened the service with a processional down the main aisle of the church on Westfield Road as the group sang the song “We’re Marching To Zion.”
McCarther told the congregation to have fun in the service and they hoped it would be something where afterwards they could say “they were glad to be in the House of the Lord.” The Gospel Travellers of Martinsville, Va., were the featured performers for the second half of the service.
“It’s (the Men In Black service) all about stepping up and being men,” Mitchell said. “Don’t slack to the back. We have to step up and do what we are going to do ( for the Lord).”
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.