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Articles by David Winfrey

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Several questions remain after long talks, compromises, and at least one blunt sermon prior to the merger of a black church and a white church in Louisville.

But both pastors say they have the Holy Spirit and a spirit of cooperation to succeed.

More than 560 people sang, prayed, and rejoiced August 23 as St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, a mostly black congregation, and Shively Heights Baptist Church, a mostly white congregation, merged into St. Paul Baptist Church at Shively Heights.

Denominational leaders praised the union as a model for racial reconciliation.

"Today is a great example of the Gospel at work changing lives, congregations, and communities, with impact extending far beyond today and far beyond Louisville," said Larry Martin, a consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention who has long worked with St. Paul's pastor, Lincoln Bingham, in Christian racial reconciliation efforts.

The location of the combined churche...

Arthur Siggers knows the importance of starting something new. The Hattiesburg, Miss., native returned home 14 years ago to become pastor of Mt. Olive Baptist Church — a congregation of 140 meeting just twice a month. Today, Siggers preaches to more than 800 every week, and he attributes the growth to adding ministry and worship opportunities.

To start something new, churches must have the proper vision and planning, said Siggers. A pastor considering a new ministry, Sunday School class, or worship service must consider the reason for the new project, he said. "The Lord gives different visions to different men for different churches."

Churches must prepare the people, prepare the plan, and prepare for growth as they start something new, Siggers said. Preparing the people can help overcome discomfort or initial objections to the changes necessary for new initiatives. "That comes from sharing your vision. Talking about it. Not just doing it cold turke...