During my tenure as President of Operation Andrew I would often ask a simple question as I spoke to various churches and groups throughout Greater Nashville: “How many churches would you guess exists in the five-county area of Nashville?” The listener would assume that I had access to the latest statistics and was about to share an accurate number they might find useful. To their surprise, my standard answer was: ONE! The response was almost always the same. Initially, a questioning expression, quickly followed by a smile and a nod, after realizing I am addressing the matter of unity within the Body of Christ.
Then, I cite the prayer Jesus prayed only a few hours before he was crucified:
“Father, I pray that they might be one, as you and I are one, so that
the world will believe that you sent me.” (John 17:21)
Sharing my conviction that the Father granted the request of His Son, there is only ONE church in Nashville. Granted that it is marked with lots of diversity. Operation Andrew, embraced at her founding, to make this unity which the Father granted the Church of the Lord Jesus to be both visible and functional in our city!
So, today we are blessed to see an increasing number of churches marked with great diversity and individuals joining hands, offering themselves as sponsors, as participants in educational partnerships, business mentoring, and bridging faith leaders with civic awareness. Operation Andrew is now multiplying. Together we actively serve Nashville’s children and their families, experienced and rising professionals, and are providing ministers with insights into our cross-sector community! Gradually, every so gradually, the unity of the church Is becoming more visible and more functional in our city.
It has been amazing to watch - all because churches across the city are laying aside things about which they disagree and join hands to serve Jesus together.
I think we have found a winning formula... LOVE GOD, LOVE EACH OTHER, AND LOVE THE CITY! TOGETHER we are getting better at doing that as ONE body, and the likelihood of our unity becoming more visible... others seeing the beauty of Jesus and His Gospel ... is attractive and believable!
Dr. Charles E. McGowan