The last few weeks have constituted a fascinating learning experience for me.

One Community United sponsored a program featuring Mary Roy and Oshea Israel from Minnesota who told their stories of forgiveness and love after Mrs. Roy became the spiritual mother of the young man, Oshea, who had taken her son’s life.

At the first of the month, I attended a banquet at Unity Christian School and heard an NFL player, Ben Watson, speak on race relations. He challenged our community to free ourselves from the fears and frustrations that divide us.

On April 4, I attended New Hope Cathedral to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was assassinated 50 years ago on that date. There they raised the question: “Where do we go from here?” The following evening, I attended a Restoration Rome presentation and heard Bishop Arron Blake of Brownwood, Texas, who has developed a program that now has more families for foster children than they have foster children.

Each night at the end of each presentation, God spoke to my heart. “what is the church doing, and what can the church do to make a real difference in the lives of hurting people?”

I thank God for what churches do, but we must continue to reach outside the church doors, and get out of our comfort zone to seek and do the extended will of God. Believe with me that God is getting ready to do something special, not in Rome, Italy but right here in Rome, Georgia. And what happens here will not only change our community but the communities around us, and even this country.

The change that is coming begins with unity within the body of Christ.

“And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me that they may be one, as we are.” (John 17:11)

What an honor it is to be one with God the Father and Son. We must lay aside our denominational differences that separate us and be mindful of more important things. Our calling must be based upon God’s word. That is to pray one for another and to love one another unconditionally.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

There is One Lord, One Faith, and One Baptism. So, let us not sweat the small stuff. Let us come together and be open to God to use us. Is that not what religion is all about?

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)

Therefore, let each one reach one that God will save the citizens of Rome. Then, let us work together to ensure that our children have the opportunities they need to thrive in this community. We must reach out to the homeless and the helpless.

Jesus said, “When you have done it to the least of them, you have done it unto me”.

As we believe in God, let us believe in Rome that changes are coming.

The Rev. Carey N. Ingram is the pastor at Lovejoy Baptist Church.