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Viewpoint: The Art And Power Of Appreciation

By Dennis Edwards

Editorial Columnist

New Journal and Guide

There are moments in church life that transcend seemingly contradictory descriptions. Some events are artfully done. Others are powerful in their presentation, scope and execution. And then there are lifted occasions, when the Holy Spirit brings both together in celebration of the people, purposes and pursuits of the Kingdom of God.

Last weekend Chesapeake’s” The Mount” celebrated Bishop Kim W. Brown and Elder Valerie Brown’s 25th Anniversary as Pastor and People. This exciting and rapidly growing interdenominational congregation took a few days to thank The Lord for its leadership, growth to more than 12,000 Partners, construction of The Mount Chesapeake, its new children’s church, the Chapel and Signet Family Life Campus, the establishment of 3 satellite congregations in Elizabeth City, Newport News and Charlotte, N.C. and the planning of The Elders House, a safe haven for troubled teens living in troubled homes.

As impressive as they are, these accomplishments aren’t what seizes our attention. We are all overwhelmed by a uniquely grateful, graceful and appreciative spirit of kindness and joy. This kind of presence is no accident. It isn’t produced in a random vacuum. It is the direct result of a people led to seek The Lord that way every Sunday.

Bishop Brown believes the Lord has blessed “The Mount” primarily because of the congregation’s generosity. Giving freely is contagious among this people. It colors every ministry, every invitation in every worship service. The giving spirit seems to leave little room for trivial pursuits. The focus is always on a better witness, better service and better discipleship.

But there’s more to the story than that. In the eyes of people all over the congregation, I caught a glimpse of something quite special. You could call it the presence of a changed life testimony.

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The stories of lives changed through the ministry are all but written on the faces of people who want the same thing for someone else.

The free and natural body language of choir members illustrates how they’ve lived the songs they sing. Greeters are anxious to invite us into the place where they’ve been blessed. The transformed want to take part in transforming. The helped are looking for an opportunity to help. The Torch Light Ministry is there to walk with you to Christ should the journey appear too overwhelming. A little help along the way from those who were helped along their way.

There is an art in the expression of it all and the art is powerful because it produces a collective witness to the goodness of God. Yet the truth is the art and the power wouldn’t be there were not the Bishop and Elder not inclined to let The Lord use them in a particular way.

Perhaps the genius here is in a heightened since of obedience. An inclination to do what The Lord says when, where and how he says it. To speak immediately to lives in need of an immediate word from The Lord.

The connection is shared and personal. You to me and me to you. Churches everywhere do their own version of this very well every Sunday. And once a year they celebrate how The Lord is using them. But this time it was “The Mount’s” turn to say thank you and they did it by appreciating their Senior Pastor and Executive Minister.

Dennis Edwards is an Emmy Award winning Television Investigative Journalist. He is a graduate of Suffolk High School, Virginia Union University and it’s Samuel Proctor School of Theology. Email him at

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