MERGE brings together youth for evening of praise and worship

The Rev. Dr. David Blow vividly reflected on a rousing event called MERGE that took place in Flagler County on Feb. 3. The gymnasium of Matanzas High School in Palm Coast was transformed to a sanctuary for the first MERGE event.

The event was inspired by a praise and worship commercial heard on the “Tom Joyner Morning Show.’’

The gymnasium of Matanzas High School in Palm Coast was transformed to a sanctuary on Feb. 3 for the first MERGE event.

More than 200 people attended the MERGE event.
(PHOTO COURTESY OF KIM D. STEWARD PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO)

MERGE was literally a merger as the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church of Palm Coast partnered with a team of Flagler County churches – including the Church on the Rock, First Baptist Church of Palm Coast, and God’s Family Bible Church – to present one of the largest praise and worship gatherings to ever hit the county.

The evening was hosted by the Bridge Building Program, a basketball and life skills development program, renowned in the county for positively impacting the lives of young people.

Powerful messages
With over 200 participants, MERGE was not only significant due to size, but due to symbolism. In a time when our nation is so divided and separated, MERGE brings churches and young people from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds together on one accord to lift up the name of Jesus.

Each participating MERGE church had 20 minutes to minister the Gospel through song, spoken word, liturgical dance, poetry, and even preaching. Over the course of the evening, the audience was inspired, empowered, and excited by the many, diverse presentations of the gospel.

Although no two churches offered the same presentation, the message was still the same. God so orchestrated the evening that each 20-minute presentation was like a paragraph in an essay that pointed everyone to the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Dr. David Blow Sr., youth minister of the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church of Palm Coast, was the worship leader for the evening, and Pastor Bill Knight of the Church on the Rock – following a powerful ministry presentation from God’s Family Bible Church – ministered the Invitation to Discipleship at the close of the evening.

A Flagler first
Three young men responded to the invitation and accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. The place erupted with praise and thanksgiving as the young men gave Pastor Bill their hands and God their hearts.

“It is worth noting that this was the first time in Flagler County’s history that these churches and the Bridge Building Program have fellowshipped together in this way, and it was the youth and young adults of Flagler County who brought us together,” remarked Dr. Blow.

MERGE was inspired by the MERGE ministry model of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden, Maryland, where the Rev. John K. Jenkins is senior pastor. In this model, churches share resources, compliment instead of compete, in order to positively impact the lives of young people with the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pastor Bill Knight and Dr. Blow were in discussions throughout 2016 regarding the best way to partner and reach more youth and young adults with the Gospel message. After much prayer and dialogue, God inspired them to pursue the MERGE model. Through the efforts of Pastor Bill Knight, a MERGE team was assembled, and MERGE was able to move forward.

“Realizing that we all serve the same demographic daily, it only made sense to come together to really bless this vital and growing demographic,” the MERGE team shared. “We also thank God for Pastor Bill Knight who served as our MERGE administrator and really kept us on task,” the team agreed.

Special shoutouts
The MERGE Team included Youth Pastor Bill Knight of the Church on the Rock in Bunnell, Youth Pastors Ed and Ninivette Canales of the Lighthouse for the Nations in Bunnell, along with Youth Pastor Jeff Dawsey of the First Baptist Church of Palm Coast, Youth Pastor Paul Cineros of God’s Family Bible Church in Palm Coast, Coach Michael Steward, president and founder of the Bridge Building Program; and Dr. David Blow, youth minister of the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church of Palm Coast.

The MERGE team desires to give a shoutout, thanking the Lord Jesus Christ because without Him, MERGE could not have taken place. Also, special thanks go out to the senior/lead pastors of the participating MERGE churches for their support, along with Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staley, who made a personal appearance at MERGE, and Flagler County Deputies Cooper and Low, who remained all night to insure public safety.

The next MERGE event will be held April 7.

For more information, contact any of the participating MERGE churches listed in the article.

“Ladies of Note” are Linda Osborne, Bronnetta Hamilton and Reathea Holmes, who will be accompanied by Yvette Bynum on piano.
(PHOTO COURTESY OF PALM COAST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH)

‘Ladies of Note’ to perform Friday
“Ladies of Note” will be a delight in the music artistry of singers Linda Osborn, Bronnetta Hamilton and Reathea Holmes. The performance will be accompanied by Yvette Bynum, and will take place March 3, 7 p.m., at the Palm Coast United Methodist Church, 5200 Belle Terre Parkway, Palm Coast.

The Palm Coast United Methodist Church is pastored by the Rev. Dr. Kevin James.

The concert is open to everyone; but, a freewill offering will be requested.

For further information, contact the church at 386-445-1600.

Food giveaway set for March 11
The Women’s Missionary Society of First Church – pastored by the Rev. Gillard S. Glover – has scheduled the food giveaway for March 11, 1 to 3 p.m., at the church, 91 Old Kings Road North, Palm Coast.

For further details, call the church at 386-446-5759.

Golf Classic proceeds will help local kids
There’s plenty of reason to register for the Seventh Annual Children’s Museum Golf Classic set for April 3 at Plantation Bay Golf & Country Club, easily accessed from Exit 278 on I-95 in Ormond Beach.

Promoter Linda Epps shared that the Museum of Arts and Sciences (MOAS) Guild will present the classic to benefit the Charles and Linda Williams Children’s Museum, its science center, and to purchase particulars as touch-screen computers, exhibits, technology, materials, and other resources. And so, you will be playing golf for the kids!

It’s a four-player scramble.

The non-member’s fee to play is $125 per person. But, all Plantation Bay Golf members will receive the special discounted rate of $85 per person.

All entry fees include a continental breakfast; range balls prior to play; beverage cart snacks and drinks; a commemorative golfer gift pack and on-course contest during play; prizes to top teams, top ladies team, top co-ed teams, and top nine-hole teams; a hole-in-one prize; a putting contest; in addition to an awards celebration, barbecue, and silent auction, which immediately will follow at the beautiful Club de Bonmont at Plantation Bay.

Sponsorships are also available.

Registration will begin 7:30 a.m. on April 3; shotgun start, 9 a.m., and March 27 will mark the deadline to enter the classic.

To register, or receive further information, call 386-255-0285, or email childrensclassic@moas.org.

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As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted and bereaved.

Celebrations
Birthday wishes to Shirley Davis, March 1; Jazmine Major Arnold, March 2; and Diedre Robinson, March 7.

Happy anniversary to Frank and Almedia Quarterman, March 3.

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