Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville will be hosting the Grand Ole Opry on May 14. The usual venue was closed because of recent flooding putting the weekly country music stage concert at risk of cancellation. Broadcast by WSM radio since 1925, this Nashville icon is the longest running radio program in history.
Ed Stetzer, interim pastor of Two Rivers, believes this to be an opportunity for his church to help Nashville recover from the natural disaster that damaged the city. The church is doing many other things to aid in the disaster recovery but this level of cooperation is unique and marks the church as a member of the community.
Churches need not wait for disasters to be a blessing to the community. One urban church I know hosted a hero’s breakfast for city police, fire and EMT workers. A small town church started a community library. When churches become community centers for things that are not directly religious they develop into valued partners in the community development process.
There are, of course, limits to what a church can do and still maintain its witness. On the night they will be at Two Rivers Baptist Church, the Opry will feature Charlie Daniels, who is an active Christian and has assured that the show will be appropriate for a church venue.