DEAR BRETHREN: We present to you a few thoughts on the importance of a more extensive intercommunion of the members of the different churches comprising our association.
It is needless now to argue that God requires us to labor in his cause to the extent of our ability; upon that subject we are generally agreed. But how shall we apply our labor most advantageously? is a question of constant recurrence. The individual effort of God's people accomplish much, and every Christian ought to do all he can to advance the cause of Christ irrespective of what others do. But if we can unite our efforts, our sympathies and our prayers in a common work, it will scarcely be doubted that we can accomplish much more. The great work of preaching the gospel to the multitudes of perishing souls in our midst, as well as beyond our bounds, and the building up the waste places of our beloved Zion must be a work of love. Those who heartly engage in it must love the cause and love one another. Every feeling of enmity, jealousy or envy that exists between brethren or churches, retards the work. It is of the first importance both to our own enjoyment and the success of our mutual labors, that we love and trust eaeh other. But we can not exercise these grateful feelings towards those of whom we have no knowledge. We would do well to cultivate a much more extensive and intimate acquaintance with each other. For this we have now excellent and constantly increasing faeilities. We regard it unfortunate that most of our churches meet for worship but once a month. Three Sundays out of four we cannot attend our own churches. There are not many of us who do not live near enough four [sic - to] churches to attend their meetings with little inconvenience. By this means we could attend the public worship of God every sabbath. It would greatly encourage our ministers, we should soon become much better acquainted with each other; we should learn to love one another, and instead of the sectional feelings and the envy, that somtimes exist among us, confidence and mutual good feelings would be inspired.
A more extensive intercommunion, by which is meant, not the taking of the Lord's Supper together, but meeting, associating, worshiping and conversing together, would enable us to understand the plans and motives of our brethren, and have a strong tendency to unite us in the religious enterprizes in which we are mutually interested.
For these and other good reasons that will readily occur to you, dear brethren, let us advise that you visit each other, worship together and converse freely and affectionally about the best means of building up our churches, supporting our pastors, and giving the gospel to the destitute.
============[From Long Run Baptist Association Minutes, 1869; located at the Southern Baptist Seminary Library, Archives and Special Collections, Louisville, KY. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall]
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