Washington, DC Prayer Meeting, October 28, 2011
At Hylton Memorial Chapel, Woodbridge, VA. 5:00 pm
|Press Release, St. Louis, MO - Washington DC: National Day of Prayer Oct 28, 2011|
United We Stand! Divided We Fall!
We are presently in the implementation phase of our prayer meeting, revival, or awakening service. Thanks to a few of the national leaders who supported this prayer meeting initiative. My prayer is that ALL of you will support this prayer meeting taking place in the suburb of Washington DC at Hylton Memorial Chapel, Woodbridge, VA on Friday Oct 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm. This prayer initiative is very critical for many reasons I will discuss in the article. We have many things at stake. Throughout the process of trying to organize this meeting, I discovered some shocking things about the church, and leadership and my experience also reinforced certain notions about the church. These are by no means pleasant. One key point continues to come up and is presently devastating many churches, and making the gospel message ineffective. The issue is the omen of a disunited body of Christ. I understand that we all cannot agree on everything. But, can we agree on something? My heart breaks to tears when different churches have become social clubs for dancing and entertainment to the exclusion of others! Inside the church we are not only competing with other churches, we refuse to get involve with some community initiatives that are of benefits to the people. We do so because they are initiated by another group. Our present and most important initiative is to bring church to the community. In this way, we will bring Jesus out of the closets of churches. Everybody else is coming out! Why are we ashamed to bring Jesus out as a united force? Years ago, the church was the community. We lost that ages ago, when we kicked the Bible out of the schools and replaced them with illicit sex and drugs. Our children are now scattered in the streets while searching for solutions and roasting in the painful challenges they face without help. Can we bring the church back to the community? In the county I live in St. Louis, from the highway to my subdivision less than three miles, I can count about twenty churches. Yet, kids are feasting on drugs in the street, gang members are terrorizing the neighborhood, and there is no sanctuary for children anymore.
If you read the articles I wrote during the process or organizing this prayer meeting in Washington DC, you will notice the messages are directly to the church leaders. The articles are placed on the website: www.closerwalk.net When I get up in the morning, I receive fresh messages from the Lord, or whatever is placed in my heart. Thats the time I tend to write most of my articles especially while Im fasting because of the ascension in eternal Spirit of God with open Portals of Heaven. When Im in the Spirit realm of God, I receive continuous downloading of divine messages. This article is not an exception. It is directly addressing one of the critical issues in the church today.
Social clubs and business enterprises are the best ways to describe the churches today. Our preaching is always about living a wonderful life at the expense of Jesus. I had the opportunity to be in a conversation with my son for about one hour talking about different churches he visited. He explained to me that it took him a while to realize that living a good life being preached by many preachers is not part of Christs gospel message. Abundant life is not a life of material prosperity as we have been told. Christ teaches us to live a life of material contentment and an affluent life in the Spirit of the Holiness of God. So, many people come to church seeking a good life at the expense of Jesus. When Jesus does not deliver, they walk away from the church. Others still attend the church, but reduce the gospel messages to slogans without impacting their souls because they are still waiting for Jesus to deliver. When we look at the lives of all those who served the Lord in the sacred scriptures, not too many of them lived affluent lifestyle, or seek for such. Many of them lived a very painful and sacrificial life to bring Christ messages to the lost souls under very difficult situations.
One of the disheartening experiences I had talking to different churches is the lack of cooperation between churches to develop effective initiatives of crisis response intervention on the community level. I understand different churches have different programs for different community initiative. The body of Christ can be the community. We can be more effective when different churches join teams to launch community initiatives to address the ills of the society. How can this be possible when Im busy bragging about our ministry achievements? We keep bragging about how many radio or television stations are carrying our ministry programs while looking down, or belittling others who are yet to achieved such level of exposure. Regardless to how big your church may be, you can be more effective if you team with other churches in your neighborhood to serve the community. However, our inability to team up and work for the good of humanity because of competition continue to cause our members pain and suffering. There is a slogan among some Christians that you can get your doctor on the phone in emergency situation faster than you can get your pastor on the phone. I know preachers of a mega churches are very busy. There is no doubt, but where is the emergency response team to help family in crisis situations?
Our Lack of Response is Hurting other Preachers
When I started working on this prayer meeting initiative, I was very shocked to experience the lack of responses from some preachers who claim to be national Christian leaders despite repetitive messages to them about the prayer meeting. If you cannot get them to respond to national initiatives for Christ, how can you get them to team with you on the community level to fight social ills besieging our children? For days my heart was broken with the news of Pastor Zachery Tims, a pastor who died alone in the hotel room in New York. After the funeral tears, inspirational talks, and knocking over pews, we are yet to come up with a national crisis response intervention for preachers in trouble. If the medicine we prescribe for people cannot do us any good, what is the value of such medicine? How many pastors are free to talk to other pastors in crisis situations? Do we have a national plan in place for such emergency intervention for pastors in crisis? I see the church settling for convention programs, boat rides and different tours, packed with entertainments. How good are these social events when our community is decaying into moral degeneration, and our world is falling apart?
I remember when my mother in-law died, and I was in pain. I later received a comment from a friend that one particular pastor was very upset with me because I did not tell him first that my mother in-law had died before making the announcement in the church. I sent a message back to him that his style of beating people over the head with the Bible all the time did not make me feel comfortable telling him first. Besides, if all he worries is his ego being hurt, because I did not tell him first, perhaps he should get out of pastoring business. I explained to the person that, I had a coworker who told me his daughter was in the hospital. About a week later, I arrived at work. I was told that his daughter had died. I did not wait for him to call me. Before I did anything at work, I called him on my cell-phone and offered my condolences to him and his family. Should I wait for him to call me first while sitting on my high horse after his daughter just died? Absolutely ridiculous! This is the state I see the church today. It is not about serving the sheep; it is about robbing the sheep of personal possessions and pride. God placed a curse of the shepherds who are starving the sheep. Here is God in his own words;
"Woe (curse) to the shepherds of Israel, who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourself with wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock" (Ezekiel 34: 2-3).
This is how Jesus responded to this message;
"I am the good shepherd; and I know my sheep, and they know me" (St. John 10:14).
"And I lay down my life for the sheep" (St. John 10:15).
I know we are not Jesus, but some shepherds today are busy ripping off the sheep, while at the same time starving them. I know some shepherds today will identify with this message from God and be convicted. Being convicted is not the issue Im stressing here as much as what we need to do to rectify the crisis situations in our communities.
Our Lack of Response is Hurting the Community
We read about the civil war going on in Mexico as the government continued fighting with drug lords. What we do not realize is the fact that the war continued because of the U.S. dollars. A report in St. Louis Post Dispatch of July 3, 2011 by Tim Johnson said heroin drugs being produced in Mexico are being aggressively pushed into the U.S. where they find very lucrative markets for their products. In the first four months of this year heroin overdose deaths have claimed 35 people in the St. Louis county, double that of the rate in 2010. According to the report, heroin drug is much cheaper costing about $15 a hit, while a tablet of OxyContin can cost from $50 to $80 a tablet. As a result, Mexican heroin has about two-thirds of the U.S. market this type of heroin is said to be present everywhere. Sadly, the drug is aggressively targeted towards teenagers they are supposed to be the largest consumers.
Our world is falling apart while we are still dancing inside the church. After reading this sad news about our teenagers, my heart breaks. What should be the churchs immediate intervention besides the boat and bus rides to exotic locations, hall filled with cheering conventioneers, and television programs with theatrical demonstrations of the gospel, and fiery Sunday sermons?
There is an old African proverb that says, a horse can carry you to a battle, but the horse cannot fight your battle for you. If we do not start now to team up with community initiatives designed to fight these ills off our children, this present generation of teenagers are doomed! The failure will not be identified by the failure in the secular world. The failure will be identified by the failure of the churchs incoherent interventions to rescue our teenagers and create peaceful sanctuary for them. While we are busy dancing inside the church and cheering the preacher with flamboyant rhetoric, our children and some well-known celebrities are dying of accidental drug over dose in the streets. The world is looking at the church for solutions, but the church is disabled and disunited! We can enable the church if we team up with community initiatives for effective social and immediate crisis interventions.
Our Lack of Response is Hurting Members and Others
I have heard over and over when church members will complain they never hear from their pastors after repeated calls. This is very common in many of the mega churches. I used to believe the response calls do not come because the preachers are too busy. But that was not the real reason. I remember calling the CEO of my hospital who had to deal with over one thousand employees. He was not in the office. I left e message for him to call me back. I did not leave my name. However, despite the fact that I did not leave my name, in less than one hour after returning to the office, he returned my call. I was very surprised thinking it would take me a couple of days before receiving a return call from him. If the CEO of a hospital can return a call in less than two hours, why cant a pastor return a church members call? I know we are very busy. What is our priority? Anytime my wife tells me a church member has called me, I immediately get on the phone to return calls. In this conversation, one preacher said, "If you are a preacher, and youre not accessible to your members, what is the value of your ministry?" Another one in the conversation said, "You may be on many television and radio programs across the nation, if youre not accessible to people, you are an entertainer, and not a minister of the Word?" Evidently, these preachers are telling us that shepherds should be accessible to the sheep. Otherwise, what is the purpose of your ministry when you are not available during crisis time, except for executive business meetings? If the executive meeting is what takes most of your time, consider whether you are a pastor, or a businessman who happens to be in the ministry. Sadly, some (not many) of the mega churches are this way. We allow more time for business meetings than feeding the flocks. How quick can you respond to other preachers calling you for help when you are unable to respond to your church members? Our fragmented efforts are ineffective in transforming the committee.
You can start unity in the body of Christ by embracing, "United we Stand, and Divided we Fall" as we start the journey to Washington DC to pray for our elected officials in October 28, 2011. Instead of our continuous criticism of the government, we have to go back to what Jesus effectively did during his ministry on earth. Jesus did not preach his gospel in the political arena. He was actually resistant in preaching the gospel to politicians. However, Jesus placed his gospel messages in the hearts of men and women who took the messages across the whole world. We can do the same in addition to preaching the messages to our congregation every Sunday. We can go out in the world and start making disciples of men as Jesus taught us to do starting from, our communities. We can use this opportunity to call our teenagers to get off the streets, and back into the church. Consequently, we have to bring Jesus out of the closets of churches, and place his gospel messages in the hearts of men and women including the leaders of this country.
Please join this Washington DC prayer meeting on Friday Oct 28, 2011 because, "United we stand, and divided we fall." May we allow the Spirit of God to lead us to do his will.
Yinka Vidal, author - Closer Walk With Jesus.
Prayer Meeting Coordinator, CRYOUT America the Awakening, St. Louis County, MO