I grew up in Saint Joseph, Missouri, a city that is wrestling with drug addiction and with that comes a rise in violent crimes. Several people, one of them being a community leader, has asked me if I would consider planting a church in the north side district of the city? I want to make it clear why I do not see it happen outside of a supernatural directive.
I love the Northside. I am a graduate of Lafayette High School. I wrestled for them. I trained for boxing in the northside. I am truly a northsider. It is also true that there is no classic Pentecostal church there to proclaim the healing power of the Holy Spirit.
Everything seems to point to that direction. I have the contacts in the community. I have the people that I need to get it off the ground. I even have a building offered to me to base out of that is centrally located. All things point to go but my heart cries no. I do not have peace about planting in my hometown.
I want to give some practical reasons that I do not see me planting in Saint Joseph.
- Miracles are hard in St. Joseph. Always have been.
- There is a religious spirit over the city.
- It is hard to travel out of Saint Joe.
- The condition of the Pentecostal movement in the city
- Pastors tend to pretend they are heretical councils.
Jesus said that miracles were hard in His hometown. However, in Saint Joseph, miracles are hard for everyone. I have personally heard R.W. Schambach complaint about the brass heaven over the city. It is true that when Aimee Semple McPherson had a move of God in Topeka that Saint Joseph was the only city not touched by the move of the Spirit.
There is a real religious spirit over the city. They want church to be a Sunday thing. I want full on revival. Those do not connect and I would just end up leaving the city frustrated again.
It is a challenge to have a national ministry while in Saint Joseph. Yes, Zahnd has done it but it is not easy. Making the 40 minute drive to the airport in the middle of an ice storm is not ideal. It is a challenge. I need to have better access to airports, train stations and bus terminals.
The overall condition of the Pentecostal movement is not good. Caring First, once a megachurch does not even exist today. Word of Life is basically not even Pentecostal anymore. Foursqaure has closed two churches and the Assemblies have only two churches left (we use to have six). Even the UPCI is struggling. It is not a good place to be Pentecostal anymore.
Part of the reason this is the fact that pastors tend to set themselves us as “fruit inspectors.” Every sentence has to be formed with view that one of these guys will find some issue with what you said. It sucks but it is what has happened in the past. I do not understand that it has changed.