A question that I get ever so often is about church planting in St. Joseph, Missouri? Why would not I? Is it the biblical use of even Jesus was not without honor but in his hometown? Not really. It is more personal.
Let’s get a few things out there from the start: I went to Lafayette High School. I still believe the Northside, my side, the right side! I played football there and I wrestled for the school. Many of the longest kept friends are from St. Joseph. My first ministry opportunities was in Joetown. I know many people in ministry there. The infamous “church split” that would bring the second largest church to its’ knees was in St. Joseph. (Paul Crotch of TBN was born in the church’s basement) I have a lot of history in the city to put it lightly.
It actually goes deeper than just my history though….
St. Joseph is anti-revival
History shows revival has swept the region but St. Joseph rejected it. When the Topeka Outpouring happened in 1901, they were driven out of St. Joseph when they came with the Pentecostal message. The same happened when Aimee Semple McPherson had a healing revival break out in Topeka twenty years later. Even in the 1990’s when renewal broke out in Kansas City, St. Joseph rejected it. The bottom line is the city wants religion but they want nothing to do with any close to apostolic Christianity.
I refuse to change my message or “tone it down” just to make people happy with their sin. I am not going to put the move of the Holy Spirit in a side room to make church more “acceptable.” I am not going to make Jesus into something we do on Sundays but we put away on Mondays. It is not happening. I have been touched by revival and I will never be the same.
To be honest, I have not spoke in St. Joseph since 2005 in a church and I am quite happy with that. I would only come to preach there for weddings and funerals. The reason for this is because how hostile the city’s churches are to revival and the move of the Holy Spirit. The churches there eat up and spit out Pentecostal preachers. (The city is leading the nations in crime and drug addictions and they still don’t understand the answer is Pentecostal power!)
I tried. I really did. I started a church on Olive St back in 2003. It failed. I would have had to tone down the Holy Spirit and that is not happening.
St. Joseph is not home
I have never really felt an emotional tie to the city. I went to High School there and shortly afterwards, left the city. It is true most of my family is still there but does not give me a strong connection to the city. It just would mean that I come back for family events is all. Kansas City is much more my hometown than the inferior city 45 minutes to the north that is best known for who got shot there than anything else.
I have had some great memories in the city and have some amazing friends there too. However, very few of them are in churches in the city. I know more pastors that have become atheists there than people who have seen great revival. The focus of my visit are rarely to be do with spirituality. It is, as I said, weddings, funerals, sport events, and class reunions.
I do make trips to the city several times a year for different things. I have been to several wrestling tournaments for example. I was there in June for a funeral. I do not “avoid” the city at together, despite what some people think.
Void of the Prophetic
I am known for the prophetic encounters I have had over the years. The angels of harvest, the forerunner prophecy, healing tents, and others. However, I have had never had a single major prophetic encounter in St. Joseph. They just do not happen. I have had two of them in Kansas City. (International House of Prayer) It is like the heavens are closed over the city. Many have testified of this reality. Open Heavens over other cities in the area but it is like Heaven is closed when in Joetown.
I REFUSE to live in a city that I can not experience the Holy Spirit in! You should as well!
Side note: St. Joseph is not all bad. I did meet my wife there at Brian Zahnd‘s church. I did get to know many of the pastors there. Some of those relationship continue to this day.