Urban America, Getting Ready for A Great Awakening

By: Antipas Harris
Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Today, many people reject religion because they do not see what they consider to be its advantage in the face of injustice, lack of peace, lack of love, etc. This past weekend, however, I was blessed to visit the Dream Center in California. This innovative ministry expresses multiple outreaches to redress urban ills of Los Angeles. During our tour of the facilities, a guide explained that prior to the Dream Center, over the span of a year that area experienced an average of one shooting per three minutes. Gangs, prostitution, violence and poverty dominated the area. In a little time after the founding of the Dream Center, however, crime in that area reduced more than 75%. The ministry gives more than a million pounds of food away each month. I had the privilege of traveling with the outreach team to the Huntington Hotel in the heart of the city for the purpose of giving food, praying with and talking to very low income residents. These are only a drop in the bucket of the many outreaches Matthew Barnett’s ministry has at the Dream Center.

Approximately, 16 years ago Pastor Barnett felt a call of God to “build up people and not a mega church.” In response to the call of God, he set his feet to the pavement. Now, sixteen years later, God has blessed Barnett’s church, Angelus Temple Four Square Church, with a monstrous facility and many outreach efforts to share the love of Christ to victims of urban evils– from prostitutes, to homelessness; from victims of the economic recession to Hollywood celebrities in search of filling the emptiness that money and fame can not fill (only Christ can!); from gang bangers to drug cartels; from young people to the elderly who are seeking to overcome addictions and pain. I have not seen ministry so massive and targeted on urban revitalization as Matthew Barnett’s unique Dream Center.

I believe that there is something pneumatological about social outreach. It is, therefore, fitting that Angelus Temple (a Four Square Church– Pentecostal) lead in this exemplary charge to address urban social ills.

I would like to challenge more Pentecostal, Neo-Pentecostal, Charismatic or Spirit-fill churches to move beyond their walls. Pneumatology and theology meet in the Speaking-in-tongues phenomenon. Speaking-in-tongues in church is one thing. But, Speaking and interpreting the languages of the broken, hurting and miserable people of the world is another. I am convinced that the same Holy Spirit that moves upon us to speak in and interpret tongues also challenges the churches; the Spirit charges the churches to lead the urban revitalization. I believe that the next move of God in revival; the next Great Awakening is not within the walls of privatized religion, but at the intersection of ministry and urban communities. Let the Great Awakening begin!

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Antipas Harris
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