It’s happening already. For about a year, pastors from both black and white churches have been leading the way in an effort to bring racial unity among the Christian community in Jena. This little town has been labeled the most racist town in America. That label was never accurate. But America threw down the gauntlet and our town has picked it up. There’s a chip on our shoulder. We were never the bastion of hatred or oppression that many painted us to be. In fact, since the light has flooded the corners and crevices of our streets, we have united as a community like never before.
Over the past year, we have scheduled many events designed to tear down racial, religious, and historic walls. A harvest is being reaped in Jena today. Midway Baptist Church has been in revival for weeks now; both blacks and whites are attending these meetings. You can read more about this revival by clicking on the following link: http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?Id=27502 .
My own church, Sanctuary Family Worship Center, has seen an increase not only in attendance but also in salvations and baptisms. We have scheduled revival services here for March as well. The people of Jena have enjoyed the community unity services so much that they are requesting more of them. There’s a service set for Good Friday, March 21, at First Baptist Church in Jena. For the first time, our town will come together, black and white, Methodist, Baptist, and Pentecostal, to share in the Lord’s Communion as the family of God in LaSalle Parish.
America will soon be hearing about Jena, Louisiana, again. The movement that many pastors from across the country have told me God is going to start with the pastors of our community is beginning to build momentum. God’s will be done!
UPDATE (3-5-08): The Midway Revival has since moved to one of the other churches in Jena, East Jena Baptist Church, and it continues to see salvations and blessings from God. One report is that another of the local Baptist churches, whose history involves a split between the two churches, actually apologized for the division of the past. A root of bitterness deriving from an historic split over something that most can't even remember has kept the two churches at odds over the years. God brought down the stronghold that separated them. We've seen the wall of separation between white congregations and black congregations continue to fall. Pentecostals are joining in! We are seeing an unprecedented revival in this town on a scale that nobody could have predicted even one month ago. It's the talk of the town, at restaurants, around the water cooler at work. God is moving. Last year, we went through a purging process that was brutal to our community. Now, as the wine of the spirit of God flows freely in our churches, God's plan is unfolding right before our very eyes. For the joy that was set before Him, Christ endured the shame of the Cross. For the joy set before us here in Jena, we rejoice over whatever had to take place to bring such life-changing flow to our town. To God Be The Glory!
UPDATE (4-10-08) The revival continues. We finally made it to the Ward 10 Complex and had three wonderful services in the same place where over 20,000 people gathered to march on Jena last year. God is moving through our churches in this parish. The revival is moving back to Midway Baptist Church, where it began almost nine weeks ago, but it is not ending yet. God isn't through with us yet!