From Riots to Revival: Billy Graham Chaplains Bring Hope and Healing to Ferguson

Members of the Ferguson community have been stopping by the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team's mobile command unit to talk, pray and step in from the cold.
Members of the Ferguson community have been stopping by the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team’s mobile command unit to talk, pray and step in from the cold.

Chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team have been fanning out and ministering in the city of Ferguson, Missouri following riots that erupted after the recent Grand Jury decision not to indict a local police officer in the Michael Brown shooting case, according to Erik Ogren, writing for the Billy Graham website.

“We’ve heard from several pastors, and they view this as raw spiritual warfare. That’s what it is, and it’s very obvious,” said Jeff Naber, one of the Rapid Response Team. “But with that said, the potential for revival here is extreme.”

“This is different than a tornado or flood,” said Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplain Strib Boynton as he maneuvered his truck through the streets of Ferguson. “This is changing the hearts of people, of a whole community.”

Ogren, in his story for http://www.billygraham.org, says that this response is unlike anything the crisis-trained chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association have ever encountered in the decade-plus history of the ministry.

Ogren reports that whereas a natural disaster often leaves a wide swath of destruction but dissipates in a way that allows for healing and reconstruction, the unrest in Ferguson following the death of Michael Brown is a tragedy of distrust and anger—issues which cannot be solved simply by carrying out moldy carpet or patching a roof.

“They feel hopeless and they need to be reminded that all hope isn’t lost,” said Vivian Dudley, founder and evangelist for One Church Outreach Ministry, as she sat with chaplains just yards away from a dumpster bearing the spray-painted words “If we burn, you burn with us!”

“What the enemy meant to do was to box each of us in to feel like hope is lost. I think that right now the spiritual climate is they need a revival,” Dudley said.

The question, Ogren says, on most people’s hearts is can peace and faith arise from the ashes of burned buildings and broken hearts? Can reconciliation—and even revival—be borne of the riots?

While hopelessness still weighs heavily on this town of 21,000, there are glimpses of redemption, he writes.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: ASSIST News Service
Michael Ireland

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s