The OneCry team traveled to Reno, Nevada, this past weekend as co-sponsors of the Acts 4 OneCry for Revival event taking place there. This all-day conference brought together 400 leaders from a diverse grouping of 60 churches and Christian organizations.
Those in attendance included black, white, Hispanic, evangelical, and charismatic followers of Christ. And rather than each subgroup keeping to themselves as one might expect, it was obvious during times of interaction, worship, and prayer that unity and genuine love among all was the rule of the day.
In a city much better known for divorce, gambling, and vice than selflessness and Christian discipleship, it compels one to ask how such an event could take place in Reno. Who laid the foundation for this amazing event?
Upon closer scrutiny, one discovers the answer to be the same as for most other situations where God is at work. Good things happen when Christians hear the voice of God and courageously step out of their comfort zones to move when He calls them to move.
Many years ago, God gave former banker and current stockbroker Dave Quinn what he considered to be a prophetic vision in which he saw a flood of water coming out of the mountains surrounding Reno and descending into the Reno area. The water was rushing to the door of every church in town. Those doors that were opened even a crack, allowed this water of life to come in. Those doors that were totally closed, however, received no life-giving water. Dave took this as a sign that God was going to move in many of the churches of Reno.
In response to that vision and what he sensed was the Lord’s leading, Dave started a little prayer group at his church. He purposely did not advertise about the meeting heavily at his own church, so that people from other churches would view it more for what it was—a community prayer gathering—and therefore feel warmly welcomed to attend.
Soon there were more than one hundred people from scores of churches in the monthly prayer meeting. This was the beginning of a group they now call the Acts 4 Prayer Team.
At the same time (yet totally unrelated to Dave’s work), Brent Brooks, Pastor of the Reno Christian Fellowship, had on his heart to bring pastors of other churches in Reno together. Brent found it fairly easy to build relationships with fellow evangelical church leaders.
But he was not content to stop there. Over time and with much prayer, Brent also formed friendships with charismatic, African-American, and Hispanic church leaders in town, and joined in regular times of meeting for prayer with these disparate church leaders.
Over the last year, Brent began forging connections between his growing group of pastor friends and the layperson-run Acts 4 Prayer Team started by Dave Quinn and his friends. Other groups soon joined the network, including
Awaken, INC (a group addressing the significant sex-trafficking problem in Reno),
Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship (working with students at the large University of Nevada-Reno campus),
Christian Men’s Alliance,
Sparks Christian Fellowship,
AACCONN (African-American Clergy Counsel of Northern Nevada),
AMEN (Asociación de Ministros Evangélicos de Nevada),
Spirit-Filled Pastors group, and
Multnomah University and Seminary Reno-Tahoe, to mention just a few.
According to their website, Acts 4 meets monthly in various churches and has four goals for their prayers:
1. Unity of believers in this valley
2. Love for one another to grow
3. The displacing of the powers of darkness (this begins with repentance, both individually and for the region)
4. Revival to come to the local churches (we are specifically praying for 13,000 new converts to Christ here in 2013)
Since goal #4 is to bring spiritual revival to Reno, Pastor Brent invited all of his pastoral friends to come and OneCry to assist with the programming for the day. Those in attendance heard challenging messages from OneCry team members Pastor Bill Elliff (Little Rock, AR), Pastor Walter Price (Beaumont, CA), and Life Action CEO Byron Paulus.
OneCry staff leaders Aaron Paulus and Randy Hekman also briefly shared with the crowd. Interspersed between preaching and teaching were seasons of small group prayer. Spicing up the day were great times of worship and praise led by three different groups—an evangelical praise band from Reno Christian Fellowship, a Latino praise band, and an African-American praise band.
Virtually every attendee with whom the OneCry staff spoke after the event felt that Acts 4 OneCry for Revival was a huge success. The day was not viewed as the final chapter of a lengthy tale, however, but a milestone in what is hoped to be times of even sweeter fellowship and growing unity, resulting in major community impact.
What’s next? One of the participant groups, the Spirit-Filled Pastors, has raised about $25,000 to run television ads and then send 190,000 gospel cards to every home in the Reno area, telling the recipients how they can come to Christ. Please pray as these cards are mailed March 12.
There is incredible optimism in Reno that what was begun there will grow until the entire Reno culture is changed. Could this unlikely city, far from the “Bible Belt,” be the spark for the Great Awakening our nation desperately needs?
Imagine the significant change America would experience if scores of other communities, inspired by Reno’s powerful example, would themselves seek, pray, and work for the same sort of unity, love, prayer, and revival for their communities! Pray that God will lead others around America to act, and that they will hear the call and quickly obey in the power of the Holy Spirit.