Friday, July 11, 2014

My Love/Hate Relationship with the Nothingmores

The study of ultimate truth, and the unyielding quest for human significance and meaning-making is the most profound journey one can undertake. For me, being a pastor is about taking that journey very seriously and candidly, while also helping other people to engage in the same journey. Unfortunately, in an effort to help people get going, we pastors sometimes make the mistake of becoming nothingmores.

I have spent years (literally) trying to wrap my mind, my heart, my soul, around truths like “Trinity,” the “God-Man,” the nature of “canon,” and employment of “Sacrament.” The struggle to understand, to grasp, to experience; has been a struggle yielding much reward, and joy. I’m still reaping a rich harvest in the grain-field of basic Christian understanding.

One of the problems with Christianity is the paradoxical nature of the most basic truths. They are difficult to grasp. How could God love a creation so deeply flawed, when He can’t stand imperfections? How could Jesus be the very enemy of sin and evil— yet love evil, sinful people so much that He volunteered to die in a rescue attempt? How could such a loving and powerful Being, once victorious, entrust the rescue of the world to people like Peter, Paul, you, and me?

The answers to these questions need to really be considered. They require spiritual fitness. A life lived in the presence of God is not for the weak or faint of heart.

Pastors, however, tend the flock of God. The flock of God is full of weak and fainthearted people. How do we help such people to endure their struggle with deep and profound truth? Unfortunately, sometimes we turn to the easy way: the doctrine of nothingmore.

The doctrine of nothingmore is how we make deep things a bit shallower. It’s how we make mind-blowing truth more digestible. After all, you won’t get a scared child into the lake without telling them, “Sweetie, the lake is nothingmore than your splash pool at home. It’s just a bit bigger.” And truthfully, while the child’s fears may be but at ease, and they may approach the lapping shore more confidently; the nothingmore actually makes the lake much more dangerous to the child. The child actually thinks the lake is as tame as splash pool.

Break.

Perhaps an example would be helpful. I've heard it taught before (I've even been guilty of it): “Baptism is nothingmore than a public declaration of a personal faith. Nothingmore than a sign of the work of God.”

AHHH!

Or again: “The book of Revelation is nothingmore than an ancient apostle having a vision of the future, and trying to describe to his ancient audience the incredible technology that he sees.”

Nothingmore? Nothingmore!

We, who steward the Word and Sacrament of God, perhaps have allowed the doctrine of nothingmore to drain the sacred Cup of its mysterious wine; stale the Bread of its sweet body; and vacuum out the Breath of scripture.


I think we should be aware that our reductionism is lending itself towards robbery. Not only are we robbing ourselves of a fuller understanding of the mysteries of God, but we rob the weak and fainthearted an opportunity to bravely plunge into the depths of His Presence.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Children's Ministry

The following is written by a good buddy of mine, Ed Pagh. His insight into pastoring the whole flock, and the whole family, is an inspiration to a rookie pastor like me. It is posted with his permission.

As you read, you will understand why his unofficial moniker is "Well-Said Ed."

Thanks Ed.



Children’s Ministry Principles for Lead Pastors
by Ed Pagh


Very few senior/lead pastors have Children's Ministry experience. What's even more interesting, if we're to be completely candid, is that many pastors are scared of Children's Ministry and would rather have a root canal than speak at a kids' service or teach a class of 2nd and 3rd graders. So we find volunteers, hire professionals, and coerce people into serving in the trenches where few pastors dare to tread. Or maybe we just feel as though Children's Ministry is not what we're paid to concern ourselves with. Our job as a senior/lead pastor is to lead adults, and if I as a leader can ensure that the kids who attend on Sundays and mid-week are safe and have fun, then the parents are happy and we can focus our time and effort on church business and ministry. News Flash: in a healthy church children should comprise from 18-25% of your weekly attendance. Does it not strike anyone else as odd that a leader would be so uninformed and personally uninvolved in the lives and spiritual formation of nearly one-quarter of those they lead? Does a good shepherd ignore the lambs and focus only on the rams and ewes?

It is true that many senior/lead pastors do have student ministries experience, but ministry to children is very different from ministry to teens. Yes, both groups are minors, attend school, and have parental authority in their lives, but there are many huge dissimilarities. Unlike teens, children are typically mental sponges and open to teaching, relationally trusting, intellectually cognitive thinkers and processors, and socially inclusive. They want to learn, want to please, and want to experience God. There are always exceptions to these developmental generalities, but the point is that past experience as a youth pastor does not automatically translate as experience with and knowledge of Children's Ministry.

What follows are seven key Children's Ministry principles for senior/lead pastors that will hopefully serve to create value and purpose for Children's Ministry in today's church. In an effort to keep this as brief as possible, what is presented are the core concepts, many of which need to be unpacked and expanded upon in more detail. Think of what follows as the executive summary of a much larger discussion.

Principle #1
Children are the church of today; the church of tomorrow’s leaders.

Often times children are thought of, even if only subconsciously, as the church of tomorrow. I can see why. They are not adults so they cannot participate and contribute like adults. They cannot think abstractly, cannot teach, are not independent, and are unskilled, so their contributions are limited. But does the fact that children are limited in the ways they can be involved in church life mean that they are not or should not be an active part of church life to the fullest extent possible?  Sequestered to classes or Children's Church, kids never hear their pastor's voice, so they do not develop a relationship with him or her. They never get to observe full worship, watch their parents model worship, or even serve alongside their parents.

This limited thinking on our part as pastors may cause us to inadvertently fall into one of two traps. The first trap is to defer children's involvement until they are in their late twenties or married. Until then, Children's Ministry is a de facto child care during church. But I believe when Jesus said to allow the children to come and spend time with him that he meant children should have equal access to him and be included not excluded, incorporated not isolated. Thus, Children’s Ministry is not childcare while the adults do “real” ministry. Rather, it is a way to include and incorporate children into the life of the church and should be designed as such. The second trap is to use children as a tool "grow the church" (i.e. to get to the parents). I hear this a lot. If you want your church to grow (more adults), have a great Children's Ministry. While this may be an effective short-term strategy, I believe we need to have a great Children's Ministry for the long-term sake of the kids and our future. The moms and dads that attend as a result are a bonus, not the goal.

Although the level of children's involvement is limited to the level of their development, children have much to contribute to church life. Consider ways to include them as much as possible in church life: worship, serving, teaching, sharing, helping, etc. Also, think long-term. Prepare/teach children for college, not for Jr. High. Find ways to connect Children's Ministry with church life and family life, as well as forging a partnership with the parents to nurture spiritual formation in children. And without question, provide sufficient resources to accomplish the goal.

Principle #2
Children are the largest marginalized (peripheral) and powerless group
in our church and we should serve them as such.

Have you ever considered children in this light? Think about it. Children cannot serve themselves. They cannot fund themselves. They cannot lead themselves. They are dependent on adults for virtually everything. This makes them dependent and powerless, which puts them on the margins of society as a whole. This doesn't mean we don't value children. We do. But socially we value them less than adults and more than the family pet. Consider, for example, where children often sit at a large Thanksgiving family meal...at the children's table. Yes, there are parents whose lives seem to revolve around their kids, but by and large adults value adults more than children.

In the gospels we find that Jesus spends much of his time ministering to the poor, the lame, the blind, the sick, women, and others who, in his day, were powerless and dependent and living on the margins of society. We, the church, are called to care for and minister to, like Jesus, those on the margins in our culture. So we develop compassion and benevolence ministries like food closets and helping with the homeless, the widow, and the orphan. But we don't ever list serving our church kids with this group. Why not? They are just as powerless and dependent. I contend that as a marginalized, powerless people group, children represent those in the margins of society who are also powerless and dependent. Wait a minute, you say, children have their parents to care for them. Sure, but not during church they don't, and that's the point. As churches have become more life-stage based in approach, children have been pushed farther and farther to the margins, so much so that in many churches today they are considered a disruption and distraction in the adult worship service. How do we change this attitude? We serve the children. In fact, I believe that if we can learn to serve children, we can learn to serve anyone. It's time to re-value our children, to excise the idea of childcare, and to serve and love children as a way to learn to serve and love our neighbor.

Principle #3
When we capture a child’s imagination we can capture their hearts.

Jesus was a master at capturing the imaginations and hearts of his audience. How? He taught in parables and metaphors, many times drawing from the rich supply of his teaching environment: animals, birds, flowers, people, etc. But parables and metaphors require abstract thinking, which makes them interesting for adults, but difficult for kids who tend to be concrete thinkers. Children, though, do have vivid imaginations that stimulate learning. Creative and imaginative play is their way of learning and practicing social behaviors, responsibility, relationships, etc. This is why toys, crafts, and other hands on stimuli are important for learning and development. Children's Church and Sunday School usually do not have a supply of Bible-based toys with which to teach and play, but we can create an environment through decor, paint, furniture, and staging that can stimulate the imaginative and learning centers of their brain. Visit any children's museum or learning center and you will find colorful, tactile, and inspiring environments. When we do this in our churches, we open the door to the child's imaginative learning, which is a gateway to their head and heart through which we share the love of Jesus and the gospel story. We should be willing to invest sufficient resources to make Children's Ministry spaces beautiful and engaging learning environments.

Principle #4
Adults can tolerate children’s environments better than
children can tolerate adult environments.

The interior designs of most churches are not kid-friendly environments. Instead they are bare, white, sterile rooms with a minimum of color and decor. The thinking behind these bland environments is usually functional in nature. To get the most out of our facilities, our rooms are multi-use, multipurpose. Since many groups, departments, events, and age groups share the space, we leave our rooms plain and drab, decorating only when the women's ministries closet is graciously opened. Children do not tolerate drab well. They get bored with it. White-walled rooms are antithetical to learning for kids. As a result, I believe we should cater to the children when it comes to room decor. Strike a balance, if need be, but adults can tolerate colorful walls, murals, even high-end tactile set design for the sake of kids better than kids can tolerate dull white walls.

Principle #5
The purpose of Children's Ministry is to prepare children, not protect children.

Hang on. Don't think this means that safety is not important. It is. Safety (physical, emotional, relational, spiritual) in Children’s Ministry is paramount and should be incorporated into everything that is done: environment, activities, leaders, check-in/out, peers, etc. However, safety is not the primary goal of Children’s ministry; rather it is a primary responsibility as we minister to our children. There is a difference. Let's place the emphasis on discipleship while simultaneously being safe and secure. Children's Ministry is not the babysitter. They have a God-given mission to reach and teach children for Christ.

Principle #6
Adults find they are called to Children's Ministry
after they become involved, not before.

I have met very few adults who have told me they felt called to serve children before they ever tried serving children. Almost every called, committed Children's Ministry worker I've known has been coerced, begged, or bribed into serving children, then fell in love and felt called to continue to serve children. In part this is because Children's Ministry is, for the most part, invisible to the adults except for the few minutes a parent is picking up or dropping off a child. This is also partly because adults do not understand what it means to serve in Children's Ministry. Many of them have the misconception that serving children is like playground duty during a lunchtime recess or refereeing a soccer game of 6 year old girls. Lead pastors need to be aware that simply asking people to serve where they feel called will likely not produce many children's workers. The lead pastor can do three things to publically help with Children’s Ministry: 1) connect serving children as a gateway to other serving ministries, 2) help adults see the connected value of Children’s Ministry with the life of the church, and 3) have a personal passion and enthusiasm (value) for Children's Ministry. The attitude and perspective of the lead pastor towards Children's Ministry will set the tone for how the rest of the adults in the church will perceive Children's Ministry. The kids cannot advocate for themselves, and you as the lead pastor are the most influential voice in the church.

One long-term effective way of grooming adults to love and serve children is to implement a way for youth to serve children. This is a ministry in itself which will need supervision, support, resources, etc., but over the long run can raise up adults who appreciate the importance and need for an effective and well-resourced ministry to children.

Principle #7
The primary children’s pastors in your church are the parents.

Even if we have the best Children's Ministry environment, workers, curriculum, etc., the reality is that we only get to spend two hours a week with the kids. In reality, we get less time because of sports events, sickness, vacations, adult attendance rhythms, etc. Our influence in the spiritual formation of the children that attend our churches is minimal. It's the parents who are the primary people responsible for the spiritual formation of their children. This is why when the nation of Israel is told to love God with their whole being, the very next command connected to this idea is to pass this love of God along to their children as they experience life together. Therefore, the more our parents transform into Christlikeness, the more effectively children will be discipled.

Part of an effective Children's Ministry will have a parenting component. This can take many forms and be approached in many ways: classes, involvement, preaching, outings, events, etc. The key is to help parents both understand and embrace their own spiritual growth for the sake of their children. Tensions between parents and children are generally not resolved by fixing the child or new discipline techniques, but by the parents taking responsibility to transform and mature spiritually.

One last note: As pastors we are concerned that people attend worship on Sundays, and rightly so. But this presents a challenge for churches with only one service. If we can't release parents and others from worship to serve our children, we have a conflict of values that needs resolved. Why is it that we think that Sunday morning is the only time our sheep get a shot at the trough? I propose we release people into ministry and let people serve and miss hearing the sermon on Sunday (perhaps on a rotation basis?). Then we need to get creative and take advantage of social media, bible studies, small groups, and other ways to help people grow in the Word. Truth be told, most people grow more when serving and teaching than just passively listening to even the best of sermons.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Music



The defining feature modern people use to choose a church?

Music.

Churches increasingly define themselves by their Sunday morning music. Seriously. Well, wait… let’s run a little self-diagnostic. Are you in a hipster church? A rock Church? A traditional church? A Bible church? A pop church? Chances are good (really good) that your church plays the kind of music which would attract that kind of crowd.

Yeah, I doubt very much that you are singing a U2 song at the Calvary chapel; just as I doubt that you are singing a Wesleyan hymn at your hip church. Unless, of course, a local musician didn’t know it was a Wesleyan hymn, and turned it into a smooth new tone with plenty of high harmonies. Then you might sing it at hipster church.

Have we come that far? Is our music all about attracting the right crowd?

Isn’t there something more that God might demand of our corporate worship in song? After all, aren’t we primarily ministering to Him, and not ourselves?

I have not seen, in all my years attending and leading in churches of various shapes, sizes, and flavors, a topic that causes more controversy and side-taking than which songs we sing on a Sunday morning.

I think we may have been asking ourselves the wrong thing the whole time. We have been asking ourselves how worship was for us. We should have been asking how worship was for God.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Link to KXLY video of our press release

The manuscript in my previous post is of our press release. Most of it has been posted by local news agency KXLY. A big thank you to them, as our own video quality stunk. They just have better camera gear.

The only thing that didn't make it was my closing prayer, which is included in the manuscript I posted earlier. Thank you to all who are helping us seek some reconciliation in our city, and with our troubled youth.

http://video.kxly.com/watch.php?id=37350

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Palmer Assault Story

For those who don't know, both of my parents were assaulted by a gang of teenagers in downtown Spokane. They were assaulted just outside of the Steam Plant restaurant on Lincoln and 2nd Ave, at approximately 7pm. They were nearly murdered; save for the quick response from Spokane Police Officer Reese. We are still thanking God for the Spokane Police, and for Officer Reese in particular.

We decided, despite all the hubub on the web created by local news stations, and the timely reporting of Kip at the Spokesman review, that our story needed to be told. We decided to hold a press release today, and our local stations were in attendance. My personal apologies for not contacting the Inlander about the event. If there is any way I can make it up to those fine folks, I will.

Because the news stations may not provide the entire press release, even on the internet, I have decided to post the manuscript that we used. We mostly followed it.

Our intent is to quit the finger pointing and other nonsense that happens in the wake of tragedy. Spokane doesn't need that kind of reaction. We want to put Spokane into two groups of people: those on the side of law, order, and peace; and those who prey upon the helpless.

My mission is therefore pastoral. And yes, I am calling all of us Spokanites into action. We would like to see three things happen.

First, we would like the Spokane City Council and Mayor's Office to craft a city ordinance which prohibits congregations of four or more unaccompanied minors downtown after dark. Help the police respond to these predators before they assault and murder.

Second, we would like the Spokane Police to educate the law abiding public as to our rights. I'm not talking about having the police just send out their talking points about using 911. We have been doing that for years, and it isn't solving the problem. The public has to be able to take action, and we want to know how to do that responsibly and lawfully.

Third, we ask for Spokane citizens to get involved. We need to take back our streets from these children who have no reservation about filling our own streets and alleys with blood.

Our prayer is that through unification, understanding, and love, our city will be able to handle a major problem. We will also be focusing our Sunday service at the Adopted Church on praying for our city, and for these lost kids who feed off of causing so much pain. We desire to see wholeness and healthiness restored.

The Manuscript:




(Told by me)Citizens of Spokane, we have a problem:

Teenage you are the law in downtown Spokane, and their agenda is bullying, vandalism, intimidation, terrorism, and murder. As a quick Google search on “Spokane teen violence” will show. There is no place for uncontrollable teenagers to go, but downtown.

When we go downtown, we are not sure how to respond to a group of teenage predators, and we are constantly in fear of what might happen when they target us, and our loved ones, while there are no consequences for them. Our judicial system has demonstrated an inability to deal with this reign of terror. Our concern is not only for ourselves and our loved ones, but also for those young adults who have no place to go in our society.

This is our story: (Told by my Mom)

Monday night, January 27th, my husband had a surprise for me. I had a really horrible day of pain You see, both of us have chronic disease, and we like to celebrate any good news we have. He wanted to tell me that Actemera, the drug that I am on for rheumatoid arthritis bas become a sub-cutaneous drug.

This is an important development for us, because now I don’t have to go to the clinic to get infused. This change represents a big change in a way of life for me.  We decided to go out and celebrate my newfound freedom in life.

We went to the Steam Plant to celebrate. We love the great food and drinks.

Our time together there was filled with discussion about God’s goodness and faithfulness to us. We just spent time talking about how good God has been in all the little details of our lives. We shared some steamers for an appetizer, had a good dark beer and then split the curry chicken entrĂ©e for our main course. It was hurried because I needed to get back home and in bed. But was good.

Palmer had parked along Lincoln street, and being a gentleman, went out to get the minivan to pick me up curbside. It was then that he ran into a group of teenagers as he recalls, maybe 15 of them. He felt apprehensive having to get down the stairs around all of them.

He got in our minivan and circled the block to pick me up. I got in and was putting on my seatbelt when we pulled in the alley. There the gang of teenage thugs was waiting for us. We waited for them to pass as they encircled the van. Once they cleared from the front of the minivan, we started to head home. The gang had a different idea.

Before we had moved a few feet, one of them slammed something against the rear of our minivan. I jumped. Palmer stopped. And I rolled down my window to see what was going on. A tall, skinny kid with big gauge earrings, a black jacket with yellow stripes down the arms, leaned into the window and screamed, “Bitch, You F*ing hit me!!”

I knew it was untrue, because I was looking in the side mirror as we were slowly pulling out. We were concerned that there had been damaged, so both Palmer and I stepped out of the minivan to make sure everything and everyone was alright. I closed the door and we both walked around the back. Palmer was on the driver side, and I on the passenger side. These thugs immediately pressed into us without fear or hesitation, daring us to defend ourselves. They had no respect or fear of the law or consequences. They were out for blood.

Then one of the thugs, a big angry young man, who appeared to be high on something, postured up, chest bumping, and pushed into my husband. He was in Palmer’s face shoving him into the back of the van, while Palmer was warning him to calm down and back off. I knew that something was perilously wrong and that something horrible was happening. This 6 foot, 2 inch 245 pound predator clenched his fist tight, and began assaulting my husband with a flood of punches. Palmer was desperately trying to protect himself from the blows. His immediate objective became to get in close, wrap him up, get him to the ground, holding him until the police arrived.

The 10-15 other assailants converged on my husband. They were darting in and out, yelling and cursing mercilessly punishing my husband, to get him to release his hold. I knew they were going to kill him. They were punching his face, the back of his head, and kicking his face and head. They seemed to come out of nowhere. All of them were in a frenzy, sucker punching him, while he held down the ringleader. Palmer’s blood was gushing all over the ground. There was so much blood.

I did everything that I could to keep them off of my husband, I remember grabbing a t-shirt and trying to haul one of them off of him, and putting myself between whoever seemed to be the biggest threat. It was terrifying. Please imagine yourselves in our position. A grandma and grandpa jumped by teen thugs for no reason. Nobody wanted to get involved with these underage criminals. It was as if everyone in Spokane knew that these teenagers abuse and murder whoever they want and it’s best to just leave them to it.

A giant teenager, who claimed to be the ringleader’s brother, came up from behind and started bashing Palmer’s head. I was horrified at how much of my husband’s blood was pouring from his face and head onto the pavement. I tried to intervene, but was thrown to the ground. He then stooped over my husband, looked him in the eye and told him, “I am going to count to three, if you don’t let go, I’m gonna kill you. By jumping on your back, grabbing your head, and snapping your neck.” He then proceeded to do just that. I was the only person who might be able to stop this young man from breaking my husband’s neck.

I got up and grabbed him by the shirt collar in the back, and started yanking for all I was worth. It wasn’t moving him at all. So I began kicking him in the back with my boot heel. I got in maybe 3-4 kicks before backed off a few steps. Teenagers were everywhere screaming and yelling all kinds of things. I was terrified. 

Palmer was still on the ground holding the ringleader. The thug who threatened him came back and yelled to us, “I’m going to count to three, if you don’t let him up, I am going to do something that will make you very, very sorry.” He began counting, stepped back a few steps, and began to reach both hands to his back waistband in the drawing position. My heart stopped. I knew this young man was about to kill my husband in downtown Spokane, with no other reason than pure range.

I leapt over my husband, and got up into this punks face. I could smell his breath, his greasy hair, and can remember his countenance twisted in range.

I said, “Over my dead body!!”

He screamed, “Bitch, you don’t F*ing know me!”

I was nose to nose with him, and said as calmly as possible, “You don’t know ME son! You have completely miscalculated me!”

At that moment another teen across the drive started yelling at me, “I’m gonna sue you bitch! I’m 16 and pregnant!” It was such an odd thing to say, I looked over towards her.

The young man who I was just confronted ran over to another teen and took his longboard. He ran back over to my husband screaming, “You’re killing my brother, your killing my brother!” He then raised the longboard up, and was about to strike my husband’s head. I yelled, “He’s just holding him, he’s just holding him.”

Just then, The Spokane Police arrived.

We want to thank the Spokane Police Department for saving our lives. Due to their quick action, there was not another murder on the news, committed by Spokane teens. I want to personally thank Officer Reese for stepping in when we were in the fight of our lives.

I have 23 kids, and 18 grandkids, and they still have a grandpa because of their quick action. We thank them.

(Read by my Dad)

We would like for this to be worth something. Our hope is that what we endured will actually be the start of something that will begin to take our streets back, so that nobody in the future has to endure what we endured. What happened to us wasn’t right. I’m convinced that there are things that can be done to begin to change the situation.

So we are hoping, in any way that we can, to get that started.

The only one who was charged that night was the one that I held on to. I risked my life, and my wife’s life making the decision that I did. I grabbed onto this guy and held on so that there would be some justice. There would only be victims lying on the street when the police arrived if I didn’t do what I did.

I have an amazingly tenacious and tough wife; who would not abandon me or cut and run. That’s why it turned out the way it did. I thank you, and I want to thank the police department.

As of yesterday, the charge against the thug that I held onto received a misdemeanor assault. Because he is a minor, this case has a good chance of being adjudicated in the juvenile court system. This means that within a short period of time, he will be back out on the streets, and back with his gang.
For those of you who don’t know, misdemeanor assault is defined as “unwanted touching.”

Thank you.

(Read by me)

I want to thank my parents for having the bravery that most of our citizens do not, who are tempted to shrink back into their private lives and not tell their stories. I want to thank the journalists for being faithful to be with the victims. We want to say to Spokane 3 things:

1. It is not unreasonable for us to pass a city ordinance for us to limit the gathering of unaccompanied minors after dark in downtown Spokane. I look forward to our city council and our mayor drafting, in short order, an ordinance that will make sense, and will allow the police to do something before people are assaulted and murdered. We know they are capable of that.

2. Our Spokane community is absolutely frightened, because we don’t know what to do when minors are the one’s assaulting us. I’m a pastor, and even in defense of my life, I don’t want to be on the 6 o’clock news with a headline that reads, “Pastor assaults child downtown.”

We are so confused as to what we can do. My parents didn’t physically assault anybody, except when my mother became physical in fear for my father’s life. We want the Spokane police to tell us what to do. Don’t tell us to call 911 and run away. We’ve been doing that for years and it doesn’t work. We want to police to train us.

3. We call on the citizens of Spokane, the leadership, the police department, to come together without bickering or fighting. This assault on my parents didn’t happen because someone wasn’t doing their job, or because somebody didn’t care. Spokane needs to band into two groups: law abiding citizens, and those predators who are preying on us. We need to come together and work together in every way.

We want to make sure that it is clearly communicated that we love our mayor, we love our police, we love our city council, and we believe that they are working hard for us. Spokane would you please get involved.

We can take back Spokane from children, who are running the streets now.

Thank you again. Let us close in prayer.

Holy Father, we appeal to You once again; that You would unite our hearts in love, that you would bring us together and that we would be able, by Your power, to allow love, unity, and forgiveness to reign in our city. Would You deliver these young people in so desperate need of rescue. Would You deliver us from these criminals who are killing us. Amen.

Again, thank you for coming.