FORT WAYNE—On Wednesday, April 10, the Rev. Bill McGill, senior pastor of Imani Baptist Temple, began a 40-day water-only fast as his personal act of intervention to stop the rash of violence in our city. The fast is set to climax on May 19, which marks the Day of Pentecost in Christian tradition.
“If in fact that experience of spiritual empowerment was designed to equip the followers of Christ to act as agents of change in their environment, then the contemporary church is clearly living beneath her spiritual entitlement. It was clearly the Divine intention for the church to serve as a vehicle of preparation that led to prevention. We, including the church I serve, have been guilty of benign neglect,” explained the Rev. McGill.
He said he sees parallels between the violence that is becoming far too commonplace in our community and an incident in scripture where the disciples where unable to cast a demon out of a young boy. After Jesus brings deliverance to the child the disciples ask him why they were ineffective, to which he responds, “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
The Rev. McGill said he believes a concerted period of spiritual consecration and concentration will yield a peaceable fruit.
“I have personally come to a place in ministry where its time for the church to put up or shut up. Either we possess the power we preach that’s capable of healing any breach, or nothing we declare each week is within our parishioners reach. I am just foolish enough to believe that God will begin to heal when God knows the faiths representatives are real,” he said.
The Rev. McGill said he is hopeful that pastors all across the city will see this as a natural response to our state of emergency. In fact, he said he sees the fast as mandated in scripture, for Joel 1:14 says “Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly; gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.” McGill said he firmly believes that “if the church can unite in persistent prayer, the bullets will stop flying through the air. When we lay aside our denominational differences and learn to share, the bullets will stop flying through the air. When these children begin to feel that we care, the bullets will stop flying through the air.”
The sanctuary at Imani Baptist Temple will be open for prayer each evening during the fast from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., representing 40 hours of prayer for the violence to end. The church is located at 2920 Indiana Ave., on the corner of Indiana and Cottage avenues.
For additional information contact the Rev. Bill McGill at (260) 410-3430 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in our April 17, 2013 issue.