Around eighty students and community members gathered in the Chapel Friday night for Take the City. According to its website, the vision of Take the City is to “transform cities by serving in the areas of proclamation, compassion, and justice.” Many were unsure what this weekend would hold, but after the director, Andrew Chalmers, spoke at UnChapel, it was clear the weekend would have an impact on Regent’s campus.
Junior Patrick Rizzi said, “After UnChapel and hearing Andrew share about Take the City, I knew that I was supposed to go. Did all my fears instantly vanish upon deciding to go or upon going? Absolutely not! But through this experience, God taught me to trust Him better in evangelizing and just how much He uses our simple yes.” Many felt similarly and attended the session Friday, unsure about what they would learn, but expectant that the Lord brought this organization to Regent for a purpose.
Friday night began with worship led by students and community members then Chalmers spoke. Instead of guilting people into ministry and giving them handy acronyms for evangelism, Take the City believes in shaping people’s identities so that sharing the Gospel becomes an organic part of their lives. To do this, he shared Luke 15:25-30, exclaiming, “Some of you are living like a servant, even though you’re a son.” The older son was living in the house, but he did not know the authority and blessings that came with being a son. Instead, he served for years to please the father, not understanding he was already fully loved.
The final line of the passage shows the father correcting the older son’s thinking saying, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.” Andrew Chalmers reminded those present that when they go out to witness, the Father is ever present, and He possesses infinite authority and resources. In the event booklet, there is a quote from Mark Batterson that reads, “How you think of God will determine what you become.” We witness, not out of obligation to serve, but as a reflection of the love that has been given to us from our heavenly Father.
On Saturday, groups went out to various locations around Hampton Roads to put this teaching into practice. They connected with individuals in a retirement home, a Chinese food shop, and even on the playground. For many, this was the first time they had led someone to Christ or just gotten to share the Father’s love with a stranger. Freshman, Caden Arendt described his experience during the outreach portion, “I have never experienced the Holy Spirit so powerfully in and through my life. As Christians, we have a call to go make disciples. When we make ourselves willing vessels for that purpose, the blessings of God fill not only the lives of those we are reaching but also our own. That is exactly what happened this weekend. Praising God for the fruit that was harvested.”
Though there were many rejections, there were an equal amount of powerful moments, including complete healings, many grateful recipients of prayer or words of knowledge, and four people who accepted Christ. Below are a just a few of many testimonies that were shared following the outreach Saturday. If you talk to anyone who attended Take the City, ask them to share their stories with you; each of them encountered the authority and love of the Father powerfully that day.
“My highlight was after the event ended actually. During the training, some girls and I prayed for this woman who had blurry vision in one of her eyes. I wasn’t sure if I was hearing me or God, but I know that I heard “generational curses.” So I told her that. I wasn’t really sure I was on point or not but her eye got healed. So everything was cool. But things got cooler when after the event, she said I had hit the nail on generational curses and even had me explain to her in more detail, what it was and how to break it in prayer. So, that was just amazing. I’ve never had a moment like that, so it was definitely an encouragement that I hear God more than I think. I also went to the grocery store after the event, and my roommate and I started praying for random people. We got words of wisdom from this amazing lady. It was just a great day!” –Destinee Stancil
“I really had a blast just getting the opportunity to love on people—and pray with them! I am very excited to see the Lord continuing to give us boldness to share the gospel with the people we encounter.” – Morgan Randolph
“My highlight of the day was being able to pray for a lady at Chapel and seeing God heal the pain from her shoulder. It was super cool to see God move so quickly.” – Adriana Zehr
“Door after door we were rejected, ignored and walked pass. I felt distrust and fear reflected from many people in the neighborhood even the few who let us pray for them. I started to feel like maybe this place just wasn’t ready, maybe this just wasn’t where God wanted us to work yet… but, as we knocked on our final door, an elderly woman opened and agreed to receive God’s blessings and aid. She was very open and honest about her situation and truly wanted that connection with God once more as she [had] in the past. We lead her in a prayer and she took it away, she even started praying for us, it was such a powerful moment seeing this light glow from her. It was like witnessing a dying candle instantly regain it’s robust flame, and I just knew that it was at the exact time and place that God planned for us to be. Our encounter with Margaret was very emotional and truly a blessing. It was the highlight of my entire week.” – Reine Nyinang
This does not end here. Regent must continue to be a light to Virginia Beach and continue to partner with the local Body of Christ to reach the community. On Saturday, over twenty students stepped forward to signify their commitment to start a Reach Group on campus. These Reach Groups will go out weekly to pray, share the Gospel, and serve the community. Once the Reach Group leaders complete the four week training with Take the City staff, groups will begin going out. If you are interested in joining a Reach Group, email email@example.com for more information.
Renée Hogan is a department head for the Daily Runner.