Delaware is considered the sixth most dangerous state in America by the FBI statistics for rape, robbery, murder and aggravated assault. In Delaware, the city of Wilmington is the crime leader and considered one of the most (if not the most) violent cities in the United States for its size (71,000). Judy Johnson Park is considered the most dangerous park in the city.
It would be safe to say that holding a revival service at night in Judy Johnson Park would appear not to be the best of decisions. But when God leads, Pastor Daniel and Sara Day and their congregation at SkyPointe Church in Wilmington, follow.
SkyPointe Church is an active two-year-old church planted by First Assembly of God in Wilmington. SkyPointe, which now averages 100 on Sundays, benefited from matching funds through AGTrust and training through Church Multiplication Network.
On Sept. 27-29, Daniel Day says SkyPointe held a three-day revival service—two of the days in a large tent at Judy Johnson Park and the final day at the church's facilities a half-mile down the road in Wilmington. He says even though the police tried to dissuade him from hosting the revival at the park due to the constant violence, he felt God was orchestrating events.
"You hear on the news about people being shot and raped in that park all the time," Day says, "but the choice of location was really a matter of prayer. I drive by that park every day, and I couldn't get away from the feeling that God wanted us to be there."
Determined to follow God's leading, the church went ahead with its plans. However, as they were setting the tent up, the raw reality of the area was made readily apparent when a man overdosed on drugs.
"He was just 50 feet from our tent and was dying," Day recalls. "We called 911 and started praying for him ... it just really is a rough area."
Each night of the tent revival began at 5 p.m. with a free meal followed by the service that concluded by 8 p.m. Day says the event was nothing short of a complete success.
"We didn't have the first sign of a problem while we were there," he says. "We had 25 people saved during the revival and we were able to hold a kids crusade on Saturday morning as well."
Day says evangelist Tim Bennett spoke at the revival, with the first tent service focusing on Josiah and how God still takes people who are set up for failure—as Josiah was—and makes them a great force for His kingdom. The second evening's focus was healing.
"Some miraculous things took place during the week," Day says. "People were set free. A man in our church was told his liver was in terrible condition. On Thursday we prayed for him. Later, the doctors took another ultrasound and found his liver to be perfectly healthy. They couldn't understand it!"
The final revival service, held at SkyPointe Church, saw a number of people from the park services attend. "One young man, who was 16, came," Day recalls. "He had never been to a church in his life. After the service, he told me how much he enjoyed it."
Although the revival services made an impact on a deeply hurting part of the Wilmington community, Day says that one of the things he's most thankful for is how this event activated people in the church.
"A big win for me was watching different families in the church, who had not previously been involved in ministry, sink their teeth into this event," Day says. "And now they are fully plugged into the church—they've taken ownership in the church and they're doing something each week. It's cool to watch people who were on the sidelines get into the game."
Day says the church is already preparing for its next event. The church, having recently expanded its facilities by 2,500 square feet, will open the "seeds" of a dream center in November.
"It's an outreach center for our city, but not yet a dream center," Day explains. "Although it's in my heart to one day have a full-fledged dream center, this is a great facility to start with."
Day says that throughout the month of November, the outreach center will be conducting special events, reaching out to the community and families, and concluding during the last week of November with a "Keep the Community Warm" coat giveaway.
Steve Pike, director of Church Multiplication Network, says, "CMN loves to partner with new church plant projects like SkyPointe. Pastor Daniel Day and his dedicated team are faithfully bringing the gospel to people in places that are often overlooked by church planting strategies. Our prayer is that many other church planting leaders will be inspired by their example."