Since the days the COVID-19 pandemic first became big news in the United States, religious freedom has also become big news. In a country founded on the basis of religious freedom, this issue has become more and more politicized.
Worship leader Sean Feucht of Bethel Church in Redding, California, has come to realize this better than almost anyone. I invited him to record a recent episode of The Strang Report podcast to discuss his burgeoning "Let Us Worship" movement, the government opposition he has faced and what all this could mean for the future of the church.
Sean's movement has exploded across the country, beginning near his home in northern California and extending to places as diverse as New York City; Minneapolis, Minnesota; West Palm Beach, Florida; and just the other night in Kerrville, Texas. But the most exciting event is still to come, Sean says, with what he says will be a "significant gathering" set for Oct. 25 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
But why? Why would a worship leader with an international ministry suddenly shift his focus to his own country? And why offer these worship events amidst a global pandemic?
Sean has a simple answer: God's prompting. "When the pandemic happened, and when churches closed in and these kinds of crazy restrictions began to be imposed on churches, specifically in California, where we're probably feeling it the worst ... I just really felt like now is the time to really activate a lot of what we've been doing around the world for the last 20 years. We have a history of going into war zones and into places of catastrophe, places of intense persecution and darkness and bringing worship, bringing the presence of God and bringing breakthrough."
When the pandemic shut down international travel, Sean had about 20 overseas trips planned, but he thought, "Maybe the Lord wants us to focus on our nation," he said. "And so we just kind of set our focus and our target on a lot of those places of destruction and crisis and really just went for it. And it was incredible what we saw God doing as we started to bring in His presence and His peace and His breakthrough to the cities," he said.
Sean ran for Congress earlier this year, and he said God used the criticism he got back then as a conservative in an ultra-liberal state to prepare him for what he would face after he began the worship events. In fact, in some places he referred to them as "worship protests" simply because city officials were supporting protests but not religious events.
"It's a double standard," he told me. "It's the height of hypocrisy that people would really target the church with discriminatory language and laws when it comes to the social distancing, and the mask mandates and stuff like that, because we didn't see that with thousands of protesters," he said. "In fact, we saw most politicians really encourage the protesting. ... But the moment we want to get together and worship, it's interesting, because they really start targeting the church."
Sean said his movement has also faced criticism because of the racial crisis in our nation, despite the fact that his ministry has a history not only in the African American community but in nations around the world of "helping with the oppressed and those who have been hopeless and hurting, ... really, the most neglected races and ethnicities of people on the earth. But nobody cares about that. They just want to see what fits into their narrative, and buy into the media's fear."
But Sean remains determined to stand strong, he said, and that's why he and his Let Us Worship team are coming to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 25. "It's one day before the Oct. 26 vote on the floor of the Senate for the new Supreme Court justice ... and it's nine days before the [presidential] election," he told me. "I don't think that a revival is coming. I think that a revival is already here. I think that we are in the midst of one of the greatest moves of God that I have seen in America."
I agree with Sean, and I encourage you to visit his website, letusworship.us, to sign his petition, already signed by tens of thousands and to donate in support of Let Us Worship. I also encourage you to like and share this vital episode of my podcast and article with friends, family or anyone else who will want to stand behind our First Amendment rights and those politicians also committed to this Spirit-filled, biblical cause.
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