They Call Her the Demon Buster

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Tara Baker, another former witch, knows exactly how she feels. "I also was involved in homosexuality, whoredom, stealing and drug use," she says. "When I came to SWM, I was a mess with split personalities. They walked me from the pits of hell. Now I'm on the praise and worship team and the deliverance team, casting out the same devils that once tormented me."

Daniels is quick to note that Spoken Word doesn't focus solely on deliverance ministry. "We have a well balanced teaching ministry because you can't bring people out of the occult without the Word," she says. "We minister to the whole man, but...if the devil lifts his head, we deal with him."

Daniels says she has seen many homosexuals set free, and when drug addicts join her church, they don't go back to the streets. She also reaches people diagnosed with mental illness--but often not without a fight.

"Just one such incident," Daniels says, "is a woman who was brought to one of our meetings from a mental institution. When they pulled up and parked the car, the car began rocking violently with her in it under the power of demonic influence. So in the name of Jesus Christ, we cast the demons out of her. She has a sound mind and is not in an institution any longer."

Anthony Steward was a successful rapper in California's underground hip-hop scene when he met Daniels. He attended one of her deliverance conferences in Colorado after witnessing the dramatic transformation of a homosexual relative who attended a previous conference.

"I had been on drugs for about six months and was living in a ghetto city," Steward says. "They laid hands on me at the conference, and I was delivered and baptized in the Holy Ghost. When I went home I was different."

Today Steward is part of Daniels' "demon busting" music ministry, which has recorded rap songs such as "Who Dat Trying to Be Bad?" and "Oops Up Side Yo Head."

The Season of the Last

Though her church and ministry are receiving international attention now, Daniels admits that it hasn't been easy. She remembers not long ago sitting in a building that seats 900 people with fewer than 20 in the service.

"Even on Easter Sundays when most churches had lots of visitors we still only had our faithful few," she says.

After she divorced in 1996 when she says her husband became physically abusive, the attendance shrank even more. She was determined to rebuild the church and focus solely on ministry, but an old friend resurfaced: Danny.

Now divorced but still unsaved and dealing drugs, Danny found salvation and deliverance under Daniels' ministry. Though she says her feelings for Danny were long gone, Daniels began to receive prophetic words that the two would marry--which came to pass in 1997. The couple now has 4-year-old twins, Elijah and Elisha.

Starting from the ground up, Kim and Ardell "Danny" Daniels have watched the ministry grow from four to more than 200. In 2000, Daniels was ordained through apostle John Eckhardt's Impact Ministries. Eckhardt, pastor of Crusaders Church in Chicago, says he recognized an apostolic gift in Daniels and believes God will use her to encourage other women called to walk in similar kinds of ministries. He describes Daniels as a pioneer and had no qualms about ordaining a woman.

"Apostle means 'sent one,' Eckhardt says. "A woman can be sent...If the grace is on her life [for ministry], we cannot deny that grace."

Daniels is still attracted to the "tough cases," though her church is home to a cross section of people--from former drug addicts to professional athletes. Member Emmanuel Smith, wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars, met Daniels at a Tuesday night Bible study she had been invited to lead for the team.

"I received deliverance in front of my teammates," Smith says. "Everyone was shocked and watching me with their mouths open. But my life has been going uphill since. I'm learning and growing every day. After that event, a lot of my teammates wanted to get what I got, and I've been a member of SWM since."

Jaguar linebacker Edward Thomas, 27, says his faith has grown by leaps and bounds since he joined the ministry. "It's been tangible to me that we can do what the Bible says, speaking in tongues and casting out devils," Thomas says. "Seeing people like Emmanuel delivered leaves you with no doubt that God has power. It set me on fire for God."

Renaldo Wynn, defensive end for the Jaguars, and his wife, LaTonya, are also active members of Spoken Word. Renaldo met Daniels at the same Bible study his teammates attended. "Knowing Emmanuel personally, I knew it was for real. A lot of preachers don't talk about...spiritual warfare or deliverance, but this thing is more than physical, it is spiritual. This ministry exposes the devil."

Daniels and her Demon Buster partners are now highly sought after. Invited to lead a workshop at C. Peter Wagner's spiritual warfare conference in August, Daniels became the main session speaker after, she says, "the glory of God just sat on that room" during her workshop.

The scene at the conference presented a strange irony that still baffles her: "The church has been trying to get the inner city delivered, but in this case God brought the inner city to deliver the church." Within two days after the conference, Daniels had received invitations to speak from 40 states.

Wagner sits as an adviser on her board, and she is part of Rod Parsley's ministerial fellowship and has been featured on his Breakthrough program. Her testimony and book also were featured on The 700 Club.

Such occurrences have convinced Daniels that this is the "season of the last," during which God is raising people who have hit rock bottom. "Many believers have become too comfortable on their pews. There are prostitutes or drug dealers who may one day knock them off their seats in order to get close to God.

"Those saved from life on the streets are hungry for more of God. People want Jesus. If the evangelists will not win souls, the prostitutes will. When pastors get weary in well doing, the drug dealers will feed God's sheep. The rocks will cry out."

Lesa Henderson is a freelance writer based in Jacksonville, Fla. Adrienne S. Gaines is former news editor of Charisma.

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