Next week, we’ll remember the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr, who died 52 years ago this year. It’s also, of course, a time to reflect on the state of race relations within the church.
One of those efforts has been the OneRace Movement, a group that has brought more than 500 Atlanta-area pastors of all ethnic and racial backgrounds together in the name of reconciliation and revival. In 2018, the movement hosted a worship service at Stone Mountain, the largest tourist attraction in the state of Georgia—and also where confederate heroes Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson are etched in granite.
Why host an event meant to promote strengthening race relations at such a polemic site?
“It's a place with a dark history, but also present cultural significance,” said Hazen Stephens, the co-director of OneRace. “...Biblically, whenever reformers would come in, the first thing that they would do is they would go to the high place and they would remove the Asherah poles and they would take down the idols. And we felt like what we were doing at Stone Mountain as we were calling church leaders to go to a place where spiritually, an idol was erected over a 100 years ago, and to tear down that idol and say, this is not what our city stands for anymore.”
Learning this type of history is part of OneRace’s model: Know the story. Own the story. Change the story. This knowledge is crucial for white Christians trying to gain credibility from Christians of color when they enter into these conversations, says co-director Josh Clemons.
“If I were going to say something to the white church, I would say get invested in the story. It's time to listen,” he said. “It's time to hear from African American brothers and sisters. It's time to hear from Hispanic brothers and sisters. It's time to hear from Asian brothers and sisters. And how the story of race and the effects of race has impacted them. And, and then secondly, to be invested in that history so that we can own and ultimately change the story for generations to come.”
Stephens and fellow co-director Josh Clemons joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and CEO and president Tim Dalrymple to discuss the name of the initiative, how they’ve tried to make their day on Stone Mountain more than a “mountaintop experience,” and how the movement has also encouraged Christians from different denominations to partner together.
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The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola
Highlights from Quick to Listen: Episode #195
Would you guys feel comfortable introducing each other and telling us a little bit about what you've learned about each other over the years?
Hazen Stevens: Absolutely. So Josh and I have been good friends over the last three years. We were friends even before we started working together on One Race.
So in 2016, I believe we connected over an event that we were doing here in Atlanta, that was a large evangelistic gathering that we were doing in the heart of our city. And Josh was the main mobilizer and I was like a high-level volunteer and we just became good friends. We hosted prayer meetings in white and black churches for that outreach event and just got to know each other and got to have kind of conversations around the issue of race even a little bit at that time.
Josh is just an incredible man of God and an incredible thinker. He graduated with a master of divinity from Oral Roberts University. He actually kind of moonlights as a teacher in a couple of different institutions as well as the work that he does here at One Race, and has also served as a pastor in the Assemblies of God denomination.
The thing that I'd probably admire the most about him is the way that he loves and cares for his family. As you get to know a person, you just get to know about their history and their things. And I think this is true for me as well, where we're both working to reverse negative things that are in our families' generational past. And I would say that Josh is a person that has worked against the circumstances that were dealt to him, and his family of origin, and where he grew up to take his discipleship of his family and the love that he has for his wife and the ways he's raising and caring for them. It's easy to be impressive on a platform, but the thing that I love the most about Josh is I know through the secret place of prayer and his love for his family, he's changing the generational trajectory of his family for generations to come.
Josh Clemons: You know, if I didn't have so much brown skin, I would be flush red. If I were a white guy, I'd be blushed red right now. Man, my friend just, he just said—I didn't think he knew all these great things about me.
It's been a great joy to run with Hazen. He's an interesting guy. There are some people in life that you can't quite box them in, right? The second that you try to cage them, here's this other facet about them. And Hazen that that would definitely be true of. He's an Atlanta native—already that's unusual because, like me, most of us migrate to Atlanta.
But Hazen is a sharp individual and could succeed in any sphere that he decided to approach. But he has decided to give his life to being a missionary, to being an intercessor here at the International House of Prayer.
Just an incredible man. It's been a joy to run with him. There are very few white guys that I've encountered on my journey that are as inclined on racial issues as Hazen. And it's just a great joy to run with someone who's as empathetic and informed as Hazen is. The last few years have just been a joy.
Can you tell us a little bit about how the One Race movement got started?
Hazen Stevens: Some of it goes back to what I referenced in Josh and I first coming together in that evangelistic work that we're doing in the city. As we started to look at what does it look like to bring a city together around just sharing the gospel, and Josh can speak to this, the racial divide was something that inhibited people from coming together.
I mean, it kept people from coming together and sharing the gospel to put it frankly. It kept African American churches from coming and being a part of the event because the evangelist that was hosting the event was a white person. And I think it also hindered white people from coming because the person was mostly known for his work in Africa. And so it almost felt like you couldn't win in that situation because of the depth of the divisions.
And in this kind of 2016 to the present-day time period, you have unprecedented civil unrest, protests, and just a wide variety of things. Actually, serendipitously, our very first One Race gathering was on August 25, 2018, and was two weeks after what happened in Charlottesville. And I think very much because of that, and because people had a felt need as a result of Charlottesville, that we had over 1200 people come out to our very first gathering ever.
So I would say it was kind of out of the milieu of that timeframe and then out of the felt need that we were experiencing in ministry. We said, man, the church is unprepared to lead in the area of race. We're really lagging behind the culture and need to be able to engage and talk about it, and provide biblical answers for a lot of the pain, this deeply felt pain that is surfacing.
So to make a long story short, a group of pastors—including Billy Humphrey, who's been my leader in ministry for now over 13 years, Bishop Garland Hunt, Scott and Tammy Free, who run an urban ministry—all of us gathered together and we were going to do an event together and somebody said, "We don't just need unity around an event, we need a movement of relationship." And it was kind of out of that seedbed of thought, in that group that was gathering together, that the beginnings of One Race emerged. And then as Josh came on staff and we began to work together on operations towards the Stone Mountain event, we just realized not only the depth of need, but also the unprecedented opportunity that the cultural moment presented for us to help people.
Everywhere we went, it was like, "I've been praying into this. I need help in knowing how to address this within my church or within our spiritual community." One of the things we found is not a lot of pastors have resources on who they can trust to help inform how to talk about these things or even how to pray into them, and how to have language.
Josh Clemons: Just as we began to talk about this One Race movement, and I was informed about Billy and Garland and the whole team's plan around creating a movement, I was actually pastoring at an Assemblies of God church. You know, the Assemblies of God has an interesting history. If we're just going to be candid about it, a very tense racial history.
So I found myself situated with the Assemblies and facing some upheaval there. And then also it's about the time that many of the police shootings of unarmed black men were taking place. There was a lot of unrest in the nation around those things, and it just seemed like it was the right moment for a different sound, for a gospel approach, for the church to really emerge as the leader on this conversation. Really beginning to declare righteousness and call for justice in many of the situations.
And so I was overjoyed when I got the call that's something like One Race would be happening, and even more excited when I felt the invitation to be a part and to support it in the way that I have.
Can you share the narrative of building that One Race movement at Stone Mountain? And how do you respond when people share some of those anxieties over the name or location?
Josh Clemons: As a black man, I typically share with them, I felt the same way.
It feels at first blush to be absent from the conversation, to be uninformed about the tensions presently, to be uninformed about the way that we are supposed to embrace diversity. It seems to been thought of by a white guy or white person.
As I considered the name and considered our journey, the truth is that we really are one race. Now, with that being said, race is not a real construct. It's a false construct created here in the West for the purpose of oppressing some and exalting others. Secondly, we've all been created in the image and likeness of God, and so with that being said, I take the approach that we've all been created in the image and likeness of God, which makes us all equal. It makes us all the same with that respect.
Now, we can't gloss over the pain of the past. We can't gloss over the 400 years of oppression here in America. We can't gloss over the racial tension that really does exist and the problems that exist. But we can call people together around the gospel that calls us one, that calls us a new humanity, that says that we're created in the image and likeness of God. We can call people together around that and really cast a vision for us caring for one another and empathizing with each other's pain.
Hazen Stevens: It has to be noted that we didn't just say we're going to do an event at Stone Mountain and we're going to market that event. We actually built 17 pastors groups across the city, once a month leading up to the culminating event on Stone Mountain that engaged probably 250 different churches and over 500 pastors. We invited them to do their pastors group and then to do these regional prayer gatherings where they brought their local churches together. And then we gathered the city at Stone Mountain.
And part of the reason I felt like it was really prophetically significant to gather at Stone Mountain is that in 1915, the very first cross every in history was publicly burned on top of Stone Mountain. And that event by a handful of Klansmen on Thanksgiving Eve, that event was led by a former Methodist Episcopal minister. And so when we started to tell pastors in our city this history—and for those unfamiliar with Stone Mountain, it's the physical high place over our city; it rises about 800 feet above the terrain around us and can be seen visibly from most places in the city.
And so it's the physical highest place in our city. It's a historical place. It's the largest Confederate Memorial in the world. It's also the largest tourist attraction in the state of Georgia. So it's a place with a dark history, but also present cultural significance. You know, biblically, whenever reformers would come in, the first thing that they would do is they would go to the high place and they would remove the Asherah poles and they would take down the idols.
And we felt like what we were doing at Stone Mountain as we were calling church leaders to go to a place where spiritually an idol was erected over a hundred years ago, and to tear down that idol and say, this is not what our city stands for anymore.
After the event took place, what are some ways that people saw God doing or where God was at work on that day?
Josh Clemons: There are several testimonies that I'd like to highlight, just as we consider the day and how it impacted many folks are around the city.
As a minority, I'm going to tell you one of the things that I heard repeatedly from minority brothers and sisters was that I'm grateful that this many believers in the city of Atlanta are concerned about race. That this is something that we should be contending for, that we should be contending for a breakthrough at. I can't tell you how many brothers have told me about wounds from their past, about discrimination, about racism, about how all that has impacted them in their lifetime, and how they felt a touch from a Lord to forgive, to be healed, to really advance for wholeness because of this event.
And then from a white perspective, I have heard many share that they were apathetic before being a part of the movement or before coming to this event. And it really catapulted me to grow and to lean in and to understand more about the pain of the past, about the pain of the present. To understand more about what my Hispanic, my African American, my Asian brothers and sisters might be experiencing.
And those are the moments that we long for. Now, is that a complete transformation? No. But it is the beginning of one. It's the on-ramp to the journey. And there are probably hundreds of testimonies like that, if not thousands that we've heard over the last few months.
Hazen Stevens: I think one of the things that it's difficult to quantify, but when people read and make a commitment—which we had several hundred pastors and leaders make a commitment to take a public stand against racism in any form when they encounter it in their ministries—and you ask people to make that commitment, there are probably going to be various levels of follow-through, of course. And again, it's hard to quantify, but one of the things I think that really was a potent fruit coming out of that, and we've seen people make good on, is the commitment to go back to their church, go back to their community, and actually make a difference. And to live a reconciled life—from their personal life to their corporate life in their church. And then to stand against racism and its various forms.
And we have one of our One Race groups actually make a public response to a controversy in a local area here in Atlanta, where a city official came out and said, you know that we are not going to hire a public servant because they're African American, because our community's not ready for that. And then they also made a public statement that they didn't think interracial marriage was biblical and the kind of sit in comm. And honestly, all across Georgia, there are people in positions of leadership and government that have those kinds of views. But a group of local pastors wrote a letter basically expressing their desire for this person to repent of that view.
All of us need discipleship, and I don't mean that in a condescending way. I think a big part of the fruit of One Race is we're disciplining pastors and leaders in biblical truth around race and inviting them to take a clear biblical stance on these things, especially in response to places wherein our government, in our society, in our churches, a lot of times there is confusion.
Josh Clemons: There was a pastor that was in Columbus, Georgia that was a part of what we did that, unfortunately, was removed from his church by his elders because of what a clear public stand he took on the issue of race. And I think when people come to a gathering, make those kinds of commitments, and then you see kind of the aftershock or the reverberation in an organization and in communities, you know people took those commitments seriously.
If I recall correctly, either somebody who had been involved in the Klan or whatever was a descendant of someone who had been involved with the Klan met with descendants of people who had suffered at the hands of the Klan. Am I remembering that wrong or is that a story that you can share?
Josh Clemons: So on top of Stone Mountain, we kicked the event all with really naming the sin of supremacy, the sin of racism, and describing it. That is the first step is calling it by name, truth-telling about it. And then as an act to counter it, to begin the process of healing and a transformation there, we invited Rose Simmons and Anthony [Thompson] from Charleston.
They lost loved ones at the Charleston massacre when Dylann Roof went into the historic African Methodist Episcopal church there in Charleston and killed several of the members there, including the pastor. As one could imagine, it has created a lot of pain, a lot of angst, a lot of turmoil, but also exposed a lot of tension that lied under the surface. Well, you fast forward to Stone Mountain and we invited Rose and Anthony to join us there on top of the mountain. Anthony lost his wife there, Rose lost her father there, and it was just a significant retelling of the story, of what took place there in Charleston.
And then we have a friend here who is a relative of Bedford Forest, who was the founder of the Klan many, many years ago. And he's, four or five generations removed, his grandson. He came to the Mountain within his heart to repent, to repent on behalf of white supremacists who have afflicted so much pain on this family, and then also as a proxy for the pain that supremacy and racism have caused to the African American community at large.
It was just an incredible moment. I don't even quite have words to describe the moment.
Anthony and Rose have made great strides in their healing process, but as they shared privately with us, it still gives them great pain. They lost loved ones that day. But to have someone who is a relative of the founder of the Klan come and repent and apologize and ask for forgiveness was a significant moment of healing for them as well. And so it's just a very special time there at Stone Mountain.
So post-2018, can you talk us about some of the programs that you've been trying to initiate or the follow up in order to kind of really build lasting change in people?
Hazen Stevens: You know, something that we've wrestled with is how do you combine these catalytic events with transformation in the day in and day out. And I think anybody that leads a ministry that does things that are, in a certain sense, mountain top experiences or conferences will sympathize with the tension that we're talking about.
I found great comfort that in some ways it's a biblical model for people to have mountaintop experiences. I mean, even the idea of a mountaintop experience comes from Moses going up on the mountain, having experience with God, and then coming down and having to sort through all the mess of what he experienced on the mountain amongst the people.
For us, we kind of saw in scripture that God calls the people to congregate in feast and in different seasons and in different times for a corporate experience, and then He sends them home for the traditional worship in the synagogue. And He commands both. He commands season of assembly and He commands the weekly Sabbath for the infiltration of daily life.
I feel like that is the picture that we have. We have times when we want this movement to gather, where we can hear from God together from His word as we do teaching and preaching and worship and prayer. But then we want people to take those realities back into their local community and to live out the values that we're proclaiming, whether it's in a conference setting or a large public gathering like Stone Mountain.
How do we do that effectively? This is where the rubber meets the road of discipleship. And I think the places where One Race movement has really been able to equip people is not so much in the discipleship of congregations, but the discipleship of leaders that lead those congregations. Giving them language, paradigm.
And honestly, one of the number one thing we do is try and create a safe place where people can express things—especially white evangelical leaders—express the concerns or the issues or the questions that they have that they're afraid to say in another setting because they're afraid that we labeled a racist or ignorant. And I can just say time and time again, getting to sit down and have lunch—we've probably had lunch with 150 pastors in this last year—and so we're having three or four different face-to-face meetings. And in those meetings, the context a lot of times is, we're doing a gathering, doing a prayer meeting, but in order to get us to the place where we can lead publicly, we're having to have discipleship cycle conversations all along the way on the topic of race.
When you have a leader in the church that was afraid to stand against racism or afraid to talk about racial issues or had offense in their heart, but now they were able to forgive or they were able to air that area of uncertainty and come to come to a biblical conviction, that's the place where you have now a transformed leader that can transform communities.
Josh Clemons: Yeah, and if I can just chime in there just a bit. What Hazen is speaking of here is that we do these catalytic events, but they all have to point to process. They all have to point to discipleship. The only way that you can rid racism and indifference, apathy, all of the above within the race culture space, is through discipleship. There has to be a transformation that takes place. And the quickest and easiest way that the church can break out of her apathy, break out of the mold that we've been cast in, is to begin on this journey of discipleship, this journey of transformation.
And you do that with leaders who go back to their congregations and lead their folks into a greater knowledge, a greater understanding of what it means to be one, of what it means to be reconciled. It's been quite the journey to walk with leaders and to hear their stories and to be a friend. And, and sometimes to offer correction and insight as to why they may be operating in ignorance or what have you. But that's been a joy for the journey.
When you're doing this type of work, how are you framing it in such a way to take away some of that defensiveness or concern people may have?
Hazen Stevens: Issues around diversity, issues around equality of peoples, those are biblical ideas. Those aren't liberal or conservative ideas. And I think when we go back to the gospel message and the ultimate culmination of the gospel is that every tribe, every tongue, every people, every nation, we're all going to worship the Jewish Messiah Jesus. Like you better not be antisemitic, you better not be racist, because Jesus isn't a white man. Jesus isn't a black man. In my view of what the scripture tells us about the person of Jesus, he's a descendant of King David, and he is going to, in heaven, received the worship and praise of all creation and of every people, tribe, and nation.
And so in some ways, I feel like by rooting out racism, we're preparing the bride and preparing people for the realities of heaven. And I think when you frame and approach your ideas, not in political terms, but in terms of what the Bible teaches about race and about culture and about the kingdom of God—because most evangelical believers, we're all agreeing that the word of God is, is our frame of reference and our plumb line. But there's a lot of. Amazing truth in there about how we are to love one another about how we're to approach the subject of race and how we're to forgive one another. And we take a lot of those biblical concepts on character, but we've framed them within this conversation on race.
And it's incredible how Christians will agree that you're supposed to be humble, but then we start to get into a discussion on race and we forget about humility. And we have to remind each other that these things are not separate. The biblical teaching of humility is not separated from the biblical teaching on race. Like those things all come together as a package so that we can be a witness in the public sphere as well as in our private lives.
Tell us about 2019, which was a year that had a particular kind of resonance when it comes to America and race. Where would you say that resonance came from? And what were some of the things that you guys planned and carried out over the course of 2019?
Josh Clemons: Well, 2019 marked the 400th year since slavery was enacted here in America. It marked the 400th year since the White Lion, the container carrying kidnapped Africans, stolen Africans, arrived on the shores of the American colonies. Bringing these Africans to meet their destiny of becoming slaves. And this began a dark night in America that we are still trying to recover from. It started a 250-year journey of slavery, men owning men and women owning women. This idea that to be black or to be African is to be inferior. It started the ball rolling on racism as we know it here in America.
And we thought that this was the perfect opportunity for the church to humble herself and to lean in and to realize that the past really is still present with us. That many of the problems and the tensions that we're experiencing today are a direct result of the last 400 years. And so we oriented very heavily to that anniversary.
And so what we did is that this kind of a listening tour throughout Atlanta, where we did nine leadership roundtables in different parts of the city, casting vision for what we were wanting to do in August of 2019, but also wanting to hear how racial tensions, how the political landscape, how leaders were leading through this tumultuous time. And the discoveries from that were quite impressive, which brought us to August 2019.
And we kicked the month off with two conferences. One called the 400 Leadership Summit, and that was specific to pastors and leaders here in Atlanta. And then the 400 Conference, which was open to the public believers at large. What we did at these two events was really told the story of the last 400 years. Shared of the pain and the effects and how it's crippled race relations. The irony here is that you can go to work on Monday and work with a black person, a white person, a Hispanic person, an Asian person, but then on Sunday morning we typically retreat to our white churches, our black churches, our rich churches, our poor churches, et cetera. And that all has a root to it.
And we were pointing back to 1619 with the beginning of slavery here in this country. It was quite an incredible conference where we really took time to lean in and to diagnose the problem, but we didn't stop there. We wanted to prescribe something t0 leaders as we move forward trying to navigate the choppy waters of race and church.
We followed that conference up with a 20-day fast, calling leaders to pray and to fast, which brought us to August 25th, which we call the day of remembrance. And we reached about 50,000 believers on that Sunday morning through leaders getting into their pulpits and preaching the same message all throughout the city. And that basic message was, it's time for us as a church to lament the pain of the past, to lament these 400 years and the implications from them, and then also to repent of that sin so that we can begin to heal as the church, as a nation. And the church of Jesus Christ can emerge as the leaders in this conversation. It was quite the impactful month.
I've heard from African American brothers and sisters who feel like, you know, we've been standing on the bridge for a long time and the white church just really hasn't met us here or who feel that.They'll have events where people kind of talk a good game, and yet they actual reconciliation that follows is, is lacking. And so they just feel tired. I'd love to get you guys as thoughts on those things.How does the white church need to proceed for there to be any kind of real or lasting reconciliation?
Josh Clemons: As a model for transformation, we've kind of come up with a three-step process that we prescribed in 2019, and we'll hold fast to in the years to come: Know the story. own the story, change the story. Know the story of the past. Own it through lamenting, through repenting. And then seek to be an advocate for change, for redemption, for justice in these things.
And to drive right at your question, I think that the white church does have quite a distance to go with regards to that. I would say that through humility if we're going to see transformation happen, we've got to begin to listen. We've got to begin to engage and enter into the pain of another, to enter into the pain of our collective narrative. Really knowing the story of individuals, knowing the corporate story. And then own it—there's a part that we all play in this, and how we're complicit, and the impact of race and racism in our daily lives as well as on the church corporately—so that we can see the story change for generations to come.
And so if I were going to say something to the white church, I would say get invested in the story. It's time to listen. It's time to hear from African American brothers and sisters. It's time to hear from Hispanic brothers and sisters. It's time to hear from Asian brothers and sisters. And how the story of race and the effects of race has impacted them. And, and then secondly, to be invested in that history so that we can own and ultimately change the story for generations to come.
Morgan Lee: I would also add in there Native Americans. They have interesting things to say on this topic.
Hazen Stevens: And honestly, you know, especially among our African American brothers, as we do this work that is an ongoing critique that is valid and very painful when we hear it. Because a lot of times it's hardened people's hearts to the conversation we're trying to have around unity and reconciliation.
And I think what I would say to that is that first, that there's some legitimacy to that, but we also have to guard ourselves against cynicism, all of us do. And we sat with even African American leaders who said, "I'm going to have the courage because I feel God inviting me to, to engage in this conversation again. Even though last time around the backroom conversations about reconciliation didn't match the public proclamations."
And I remember an older African American leader, who had engaged with racial reconciliation in the 80s and the 90s, say, "I don't know if I want to do this again, because when I did it before the backroom proclamations didn't match the public declarations. And it hurt."
When I hear that, the honesty of it, the realness of it, I go, "God, don't let that be me." I want the reality of the way I live my life to reflect these values, and I want to call other people to it, but I also want to know, if I don't do it all perfectly, it doesn't mean it's not worth trying to do. You know, if we fall short of the mark, I'd rather fall short trying to reconcile the church because I believe that's the heart and the will of God, and that's why I do it. Not even necessarily because I'm convinced I'll be successful.
What are some other examples of groups like the One Race movement, which is just focused on Atlanta, out there that you guys might be aware of?
Josh Clemons: So top of mind, I'm going to highlight two. Latasha Morrison with Be the Bridge. My goodness, I am just a fan of her work. I'm a fan of her book. I really believe that she has written a manifesto of sorts through the Be the Bridge curriculum, as well as her book, on how the white church can lean in and understand and journey with people of color well. But also how African Americans, Hispanics, Asian, Native folks, can all lean in as well to really pursue this idea of reconciliation. It's just powerful, powerful stuff.
Secondly, I would point to Jemar Tisby with Pass the Mic, as well as his podcast by the same name, and he just does a masterful job of leaning into the pain, into the problem, giving lots of insight as to where the church is missing it, where the pain and the tension lies. And then also his book Color of Compromise really lays out the history of racism in the American church and it's just powerful stuff.
And so those are two organizations that I'm a pretty big fan of and are gospel-centered and just how great appreciation and admiration for those two individuals.
To wrap up how have you seen the One Race movement become more than just part of the ministries and denominations you are about of and seen it flow outside of that?
Hazen Stevens: That's been really one of the coolest things is we can honestly say we've had, not just participation, but financial contributions, and leaders who came and spoke and participated from the swath of denominational and nondenominational churches in our city. And it's just been incredible to see because I think in all of these denominations, there are people that recognize the cultural moment that we're in and that the church needs to speak with clarity and biblical truth on the issue of race. Everywhere we go, we find leaders in every denomination that say this is really important.
One of the things we haven't shared as much in this interview that I think is worth bringing in is we call people to prayer as a first response to the injustice that we're seeing. That we think that the hard work of transformation, discipleship, and then ultimately cultural transformation, it begins in the place of prayer with the transformation of our own heart. I just find that when we, we choose that as the starting place, intimacy with God and connection with the heart of God, connection with biblical truth, we find a lot of people can say, "Yes, I want to see transformation and change and I'm willing to start in my own relationship with God by bringing these things in an intentional way before God and the place of prayer."