Over the past few months, Portland has witnessed incredible violence from civil unrest.
Burning buildings and racial friction have devastated the city and residents.
Now a powerful “counter-protest” has set the stage for a new hope in a hotbed of radicalism.
Christian worship leader and activist Sean Feucht, who’d already been hosting revival gatherings on some of California’s beaches, knew that Portland needed to be reminded of the power of the Gospel.
After more than two months of violent and destructive riots, Portland was exhausted and hurting.
So Feucht and several other Christian leaders organized a worship event to bring peace, prayer, and kindness to Portland.
Called “Riots to Revival,” the event attracted thousands of people, both Christians and unbelievers, who were hungry to hear God’s voice.
Feucht and his fellow organizers called it a “counter-protest,” arguing that it was a chance to confront the rash of civil unrest Portland has endured over the summer.
“We just believe that the church has the ability to change the narrative,” Feucht said.
“All of America has just seen these buildings burning, and they’ve seen this destruction and this violence, and the mainstream media seems to be infatuated with this.”
“But what I’m telling you is that there’s another story of what God is doing in these cities, and the church is rising up.”
Feucht has previously described the “Riots to Revival” movement as a “return…to a gritty, raw Gospel.”
“I think what it’s doing is stripping off the sheen and the polished nature of what we’ve built in America and it’s allowing us to return to the simplicity, to the power of the raw Gospel.”
Even though only 600 people initially responded to the Facebook event, Feucht and others eventually gathered a crowd of between 4,000 and 7,000 people in Waterfront Park.
Even amid the city’s social distancing measures, the crowd worshiped together by singing Christian anthems and praying for God’s movement across the city.
Many people were even baptized into the family of God!
Feucht described the scene as moving and hopeful—a welcome contrast to the prevailing tensions in the city.
“White, Black, Hispanic—we came and released our song of hope over this city,” he reported.
“People gave their life to Jesus. Hundreds of people—we baptized people in the river behind us. There was so much joy that took over the streets of that city.”
Worshipers were gathering just a few blocks away from the federal courthouse in Portland while a riot was beginning to ensue in another area of the city.
As Feucht led thousands in peaceful worship, a large crowd of protestors were marching towards the Portland Police Association, destroying dumpsters and vandalizing buildings on their way to the precinct.
“People within the crowd committed crimes when they erected a fence, pushed dumpsters into the street to block traffic, set a dumpster on fire, vandalized the [police station] with spray paint, and destroyed security cameras,” the police department reported.
The Portland Police Bureau declared it a riot after protestors began breaking windows and starting fires.
So the revival on the other side of town was perfectly timed, bringing an aura of peace—and the presence of God—to a struggling city.
Feucht also used the revival as a time to speak out against the “double standards” states have been enforcing against Christians during this time of social distancing.
“States across America, including here in California have shut down church services and even outlawed singing in church,” Feucht explained.
“Instagram and Twitter [are] censoring Christian voices every single day. And every hour that passes they grow bolder in their efforts to silence the faithful.”
“It is a double standard,” Feucht argued, speaking of the restrictions placed on Christian gatherings while rioters go free.
“And I would say at best, it’s hypocrisy. And at worst, it’s bigotry.”
“You know, there’s a target on churches.”
Despite these double standards, Feucht has continued to bring the “Riots to Revival” movement to new cities across the U.S. including Seattle where hundreds recently gathered to worship, pray, and enjoy fellowship.
“From riots to revival. So, from something that is evil to something that is good,” said one crowd member.
Praise God that Feucht and his movement have brought something good out of all the evil in our country!
Please continue to pray for Feucht and Christian leaders like him as they seek to bring the Gospel to those in desperate need of hope.