Stoke the Fire, Set the Alarm - Let's Change St. Louis Returns Pt. 2


Unstoked fires go out quicker than fires that are attended to. In 2014, after the shooting in Ferguson and subsequent events, there was a five alarm fire. The heart of St. Louis citizens, as well as many others throughout the country, were filled with white hot anger on both sides of the national debate about the relationship with police and African Americans. National ministries poured into the city to try and serve the needs and minister to the people of St. Louis.

The fire of Ferguson burned hot for more than a year. However, that once raging fire has diminished in size every year since. Now, in 2019, the fire has almost gone out. National news doesn’t cover the story except on the anniversary of the shooting. The national ministries have all left town.  The once scolding passion of a national debate between race and police has moved onto presidential elections and conversations about a wall. While the topics of national debate always change, one thing is for sure, America doesn’t need to build a wall to be divided, we already are. Especially in St. Louis.

In 2017, long after the trendiness of covering Ferguson died, I started a radio show called Let’s Change St. Louis – which aired on the largest signaled Christian talk station in the area Monday through Friday. Alongside co-hosts Kevin Eskew and PA Moller, we shared a renewed vision of revival for our city. I personally shared my faith that 20,000 souls won for Christ in St. Louis was on its way to becoming a reality, even though there was no way to see that taking shape naturally.

Billy Graham in St. Louis, 1973

On the show, I shared the stories of the results of past revivals. Billy Graham was in town for one month in 1953 and saw 3000 souls won for Christ. He came again for two weeks in 1973 and for a weekend 1999, the latter being the same year as an unexpected papal visit, and saw nearly 6000 and 12,000 souls won for Christ respectively.  I noticed a trend. Every time a major revival came through our city, the events got smaller in the day but the harvest multiplied.

If that trend continues, we should easily have faith to see 20,000 lives in one day. Shouldn’t we? Billy Graham died early last year, and his big name will no longer be enough to fill one hundred thousand seats for another crusade of St. Louis, but isn’t God still big enough for that?

After being taken off the air sometime later, my own burning fire for the revival of St. Louis started to dim. I felt like one of the last logs in the St. Louis revival fire. Yet, in that season, God allowed me to meet Kurt Wilson – who was one of the first guests on Let’s Change St. Louis.

The Day Kurt and John met

The Day Kurt and John met

Kurt has a missionary heart, but a vision to see St. Louis changed. Up until that moment we met in 2017, I hadn’t met anyone, besides those close to me, that were still trying to stoke the revival fires of St. Louis. Separately, our ministries had even made shirts that showed our faith for change in St. Louis through Christ. We both believed and declared the love and change of Christ in St. Louis was on its way.

If you have ever surrounded a campfire late at night as the last log starts to go out you will notice the heat is lessened and the light is faint. However, if you were to throw another log on that same fire, a reaction takes places. The small light of the individual logs now becomes the brighter light of the group. The heat of the fire – which was barely noticeable, when added to will awaken the hairs on your skin and remind you it’s still there. A quick stoke of those same logs will breathe life and renew the flames of a once dying fire.

God brought myself and Kurt, as well as those close to both of us, together. Individual fires that don’t burn long or bright by themselves, but when combined can keep the fire going all night so that even in the darkest night it can be seen for miles.

I believe God has plans to stoke the fires of St. Louis again. To spark the hope of a city labeled one of the worst in the country. To stop the declarations of evil and negative reputations of our Midwest home. To turn the eyes of the world back to St. Louis to show the restorative work of Christ in its people.  To unite what has been divided.

Join Kurt Wilson and John Simmons as they discuss what God has done, is doing and will do for St. Louis.

Watch the show live Wednesdays at 6pm at

God put in Kurt and I the desire to relaunch the show Let’s Change St. Louis. We started last night. Our hope is to see Christ transform lives of our city and the individuals that dwell within it. We want to talk about what God has done, what He is doing and what He will do. We want local ministries to realize we don’t need to wait or rely on national ministries to come to town anymore, we can stand up and do God’s work for ourselves. Together, we can have the faith to reconcile the divide. To plow through the walls that separate us with the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of God.

God has a plan for you, but He also has a plan for this city.  You can be part of this rekindled fire. The more logs we add, the further out our light will be seen.

Join the citywide prayer walk

Set your alarm and pray for St. Louis every day at 3:14

Watch Let’s Change St. Louis Wednesdays at 6pm

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