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>> Interview:
Deutsche Welle with the directorMichaela Kirst (mp3; 4,8MB)

© Deutsche Welle / Weltspiegel 2004





´I don't know why we didn't see it before, but New York City is the perfect place to become the Jesus center of the world’ says Scott Rourk, a 33 year old pastor of the Southern Baptist faith, who feels New York city may be the place where the Great third Awakening could start out. The second Great Awakening took place in the 1800s, was the second religious revival in the U.S. history, and consisted of a religious fervor which swept accross the American cities and changed the face of American religion. Scott Rourk has recently moved with his family from Atlanta to New York in order to set up the four one one, his new church located in Times Square and aimed at convincing the artist community of New York of the validity of the Bible’s messages in their daily lives.

The Evangelicals’ approach to religion falls under the philosophy that church should adapt to the needs of the times. Accordingly, Scott uses modern communication and marketting tools to spread the message of Jesus; A hip CD-rom is his visiting card, Rock music for Jesus are the bells of his church, and people praying in the new york city streets are his voices of change. Partly funded by the Southern Baptist Convention which is the largest Evangelical organization in the U.S., the 411 is one example of the Southern Baptist’s strategic plans to spread the Christian faith in urban cities in the hope of introducing the concept of New Born Christians to people of different faiths, reviving it for those of the Catholic faith, and adapting the concept of church to modern city needs. With 16 million members who worship in about 42,000 churches in the U.S. sponsoring about 5,000 U.S. missionaries and more than 5,000 foreign missionaries in 153 countries, the Southern Baptist Convention is committed to proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the US and to the entire world. George W. Bush, the Reverend Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham are some of America’s leading figures who are New Born Christians.

The Southern Baptists' New York campaign is a missionary strategy laid out six years ago and moved sooner after the events of September 11, due to a ´rising need for church`. Setting up a church in New York city however, is not the easiest of tasks; In a city buzzing with a cultural and religious mix, Scott Rourk says it is almost like doing missionary work in a foreign country. But he remains convinced that God will lead him to the right place ; ´´What man intends for evil, God turns into good´´ is one of Scott’s firm beliefs and, accordingly, he thinks that the 911 events, though intended for the destruction of America, will now pave the way for Christ to enter into the heart of busy New Yorkers and that his church will be one of the tools used to spread that message and to pave the way for the Great Awakening. Will New York City, also home to Hinduism, Islam, Catholicism, and Judaism, readily give up its melting -pot identity to follow a unifying Evangelical religious call?



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