Nik Walker wants everyone to know that when he encounters sin, he won't back down in calling it out. But Walker also wants people to know that is not what his ministry is all about.
The 25-year-old evangelist, who has recently made headlines for helping to bring about revival in depressed areas of West Virginia, says he would much rather bring the authentic, genuine message of Jesus to the masses, a message that will give people, including the youth of America, hope for their future instead of the negative narrative fed to them daily by their schools and by culture.
Walker's humble strategy seems to be working. Sunday will mark the beginning of his fourth week preaching in West Virginia—his home state—and the results have been quite tangible. Hundreds of youth in schools, and others, attending multiple services at Christ Temple Church in Huntington have come to Christ. Many have been baptized into the kingdom in an incredible move of God that is beginning to capture the attention of the nation.
"I would much rather be preaching about what I am for than what I am against," says Walker, who was mentored during his youth by Perry Stone, a fellow native of West Virginia and the founder and leader of Perry Stone Ministries in Tennessee. "We preach the same message in schools as we do in church. This generation is looking for something real, authentic, genuine, and that's Jesus Christ. They want something more than what they've been exposed to—the calamity, the confusion and chaos of this culture.
"When they come into our meetings, we offer them hope, joy and peace," he adds. "Kids who are depressed leave our meetings with a smile on their face and peace. They can breathe again. They know their lives have eternal implications, and their hope comes from having a purpose in life. They leave knowing their identity as sons and daughters of God."
Walker, the leader of Nik Walker Ministries in Cleveland, Tennessee, isn't naive. He knows we are in the midst of an intense spiritual war for the souls of not only the youth of America but the older generations as well. And he knows there are spiritual forces that are lining up against him and his ministry.
But those spiritual forces don't include human beings.
"Anyone with skin is not my enemy," Walker says. "We don't have any enemies in the natural realm, although we've had some bad reactions from those who disagree with us. We know that society will be society, and the culture will be the culture. But this is a spiritual war, as it says in Ephesians 6: 'For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.'
"There are very heavy spiritual strongholds in this region, and that's why we're here," the evangelist explains. "We have come here preaching against the principalities that try to rule this region. They hear freedom in the gospel of Jesus. They are tired of the hypocrisy in the church. They want to see the real authentic power of Jesus demonstrated by the body of Christ. What they see causes them to question are they just following rules and reading a storybook, and is Jesus as real today as when the Scriptures were put to pen and paper. They want to see an authentic move of the Spirit in culture and in life."
Walker says he has two spiritual fathers: Stone and Pastor Jay Morgan, his pastor in his hometown of Mullens, West Virginia. Both, he says, have been influential in his spiritual upbringing. He met Stone in 2016, and said it was as though he had known him all his life. The two became fast friends, and Walker has leaned on Stone's wisdom to strengthen his leadership skills and his spiritual life.
Walker says he affectionately refers to Stone as "Dad."
"I've been very fortunate to have those strong leaders in my life and for the seeds they have planted in me," Walker says.
Walker began preaching at 17. His first sermon was delivered at his own high school under the umbrella of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, of which he was a member.
He began preaching in other public schools as well in West Virginia. "I've always told the school administrators, 'If you can open the door for me, I'll walk through it,'" he says.
For the past three weeks, Walker has preached several messages at Christ Temple Church and at multiple schools in the area. Walker did not inquire about preaching in the schools—the students requested he come.
The only pushback he has received was when he went to Huntington High School. Some students were upset that they were "forced" to attend the assembly. But that was unintentional, and it was a misunderstanding by a couple of the teachers at the school. The West Virginia American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom From Religion Foundation chimed in, but the foundation of their claims is unsubstantiated.
"We weren't there to break the law," Walker says. "Again, we have no enemies, including the ACLU. It's unfortunate how things went down at Huntington High. That was not the intention or the goal of the ministry. It was only to bring Jesus to the students who wanted to be there."
Chuck Lawrence, lead pastor of Christ Temple Church in Huntington, says Walker's presence in their area over the past few weeks has been a godsend. Huntington has been a depressed area for decades and has had high drug and alcohol addiction rates as well as high rates of suicide.
But the presence of Jesus and the area people's faith is changing that narrative.
"We are so grateful for [Walker]," Lawrence says. "He speaks well and speaks well for this generation. The message he is speaking is one that maybe we have forgotten over the last decade or so. He's just preaching God's Word, straightforward. It's a new day for many to be reawakened to the time-honored truths of the Bible. The real truth is God can bring us life and peace.
"The narrative here is beginning to change," Lawrence adds. "It has become a defining moment. I believe this is all part of a setup here to bigger and better things. Revival is timely, and it brings revitalization. You can see the vibrancy here now in people's eyes."
Walker says he'll continue to preach in West Virginia as long as the spirit of God continues to move or God calls him elsewhere.
"Jesus has come to Huntington," Walker says. "And we believe He is here to stay."
Shawn A. Akers is the online editor for Charisma Media.
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