LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Can anything good come out of a place called 'Sin City'? Well, Christians in Las Vegas, Nevada say there's a whole lot more than gambling going on, and they're hoping it will soon spread to the rest of the nation.
A City on Fire
When thinking of Las Vegas, the last thing that probably comes to mind is churches - but believe it or not this city is home to a number of on-fire congregations that believe their city is ripe for revival.
Pastors Paul and Denise Goulet of International Church of Las Vegas say this city of 1.5 million people is much more than gamblers and partiers on the strip. They say what's happening here is nothing short of revival.
Pastor Paul said, "I like to say we're not praying for revival…we're in revival. Because if I'm winning the lost, if I'm helping the poor; if I'm educating the uneducated, if I'm reaching the un-reached, I'm in revival."
Last fall, the Goulets helped sponsor The Call Las Vegas when more than 10,000 people packed the Thomas and Mack Center for 12 hours of prayer and fasting for the city.
"This is my home. I want to see something change. I want to see prostitutes turn to Christ, I want to see the lost and the lonely just open up their arms and say, I want God. This is not a city that's been forgotten," Las Vegas resident Ashley Woods said.
"I want to see casinos become these massive houses of prayer. Crazy right? And I want people to come to here to get healed instead of to gamble!" said another resident.
"This has been called sin city and we know that we are here to cause the sins of the city to go away," Pastor Troy Martinez of East Vegas Christian Center said.
Martinez says his church is uniquely situated with a panoramic Vegas view.
"We consider ourselves the East Gate.and in the Old Testament, the sins of the city would be led out of the East Gate into the wilderness and beyond," he said.
Martinez recently teamed up with the mayor's office to tackle serious issues such as homelessness, crime, and the huge Methamphetamine problem.
CBN News was there as Martinez and Mayor Oscar Goodman made a public service announcement to help the more than 15,000 homeless across the city.
The alliance between the faith community and the mayor - a Jewish attorney once famous for defending members of the mafia - may seem like an odd one. But Goodman says it makes perfect sense.
"I think it's great - because government can only do so much. We only have so much money. We only have so much manpower," the mayor said. "This gives us a whole new set of eyes and ears and brains who are able to address these issues - these social issues - which are endemic in a community and resolve them. So I think it's a great partnership."
Martinez says since they've been working with the city, gang murders have dropped dramatically and violent crime has gone down about 43 percent in targeted areas.
"They called us the Christian Crime fighters." he said.
What Happens in Vegas, Doesn't Stay
One commercial has almost become the city's motto? You know the one… "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.?" Paul and Denise say that sentiment is simply not true.
"Because if someone comes here and get a sexual disease, guess what? People are going to hear about it when they leave town. If someone comes here and loses all their money and loses their home - it doesn't stay in Vegas - it's a fantasy. Everything that happens here goes home with them."
What they really hope does go home with people -- is a touch from God.
"They come here to our conferences or to our church, they get touched and they go back and change their world," said Pastor Denise.
Martinez said, "I've been speaking out for years that a great revival would come to this city - and when it happens here, it's not going to stay here. What happens in Vegas will touch the world!"
*Original broadcast February 29, 2008.