By Noah Hubbell
By Leslie Simon
By Brad Lopez
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Inkoo Kang
By Dave Herrerra
By Josiah M. Hesse
"There's something about knowing you're standing in a pulpit as God's spokesman, representing Him," he says. "I don't think there's anything that can really compare to that."
For the better part of an hour, Pastor Richie has plumbed the depths of Revelation, chapter 18 -- and at last, the moment has come for a closing prayer.
"Father," Pastor Richie says, "there are things we have trouble with, but we know that everything You do is righteous and just. Lord, I pray that if You have gathered with us any today who have not felt the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, may their eyes and ears and hearts be opened." He looks out at the congregation. "If that is your wish, can I pray for you?"
A young man wearing a down vest stands, hands clasped, head down.
"Is this the day for you?" Pastor Richie asks him.
The young man nods.
"He's nodding yes!" Pastor Richie exults. "He's saying, 'This is the day I change everything in my life.'" Again, he takes in the crowd. "Will you join him?"
No one else stands, but Pastor Richie understands. They've already been saved. So he keeps going.
"Thank you, Jesus, for caring for us -- for saving us..."
Then the worship team starts playing, this time with Pastor Richie front and center, singing as loudly as he's ever sung in his life. And at this moment, he doesn't seem to care that he never became as famous as some of his friends, or that his church has to meet in a gymnasium, or even that the way he chooses to worship is misunderstood by so many people in the town he calls home. Instead, he's enraptured because he's just successfully recruited another soldier for the army of God -- and it feels good.
Just like being on top of the charts.