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« on: October 31, 2005, 08:04:06 PM »

'Power Team' Breaks Down Barriers for Their Savior

by Allie Martin
October 31, 2005

(AgapePress) - A team of world-class athletes preach the gospel of Christ throughout the U.S. while performing record-breaking feats of strength. Their shows are high energy, high volume, high intensity -- and deliver a message about the high King of Heaven.

A crusade with The Power Team typically features four or more team members who break stacks of concrete bricks, bend steel bars, snap wooden baseball bats, rip phone books, roll frying pans up like burritos, and perform other feats of strength. Power Team member Matt Dopson says the shows attract many who normally would not come to church. As the Alabama product describes it, the ministry team uses unusual feats of strength as "bait" to draw people in "because not a lot of people want to come in and hear somebody preach."

But, he says, "if you tell them you're going to be driving your head through concrete or going to be trying to snap bats or press a telephone pole over your head, or if you've got somebody who can bench-press 315 [pounds] twenty times or whatever, they're going to come down and they're going to want to see that."

Each performance features a testimony from at least one team member, a salvation message, and a chance for audience members to forsake "religion" for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. At age 45, Jim Griffin is the oldest member of the Power Team. He once held the title as the strongest man in the state of Oklahoma.

"The first thing that people are going to ask is, what does breaking a brick have to do with God? [The answer is] absolutely nothing," Griffin admits, "[but] the whole thing is, we need to be here ... to evangelize the world."

Willie Raines -- who is known as "The Human Freight Train" on the Power Team tour -- stands six feet tall, weighs 310 pounds, and sports 22-inch biceps. The Georgia native says as he travels the country, he is both encouraged and discouraged about the state of the Church in America.

"Here in America," Raines observes, "we're coming to the point that we're not concerned about souls; it's all about what I have -- if I can get the nice car, if I can get the nice house, and we try to get inheritance in things in this earth. But our inheritance is not in this earth; it's in the heavens."

He continues, saying he is "somewhat discouraged" about the current climate of the church that allows "everything and anything" to come into the house of God. "In our churches I see we have a lot of performance -- but we don't have God's presence there," he says. "Because you cannot come before the presence of God and not be changed."

But Raines remains optimistic, saying he believes there is a remnant of Christians in America who want to follow Christ without compromise.

Whenever they can, Power Team members also hold rallies in area schools where they encourage students with a motivational message, and then invite them to attend the evening crusade at the host church.
Allie Martin, a regular contributor to AgapePress, is a reporter for American Family Radio News, which can be heard online.


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