Instead of hanging out with their youth group at the movies, a handful of twenty-somethings with Slavic roots is heeding a pastor’s call to get outside the four walls of the church and share the gospel on their city’s streets.
The young group of Americans with Ukrainian and Eastern European ancestry headed out to proclaim the good news of Jesus in Sacramento, California, every Sunday night for five years.
Set on fire by Holy Spirit-power, these young carriers of the gospel led their peers to Jesus – even changing the spiritual atmosphere of downtown Sacramento – but they knew there was more for them than saving souls.
Teaching these new believers in Jesus the basics of following Him proved difficult in their strict, conservative church.
So another pastor in Sacramento suggested they start a church for people coming to Jesus through their outreach dating back to 2018.
As “churched kids,” they wondered if another one was needed, and asked the Lord to reveal His plans to care for the new believers Christ birthed on the streets.
A son of the pastor who encouraged the group to take the good news of Jesus to the streets, Ivan Katrenyak saw the need and organized United Church to disciple, train, and send followers of Jesus to proclaim His salvation.
United Church then birthed Jesus March, a ministry of United Revival Ministries, both under its auspice.
The ministry has hosted 125 prayer and worship events, connected with 200 churches, commissioned 6,500 evangelists, and introduced thousands of people to Jesus since its formation five years ago.
By the end of this year, United Revival will have brought Jesus March and evangelism training, worship and prayer, proclamation of His name, altar calls and baptisms, along with thousands of people to nine cities including Seattle and Portland.
Both cities produced spiritual fruit and resistance during the months of June and July this year.
“Four thousand people came to Jesus March in Portland, where Antifa and protesters following Twitter calls to keep the city and culture anti-God produced a counter demonstration of more people than anybody imagined,” said Vadim Semenchuk, a Jesus March team leader.
Yet, United Revival tore down the enemy’s walls around the two cities with Jesus March much like the Israelites crumbled Jericho’s fortifications after seven days of marching around and shouting at them. (Joshua 6: 4-5)
“In the same way, when we march around cities something breaks and, wherever America goes, the world follows,” Semenchuk said.
In Seattle, a woman was delivered by Jesus from an unwanted addiction to alcohol in June; then she drove to Jesus March the next month in Portland, where she spoke to Pastor Katrenyak after 17 days of sobriety.
“I think Jesus loves the city that’s most broken, like Portland, Seattle, even Denver,” Semenchuk said.
Four cities – Seattle, Sacramento, Santa Monica and Dallas – have hosted their second Jesus March this year but, through prayer, leaders added four more, believing the Holy Spirit confirmed the new locations are keys to shifting spiritual atmospheres.
In addition to Phoenix, Tampa, and San Francisco, Denver hosted Jesus March on Aug. 12, when 4,000 people signed up, confirming a vision of God cutting off the devil’s hand over the Mile High City.
On the eve of the march in Denver, the United Revival team met a group of teens hanging out in a city park. They prayed for a young man who had severe pain in his back. He felt the power of the Holy Spirit come on him, then the pain left.
Their curiosity heightened by the healing, the group agreed to hear the gospel and every one of them gave their hearts to Jesus.
The next day, 7,000 people gathered in Civic Center Park before the march. Later, after worship and a gospel presentation, 500 people came to the altar for salvation and deliverance, and 130 were baptized in water.
“You see all these demonic things going on in Denver, where the devil has been unchallenged for too long,” said Semenchuck.
He and other Jesus March leaders believe transformation of Denver will take more than a one-day event.
“If 50 of you will worship and preach the gospel, let’s say four times per month, you will do so much more than Jesus March today,” Pastor Ivan Ketrenyak told the massive crowd of registered people, and hundreds more who followed the Holy Spirit to sounds of worship and chants of Jesus.
“We bring proclamation – not a protest – that all authority is in the hands of Jesus,” Ketrenyak said.
Carrying banners reading “Jesus is Lord” and other messages, marchers greeted motorists, pedestrians and police officers on streets near government buildings and a Masonic Temple.
Gathered in an amphitheater, hundreds of people rushed to its steps when Pastor Ketrenyak invited them to receive Jesus. With thousands looking on, new believers were baptized in a trough filled with water.
Many testified they were healed through prayer like in other cities that hosted Jesus March.
“In Dallas back in April, a man got out of a wheelchair after the body of Christ prayed for him.”
“I see miracles and people healed from diseases which, even for me, is crazy. I can’t explain them,” Semenchuk said.
Jesus March prioritizes evangelism, sharing the gospel with people who aren’t in a personal relationship with the Lord, then teaches them how to proclaim the good news of His salvation.
At least 6,500 people who’ve attended Jesus March or a United Revival worship and prayer event are now commissioned to preach the gospel.
The next step for United Revival Ministries will be to host a conference in Sacramento on Sept. 21-24.
“In 1st Corinthians 3:8, Paul writes, ‘One sows, another waters.’ We need both evangelism and pastoral care to disciple,” Semenchuk said.
Youthful and growing in ministry, United Revival is submitted to pastors, overseers, and elders who keep the close-knit team of leaders on track.
In Denver, pastors and churches – some with Ukrainian and Russian backgrounds – got on board with Jesus March, especially after they learned how many people show up at United Revival events.
“We give pastors opportunities to pray for the city because, we know at the end of the day, it’s theirs,” Semenchuk said.
In Portland, Jesus March helped pastors form an evangelism hub of 60, resulting in more people coming to Jesus.
To learn more about and give to Jesus March, click here.
Steve Rees is a contributor who covers events related to the church and the power of God.