This compelling radio recording was conducted by phone from Sam’s Meat Market in Ferguson, MO, “ground zero” of the several days of public conflict following the tragic death of Michael Brown.
Pastor Joe Costephens at the time of this interview, is leading a group, making things better by cleaning up broken glass and other trash from several nights of unrest. It is clear that most want peace and calm to return, but, as it is thought, mostly “outsiders” are coming in to fuel unrest, to loot, steal, and fight with the police and National Guard … generally fueling trouble and community conflict. Most Ferguson residents want peace with justice.
The crisis has motivated great volumes of prayer. (As I write, I have just returned from a great, moving, spiritual prayer meeting … with many “whites” present, joining brothers and sisters in a mostly black church). Amazingly, there are indications of spiritual revival and awakening as a result of God’s people, growing in John 17 unity, coming together to seek Him.
Joe loves North St. Louis County. He spent the first 18 years of his life in the Ferguson’s First Baptist Church … and now is the pastor of Passage Community Church, a “plant” on the north edge of Ferguson. His love for North St. Louis County, wherein Ferguson is located (15 minutes northeast of the St. Louis Airport) led him years ago to post and host the “I (heart) North County website, (www.iheartnorthcounty.com).
He has emerged as a spiritual leader of the August, 2014, crisis in the community he loves, leading times of prayer, being a media spokesman (Moody Radio Network, MSNBC, etc.), and constructively providing a positive role model for improvement.
During this time of radio and cleaning up making things better there was much local “color” in the background: horns were honking, helicopters were flying overhead, and the street voices were in the background while Joe Costephens and his now four children were there, doing good things, encouraging the listeners to come on down and do business with the hurting merchants. It is completely peaceful and safe, he points out, during the day in Ferguson, MO.