Evangelist preacher Tyler McMullins is event coordinator. It all started with what McMullins describes as a God-sent vision back in January or February.
“God gave me a vision for a prayer rally to pray for our nation and pray for our communities,” McMullins said on Monday. “We want people to know the main reason we are doing this is because our country, and our community, we need to pray. We are not doing this in response because of some other event that may be going on in our community.”
He took his vision to pastoral staff at his home church, Higher Ground Baptist Church, and at LampLight Theater, where he also participates, McMullins said.
Together, they felt like “it was what God wanted us to do,” McMullins said, and began raising money and making plans.
They raised about $15,000 for advertising, he said, and reached out to surrounding regions — Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina — to get other Christians and churches to come together and pray, McMullins said.
“We don’t know what to expect,” he said. “We’re praying for several thousand people to be there. I want to believe there will be 2,000 to 3,000 people there.”
McMullins said a look at local and national news shows the need for such an event.
“We’re messed up,” McMullins said. “We need to pray. When we were planning all this we got the Farmers Market and through that we found out about what’s going on in a couple of weeks with the TriPride thing, We wanted to make an impact and we don’t want to do it in a negative way. We just want to pray for those folks, that God will just speak to them and that God will change them. So we want to do that the right way.”
McMullins said a lot of people have asked if “Unashamed” is being staged in response to “the gay pride thing.”
“No, we’re doing this because our country, our nation, we need prayer,” McMullins said. “We’re not doing this because of that. We are going to have a special time to pray for those people, that God will speak to their hearts and God will change them. But we’re doing this to see our communities and our nation change. We’re going to pray for our churches, our schools, our pastors. We’re going to pray for our police officers, our first responders, our military. We’ve got all sorts of things we’re going to pray about.”
The name “Unashamed” is from scripture.
“We’d been praying God would give us a name,” McMullins said. “I was reading through Romans. If we look at our world, and the different religious sects that are not Christian, and the different organizations that are against Christianity, they are very unashamed of who they are. They’ll parade, they’ll go do things and they want people to know all about who they are. But I feel like part of the reason our country is in the shape it’s in is because we the church, the body, we’ve not done our job. We’ve just kind of been silent. So God put it into my heart that we need to be unashamed of who we are in Christ. We need to be bold in our faith. We need to be unashamed. That came from Romans 1:16. That’s where it came from. It’s based on scripture.”
McMullins said the worship service and prayer rally will be at the Kingsport Farmers Market from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Music will be provided by Phillips & Banks, and the Potter Family.
“At 6 o’clock we’ve got permits and we’re going to block off the streets and do a half-mile prayer walk,” McMullins said. “The route is exactly half a mile, from the Farmers Market down to Church Circle. We’re going to have 20 specific points for people to pray along the route.”
Once the crowd reaches Church Circle, McMullins said there will be a small stage from which a couple of songs and one final group prayer will be led.
Here’s the route for the march: from the Farmers Market, the group will cross Clinchfield Street at Press Street, continue on Press Street to Clay Street, turn right on Clay, then left on New Street and continue to Broad Street, left on Broad to Church Circle.
The group initially planned a different route that would have taken marchers from the Farmers Market to Church Circle, then the length of Broad to the train station. But McMullins said the city would not grant a permit that included crossing Center Street.
McMullins said trailers, trucks and church vans will be available to allow those unable to make the walk to participate in the march to Church Circle.
“It’s just been amazing what God has done,” McMullins said of support that’s rolled in. “We’ve just been praying. We believe prayer changes things. This is a non-denominational thing. We want all denominations, if they believe in Jesus Christ, we want them to come and pray together and see God do things in our nation and throughout our communities. Anybody is welcome to come.”
McMullins said event organizers had received absolutely no negative feedback as of Monday.
“It’s been unreal the doors that God has opened,” said McMullins, who has visited at least 50 local churches promoting the event since February.
The event has been promoted to churches within a 150-mile radius, McMullins said, and everybody in Sullivan County or Scott County with a cell phone should receive a text message one day this week
“God has just really blessed this. We are excited to see what God is going to do,” McMullins said.
If you go:
McMullins said parking for the event will be available at the Higher Education Center parking lot, the parking garage across from City Hall, at the Freedom Fellowship and First Baptist Church parking lots, and on-street parking throughout downtown.
Bring a lawn chair. The event will have about 800 chairs set up for those unable to stand. Everyone else needs to bring a chair. The gated parking lot on the Clinchfield Street side of the Farmers Market will be overflow seating.
Bring an umbrella if it looks like rain.
“We’re doing it rain or shine,” McMullins said. “We will be there.”