When many people are getting ready to attend worship services, they pull out their nice suits and fancy dresses.
But members of Lula Assembly of Praise Church do things a little differently; when they are ready for “church” they put on their tennis shoes.
“Church isn’t the building that we meet in on Sundays, it’s who we are,” said the Rev. Scotty Poole, pastor of the Lula church.
For the last year and a half, members have gathered to take their “church” to the streets through prayer walks around the town.
“We got started because we began to hear a lot about the drug issues that were going on in our town,” Poole said.
“So we began walking the streets to pray over the issues that we heard about.”
The walks started out with around 30 participants and has grown to a crowd of nearly 60.
The walks not only gained participants, they also sparked interest in launching an addiction support group at the church at 6158 Carter St. in Lula.
The support group’s interest spurred the church to increase the frequency of the walks, previously held every few months. Now the church has a prayer walk just about every month.
“We’ve expanded our focus to praying about our town in general. Our church van runs behind us for the folks who aren’t physically able to walk, but still want to participate,” Poole said.
“We always stop and have prayer at the schools and we stop at city hall to pray for our leaders. We probably go anywhere from 1 1/2 miles to two miles, depending on how we cut through town.
“With all our prayer walks, we’ve covered most of the streets in the city limits.”
When they first started doing the walks, Poole says he never imagined that interest would remain this strong.
“I didn’t know that it would be like this. I didn’t know that it would be going on for this long,” he said. “You don’t want to just do something because it is a habit, you want to do it because God tells you to. I truly believe that we are being lead by God on this.”
Although some people may look on curiously at the roving crowd of prayers, Poole says they’ll keep on doing the walks until their plans are intercepted by divine intervention.
“These prayer walks have really gotten into the heart of the people who do them,” Poole said.
“We’re seeing some good signs and positive things coming out of it. We want to do the best things that we can for our town.
“And one of the very best things that we can do is pray.”