Pentecostal church wins big with 'Sin City' revival
Tue, 17 Apr 2001 - 12:00 AM CST
A Las Vegas church is on a roll. In the gambling capital of the world, hundreds of people have come to Christ through a dramatic move of God in a congregation where revival has been aggressively linked to evangelism.
Attendance at the International Church of Las Vegas A/G (ICLV) grew tenfold in just four years, with up to 50 people typically responding to the altar call during Sunday services. But the growth has not come without a price. Senior pastor Paul Goulet's family has faced a string of car accidents and two daughters' serious sickness.
"If I had known what it would take, I would have gone back to being a therapist," said Goulet, who arrived at ICLV--formerly West Valley Assembly of God--in 1992 with a background in pastoral counseling and psychology. "But at some point you are called to give your life to something, and we are called to give our lives to this city. People are getting saved and delivered. I really think we are a threat to the demonic powers here."
John Mazur is one of those whose life has been transformed by ICLV. A "die-hard drug user," the New Jersey native "would rather have been dead than alive." Then he met a man who gave him a card for the church and told him: "These people will love you."
Mazur attended the church, and God turned his life around. But then he discovered that his years of abuse had left him with liver disease and possibly cancer. After prayer for healing, further tests showed a completely healthy liver. "The Lord never gave up on me," Mazur said. "That's the love of Christ I found here. My whole family is saved now."
The church's impact on the city is anchored in its focus on prayer and evangelism. "Paul started preaching that it wasn't about blessings or falling down or goose bumps or manifestations, but about winning the lost," said his wife, Denise. "We were going to take what He had given us, the power of the Holy Spirit, out into the world and give it to people. That is what it's for."
Goulet himself said that "the more the power flows, the more I have to focus people on the lost. When we have a blowout service, I have to emphasize what it's for. That is the responsibility of pastors and leaders. We don't want to become introverted or people [will] get jealous of each other, and it becomes about going to the altar for the next experience, not winning people to the Lord."
In the midst of ICLV's growth, Goulet survived a snowmobile wreck that left him unable to walk for several months. One daughter came down with seizures and another was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. Both girls were healed.
"This city will devour you unless you fast and pray," Goulet said. "If I want to take Las Vegas like God wants to take Las Vegas, and I partner with Jesus Christ, then I will partner in His sufferings. Most people want to know Him in power, but they don't want to walk through 'Door No. 3': the fellowship of His sufferings...But if you [do], you reap a rich harvest."