Power Of Prayer: "The Passion of Christ" Brings Out Passion Of Churches To Reach Out To Community

It's Tuesday night. Normally the lights are out and the doors locked at breakfast-lunch restaurant Panini's in Tyler. But on this night the sounds of a busy restaurant were replaced with worship and prayer.

Since the opening of "The Passion of the Christ", at night this restaurant has become the Passion Cafe.

"We saw doors open it and it got bigger than we anticipated because the churches just responded in a very excellent manner and it became something we saw very quickly this could be an impact for our whole city, not just the people going in and out of the theater but even churches could be impacted," says organizer and Crossroads Church Pastor Jerry Payne.

Now when people come and go from the Times Square Theater in Tyler they have a place to stop, get a free cup of coffee and talk about a movie so many have termed life changing.

"We talk about touching people. And when opportunities of this proportion come along it behoves us to take full advantage of it. And its a wonderful thing, its a wonderful opportunity, its a moving thing. It gets us back to what were all about and that's about people and touching hurting people," says First Assembly of God Pastor Gary Bell.

But the Passion Cafe is more than just a place to meet. In itself it is an answer to prayer. In a matter of just a few days more than two dozen churches had crossed denominational lines to put this together. Even the fact a real restaurant was available, has those here believing God is at work at the Passion Cafe.

"My wife Kimberly and I were talking about it and we do believe that it was for this time and place that we happen to have a restaurant, that happened to be closed at night that happened to be next to a movie theater that happened to be showing the most powerful motion picture about Christ ever made. So we do believe it was for this time that we owned this restaurant," says Panini Owner Dr. Charlie Gordon.

While the purpose was to have counselors available for those impacted by the movie, the prayers here at the Passion Cafe have grown. Now that so many pastors have worked together so quickly and so easily...the prayers are now about what's next...

"We all walk away saying wow that was awesome, why don't we get together again and just have coffee again and engage in more discussions," says Crossroads Community Church Worship Pastor Gary Mulgrew.

"I've had the opportunity to meet people I hadn't met before, pastors, now I would like to call them friends for one thing. But also I would like to get the opportunity to spend some time with them beyond that, beyond the Passion Cafe to where we could exchange ideas, thoughts and philosophies. This is how, what we are doing to reach our community for Christ." says Central Baptist Associate Pastor Dan Sala.

"We're praying for our city, we're praying for our city so that we can have clarity to what the churches need to do that perhaps we have dropped the ball on in the past," says Pastor Payne. "Maybe we've not focused enough...maybe we've focused to much on ourselves a little more than we should of at times, its time now, I hear a lot of talk, its time now to start looking at our city."

The churches here have adopted a theme, one passion. Remarkably, they all admit it has taken a movie to remind them regardless there denominational theology...one passion is what they are all about.

Clint Yeatts Reporting..