The crowd may have been small, but American televangelist Creflo Dollar certainly left a big impression on those who turned out at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium on Thursday night.
Unlike earlier this year, when fellow evangelist Benny Hinn brought thousands of worshippers to the same venue, only several hundred people attended the service of the controversial pastor.
Dollar, the founder of World Changers Church International, came to the stage at exactly 8:15 p.m. and was greeted by a standing ovation before promising to “detox those in attendance from bad religion”.
And for the next hour and 25 minutes, worshippers from various denominations clung onto every word Dollar, who was watched on by his wife Taffi, and sharply attired in a grey suit, preached to them.
“Amens” and “hallelujahs” echoed frequently throughout the Gymnasium as worshippers voiced their appreciation and agreement with the 52-year-old founder of Creflo Dollar Ministries as he spoke on the differences between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
There were also times when he had them in stitches as he also incorporated some comedy into his sermon.
“See I don’t know what y’all thought you were going to get tonight. I don’t know if you thought I was going to come up here and hoop and holler and scream and all that,” Dollar noted.
“I got to give you something that will pack your mind. I want this to mess with you all night. I want it to wake you up in the middle of the night . . . and I want it to mess with your religion.”
He insisted there was a need to educate people about what the Bible really meant.
“There are a lot of people who have become Christians, say that they are Christians by the word of God but they don’t know what it says,” Dollar pointed out.
“They only know about what somebody told them what it says.”
During his teachings, which he refered to as “radical stuff”, Dollar said his job was to “go in and break up all of the religious battlegrounds”.
“When I do that they talk about me, they write all kinds of stories about me, they say all kinds of stuff about me, but I don’t worry about it,” he said.
During the service, an initiative of the Combined Churches, Bishop LL Spencer admitted that while they had been expecting a bigger turnout, they were satisfied that those who attended “were the ones whom God spoke to”.
Earlier, African pastor Agyeman Prempeh promised those in attendance that whatever miracle they had been praying for would be achieved after Thursday night’s service.
The three days of services continue over the weekend.