They are very simple signs, sometimes written in chalk on a board or black top. But when Sheri Brown and team from the Rock’s Compelled by Love Ministry attend an event, conference, or parade and place a sign in front of their position that says things like, “No Religion/No Church/Want prayer?” it is an invitation to get a need met without the possibility of judgment.
And people respond. The result is tears and changed lives.
The ministry started when Sheri realized that one of the most common refrains she heard from people who did not confess Christ or were not attending church was bad experiences with religion as children and adolescents.
And so, Sheri and the team bring their smiles and signs anywhere they feel called to offer the love of Jesus and do it in the most simple and powerful way. No dogma, judgment, or pressure. At the porn convention where Compelled by Love has a booth, the team offers prayer, hugs, and a word or two about how much Jesus loves them to both porn performers and customers alike. Many respond to the prayers with tears, some give their lives to Christ, but everyone who comes in contact with them will know that God loves them and wants a relationship with them.
And so, Sheri and the team bring their smiles and signs anywhere they feel called to offer the love of Jesus and do it in the most simple and powerful way. No dogma, judgment, or pressure.
Even at events such as crimes or disasters that occur around San Diego, the team goes to offer hugs, love, and prayers to neighborhoods and families that are filled with rage or pain or both.
When Sheri and the team found that there is a community of 300 people living in a garbage dump in Mexico, they brought Christmas to them in the form of gifts, Christmas trees, a playground, and a photo booth (most had never had a picture taken of them before).
Compelled by Love has even been seen on the strip in Las Vegas offering folks an alternative to what so many are there for. Once again, their sign acts as a ray of sunlight in a dark place.
Three years ago at the Gay Pride parade, the team drew a big, chalk heart that offered prayer for passers-by. It caught the eye of a young man named Tyler and his partner. When Tyler sat down to be prayed for, Sheri placed her hand on him and prayed that he would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loved him.
In the middle of the prayer, Sheri heard a soft whisper to her spirit from God: Tyler had given his heart to Jesus as a young boy but had walked away. In her prayer, she expressed what her spirit was being told. When the prayer was over, tears were streaming down Tyler’s face. He asked how was it that she could know that indeed, he once put his trust in Jesus.
“It’s nothing I did. God just wants you to come back to Him,” Sheri said. Tyler revealed that he found himself always seeking a man’s approval after his father was unable to give it—thus his attraction to the gay lifestyle. “God is pursuing you, Tyler. He’s not trying to change you so much as trying to have a relationship with you.”
Tyler seemed to glow at the prospect.
The following week, Sheri invited Tyler to a ministry event and then to the Rock where Tyler found his heart swelling with love for Jesus and overcome with a new perspective on His unrelenting and unconditional grace. He ended up being baptized at the Rock, and now attends ministry events with Compelled by Love, even attending Gay Pride events where he is more than happy to share about Jesus who has so filled his heart and healed his hurt that he has no need for another man in his life.
“I was so afraid that if I became involved with your ministry that you would constantly be asking if I was still gay,” he told Sheri.
“I have only one goal,” Sheri said, “and that is for you to grow in relationship with Jesus. What transformations come about after that is between you and God. I’m here to love you, not change you.”