Dennae Pierre, executive director of The Surge Network, was the speaker for OBU’s online chapel service Sept. 23. Pierre spoke on loving our enemies, teaching from Matthew 5:43-48.
Pierre discussed her love for OBU’s chapel theme for the year, “Christ the Wisdom of God,” because there does not seem to be much wisdom in the world right now.
Pierre discussed her ministry in Phoenix and how there was a great deal of prejudice present in her city. She talked about a time when she and her family helped host asylum seekers from Guatemala in their home and how they were persecuted for it.
“What is really challenging about Jesus and His life and what we are invited to in Him is that a lot of times our fear of one another or our pride as we protect ourselves is more comfortable than this radical call to love our enemies,” she said.
Pierre then shared about various types of enemy relationships. She discussed enemies individually, as anyone with whom you have a hostile relationship. She admitted that there is competition all around us and everyone feels the need to be enemies with rivaling individuals or groups at some point in life. She also talked about communal enemies, when we become a part of a tribe and make enemies with another tribe.
Pierre went on to discuss the importance, as Christians, of knowing our heavenly father. God is faithful all the time, she pointed out. Seeing and knowing our father in heaven and knowing the father who is faithful to the righteous and the unrighteous, we will be able to see others with a purity of heart. Having a deep relationship with God will allow us to see our enemies in the way God sees them, she added.
She stressed the importance of finding our identity in God instead of the world and practicing enemy love. She then reminded us that it is necessary to grow and build bridges with our enemies. She closed her message by describing how we can mimic our father in heaven by being intentional in loving our enemies, as we remind them that our identity is found in God our father.
Dennae Pierre is executive director of The Surge Network, a movement of local churches partnered together to put Jesus on display in Arizona. She was born and raised in Phoenix. She earned a Master of Arts from Covenant Theological Seminary and serves as one of the co-directors for City to City North America. Her work is focused on supporting pastors as they equip their congregations to love the poor in their neighborhoods, desiring to see churches throughout Arizona cross cultures and boundaries to unite in love for Jesus, deepen their love for one another and walk with the poor and marginalized in our cities. She has been involved in church planting, community development and leading non-profits, all focused around economic and racial reconciliation. She is married to Vermon, the lead pastor at Roosevelt Community Church in downtown Phoenix, a church which the coupled helped plant. They have four children: Marcel, Mya, Judah and Jovanna. Their family enjoys spending their free time exploring the parks, restaurants and coffee shops of downtown Phoenix.
The Surge Network offers a variety of services including The Surge School, a nine-month, church-based leadership development program. They also offer seminary training, which infuses their Surge churches with rich theological education that trains pastors and leaders for the realities they face in equipping God’s people to be a faithful presence in today’s world. Each month, they host a Surge Regional Gathering, monthly meal for pastors and local church ministry leaders.Learn more about The Surge Network.