February 9, 2011
Sullivan – A Spiritual Giant
By Mike McManus
Nearly a year ago
Pastor LeRoy Sullivan, a giant of the faith, left us to be with the Lord.
In 1989 he
founded Bread of Life Outreach Ministries in Christ Church in his in Kansas
City, KS basement. The African-American church grew to be attended by 150
Pastor LeRoy was
a huge man, a street preacher who had a heart for the “poorest of the poor,
alcoholics, loners, those who make their living on the streets, the
unsaved,” as he put it, “but they fell in love with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Savior cleaned us all up, and we would enjoy wonderful spirit-filled
“We would put our
little monies together to aid anyone who needed help, paid doctor bills,
house payments, car notes and fed people. We just loved and wanted to serve
Him the only way we knew.”
At one point the
church moved from LeRoy’s basement to a doublewide trailer which held
exactly 75 people that would “move up and down when we sang and praised the
Lord Jesus Christ.”
took a courageous stand on cohabitation. One Sunday he preached, “We have
couples in this church who are living together, but who are not married.
That is not God’s plan. He wants you to marry or move apart.”
came to see him, one at a time. “We agree that we should marry, but we have
a problem,” one said. “We have children aged 13 to 6. What do we tell
“You tell them you made a mistake in not marrying before you had children.
And ‘Sam,’ I want you to move out until the wedding. You stay for dinner
and help the kids with homework, but by 9 p.m., please leave.”
“And go where?”
“Go to your
mother’s home or your brother’s. There should be a difference between being
single and being married. You are supposed to remain chaste until you
“This is going to
be embarrassing,” Sam replied.
“Yes it will. But
it’s a lesson your kids will never forget. What better way to teach them
God’s plan for marriage?”
Five of seven
couples did marry. And the experience converted the men, who started coming
to church. A church that had been women and children became couples and
But one man,
nicknamed “Peanuts,” would not move out or marry,” his girlfriend lamented
to Pastor LeRoy.
The next Friday
night, Pastor LeRoy knocked on the door. Peanuts asked, “What brings you
“Cindy tells me
you won’t marry her, and you won’t move out. I’m going to sit here until
you leave. That looks like the most comfortable chair. Where’s the
“Pastor, how long are you prepared to stay?”
Then Elder Jones is coming over. Get the picture?”
out, but he was angry. One night Pastor LeRoy was talking to a parishioner
outside his brick church, when a shot rang out. The bullet hit a nearby
Though he could
not see who fired the shot, Pastor LeRoy shouted, “Peanuts, get out of here,
or I’ll call the police.”
Pastor LeRoy was
also a leader of the Prayer Movement in Kansas City, which attracted clergy
from many churches. Rev. Jeff Meyers, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in
the suburbs, heard Pastor LeRoy preach one Wednesday morning and invited him
out for a barbeque lunch.
“A group of
pastors in Johnson County have signed a Community Marriage Policy, in which
we are pledging not to marry anyone unless they take a premarital
questionnaire, and meet with a mature married couple to discuss the issues
He slid a copy of
the Covenant across the table. It used language adopted by the first
Community Marriage Policy signed in Modesto, CA in 1986: “We are troubled
that 75% of all marriages are performed in the Church, yet more than 50%
of all marriages end in divorce.…We believe it is our responsibility to
encourage couples to set aside time for marriage preparation.”
They required a
minimum of four months marriage preparation that included taking a
premarital inventory, discussing its results with trained Mentor Couples and
learning Biblical wisdom on marriage. Also, married couples were encouraged
to attend annual retreats.
commented, “When it comes to marriage, the Church has been without clothes.
This Covenant puts clothes on the church.”
He became such a
passionate advocate for the Community Marriage Policy that the city’s
divorces fell from 650 in 1995 to only 196 by 2005, a 70% plunge, and
Johnson County fell 50%!
became one of America’s great marriage savers.