This sounds like an amazing movie plot, but it’s all true.
Two pastors who led a unique and fascinating ministry in Salem, Massachusetts — a hotbed of witchcraft and spiritual activity — believe Christians need to turn to “unconditional love” when trying to reach people in difficult or uncomfortable situations.
Guy and Tana Miller, the husband and wife who planted Remix Church in Salem in 2011 and ministered there 10 years before leaving, recently joined “The Playing With Fire Podcast” to discuss how they interacted with witches, Satanists and others in the community — and what some Christians get wrong when trying to reach these groups.
Their ministry, called Remix Church, came about after the couple felt prompted by God to provide pastoral care in Salem.
“I was shocked to find out … there was only a couple, very small but faithful outreaches going on,” Guy said. “There wasn’t a lot of evangelical … witness in Salem, and I was blown away.”
Tana added, “God clearly spoke to us to go into Salem.”
Listen to Guy and Tana discuss their fascinating ministry in Salem:
The couple said, when they arrived, there had been a lot of damage done to biblical witness in the community, as extremists would often come into the area “preaching hate.” This would sometimes happen during the Halloween season when tourism is intense.
“There was witness, and it was just the wrong kind,” Guy said, explaining some ministers came during October and riled the community by preaching God hates witches and God hates gays.v
So, the Millers launched their church and dove into one of the most exciting ministry experiences imaginable. Their first step, in light of the aforementioned divide, was to take a relational approach. They began to meet people, interact, show love, and make friends with some surprising people.
From transvestites to people who identified as “mermen” and warlocks, there was no shortage of individuals with whom to meet and get to know. They even ended up living next door to the official witch of Salem and also built a relationship there.
The Millers, who didn’t sacrifice their beliefs or values in the process, said they relied on loving and listening to people’s stories, especially amid the natural tensions that followed.
“You know how we handled that?” Tana rhetorically asked. “Unconditional love.”
She continued, “We wanted to meet everyone, love everyone, and get to know everyone personally, regardless of what they believed in.”
Guy and Tana said their goal in heading to Salem wasn’t to reach the witchcraft community specifically but a much broader effort of ministering to the city as a whole. Still, the many interactions they had with people from divergent backgrounds and beliefs left a mark.
“I believe that whole time that we were there, that God placed us in Salem to plant seeds,” Tana said, adding that another Christian couple is considering heading back to Salem to harvest those seeds.
Guy and Tana also explained some of the challenges of their decade-long ministry in Salem. While they didn’t interact with any of the “deep, dark” evil that rages in underground elements of the city, they sometimes felt the spiritual heaviness.
“This was the first time in our ministry lives when I would wake up in the middle of the night and just really feel an evil and have to pray it through,” Tana said.
As for the witchcraft and other elements that rage in parts of Salem, Tana said “it’s definitely real” and that Christians need to be wise and on guard.
But these elements, the couple argued, aren’t dangerous for Christians rooted in truth.
“First of all, it’s not dangerous to us, because we have the power of our testimonies and the blood of Jesus,” Tana said.
Guy added that God’s not threatened by any of these practices — elements Christians are called not to partake in.
He said, “the Holy Spirit is up to the task” and pointed to realities about spiritual warfare that are detailed in Ephesians 6: mainly, the reality God gives believers the power to triumph amid spiritual battles.