Moberly chaplain takes love to the city
MOBERLY – Dale Roberts walked into the office of Main Street Moberly Inc. one day and announced that he was there to apply for the job.
Executive Director Diane Harlan, who works to enhance and revitalize the economy of the city of 13,000, is the only employee of Main Street Moberly. She looked at him quizzically and said, “I don’t believe we have an opening.”
And that’s the job he has held since board members of Main Street Moberly voted to approve him March 15.
Roberts, 68, can be seen on Reed Street at 7 a.m. wearing his “Pray … Moberly” ballcap and carrying his red and white “Pray … Moberly” signs as he diligently performs his chaplain duties.
“He knows how to fight spiritual warfare,” said Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Ministerial Services Specialist George Roach, interim pastor at Carpenter Street Baptist Church, where Roberts attends. “He has a real heart to see real revival come not only to Moberly but to Missouri.”
“Every morning when I get into my pickup truck and come to town, I armor up (according to Ephesians 6:11-18),” he said. “Peace is my weapon. Peace be to my streets.”
His theology of peace comes from Luke 10:5, when Jesus taught his disciples to speak peace to houses. He applies this to the businesses of Moberly.
“I pray for two things—peace and prosperity,” Roberts said. “Peace is defined as what you need for the day. So I begin to speak peace into every one of these buildings. And then I pray for prosperity—dollars.”
“It burns from the inside,” he said. “It’s an all-the-time deal. This city is seldom off the edge of my mind. This is where my passion is—to pray for this city.”
He strolls up to Palen Music Center and checks on how Sales Manager Clint Thompson is doing. Whenever he spots the cardboard cutout of Guitarist Eric Clapton in the window of the store, he is prompted to pray, “And God bless Eric Clapton.” As he walks through downtown, several of his prayer signs are plainly visible in the windows of businesses.
“The more that people are aware of the impact of prayer in their life, that’s always a good thing,” Moberly City Manager Gary Edwards said. “That’s getting a word out that not many people do nowadays. When people take that initiative, it’s good for a community, I think.”
Roberts believes in spiritual entities that the Bible refers to as angels and demons. He battles Satan’s minions with kindness and logic.
“I don’t confront them,” he explained. “I just choke them to death with peace. In their world, it’s all chaos and all confusion and all hate. What they can’t stand is peace. So I speak peace into the building as I walk by.
“What we need is community. When people know one another, then they get involved in one another’s lives and then they care for one another.”
Speaking peace to a business is a way to see a door open, he said.
“That’s this business of pray in passing until you can pray in particular,” he said. “When you fellowship with somebody, you know them. Pretty soon they’re going to tell you where they hurt. Then you meet their felt need—what they need done, do that—and then tell them the kingdom of God is at hand.
“For the empty buildings, I pray for a Christian business person to come in and take possession of them so that the Christian influence will spread through the city.”
The ministry of intercession is not limited to the chaplain of Moberly.
“I’ll run with any dog that’ll hunt,” Roberts said. “I’m looking for people who are concerned about the city who will be willing to take it to the street.”
“What it takes is a love for your city, which gives you the love for the people of the city,” Roberts said. “And I want their prosperity. I want their good.”