Revival arrived in Swainsboro, Georgia, in June when more than 50 people responded to an invitation to receive Christ during a four-night crusade in the city’s auditorium.
“There was just an atmosphere that was ripe for salvation,” Joe Bedgood, the evangelism director in the Emanuel Missionary Baptist Association, said at the time.
Similar instances of revival were reported across Georgia throughout 2022, resulting in a significant increase in baptisms.
9,000 baptisms for 2022
An early review of statistical reports submitted by churches to the Georgia Baptist Mission Board show more than 9,000 baptisms for the year. That’s with only about 1,000 of the state’s 3,400 Georgia Baptist churches reporting.
In Carnesville, New Bethel Baptist Church pastor Joey Gilbert reported 50 salvation decisions as of May, the result of a post-COVID emphasis on evangelism.
As the post-COVID revival spread across the state, Ephesus Baptist Church in west Georgia had to make space for a flood of new worshippers by putting extra chairs in the aisles and creating a separate area for overflow seating.
“What we’re seeing is a supernatural move of God,” pastor Kevin Geter said at the time. “Every time we think God has done something He can’t top, He always seems to come back and top it.”
Ephesus saw mass numbers of people surrendering their lives to Christ this year, including 21 students who made professions of faith in a single Wednesday night youth service.
More than 40 people made professions of faith in the small Georgia town of Millen in April in a joint revival held in the town’s Pal Theater.
The Millen revival came the same week as one at Pineland Baptist Church in Thomasville where 19 people made salvation decisions.
Before that, 20 of students made salvation decisions in a single chapel service at Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon.
In late March, 102 Columbus residents claimed Christ in an one-day evangelistic outreach in one of Georgia’s toughest neighborhoods, one that had become known as Little Chicago because of its high crime rate.
In Sylvester, Ga., more than 100 people made professions of faith during an evangelistic outreach sponsored by a group of area churches.
Georgia churches began to see salvation decisions rise when they returned to pre-pandemic activities, including revival services, community outreaches, block parties and more.
In northeast Georgia, 17 salvation decisions were reported in March at two Christian learning centers where public school students go for Bible studies. Mike Blount, mission strategist in the Tugalo Baptist Association, said those professions of faith were among 30 made in the learning centers.
At Shorter University, 24 students made decisions for Christ during a chapel service in late February.
In Moultrie, Kingwood Baptist Church pastor Matt Greene reported 30 salvation decisions during a four-day revival in early February. That was in a church with average Sunday attendance of about 80 people.
Revival seemed to accelerate during the Easter weekend with hundreds of Georgians making salvation.
Cascade Hills Baptist Church in Columbus recorded 187 salvation decisions that weekend. Peavine Baptist Church in Rock Spring reported 111 new believers during Easter; Bethlehem Church, 65 salvation decisions; First Baptist Church Villa Rica, 60; Britt David Baptist Church in Columbus, 32; and Midway Church of Villa Rica, 20.
New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville saw 40 baptisms in 40 days early in the year.
“We can’t particularly explain it,” pastor Rhys Stenner said at the time. “We are excited by the momentum we’re seeing.”
In Monroe, 1025 Church saw a record number of baptisms for the year.
“We had set a goal to reach 100 baptisms, and we passed that,” said pastor Tommy Fountain Sr. said in October. “We actually had 102 baptisms. We have averaged about 60 baptisms per year for the past six years. So, this is a significant increase for us.”
The revival has impacted all age groups, including teens attending summer camps more than 50 were waved and another 70 felt God’s call to ministry.
At the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Impact camp, 30 students committed their lives to Christ and 43 others answered the call to ministry.
The Mission Board’s SuperWow camp saw 12 students saved and another 17 who surrendered to ministry. And the Surge150 music camp had nine students make professions of faith and six surrender to ministry.
Revival to other states
In some instances, Georgians took the revival to other states.
Georgia-based evangelist Rick Gage netted 172 professions of faith and 436 other decisions at a crusade held at a football stadium Madisonville, Ky.
“It was incredible,” said Kevin Maples, the senior pastor of Madisonville First Baptist Church.
Maples said people came by the thousands, filling the bleachers each night.
And a group of Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief workers deployed to other states to help storm victims reported more than 30 salvation decisions, including five people at a roadside drive-in restaurant where they stopped on their way to help flood victims in Kentucky.