A 20-week extended revival and tent crusade in south Louisiana has recorded more than 1,300 professions of faith in Christ, with hundreds enrolled in discipleship programs.
And all signs point to the meetings continuing for the foreseeable future.
According to local reports, 513 accepted Christ during revival services — extended five times, Oct. 17–Nov. 18 — at Old Zion Hill Baptist Church in Independence. Additionally, more than 800 made decisions to follow Him during a South Louisiana Awakening Tent Crusade in Hammond, Nov. 28–March 31, a multi-denominational outreach effort.
The meetings were paused for April but are scheduled to resume May 4–5 and continue after that on Thursday and Friday evenings, according to OZHBC Pastor Gary Dennis.
“The continuation of the meetings is for the purpose of reaching the huge number of people along the Interstate 12 corridor who are not connected to Christ and His Church,” Dennis explained.
Area congregations have formed a follow-up team that developed a strategy to connect every new believer from both spiritual events with a church to help begin discipleship training. Each one who came forward received an email or text encouraging them to find a church home. Pastors were given contact information and have pledged to reach out to each one. Churches were prepped to form new believer classes.
So far OZHBC has seen 100 enrolled in discipleship classes, with five new small groups formed since January and additional groups planned for the summer.
“The point of this is for them to turn around and go through it with others,” OZHBC Associate Pastor Blaine St. Germain said. “We are pursuing the discipleship model of Jesus, teaching everyone who is going through the book ‘how to be’ and ‘then make’ disciples.”
Louis Husser, pastor of Crossgate Church in Robert, has led members through discipleship on Sunday mornings since early February. For six weeks, more than 60 gathered to learn more about the fundamentals of being a fully devoted follower of Christ through messages on salvation, baptism, gracious giving and sharing one’s faith.
“God is stirring in people’s hearts that don’t even know there’s a tent in town, and they are coming too,” Husser said. “So it’s incredible that the Holy Spirit is leading people to come into our church who don’t even know about the revival.
“I’m 68 and have seen three great awakenings in my 50 years of ministry,” he noted. “We are seeing another one. It’s a God movement that has come from a prayer that a group of us pastors prayed three years ago when we met to ask God to bring revival to our community.”
Randy Smith, pastor of Crossbrand Cowboy Church in Loranger, has seen worship attendance increase to as high as 163 (average is 100). He said 40 adults have participated in Wednesday evening discipleship classes and several are being discipled in one-on-one settings.
“We have come together a lot more since the revival and have felt the presence of God like we haven’t felt in a long time,” Smith said. “God is moving in our lives and hearts and people are growing deeper in faith through digging into the word. That’s pretty exciting for a pastor to see.”