Pastor Matt Greene stressed the need to pray and prepare in the months leading up to recent revival services at Kingwood Baptist Church in Moultrie, Georgia.
The results were remarkable.
The church recorded 30 salvation decisions between Sunday and Wednesday, an especially significant number considering the congregation’s average weekly attendance has been about 80 since COVID-19 arrived in Georgia.
“Yes, revivals still work,” Greene said. “The Lord is doing a great work down here. He really is.”
Once a staple in the Bible Belt, revival meetings have waned in recent decades amid the hustle and bustle of the modern era.
Kingwood Baptist leaders sensed the Lord leading them to hold an evangelistic revival two years ago, so they reached out to Tim Williams, an evangelism consultant with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, to lead it.
“Our people were at the point where they knew it was time for an evangelistic revival,” Greene said. “Then COVID hit, and we had to cancel services and go online. When we were finally able get back into a set schedule and were able to sustain that schedule, I reached back out to Tim Williams and secured a date for revival.”
Williams said the church made all the right preparations far in advance to ensure a spiritual harvest.
“With plans already in place, we started around November talking to the congregation about revival, casting a vision for revival, discussing what revival was going to look like,” Greene said. “For nine weeks [leading up to the revival] our folks [prayed weekly] for revival in their discipleship groups.”
Bible studies were built on Scriptures dealing specifically with revival.
And for four Sundays in a row leading up to the revival, Greene preached a sermon series about revival from the book of Jonah in which he challenged his congregation to obey God’s call to reach the lost.
On the Saturday before the revival started, the congregation called everyone on the church roll and everyone who had visited the church to encourage them to come and to bring people with them.
“In my 19 years of ministry, I have seen that revivals work when the pastor and the spiritual leadership team comes alongside the church to pray and go and invite and bring,” Greene said.
Opportunities to invite guests
Kingwood organized pre-revival events each day. Those events included a dinner and a gospel message by Williams.
The idea, Greene said, was to offer events church members could invite their unchurched family, friends, neighbors and coworkers to attend. They saw the events as important first steps into church for those who may be reluctant to take part in attendance a revival service.
They found that the people who attended the pre-revival events stayed for the revival services.
Greene said the church made it as easy as possible for church members to invite guests.
“We provided invitations and cards for everyone to hand out,” he said.
Williams said revival services can still be effective even in urban churches.
“Some may be thinking, that’s in Moultrie, Georgia; that’s a smaller city, but in [a large city] that won’t work,” Williams said. “Well, it may not work Sunday through Wednesday, but it could work on other days and times. There are other options. The key is getting people praying, inviting and preparing.”
Williams said scheduling revival services just to check a box without doing the necessary preparation isn’t likely to work.
“It all begins with prayer,” he said. “And it’s important that church leaders make the revival a priority, convincing them it’s not just another meeting, that they need to come and that they need bring people.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Roger Alford and was first published by The Christian Index, news service of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.