MOREHOUSE – Randy Conn understands the difference between a revival meeting and a revival. He and others in the Charleston Baptist Association are seeing the results of a real revival.
Five churches in the association finished simultaneous March revival services in a two-week span with some outstanding results: 59 professions of faith, resulting in18 baptisms so far, and 10 rededications. The participating churches were First Baptist, Morehouse; First Baptist, East Prairie; First Baptist, Oran; Commerce Baptist and Illmo Baptist, Scott City.
Conn, the association evangelism director and 13-year bi-vocational pastor at First Baptist, Morehouse, is not in favor of a meeting only for the sake of saying a revival was held. His church saw 32 people profess faith in Jesus and five rededicate their lives. Before the revival, average attendance at his church was 50-55, and the first service after the revivals had 90 in attendance.
“We’ve been planning this for a year,” Conn said. “Weeks ahead of time, we had people writing down the names of the unsaved and putting them on the table of remembrance. People were praying for the names of the unsaved at cottage prayer meetings. Many of those names on the remembrance table came to know the Lord.”
“Glory to God. It’s the work of his hand. God is the agent of revival,” said evangelist Sam Moore, who preached at the Morehouse revival.
Moore, who preaches nearly 40 revivals a year, said Conn has the right idea of how to do a revival.
“You have got to have prayer specifically for the lost, and the people need to get intentional bringing lost people to a revival service,” Moore said. “God makes the most of a revival when the ground is prepared.”
Director of Missions Randy Smith received the report of the revivals at a Director of Missions (DOM) conference, March 25.
“I’ve been the DOM here for nine years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Smith said. “It’s a wonderful work of God.”
Smith said the revivals were on either side of the March 14-15 associational evangelism conference, featuring five vocational evangelists. The conference gave the revivals extra impetus.
“We used the evangelism conference (model) of the Barry Baptist Association with Randy Comer. He gave us good insight how to put on a revival. Brother Randy Conn encouraged us to have simultaneous revivals,” Smith said.
Alongside Moore, Conn – who knows most of the 700 or so people in Morehouse – made personal visits, inviting many people to the revival. Special emphasis nights were also used – children’s night, youth night, family night, chili cook-off, and pack-a-pew night. The latter contest was won by a person who brought 20 people to church.
“Most of those we invited came to the meetings,” Moore said.
Moore favors special emphasis nights like these, as well as pre-service events, such as dinners.
Most of the participating churches used vocational evangelists like Moore. Moore preached in Morehouse, Jim McNeil preached in Oran and East Prairie and Ron Shrum preached in Commerce.
“I want other churches to see that using vocational evangelists works,” Conn said.
Mark Snowden, evangelism/discipleship strategist for the Missouri Baptist Convention, agrees that churches will benefit from the ministry of vocational evangelists.
“If churches will connect with a vocational evangelist, they will be capably guided to the important preparation work that goes into a revival,” Snowden said. “Churches are increasingly concerned about ‘conserving the harvest’ by making disciples of new believers, too.”
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