My prayer has been that God would stir the hearts of Georgia Baptists for evangelism. We need to reach Georgia for Christ.
I believe that this will happen when the pastor demonstrates a passion for reaching the lost with the Gospel and the congregation catches the fire of his passion. I want to illustrate this reality through a real life situation going on at First Baptist Church of Villa Rica where Kevin Williams is pastor.
On January 15 I received the following text from Kevin: “Good morning, Dr. White. I try to keep you updated on all the amazingly awesome stuff the Lord is doing at FBC VR. We just had our first Faith Banquet to sign people up for our outreach training. We had 170 attend the banquet and now have over 100 learners and around 30 leaders.
“It’s so exciting that we are about to equip all these people to share the Gospel. It’s transforming the culture of the church. God continues to send growth to our church as well. Since September, we’ve had 116 people join and 48 of those by baptism. To God be the glory!”
The following text was received on July 30: “Dr. White, I have to tell you something quite astonishing that is happening at FBC VR. The head football coach from Villa Rica High School called and asked if we’d sponsor some of his players to go to FCA Football Camp and we did put $1,500 towards it. The speaker at the camp was Derrick Moore, the chaplain from Georgia Tech. He presented the Gospel and over 20 players from the VR team went forward asking Christ into their lives.
“I contacted Derrick two months ago about speaking at our church for our Annual Gridiron Day (Sunday, August 9) and he said ‘yes.’ Gridiron Day is one of our biggest outreach events that we do. Villa Rica High School and Temple High School football teams and both cheerleading squads will be present. The Temple Band will march in and do one song in front of the church. Then the cheerleaders will do a cheer and throw out plastic footballs like they do at games on Friday night! Both principals and both head coaches will speak and share testimonies.
“But here is the astonishing part. I went and spoke to both teams this week and 22 football players will be baptized on our Gridiron Day! Lots of work but so worth it. To God be the glory!”
Then came his report on Gridiron Sunday. The text arrived at 5:14 p.m.: “What a day!!! 1,448 total for services. Over 50 first time decisions for Jesus today. Twelve football players baptized in today’s service. I’m in awe.”
A follow-up text arrived Thursday, August 13, 7:29 a.m.: “OK. Yesterday something really unbelievable took place! One of the coaches that prayed to receive Christ at my church this past Sunday wanted to be baptized on the football field in front of his team. So, we did it yesterday afternoon before practice. Afterwards, 18 players followed his lead and were baptized also.
“So between Sunday and Wednesday that’s 30 players and 1 coach! Yes, we have it all on video! God is doing great things in VR!”
Right after Gridiron Sunday I received a text on that Monday morning from Micah Hamrick, son of Wayne and Joan Hamrick, who is a member along with his family at First Baptist Villa Rica. Micah said, “Our worship service on Gridiron Sunday was two hours long, but it seemed like 20 minutes.”
Micah rejoiced in the number of people who were saved and the incredible excitement that has filled his church.
If you have ever wondered what spontaneous revival looks like, this is what it looks like. It involves a pastor with a holy passion, a congregation with a willing and prayerful heart, and the resulting powerful moving of the Holy Spirit of God.
I share this story with you with the sincere hope that what has happened through the ministry of First Baptist Church of Villa Rica will inspire us all to be more prayerful for revival, more passionate about Christ, and more zealous about reaching the lost for Jesus. What is happening at First Baptist Church of Villa Rica can happen in every city, town, and village across Georgia.
Since the writing of this Open Door, the Freedom From Religion organization has leveled an attack on the fact that the coach and players were baptized on the football field. This is a stark reminder of the secular culture in which we live and minister. Everyone has the right to exercise “freedom from religion,” but no one has the right to deprive others who practice their faith from doing so.
Neither the coach nor the players were coerced into being baptized. The baptism on the field was after hours. I rejoice with the coach and players who have received the precious gift of eternal life. That fact cannot be changed no matter what attacks may come from negative critics who have never experienced the transforming grace of Christ. We need to pray for them.
Bless you, Kevin Williams, and First Baptist Villa Rica for faithfully declaring the Gospel of Christ!