Many God-fearing people have been praying for revival, a spiritual awakening, a genuine movement of God. I don’t know a preacher worth his salt that wouldn’t like to experience a revival meeting with hundreds, even thousands of people in attendance and scores/hundreds of souls being saved.
We have heard about the Asbury revival in the 1970s, the Brownsville, FL revival in the 1990s, and also the Brownwood, TX revival in 1995. Some would more accurately reflect our theology, but all were remarkable in their own way and resulted in changed lives.
The revival in Brownwood, TX started in a Southern Baptist church, where John Avant was pastor, when two college students from Howard Payne University came forward during a Sunday morning invitation at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church to confess sins.
Baptist Press, reporting on the Brownwood revival, explained, “[It created] a spiritual wave that touched more than 100 college campuses.”
Those who fear revival is a thing of the past may need to check out what is happening northeast of Georgia. There is something going on in Burlington, NC that looks like an old-fashioned, sin-killing, rafter-rattling, devil-defying, soul-saving, Bible-believing, life-transforming, Christ-exalting, Holy Ghost, revival to me.
This meeting is not going on in Georgia and not happening in a Southern Baptist church. New Hope Baptist Church in Burlington in an independent, King-James-only Baptist church, but they are experiencing something I think most churches would like to see take place in their own fellowship.
I first heard about this revival when a member of Fortified Hills Baptist Church in Dallas contacted me and asked if I had heard what was happening in Burlington. I began to check it out and was blessed to see how long this meeting has been going on, how many people were attending the services, and how many people had been saved.
The revival meeting started in the church worship center on May 9, but after four weeks outgrew the church facility and moved to a large Gospel tent. The attendance has grown to more than 4,000 nightly and more than 500 have been saved and the services continue into the 8th week.
The pastor of New Hope Baptist Church is Randy Hobbs and the preacher is a young evangelist named C. T. Townsend. At the end of the fourth week the Burlington Times-News reported, “Choirs and congregations from 55 churches throughout the Piedmont are participating in the month-long event.
“Townsend was invited by New Hope Baptist Church to lead the revival beginning on Mother’s Day. Since then (at the four-week mark), the crowds have grown to about 900 nightly. About 100 have been converted at the services. People are coming from four and five hours away.”
Townsend explained, “For our first night under the tent I thought we might have 1,500 people present, but bus after bus, car after car kept pulling into the parking area. We had set up 2,000 chairs and every one of them was full and over 500 people stood around the tent without a chair to sit in. People were sitting in the sawdust. We have ordered 1,500 more chairs to accommodate the anticipated attendance.
“In that first night under the tent God’s presence was real and strong and 35 people walked to the altar and got saved that night. It is a move of God that is beyond me and the pastor and the church. The Gospel is still very powerful and real.”
On Friday evening, July 1, more than 4,000 were in attendance with hundreds sitting outside all around the tent. Several announced their call to preach and 42 more individuals made professions of faith. One police officer seated in his car heard the message and trusted Christ as his Savior.
“In that first night under the tent God’s presence was real and strong and 35 people walked to the altar and got saved that night.”
Laura Carnathan exclaimed, “My 14-year-old son was one of the ones that got saved tonight. I’ve never seen anyone move as quickly as he did to that altar tonight. And to hear him cry out to Jesus and hug my neck and tell me, ‘Mama, I got saved!’ – Glorious!”
Barbara McIntire stated, “I was much encouraged to watch as people were saved, re-dedicated to Christ, and called to preach the Gospel. Praise to Calvary’s Perfect Lamb and His precious blood. I have certainly enjoyed the three nights I have attended via the Internet.”
You may not identify with Independent Baptist churches, old fashioned Gospel singing, King-James-version-only teaching and preaching, sawdust trails, sermons that call sin an abomination to God, or strong appeals during an invitation, but Burlington, NC is experiencing something our churches, state, and nation desperately needs.
You can go to New Hope Baptist Church’s Facebook page and see videos of the revival meeting that is taking place. Once you see the style of worship, old fashioned singing, fervent preaching and passionate invitations you may say, “That’s not my style.”
Well, it may not be your style, but I prefer spirited singing, old fashioned preaching and altars filled with people getting right with God to churches that are as dry as dust, pale as a corpse and with the undertaker’s phone number on speed dial.