MOUNT VERNON — God’s Spirit is moving on the campus at Brewton-Parker College. The fresh winds of revival are sweeping across the campus. From time to time God has been faithful to bring revival to His people. In almost all cases, those movements of the Spirit were most evident among young people.
George Whitefield began to preach at age 21 and his messages touched the hearts of thousands of young people in the 1700s. Jonathan Edwards, a young preacher in Northampton, MA, had a great influence upon the youth of his day and by 1734 exciting things began to happen among the young people of New England.
In 1796 a small group of students at Yale College founded an organization called the “Moral Society,” which discouraged profanity, immorality, and drinking. Within four years half the students were members of this group and laid the foundation for a series of revivals that occurred on the campus in the succeeding years.
The same things happened during the ministry of Dwight L. Moody in the mid-19th century. The Welsh Revival flourished among the youth of the country. The Jesus Movement of the 1970s in America produced a spiritual awakening across the nation.
Many have thought it could happen again, and what better place than in our Georgia Baptist colleges? Brewton-Parker has overcome challenges over the past several years, but now God is bringing new blessings in touching the hearts of faculty, staff, and students on the campus at Mount Vernon.
Building to a flame
This week Jeremy Morton, an alumnus of BPC and pastor of First Baptist Church in Cartersville, has been preaching Brewton-Parker’s revival services. Each time, God has worked mightily during each service.
BPC President Steve Echols indicated that faculty and students have been engaged in intense prayer meetings prior to this week. “Some of the prayer meetings are planned and some are spontaneous,” he explained, “and the groups consist of a very diverse representation of the student population.
“Bible studies have also emerged from interested students. In those gatherings God has been present as students study God’s Word and pray.”
Echols stated, “Our chapel services are mandatory, but the extra revival services are not. Yet, the Saliba Chapel has seen great crowds of faculty, staff, local ministers, and students for the revival services this week.
Many of the students have come with a spirit of anticipation and expectancy. They have not been disappointed as more than 70 students have come forward, for salvation, rededication, or prayer.”
In describing the intentional biblical worldview culture being developed at Brewton Parker, Echols indicated that faculty and staff are studying Fred Smith’s book Developing a Biblical Worldview: Seeing Things God’s Way. The idea is for every department to be able to articulate what it means in practice for their areas to have and to enact a biblical worldview. Echols stated, “Next year, we will have a required course in which this book will be required reading for every new student.”
A move of the Holy Spirit
This year the BPC president is sharing with freshman classes the college’s core values and introducing them to the importance of establishing a biblical worldview.
Echols commended the faculty for their commitment to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and spiritual leadership with students. He indicated that Steve Edwards, campus pastor and women’s basketball coach, has been a catalyst in ushering in a spirit of revival on campus.
The preacher for the week, Morton, stated, “The chapel has been filled each day with students, coaches, professors, administrators, and even pastors and leaders from the local community.
“The touch of God has been palpable. The altar has been overflowing each service with people getting right with God – young people and adults alike. Local pastors have been coming to pray and assist with the counseling of those who made decisions.”
Brad Waters, pastor at First Baptist Church in Hazlehurst, was present for the service on the first day of the campus revival and commented, “It was a great privilege to witness the power of God fall on the campus revival at Brewton-Parker. It was an unusual move of the Holy Spirit, and I was privileged to be a part of it. Dr. Echols is an outstanding leader who is moving the college in the right direction! To God be the glory! Great things He has done!”
Is this really happening?
Morton added, “I’m praying for a move of God like this in my own church. I know it’s God – and not me – working this week, because they’ve been having student-led prayer gatherings in the mornings and evenings for several weeks leading up to the revival, and they have prayed in the evenings after the meeting in debriefing sessions.
“The singing has all been student-led and the best ‘student’ band I have ever heard. I keep thinking to myself, ‘Is this really happening at Brewton-Parker?’ I have been affiliated with BPC for nearly 20 years and have been on campus hundreds of times. I’ve never seen anything like this before.
“It has been amazing to see blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, the young, the old – literally everyone affiliated with the school has been supportive of God’s movement this week.”
It is becoming apparent that parents want their high school seniors to go to a college where their faith is going to be strengthened and lives molded into God’s design for them. New enrollment at BPC has increased from 166 in 2015 to 233 in 2017, with an increase of 21 percent in the total number of students.
Echols thinks that next year the enrollment numbers will increase in an extraordinary fashion. The reason given: God is developing a culture at the college marked by academic excellence, wholesome relationships, and spiritual health.