Keith Fordham is one of Southern Baptists most notable vocational evangelist having conducted over 1,500 revivals and many crusades both in the United States and in India. He wants to see Georgia Baptists rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic by scheduling One-Day Revivals. COURTESY/Keith Fordham
FAYETTEVILLE – After a year of pandemic restrictions, Pastor Ray Henry, like most pastors, had grown weary of low attendance and wondered if the church could ever recover from the negative impact of the coronavirus. The attendance had dropped to approximately 65 people on an average Sunday.
The Florida pastor decided to invite Georgia Baptist evangelist, Keith Fordham, to his church for a One-Day Revival and began to pray for a spiritual breakthrough among the people of his congregation. His church, Belvedere Baptist in West Palm Beach, Fla., needed a good dose of the old-time religion.
The church established a full weekend schedule to make the most of the Fordham’s visit to the church. On Friday evening a banquet was held for the leadership of the church, including staff, deacons, and Sunday school teachers. Fordham presented an inspirational message on the importance of soul winning. Those present were urged to come back to the church on Saturday morning for a witnessing clinic.
On Saturday morning those who came for the witnessing clinic were treated to doughnuts, coffee and orange juice. Fordham taught those present how to best use the Billy Graham tract, Steps to Peace with God. Instructions were given on how to engage prospects in a telephone conversation and include a Gospel presentation.
In addition to calling prospects who had visited the church, Dr. Henry urged the those who had been trained to go door to door to over 350 homes near the church and pass out flyers inviting people to the One-Day Revival. There were enough people present to accomplish that effort in just over an hour.
Out of respect for the COVID precautions, the army of church witnesses did not go into the residences but talked to people outside their homes whenever possible. Whether the contacts were made via phone or outside of the homes two questions were asked: First, how can we pray for you? Second, If you were to die tonight, do you know for sure you would go to heaven?
Those who answered “No” to the second question were given the opportunity to listen to the message of The Steps to Peace with God and asked if they would like to invite Jesus to become their Savior and Lord. They were invited to the church and encouraged to respond to the invitation at the close of the worship service.
At the Sunday morning worship service there was a significant increase in the worship service with more than 100 in attendance. The Belvedere pastor insisted that Fordham give an old-fashioned altar call. Henry stood at the altar to receive those who responded to the invitation and utilized eight church members to individually counsel the large number who made their way to the altar.
Among those who responded to the invitation was one woman who united with the church on a statement of faith. Two ladies made professions of faith in Christ and one man, a former professional tennis player and current coach, gave his heart to Christ. His life had degenerated into an existence of drug abuse, a failed marriage, and foul language. In the midst of all his personal challenges he was also having to care for a disadvantaged adult son.
A faithful church member had been ministering to the former tennis pro and inviting him to church, but he never would stay for the invitation. Fordham explained, “The first Sunday he was in church he said the sermon was the most boring speech he had ever heard, but five Sundays later he referred to the sermon as a ‘home run.’ The difference was not in the preacher. The worshipper’s problem was that he was so spiritually dead in the beginning that he did not want to listen to a preacher. The Bible says, ‘Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.’ With the least bit of faith, sermons from the Word of God becomes a ‘home run.’”
At the One-Day Revival the tennis coach stayed for the invitation, stepped out, gave his hand to the preacher and his heart to God. The pastor introduced him to a counsellor, and he was gloriously saved.
Pastors need to pray for God to give them a vision for re-engaging their church members into the life and ministry of the body of Christ when the scourge is passed. You may want to jump start your church with a one-day revival with an evangelist.