Blackshear First Baptist sees 19 salvations, 28 rededications at venison supper


BLACKSHEAR, Ga. – Spontaneous revivals that sparked salvation decisions across Georgia in 2022 have carried over into the new year with 19 people making professions of faith at a venison supper in Blackshear.

Another 28 people recommitted their lives to Christ at the event, said Justin Gambrell, pastor at First Baptist Church in Blackshear.

The men at First Baptist manned the stoves, cooking up deer they had harvested themselves.

The church didn’t rely only on food to draw men to the event. They brought in two-time Bassmaster Classic champion Hank Parker, an outdoor television celebrity, to share his Christian testimony.

More than 400 people showed up.

“We knew it would be a large crowd, but we didn’t know how large,” Gambrell said.

Parker, a member of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame, and the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame, travels the country telling fellow outdoorsmen about Christ.

He is quick to tell his listeners that winning fishing trophies pales in comparison to receiving Christ.

“You don’t want to gain the world but lose your soul,” he often warns at such events.

Gambrell, who arrived in Blackshear last April as senior pastor, said the congregation is thrilled that God used the annual venison supper to change so many lives on the January 20 evening.

“God’s doing the work,” he said. “We’re just trying to be the conduit.”

Gambrell said fishing and hunting are part of the culture in southeast Georgia, which makes venison suppers and other outdoorsy events popular.

“It is very easy to use them as an outreach,” he said. “We’re still seeing fruit from it.”

Similar instances of revival were reported across Georgia throughout 2022, resulting in a significant increase in baptisms. An early review of statistical reports submitted by churches to the Georgia Baptist Mission Board show more than 9,000 baptisms last year.  That was with only about 1,000 of the 3,400 Georgia Baptist churches reporting.

In north Georgia, Cassville Baptist Church began the new year with nine baptisms, the first sign that the spontaneous revivals were continuing.

“There’s nothing else we can credit this to other than the moving of the Spirit and faithful obedience to what God has called us to.” said Cassville Pastor Andrew Hackler.


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