MOUNT VERNON, Ga. — An estimated 150 students made spiritual decisions during a chapel service at Brewton-Parker College on Tuesday in a scene that President Steve Echols described as amazing.
Between 60 and 80 of the students made first-time salvation decisions while others rededicated their lives to Christ.
“The Holy Spirit was moving in a way I have never seen before,” said Echols, a longtime preacher and Christian educator. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I have seen some marvelous things, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more precious than this.”
Georgia-based evangelist Rick Gage, leader of GO TELL Ministries, preached in the chapel service attended by some 500 students, faculty and staff.
Students were on their knees weeping, crowding around the altar and filling the aisles when Gage gave an invitation.
“So many students responded that you couldn’t even get down the aisles,” Echols said. "They were completely full of students on their knees praying. We lost count, because they kept coming.”
Echols said counselors talked and prayed with students long after the chapel service ended.
By 5 p.m. Tuesday, counselors had confirmed 61 salvation decisions but were expecting that number to swell by 20 or more as they followed up with the students.
“I’ve seen nothing like this,” said Echols.
Gage pointed the students to Matthew 7:13-14 in which Jesus talks about the narrow way that leads to eternal life and the broad way that leads to destruction. Gage then shared his Christian testimony, talking about how he walked away from a promising coaching career to serve God.
“Students came down to the altar, got on their knees, and got right with God,” he said. “We saw a harvest today.”
Brewton-Parker professor Billy Puckett said faculty and staff are working hard on follow ups.
“We are in awe of the move of the Holy Spirit today,” he said.
Gage and his evangelism team are working in south Georgia this week, holding a crusade at Appling County High School’s Jimmy Swain Stadium in Baxley.
By Tuesday, some 600 people had made decisions for Christ at the crusade and related events. That includes nearly 300 who made decisions at a pre-crusade youth rally last week.
Georgia has been seeing large numbers of people coming to Christ since the COVID-19 pandemic subsided. The state’s 3,400 Georgia Baptist congregations have reported a 47% increase in baptisms since 2020.
Localized revivals have been popping up in every region of the state in churches large and small.