By David Dawson
WHITE PINE, TN — According to the flyers, the Go Tell Lakeway Area Crusade in Morristown, Tennessee started on April 28.
But the crusade’s chairman, Dean Haun, says it might have actually started long before that.
Haun, pastor of First Baptist Church, Morristown, said the crusade – which resulted in more than 340 professions of faith and drew a four-day attendance total of roughly 17,500 at the Walters State Community College Great Smoky Mountains Expo Center — may have begun to take shape more than a decade ago.
Haun, former president of the TBC, was serving as pastor of First Baptist Church in Jonesboro roughly a dozen years ago when he was paid a visit by a pastor from a Church of God church in nearby Senoia.
“My secretary put an appointment on my calendar, and I had no idea who this man was,” said Haun. “He came in my office, and he said to me, ‘Pastor Dean, you’re probably going to think this is really crazy – because you don’t know me and this may sound a little weird – but I have a message for you from the Lord.’ And then he said, ‘You’re going to be a part of a great revival someday.’ ”
Haun said his initial reaction was, “Hmm, okay, this is a little odd.” But he was also excited. “I told him, ‘Well, praise God. I’ve always wanted to be a part of something like that.’”
Just more than a year later, after Haun had been called as pastor at First Baptist Morristown, he received another indication that something big was possibly in the works.
“I had been in Morristown for about a month, and a man in our community came to me and said, ‘I’d like to have breakfast with you,’ ’’ said Haun. “He was not a member of our church. He took me out to breakfast here in Morristown, and he said to me, ‘Brother Dean, you may think that this is strange, but God told me to tell you that you’re going to be a part of a great revival someday. ’ ”
Haun said he it took him just a minute to regain his composure.
“I literally dropped my fork in my plate,” said Haun with a laugh. “And I looked at him and said, ‘Do you know a Church of God pastor in Senoia, Georgia?’ And he said, ‘No sir, I do not.’”
Less than half a year later, guess what happened? Yes. Another message.
In the circle
This time it was a lady who had recently returned from a trip to Israel.
“She told me that, during her trip, she was talking with a messianic rabbi,” Haun said, “and he said a great revival was going to be experienced in America. The lady asked the rabbi where the revival was going to start. And he took a map and drew a circle around east Tennessee.”
Haun, now convinced more than ever that the Lord was speaking to him, wondered what would happen next. He received the answer about two years ago, when he was approached about serving as the chairman of the crusade in Hamblen County.
“One of the reasons that I agreed to be the chairman was because of (the three messages) that came to me over the years,” said Haun.
Just as the messengers had suggested, the crusade was indeed a “great revival.” The opening night of the event – led by evangelist Rick Gage – drew a crowd estimated at 5,000. Attendees continued to pour into the arena throughout the rest of the crusade. The final night, which featured a youth emphasis, drew more than 6,000.
David Dawson writes for the Tennessee Baptist and Reflector, news journal of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. This article originally appeared at baptistandreflector.org.