Church’s commitment to evangelism yields 20 professions of faith during revival gathering
Unlike many of the members of the historic Talatha Baptist Church in Aiken, S.C., Southwestern Seminary doctoral student Jordan Bird had no previous revival experience. He grew up in a Baptist context, but such gatherings were never a regular part of the churches he attended. But when Bird joined Talatha as their pastor more than a year ago, Bird was eager to “lean in” to this expected tradition.
“But if we were going to do revival,” Bird says, “we would have to do it right.” Plans were made to host a revival, and he and the church got to work. First, they rented a tent to accommodate a growing church attendance and an expected increase during the week of revival. They also knew that to make the most of the week, they would have to be intentional about extending invitations to neighbors and friends.
In the weeks prior to the revival, church members met regularly to pray and prepare. Members passed out more than 500 invitation cards, knocked on doors, and left door hangers on nearly 700 doors throughout the community. In addition, teams were assembled to handle meals, parking, counseling and outreach.
Every person had opportunity to be involved, even those who had prior commitments. One family utilized their previously scheduled yard sale as a venue to hand out invitation cards, and they invited every person who stopped by their home.
When the revival week arrived, March 19-23, an average of 250 people crowded the tent each night, eager to hear from preacher Jon Read, president of the Conference of Georgia Baptist Evangelists. As a result, 20 people responded to the Gospel message and accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. In the weeks following, five were baptized and many more are scheduled for the near future.
In the last year, evangelism has continued to grow as an important part of the life of Talatha Baptist Church. Bird explains that the best way he has been able to encourage that evangelistic fervor in the church is through a designated time of accountability and prayer. At bi-monthly prayer meetings, he asks members, “Who have you shared the Gospel with, or who have you invited to church?”
With the church’s commitment to evangelism, the revival proved to be a success in more ways than one. Not only were many people saved, but the church was also reminded of how God can use their obedience to share the Gospel.
“Having been told so frequently that door-to-door evangelism doesn’t work, I was shocked at how many young families responded to door-knocking and came to the revival—and to Christ—just because someone came to their door,” he says. “The fields are ready for harvest!”