The renewal of the tents, the gatherings inspire the community | News | The daily sun of the villages
Bad weather could not prevent Fairway Christian Church from holding its “For God and the Country” tent gathering on April 11. But the church was forced to remove the “tent” from the gathering. “We were hoping it would be in the tents, but God had a different idea for us,” said Fairway Christian preaching minister Butch Gastfield. “It’s a very special day for us, as it’s been over a year since we were locked out under COVID. Today is the first time in over a year that our congregation has come together for service under one roof. It’s great to look over there and see our church family here. Isn’t that awesome?
Worshipers and others gathered inside the Fairway Christian shrine for the gathering, which included a concert of “Liberty Voices” and a sermon titled “The Gospel: Not Canceled.”
“We are delighted that you have come inside to join us for this gathering,” Michael Coppock, assistant minister of worship at Fairway Christian told the crowd. “We know that God is showing himself in a big way today, and we are thankful that you are here.”
Tents thrown from the mix
The gathering was an opportunity for the church and its congregation to reunite more than a year after COVID-19 made life in the church quite different.
Gastfield joked that the tents could be used as covered parking for cars and golf carts that were in Fairway Christian grounds that day. The rally was the only service Fairway Christian held this weekend, with the church’s traditional three hours of worship canceled.
Four of Fairway Christian’s outreach ministries were on display during the rally. They include Dads For a Day, which offers one-on-one mentorship to at-risk boys living in fatherless homes; Casa Hope, which is a prison aftercare program; Love in the Name of Christ, or Love INC, which helps churches transform lives and communities; and the Ocala Pregnancy Care Center.
“We are slowly coming out of COVID, and although attendance is slowly increasing, we still have not returned to our pre-pandemic levels,” Gastfield noted. “This gathering was a perfect opportunity to welcome our congregation back to Fairway Christian, as well as to introduce our church to those who have recently moved to neighboring villages and communities.
The six-day revival has arrived at Fruitland Park
In Fruitland Park, a large tent was pitched in the parking lot of the Countryside Baptist Church for a takeover of the six-day Signs of the Times tent, which ended on April 16. Baptist campaign pastor John Stricklen said there were good crowds in the tent every day, including the opening session on April 11, which was held in the tent despite inclement weather.
“Our guest evangelist, Alan Harris, was a sight to see,” Stricklen said. “It thundered, lightning struck, it rained until we waded through the water to get in and out of the tent, but he sang glorious songs and preached one of the best messages I have ever had. never heard. The crowd marveled and then praised the Lord.
Stricklen said the reaction to the six-day recovery was overwhelmingly positive.
“Several people have said that they wish we had more days in the alarm clock,” he added. “In a time when so many churches limit the timing of revivals, we have a church that loves the word of God sung and preached. “Revival is a renewal of life. Christians can grow weary of the trials they face on a daily basis. Thus, a moment of refreshment is welcome. “
The importance of revivals
The history of the tent rebirth or renaissance gatherings in the United States dates back decades before the country achieved independence from Great Britain. In the 1730s, a Massachusetts pastor named Jonathan Edwards is credited with initiating what historians call “the great revival” through his meetings, which led to the conversion of hundreds of settlers.
Over time, there have been a host of revivals recorded in US history – the “Second Great Revival” of the early 19th century, the “Jesus movement” of the 1960s and 1970s, and the ” renewal of the keepers of the promise ‘at the end of the 20th century.
Awakenings have changed over time, especially with the rise of new media over the past two centuries. Oral Roberts, for example, went from being a sought-after tent revivalist in the 1950s to a famous televangelist with worldwide popularity. But some evangelists continue in the tradition of awakening the tent of their ancestors. Harris, who appeared at Countryside Baptist, worked as a traveling evangelist for nearly 40 years, appearing at churches, conferences and other events in the United States and around the world.
Wake up today
The Man in the Mirror Ministry, which has worked with tens of thousands of churches since the 1980s, listed several characteristics of these revivals.
“Revivals emerge during times of spiritual and moral decline, which leads to intense prayer,” wrote Patrick Morley of Man in the Mirror. “During these revivals, God receives praise, honor, and glory for bringing revival.”
To get involved in a revival today, talk to your local church about how you can be active in the revival process.
“Churches must ensure that the faithful play a role in preparing for revival,” wrote Jake Roudkovski, professor of evangelism and pastoral ministry at the Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans.
Stricklen understands the importance of having a revival at such a critical time in U.S. history, where concerns about COVID-19, politics, economics and race relations continue to cast a shadow over the country.
“In this upside down climate of COVID, political and economic turmoil and other issues, people are turning to the Lord again,” he said. “They pray more, asking the Lord what they can do to deal with what is going on.”
Principal writer James Dinan can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5302 or [email protected]