Old-time tent revival brings two churches together

Originally published in Western Recorder – http://www.westernrecorder.org/~westernr/index.php/recent-kentuck-news/1665-old-time-tent-revival-brings-two-churches-together

38tentrev1Cecilia—Two Elizabethtown-area churches came together as one body of believers to host an old-fashioned tent revival.

The revival, hosted by Franklin Crossroads Baptist and Cecilia Baptist churches along with Alabama evangelist Edward Johnson, took place Sept. 21-26.

The first four nights were held in a tent provided by Johnson’s ministry at Cecilia’s property. The last night—to accommodate the crowds that were drawn for the “Main Event”—was held at Franklin Crossroads.

“We’re not about a building; we’re about a kingdom,” Cecilia’s pastor Eric Oliver said. “It was beautiful seeing those people come together, not worrying about where they attend on a Sunday, but worried about reaching the lost and growing in faith.”

Each night had a theme. A meal was provided, prizes were given out, and Sunday-Wednesday saw an average of 300-350 in attendance. For the Main Event, about 500 were in attendance. Overall, the revival recorded six professions of faith.

“What I think was accomplished more than anything was we’ve showed our people how important it is to share their faith,” Oliver said.

“In addition, I saw some members who I haven’t met yet. They came to the tent revival,” added Williams, who has been at Franklin Crossroads about nine months. “This past Sunday some of those same individuals showed up at our services. There’s been some of that reclaiming and seeing some people come to Christ.”

Sunday was kid’s night. The churches prepared carnival food, games, and a boy and girl’s bikes were given out. Sixty children attended, and one received Christ that night.

On Monday, first responder’s were honored. They conducted a special memorial for local fire-fighter, Jonathan French, who was killed while responding to an auto accident. The Elizabethtown fire chief also shared his testimony.

“Frangelism”—a term adopted from a former SBC president—was the theme of Tuesday night. “The ‘fran’ stood for friends, relatives, associates and neighbors,” Oliver explained. “Our whole goal was to contact your friends, your relatives, your associates and your neighbors and invite them.”

Youth night was on Wednesday, and Franklin Crossroads’ youth presented an interpretative movement. “It was a great night of worship. We did praise and worship, and we had a band,” Williams said. That night, an iPad and gift cards were given away.

The Main Event was a steak dinner on Thursday. “Two weeks out, we encouraged everybody to buy a ticket for $6 and invite somebody that they knew who wasn’t going to church to come and have a steak dinner,” Oliver said. “So it was kind of like inviting people to eat on your behalf.”

“That was amazing. Both of the churches came together and cooked and prepared and served that meal,” Williams added. The volunteers served more than 450 people in seven minutes, he noted.

“We can’t say enough—if it were not for our church members and volunteers—that’s what made it,” Oliver said.

Daryl Thurman of Cecilia and a member of Franklin Crossroads led a committee of 15 who oversaw the parking situation. “Everything went smoothly,” he reported.

“I’ll be 68 in January, and this is the first tent revival I’ve been to since I was about 12 years old. You just don’t see these much anymore. It was excellent,” Thurman added.

Before the service concluded on Thursday night, both Oliver and Williams prayed for each other’s churches.

“Once again, we’re not about a church name; we’re just about a kingdom. I think that’s something that the lost need to see,” Oliver said. “I’ve heard this around our community: ‘Let me get this right, two churches are becoming one together for the purpose of Christ?’ And we are like, ‘Yes, for the unity of the body.'”

This was not the first time the churches have worked together. In March, the congregations co-hosted a series of Monday night revivals.

“I just see us working together on some greater things to reach people for the Lord,” Williams said. (WR) – See more at: http://www.westernrecorder.org/~westernr/index.php/recent-kentuck-news/1665-old-time-tent-revival-brings-two-churches-together#sthash.6Ye5XMzc.dpuf