Resurrection Sunday is the greatest day for local churches. If I had a wand, I would wish that every church, every Sunday, had a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. As soon as the day was winding down, I sent out an email blast to about 100 pastors, asking them about their day. Several responded:
“We baptized 15 people in Shoal Creek today. Air temp: 31 degrees. Heart temp: off the charts!”— John Swadley, Joplin, Forest Park
“Baptized a 35-year-old newly married man today. A 30-year-old man came today to profess his faith following victory over addiction. Baptizing another young married couple when out-of-state family can come. God is growing us in discipleship and number.”— Todd Decker, Neosho, First
“My three little ones, who have all independently made professions of faith over the past two months, walked the aisle today to let the church know of it. Sweet moment and a forever memory! The Spirit was present today!”— Adam Mallette, Republic, Calvary
“There is just an atmosphere of worship and joy in our services. The ‘voice volume’ of the congregation these days is huge. We didn’t have any public responses, but after the previous two ‘Victory in Jesus’ Sundays we know we will see baptisms and fruit for the next 6 months to a year from the 20+ responses to receive Christ on those Sundays. The number of visitors we are having each week is overwhelming, not sure how to capitalize on that yet. We had an awesome weekend.”– Jeff Anderson, Hannibal, Calvary
“Easter Sunday was wonderful. A 45-year-old man, Brian, came forward Palm Sunday to declare faith. He was so excited to be baptized on Easter Sunday. His video testimony before his baptism was awesome. The worship was Godward and lots of energy. I love to see the church passionate about God. At invitation – one lady who we originally connected with through a church car show came to profess faith in Jesus Christ and a desire for baptism. A young couple also came – both have had faith in Jesus Christ for a while but they are new to our church and want to be part of the fellowship. He has never been baptized and desires baptism.” – Jim Walker, Hazelwood, Hazelwood
“We had a Friday/Saturday ‘Millennial-Style’ musical depicting the Crucifixion/Resurrection of Jesus. Our church and community loved it. We had a young man saved Sunday with an amazing Easter Worship Service. We’ve still got a way to go, but I believe that we are getting stronger each week. Our crowd Sunday was the largest in over a year. I believe God is blessing, primarily because we are praying and doing our best to be faithful to Him and each other. For 2-3 months our ministry staff has been meeting daily from 9-10 a.m. for prayer in our sanctuary. Others are beginning to join us. It really is making a difference in our worship and church.” – Stephen Seaford, Jackson, First
“Yes, it was another great day. The place was almost standing room only. The altar was full during the invitation. We have seen an amazing movement of God. People confessing their sins and families being reconciled. We had three men who sense a call into the ministry. There were people confessing and gaining forgiveness in their marriages. Now the work begins of cultivating and discipleship.— Jeff Hardy, Kimberling City, First
“We had the highest attendance since I have been here! The Congo service is growing as well. We had a couple join a couple of weeks ago. He is a firefighter. John, our associate pastor, is discipling him. Last week people were wondering if something was wrong at church. We had the firetruck parked in the front parking lot. Nothing was wrong. It was just the whole shift coming to church with this new believer!!! He asked the whole shift to come to the church service and they came! Praise the Lord. FBC Kirksville is on the move and God is doing great things.”— Jason, Marlin, Kirksville, First
These are wonderful testimonies and there are many, many more. And the Lord Himself receives all the glory. Hallelujah! I couldn’t keep them to myself.
I have the early sense the Lord is doing something extraordinary. In 1 Chronicles 14, when King David faced a formidable opponent, the Lord answered David that when he heard a sound in the top of the trees, he was to go out to battle for God had gone out ahead of him. When we hear more and more testimonies of God at work through His people, I watch ever so closely for the early signs of revival. I gain confidence that the Lord is ahead of us.
The church of the Lord Jesus faces powerful forces seeking to stifle our work of being on mission to facilitate gospel change in lives and communities. When a movement of the Lord among us begins to happen, we want to testify of the Lord’s work among us – not to boast, but to celebrate the victories won in Jesus’ name in this generation. And don’t think that the size of one’s church is the secret sauce for effectiveness. God is at work through faithful men and women, His wonders to perform.
Yet on the same day, I learned of a pastor who was released just days prior to Easter Sunday. I was told of another church in our state that simply died, and Easter was their last day. So sad. Remember, the Lord has not forgotten you or your address. He is with you. He is with His church. Your MBC missionaries, your director of missions, and your mentor are ready to help you walk through the valley of discouragement and toward the mission.
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Pray for the SBC Executive Committee, where I serve as an officer of the SBC. On the day this issue of the Pathway is dated, we have a special called meeting in Nashville to determine a new search committee for the president of the Executive Committee. This is a critical post for distribution of our mission dollars and for helping our convention manage the potholes that the world uses to distract us from our mission of making disciples in all the world.