Zero-baptism church comes alive
LOUISBURG—It was around February of this year when Pastor Roger Easter invited Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Worship Specialist John Francis and MBC Ministerial Services Specialist George Roach to pray with him about needing revival in their church and community. First Baptist Church, Louisburg, of which Easter is the pastor, had not baptized anyone in at least a year if not longer and he was eager to renew his church’s passion for the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the fall of 2006, Roach had the privilege of sharing at the Dallas County Baptist Association’s annual meeting. It was at this meeting where Roach made the statement, “the Missouri Baptist Convention wants to partner in any way we can with any church that has not had a baptism in the past year or several years.”
Easter jumped at the chance to take Roach at his word as he quickly asked if he was truly serious. Roach’s immediate response was, “Of course, how can I help you?” The help began when they began a simple dialogue about what is the best approach to take in order to help the church have one or many baptisms.
“We invited people from the church who could come to pray with us. We had eight men and four ladies join in the prayer time for our church and community,” said Easter. In God’s Word Jesus says in Matt. 18:19-20, “‘Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.’”
No one could have imagined what an impact those prayers had on the small church of only about 45 when they decided to hold a revival. There were about 40-50 faithful who attended every night,” Roach said.
There was much preparation in the days leading up to the revival as they prayer-walked the community. The Holy Spirit was at work in those preparation stages, as well as during the actual revival. “Even prior to the revival there were two souls that were saved,” said Roach. “We became aware of a program that was developed to help revive the church out of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, which encouraged us to develop a prayer list.”
As a part of the preparation Roach also suggested that Easter and the church study a book called Returning to Holiness by Gregory R. Frizzell, which gives goals for both the individual believer and the church as a whole, strategies and encouragement for pastors. It then discusses how to prepare by setting Christ as our true foundation. Once the goals are set and the foundation is firmly established they then begin their revival by allowing the Lord to begin to change how they think, act, speak and relate to others, along with rejecting sins that are specifically forbidden by God, and breaking down the bondage of pride and self-reliance.
“The church took the challenge and the Convention provided the books for the study,” said Easter. “The book has given a new enthusiasm to our church body. We have people visiting and others realizing that visitation is a part of their responsibility.”
“I went into the church with a sense of optimism because that’s what we had prayed for,” said Roach. God truly answered those prayers as there was a sense of satisfaction because “the people were so faithful in coming,” he said.
“As the revival began, there was a little bit of apprehension,” said Francis, “but those feelings went away quickly. This church was hungry to worship God, and they’d use whatever means possible to do just that. They’d sing new songs that they didn’t know very well just as passionately as the old.
“One night it was as if I didn’t seem to want the worship time to end. I was playing piano so my back was turned away from the congregation, but when I turned around, I could see that this once-hurting church was really worshiping God.”
Francis also went to the high school and middle school where he played his trumpet and worked with band members. “The band instructor was very interested in getting him to return this coming year,” said Easter.
On the Sunday after the revival there was one more person who came and accepted Christ as Lord. This made the total salvations before and after the revival three. “At first this seemed a bit discouraging to us,” said Roach, but the Spirit hadn’t finished His work with this church. In June, when the church was holding Vacation Bible School, six children were saved.
“Easter was pleased with the revival and encouraged us,” said Roach. Nine souls have been added to the Lamb’s Book of Life, along with significant rededications. This once lifeless church that hadn’t baptized anyone in over a year has now baptized nine.
“My hope is that other churches will follow suit and allow us to come alongside them to do some ‘in house’ things and help them realize what it is to be the church and do outreach,” said Roach.