WINSTON – It started with a man trying to shout down the gospel by talking about Mohammed.
It sparked a revival in a rural church.
It continues with people being saved and lives changed.
Lindy Reed was only in his second Sunday here as pastor of First Baptist Church. Part way through the sermon, a man stood up. He argued that the message was not right, that Moses had appeared to Mohammed.
Reed said he didn’t really take time to think about it as he reacted.
“I said, ‘Sir, this is a Baptist church and I’m preaching from the Bible. This is not the time to discuss this,’” Reed recounted.
He wrapped up the sermon and afterwards, went to meet with the man. The visitor was not interested in talking and walked away from the church, which is located in a town of 260 people near Interstate 35 just north of Cameron in northwest Missouri. (The man has since returned to the church to apologize.)
For members, the incident was unsettling.
“It was the first time I’ve ever been scared in church,” said Autumn Caldwell, who sat two rows behind the man. With news accounts of shooting incidents running through her mind, she feared the worse.
Instead there was a sweet spirit of revival. The Sunday of the incident, one man was saved. The next week, 10 people came forward to make decisions. People have been saved every week since; the total is now up to 18 new believers.
“The harvest has been plentiful through God’s grace,” said Russ Turner, the church’s sole deacon. “It’s such a blessing to see the Lord working. We can’t give Him the praise and glory enough.”
Turner has been praying for revival for years. At one point, the church was down to nine members.
“There was a hardship upon us,” he said. “We reached a turning point and the church surrendered to the Lord. From that point on, we did grow.”
Attendance was at 30-40 a week, but recently it spiked up to 115. They are looking at adding a children’s Sunday School class, and Caldwell is working with nearby churches to put on a “Heaven’s Gates Hell’s Flames” evangelism event.
Reed, who is an evangelist from Blue Springs, said an outburst like that during a service may have been more likely in an urban setting. He continues to baptize and disciple new believers without fear.
“God has answered our prayers and gave us revival,” he said. “Jesus Christ – that’s what we believe.”