MAYSVILLE — Carrying the cross through the streets of Maysville by members of the First Baptist Church here in preparation for an upcoming crusade was a graphic reminder to the community and to the congregation of what Jesus had done for them.
“Our Outreach Committee is inspired with unique ideas to reach out to our community,” Rodney Dorr, pastor of First Maysville, said. “We divided the community into four sections and carried the cross combined with a prayer walk on Saturdays and Sundays.”
The prayer walk was in preparation for the crusade held Nov. 4-7 at the church with Clyde Chiles, 55-year evangelist, preaching. Seventeen people made decisions to accept Christ at the crusade with 10 rededications and 17 other various responses.
“I grew up knowing Clyde Chiles,” Dorr said. “His home church is First Baptist Church, Centralia, and that is where I grew up, so it was a natural connection.”
Dorr emphasized the difference between crusade and revival.
“Revival is for God’s people,” he said, “while crusade is distinguished by outreach.”
Kyle Bridgman, minister of education and music, led the music for the crusade and agrees with the definition.
“We had revival before the crusade,” Bridgman said. “We prepared during the weeks before the crusade. We had prayer training before the crusade with emphasis on praying for loved ones and identifying those needing Christ. Our youth minister, Jerry Scott, led a Wednesday night on sharing the gospel because as God leads up to an event like this, He begins giving people more opportunities.”
Both Dorr and Bridgman said the cross also had an impact of revival on the congregation.
“When the youth walked the cross into the church at the end of the Sunday morning service,” Dorr said, “it became a point of worship and excitement for our people. I stopped preaching and the congregation stood out of reverence as the cross came in.”
Bridgman said his daughter was one of the young people walking with the cross.
“It had an impact on the youth because some of them had never done anything like that before,” he said. “It was a challenge for them to be identified with the cross to their friends. It was a positive way for them to take a stand.”
The Sunday before the crusade, Sasha Zimovoi, pastor of Maysville’s sister church in Belarus, came for a visit.
“Walking with the cross in the community was especially meaningful to Sasha,” Dorr said. “He doesn’t have that freedom in his country. The Russian Orthodox Church is tied with the government.”
First Maysville placed a notice in the newspaper informing the community of the prayer walk with the cross.
“We wanted to let people know we wanted their prayer requests,” Bridgman said. “We wanted them to nail the requests to the cross.
“We lift them up to God. God draws them by the Holy Spirit. It is not what we do, but that we align ourselves with Him.”