SPRINGFIELD – South Haven Baptist Church, Springfield, accepted the challenge made at last year’s annual meeting by Ronnie Floyd, former Southern Baptist Convention president, and it led to a spiritual revival.
“In his challenge,” Ryan Palmer, South Haven Baptist Church, said, “Dr. Floyd asked churches to consider giving at least eleven minutes of their services on Sunday, Sept. 11 (9/11), to pray for our nation.”
“We decided to combine our two services to pray for Spiritual Awakening,” Palmer said. “Our one hour service turned into a two-and-a-half-hour exciting movement.”
As the South Haven staff saw what was happening among the congregation, they wanted to build on this moment. “We wanted to do a follow-up,” Palmer said, “to focus on the spiritual life of the congregation.”
Palmer began to research the possibilities. “We wanted to do some type of revival that was different from the old-fashioned type, so I started reading through some of the materials that I got at the annual meeting last year. I discovered Life Action Ministries.”
As Palmer focused in on how Life Action Ministries works with churches, he discovered one of his staff members toured with them in the 90s.
“We liked their ministry because Life Action would focus on spiritual change in families and the church,” he said. “They call people to authentic Christianity for lives to be transformed by the presence and power of God.”
Palmer described the four-day event, “They brought in a revivalist to speak,” he said, “as well as young people to lead a churchwide ministry. They worked with the children and young people of the church. It was truly a ministry across the congregation.”
“The focus was to call our congregation back to the heart of God,” Palmer said. “We wanted this to be a time of discipleship and to open our hearts to what God wanted us to do.”
The congregation didn’t just wait for the team to arrive on the scene. “For 40 days,” Palmer continued, “we prepared for the upcoming revival with prayer. In addition to prayer, we used a devotional series by Dr. Alvin Reid of Southeastern Seminary. We checked with him to see if we could adapt the series to use on our web site and Facebook page, for our congregation to use for daily devotions and prayer.”
In addition to preparing their hearts individually, the congregation me corporately to pray. “We cancelled our Wednesday evening regular scheduled activities on the Wednesday before the revival,” he said. “The prayer time was well attended and it did a lot to prepare our hearts for what was about to happen. This time was going to be focused on the believer coming back to the heart of God.”
Palmer explained that the impact of the revival was different from the measurement of other revivals. “The impact could be seen in marriages restored,” he said, “as well as the deep thirst for God and a quiet time in others. We’ve also seen others stepping up to serve in a variety of ministries.”
Palmer emphasized that this revival was a spiritual awakening to equip the congregation. “It was a revival,” he said, “to get back to what Jesus taught us on the Sermon on the Mount. He wants us to hunger and thirst for righteousness.”