FROM THE STATES: La., Ga., Ky. evangelism/missions news; 'People were hungry to meet with the Lord'

Today's From the States features items from:

Baptist Message (Louisiana)

The Christian Index (Georgia)

Western Recorder (Kentucky)

La. church revival a

power movement of God

By Brian Blackwell

CROWVILLE, La. (Baptist Message) -- Evangelist Bill Britt originally planned to preach just four days at a Crockett Point Baptist Church revival.

However, Britt's scheduled four-day stay at the Deer Creek Baptist Association church in Louisiana continued for two weeks as the congregation extended the revival not once, not twice, but three times.

By the end of the revival in mid-March, 197 people accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior and numerous others made other decisions for God.

Britt could only attribute the extension to one reason -- God.

"When we came to the end of the scheduled last day each time, crowds were so big and so many saved, we didn't think the Lord was finished," Britt said. "It wasn't just me and Joe but the people who also wanted to keep going. That was a key deal. People were hungry to meet with the Lord and to keep bringing their friends."

Joe Senn, pastor of Crockett Point, said the extended revival was not about the pastor, congregation or who was on the schedule. The center focus was God and how he moved.

"The revival was about allowing the Holy Spirit to move without restraint," Senn said. "Again, some may believe there is a secret to a revival of this magnitude. Who wouldn't want to see revival of this nature commence at all churches throughout the country?"

From the very first day of revival at Crockett Point, Britt noticed a spirit of expectancy among the community. Each night, the pews were packed out in the 400-seat worship center, with crowds even sitting on the platform, foyer and aisles.

Britt recalls when he was out and about in the community, he sensed excitement and a hunger for God. He said the preparation and the expectation of people at Crockett Point Baptist stood out in his mind.

"People were inviting friends and family members," Britt said. "I sensed people believed that if they had their friends and family there, they would come to know the Lord. There was a bar down the road and even the people there called the church to ask why so many people were there. We had families saved, husbands and wives saved, parents and children saved. It was phenomenal."

Indeed, the church made preparations months in advance for the revival.

In January, the congregation fasted for 21 days. For the first week, participants were asked to spend time praying for themselves in preparation of the revival. During the second week, members were asked to pray for others and in the third week, members prayed for Crockett Point Baptist.

Then, from the entire month of February until the beginning of the revival, the church was open for nightly prayer meetings. The revival began March 8.

The church came together to pray for wisdom, discernment, revival, people who were not Christians, themselves and for God to join in the revival.

And when the time came for the revival to take place, the congregation was prepared for how God might move inside and outside Crockett Point Baptist.

"When the Holy Spirit is welcomed into a place, amazing events begin to unfold," Senn said. "The revival was about glorifying God, reaching out to the lost and soaking up the presence of the Holy Spirit. For all present, it was an amazing experience many will not forget."

Though the revival at Crockett Point lasted for 11 days beyond its scheduled ending date, Britt recalls three others which also were extended -- New Pleasantdale Baptist in Philadelphia, MS, another at First Baptist Church in Pine Prairie and yet another at Longview Baptist in Deville. Britt, who is a veteran of more than 1,000 revivals in the US and worldwide, said that while churches may have such extended revivals, the majority where he has preached last anywhere from one day to four days.

He said for churches who may be uneasy or unsure how to hold a revival, pulling off one is not as difficult as one may think.

"I want people to get in their mind and heart that this kind of evangelism still works," Britt said. "There are evangelists God has called and when churches pray and invite their friends, God can still shake a community with this means of evangelism. If you'll pray and prepare and people will invite their friends, I believe people will come."

Even though Crockett Point Baptist's revival has since ended, Senn believes God has much more in store for his church and the community in which they minister.

"As Crockett Point Baptist Church revival has come to a close, another is opening," Senn said. "Philippians 1:6 states And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. There is still more work to be done but with a revived spirit and a teachable heart, all things are possible through Christ who strengthens us."


This article appeared in the Baptist Message (baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Brian Blackwell is a staff writer for the Baptist Message.

**********

Men's ministry emphasis leads

to Ga. church's growth

By Jim Burton

MAYSVILLE, Ga. (The Christian Index) -- Imagine for a moment that every Georgia Baptist church was reaching more than 40% of its community in Sunday School. Would that be a game changer?

In a northeast Georgia community with no red light or caution light, the game began changing about eight years ago when two young men -– Josh Shoemaker and Jeremy Sharpton -– from Maysville Baptist Church had a heart to reach other men in the community. The men they wanted to reach were mostly hunters, fishermen, and farmers, so they started an Outdoorsman's Ministry.

"We recognized that as men we knew how to communicate with men," Shoemaker said.

That ministry has grown through the years until this past February, Maysville hosted 2,950 people –- mostly men -– at a wild game supper at a local warehouse where 204 attendees professed faith in Christ.

"We believe that as the man goes so the family goes," said David Sharpton, Maysville Baptists' pastor of evangelism and education. "Our desire is to reach men and therefore to reach the whole family to make disciples."

Though designed to connect with men's outdoor interests, the ministry began indoors when their former pastor approved a Wednesday night men's Bible study. Twenty-seven attended the first night, and one man made a profession of faith. The study outgrew the church's facilities and met for a while in a restaurant that could hold 90. Soon, that facility was full, too.

By then, Maysville Baptist realized they had found a formula for church growth. To facilitate the growing men's Bible study and other ministries, the church built a $700,000 building and paid cash, Sharpton said.

In eight years, Sharpton estimates 1,100 different men have attended the Bible study. More than 250 have professed faith in Christ and been baptized.

All of this is happening in a community of about 1,500 people.

Simple Format

Sharpton said that the Maysville Baptist men's ministry uses a "tipping technique" on Wednesday nights, offering help on topics that men like. Those topics can range from changing your oil, to siting your rifle, to catching striped bass.

Following fellowship, prayer, a tipping technique presentation, and worship, Sharpton teaches up to 30 minutes, drawing on his strength as an expository preacher. He estimates that between 80 and 100 men attend on Wednesdays.

With disciple-making as its foundation, the Maysville Baptist men's ministry hosts two major events each year. After the February wild game dinner, they have a bow shoot in August.

Evangelism is the primary objective of their major events. The church has an immediate follow-up plan of trained men visiting each person who indicates a decision for Christ. Of those attendees with no church affiliation, Sharpton estimates that 27% eventually "get plugged into the church."

Sharpton said that the Maysville Baptist men's ministry uses a "tipping technique" on Wednesday nights, offering help on topics that men like. Those topics can range from changing your oil, to siting your rifle, to catching striped bass.

Not every piece of their strategy is high profile. The men are also committed to community missions by repairing roofs, building ramps, underpinning houses, and other services to those in need.

"It's for one purpose, the opportunity to present the Gospel," Sharpton said.

The game has changed

Six men at Maysville Baptist have indicated a calling into full-time vocational ministry, which Sharpton sees as a major outcome of their men's ministry. He has also seen marriages restored, divorced people being saved and remarried, and people overcoming addictions. And more men are volunteering for roles in the church and for mission projects.

"When we go to look for laborers to serve, we go to the men's ministry," Sharpton said.

As their men's ministry has grown, so has the knowledge of the church's 7.5% commitment to the Cooperative Program (CP) from its undesignated gifts.

"They understand CP and understand what it goes for," Sharpton said.

For more information about Georgia Baptist Men's Ministries, visit www.gabaptist.org/mens-ministries.


This article appeared in The Christian Index (christianindex.org), newsjournal of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Jim Burton is a photojournalist living in Cumming, Ga.

**********

Ky. doctor offers theological

training in Southeast Asia

By Myriah Snyder

LONDON, Ky. (Western Recorder) -- A Kentucky Baptist doctor is using his medical practice as a form of "tent making" to support his true calling: training national pastors on the mission field.

Kit Putrakul, an emergency room doctor originally from Thailand but now working in Manchester, and his pastor, Andrew Dyer of Corinth Baptist Church in London, recently spent two weeks in Southeast Asia conducting expository preaching and discipleship seminars.

The seminars drew approximately 60 leaders from various countries in Southeast Asia. Many traveled long distances to attend. Three years ago, Putrakul oversaw a similar event in Cambodia.

"We talked about doctrinal philosophy for expository preaching, why preaching matters, and why God's word being true makes the pastor's responsibility simply to tell people what God has said," Dyer said.

The team wanted to convey that "the pulpit must not drive us to the text, but the text must drive us to the pulpit," Putrakul added.

The team held 12 sessions, and Dyer preached every night, providing an example of expository preaching. Putrakul helped with training sessions and translating.

The ultimate purpose of the seminars was to "help equip pastors to better teach the word to their people" and to teach small group, relational discipleship so the nationals can "better make disciples and fulfill the Great Commission," Dyer explained.

"In a lot of ways, I feel unequipped to be there," Dyer said. "There was so much that I needed to learn from them."

Buddhism heavily influences the region, and many of the pastors attending have experienced imprisonment for their faith. The day before some of the Laotian pastors came to the seminar, five of their colleagues were arrested for "practicing medicine without a license," Dyer said.

The pastors had simply prayed over a woman dying of cancer. After she passed, the authorities arrested them and set the bail for around $1,300 American dollars, he said.

Describing it as "kind of a Paul and Silas attitude," Dyer recalled how the pastors were adamant about the bail not being paid. The pastors reportedly had stated, "God has sent us here to this prison, we know we're in His will and His plan, and He's going to take care of us while we're here. We're just going to take advantage of the situation and share the gospel."

Putrakul has been working with missions for more than 10 years. A former Buddhist monk, he was saved after coming to America for medical training. God allowed him to return to Southeast Asia for a time, before calling him back to America.

He and his wife are now members of Corinth Baptist.

"In order to be a better advocate to all these national pastors, God had opened a door for me to work as an ER physician," Putrakul said.

However, he travels to Southeast Asia two to three times a year. Additionally, he oversees the curriculum that provides theological training to untrained pastors.

"The need is great in the world, but the gospel is going forth. Christ is building His church," Dyer said. "I think it's just a great encouragement for Kentucky Baptists to join Him."

Individuals interested in being a part of a mission trip to help train pastors in discipleship and expository preaching in Southeast Asia may email inquiries to kputrakul@cciint.org.


This article appeared in the Western Recorder (westernrecorder.org), newsjournal of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Myriah Snyder is a news writer for the Western Recorder.

**********

EDITOR'S NOTE: From the States, published each Tuesday by Baptist Press, relays news and feature stories from state Baptist papers and other publications on initiatives by Baptist churches, associations and state conventions in evangelism, church planting and Great Commission outreach, including partnership missions. Reports about churches, associations and state conventions responding to the International Mission Board's call to embrace the world's 3,800 unengaged, unreached people groups also are included in From the States, along with reports about church, associational and state convention initiatives in conjunction with the North American Mission Board's call to Southern Baptist churches to broaden their efforts in starting new churches and satellite campuses. The items appear in Baptist Press as originally published.

Download Story