On September 7th, I was privileged to participate in a series of revival services at the First Hopkinton Seventh Day Baptist Church in Ashaway, Rhode Island. Preaching by Pastor Ericessen Cooper of the NYC SDB Church along with the amazing music of the NYC Gospel Choir placed a dramatic exclamation point on the revival. Do not take my word for it though–you can see for yourself: https://livestream.com/1stHopkintonSDBChurch/events/8808481
As amazing and as important as the revival service is, after talking with Pastor David Stall and Pastor Gabe Graffius of the Hopkinton Church, and mingling with the wonderful folks of the church, I am realizing how revival is not simply an event, but on outpouring of the ongoing work of church revitalization. Here are a few things I learned through the weekend about church revitalization linked with revival. 1) Revitalization is about ministry “with” not simply ministry “to”. People are not invited to come and be spectators, we are invited to be participants. When the discipleship process of revitalization is aimed at getting people involved in small groups, engaging in worship, and truly belonging, there are all sorts of opportunities for personal and corporate revival. 2) Revitalization and revival is not a solitary activity–it is something where churches come alongside one another. The powerful interaction of the Hopkinton Church, the NYC Church, and the Agape SDB Church during the revival weekend reveals how God calls us to encourage and spur one another on, and leverages kingdom opportunity in exciting ways. 3) Prayer. Prayer for churches to be revitalized, prayer for personal revival, and prayer for revival within the broader community relies on the work of the Holy Spirit. The prayer focus leading into the revival weekend was clearly evident!
As we continue to cultivate revitalization within each of our local SDB Churches, I pray that we come alongside of one another and encourage one another deeply–share our stories and talk about how God is at work. If you are interested in the details surrounding the revitalization work going on in Ashaway RI, check in with Pastor David and Pastor Gabe. If you are interested in learning more about the Seventh Day Baptist wide Pulse process, certainly check that out: https://seventhdaybaptist.org/pulse Church revitalization and revival is not a solitary activity. Let’s enjoy the opportunity we have to travel this journey together.
Grace and peace,
Carl Greene, Executive Director, SDB General Conference of USA and Canada, ltd