DALLAS – The presence of the Holy Spirit abounded during a two-day meeting of senior pastors to pray for revival and spiritual awakening, a key organizer of the gathering recounted.
“There were many who believed this was an epic moment,” Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, told Baptist Press.
“Some even declared it was the greatest spiritual experience with their peers that they had ever had, anywhere, at any time,” Floyd said. “Pastors were able to be in an unthreatened environment … leading to complete authenticity.”
The Sept. 30-Oct. 1 Call to Pray for Revival and Awakening drew 175-plus pastors from 27 states to the gathering at a hotel near the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
A separate gathering of youth pastors praying for revival among youth met at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.
More than 175 pastors from 27 states gathered near the Dallas-Fort Worth airport to worship and pray for revival. “There were many who believed this was an epic moment,” one of the organizers, Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, said.
Johnny Derouen, professor of student ministry and one of three organizers of the latter meeting, said the prayers of the 30-plus youth pastors and students were “rich.”
“We want to see revival,” Derouen said. “We’d like to see a breakout and such spiritual awakening that it doesn’t stop. We’re hoping it will spread [and] we’ll have students everywhere praying for revival.”
Floyd said the senior pastors experienced many unique moments, including the joy of worshipping together and praying for others who were hurting spiritually or physically.
The Holy Spirit moved as men shared from God’s Word, worshipped and prayed, Floyd said. They didn’t focus on church size or matters of polity, he said, but for personal revival and for revival in their churches and the nation.
“Those were holy moments, as well as when men confessed their need to repent and make restitution,” Floyd said. “We were broken before God, crying out to Him personally and collectively. God’s hand was on so many moments. He answered our prayers.”
Floyd was one of five senior pastors who initiated the meeting and recruited a team of 40-plus pastors who served as an invitation team to their peers across the nation.
Hispanic pastor David Galvin, a former Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) second vice president, said he had never prayed with such a large group of fellow Southern Baptist pastors seeking God.
“What Jonathan Edwards said long ago that needed to take place for revival took place,” Galvin, pastor of New Life (Nueva Vida) Baptist Church in Dallas, told the Southern Baptist TEXAN, newsjournal of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. “There is no doubt that God was honored as lead pastors focused on a self-examination of each other and before God.”
“[This] was one of the most unique and spiritually beneficial meetings I have ever attended,” said Kevin Ueckert, pastor of Southside Church in Abilene, Texas. “I left the meeting very personally encouraged spiritually.”
The session also sparked an outpouring at a #prayingpastors Twitter hashtag. Before it ended, John Avant (@johnavant), who played a key role in the mid-1990s Brownwood Revival on college campuses, commented on the deep move of God among the pastors.
“My heart is stirred for revival!” said Avant, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Concord near Knoxville, Tenn.
Afterward, Avant tweeted, “Pray that spiritual awakening comes through revived pastors and the … thousands of people we will share our hearts with Sunday!”
Michael Catt (@MichaelCatt), senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., said afterward he felt encouraged, hungry for more of God, and a longing for others to feel the same.
“NOW praying for a MOMENT to be a MOVEMENT!” Catt wrote.
Among other comments:
Bart Barber (@bartbarber), senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, and first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention: “I love the sound of pastors lifting up strong voices in praise to God.”
Gregg Matte (@GreggMatte), pastor of First Baptist Church in Houston and president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference in Houston in June: “Tremendous prayer time with pastors across the USA. God is up to something big!”
Justin Kirksey (@JustinKirksey), pastor of Madison Street Baptist Church in Starke, Fla.: “God did more in that room than I could have ever expected!”
Matt Carter (@_Matt_Carter), pastor of preaching and vision at The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas: “Fantastic time of prayer and worship.”
Chris Robeson (@chrisrobeson), senior pastor of Friendly Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas: “God was in the room and strengthening hearts of pastors to press forward and go all in for His glory!”
Les Hughes (@les_hughes), senior pastor of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.: “The Lord broke out tonight on Dallas. Thank you for praying.”
John Green (@jgreen_4), pastor of Shindler Drive Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.: “Devil wants to quench fire started this week. Fires of revival blow!”
Kevin Ward (@SalemBroKevin), pastor of Salem Springs Baptist Church in Athens, Ala.: “Let us not get over quickly meeting with God. May He stay fresh in our hearts each and every day.”
Derouen said Southwestern’s fall break limited the seminary turnout to a handful, but the assembly still drew youth pastors from six states as well as India and South Korea.
After an opening talk by professor and organizer Richard Ross, participants separated for a time of self-examination. When they reconvened, a strong brokenness filled the air, with youth pastors confessing their failure to pray for revival, Derouen said.
Derouen said the past decade has seen a fading away of student-led Bible clubs nationally that first sprang up in the late 1990s. At one time there were at least 20 in the Fort Worth area, but today there is only one, Derouen said.
“I don’t think youth pastors have ever made an attempt to pray together for revival,” Derouen said. “A number of people e-mailed me that they were going to pray in their own area. We hope all these guys will do that.”
Floyd said that many have expressed interest in a second gathering for senior pastors at a different location; a few feel led to hold similar ones for their state or region.
Only God knows what He will accomplish in the months ahead, Floyd said.
“We challenged our pastors as they departed: ‘May the Holy Spirit empower you to share the burden and vision for spiritual revival with your church and other churches,’” Floyd said. “‘And to call our nation to spiritual awakening, always giving the hope that His Kingdom is advancing and will soon reign supremely and eternally.’”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Ken Walker is a freelance writer from Huntington, W.Va.)