If God were to begin a spiritual awakening in the “Bible Belt,” He might just choose a place like Ada to do it. That is what Brad Graves, pastor of Ada First Baptist Church, believed.
Hundreds of students from Ada, Okla., area gather to worship and hear from evangelist Ken Freeman.
Through a multi-day event in February called “Awaken Ada,” the church saw approximately 200 spiritual decisions and has recorded more than 65 baptisms.
“Many describe what happened in Ada, Okla., last week as unbelievable, overwhelming, anointed; and most said it was simply indescribable,” said Graves who mentioned there were a few “only God” moments leading up to Awaken Ada.
To prepare for the event, which would be headlined by evangelist Ken Freeman, members of Ada First Baptist “cleansed the Temple” with 300 people reading aloud the entire Bible, cover-to-cover, in the sanctuary.
Following this, approximately 100 members fasted for 21 days, calling on the Lord to send awakening and revival in Ada.
Speaking at five school assemblies involving five different area schools, God appeared to move on the hearts of people. Giving his “choices” school assembly speech, Freeman was able to connect with many students.
“With one of the largest crowds hosted on a Wednesday Night Youth Service this school year, Ken spoke to a packed room of students, and the first 18 decisions for Christ were made,” Graves said.
On that Friday evening, more than 100 students and adults traveled to the Ada Lodge at Falls Creek campground for a weekend Winter Camp. During worship services, 13 more decisions for Christ happened.
A February revival at First Baptist Church in Ada, Okla., drew “the largest crowd our sanctuary has held,” said pastor Brad Graves.
Then, at a Saturday night Communion Service, students worshipped for several hours. This sparked a number of student-led prayer groups at schools, the following week.
“One local high school even added the Wednesday night service in its daily announcements,” Graves said. “Posters and invite cards were distributed around our area by the hundreds, and countless people gave rides, picked up people and walked.”
All of these events led up to the Sunday morning worship service, which kicked off the five-service revival week. That morning, the church baptized 19 students.
From Sunday through the following Wednesday, Graves and the congregation saw the crowd sizes continue to grow. During the times of response, the altar appeared to be full of people.
“On Wednesday we had other churches join for worship, and with a crowd of between 1,500 and 2,000 people, we believe it to be the largest crowd our sanctuary has held,” Graves said. “We had the balcony full, choir loft full, students and adults crammed into pews, and many students sitting on the floor. We also had a nursery and elementary kids service for 4th grade and below in the gym. With the size of our town it is easy to celebrate that close to 10 percent of our population came to our service that night.”
“I was overwhelmed with emotion, because we had been praying for a moment like this for years,” said one church member.
Each evening, dozens of people came to faith in Christ. According to the latest reported numbers, Ada First Baptist had recorded 199 decisions for Christ, with 68 baptisms and more baptisms scheduled. These people came from all walks of life, from teens to married couples.
“I have been in a lot of revivals and crusades, even Billy Graham and Luis Palau, but Wednesday night was the most historic and anointed service that I may have ever been a part of,” Graves said.
“Someone asked if I knew this was going to be this epic of a movement. I replied that I knew it was going to be this special, not because of the crowds, salvations or baptisms, but because I saw the intensity and passion of the students in their worship.
“I have never seen that many students that sincere and intense on just worshipping God, and with God’s promise to inhabit the praises of His people, He did not disappoint,” added Graves, who believes the prayer and fasting was key to focusing the church on God.
Graves’ prayer is that these events help change the spiritual landscape in Ada and spread to other parts of Oklahoma and the nation.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Brian Hobbs is editor of The Baptist Messenger, baptistmessenger.com, newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, and communications director of the BGCO.)