In today’s world, North Carolina Baptists can easily become worn down and worn out. Pastors, too, can get overburdened in caring for the needs of the flock while balancing the responsibilities of their personal and family lives. Individual and corporate revival is what is needed to encourage the believer to press on for Christ. That is a burden shared by the team of Life Action Ministries.
At least 24 Baptist churches across North Carolina have hosted one of Life Action Ministries’ (LAM) travelling revival teams. These teams, Revival Summit and THIRST, are sponsored by the local church and have several different format lengths.
The THIRST conference is a four-day revival that runs Sunday through Wednesday, the Revival Summit has three formats. A church can choose the options of 8-days, 11-days or 15-days.
Whatever the length or team, the focus is on “improving the health of the church by calling believers to a deeper walk with Jesus Christ (and) introducing revival principles to the whole family.”
Bill Grisham, senior pastor of First Baptist Church Rocky Mount, is an advocate of Life Action Ministries. He was introduced to the ministry of LAM several years ago during a conversation with a friend of his who had a personal experience with the group.
Grisham said his heart “was drawn to what Life Action did and how they did it.” Another North Carolina supporter of Life Action Ministries is Michael Cloer of Englewood Baptist, also in Rocky Mount. Cloer has hosted LAM teams, having been “led by the Spirit to contact them and schedule” them to come.
After witnessing their ministry firsthand he said, “I know it was God who led me” to contact them.
Life Action Ministries was formed in 1971 by Del Fehsenfeld Jr., then a youth director at a church in Florida, and his wife Judy.
The original and continuing vision was for spiritual awakening in North America based upon 2 Chronicles 16:9, “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, that He may show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.”
Though he went home to be with the Lord in 1989, Fehsenfeld loved to say, “As long as God is on His throne, revival is as possible as the sun rising tomorrow morning.”
What can a church expect from God during a revival meeting led by LAM? According to Cloer, a church can expect “a renewal … in many lives that causes fresh, passionate devotion to Christ and renewed commitments to serve Him through His body.”
Recently, First Baptist Church of Rocky Mount hosted a 15-day Revival Summit.
This is the third time the church has hosted a LAM team during Grisham’s 21-year tenure as senior pastor.
Grisham said the church has already seen some of what God was doing through the Revival Summit.
During one nightly testimony time, a grandmother stood before the congregation and shared that she and her husband were raising their 3-year-old grandson. She shared that this was not what she had planned for her life, especially since her grandson has anger issues.
While questioning why he struggles with anger, the Lord “said to her, ‘He is angry because you are angry.’” She confessed this to the congregation and asked for prayer. According to Grisham, “A large number of women gathered around her to pray for her and (committed) to continue to pray and minister to her.”
Cloer said reconciliation is “a large part of what (his church) experienced.” He tells the story of a previous revival where “one brother had not spoken to another brother in years. One night, he was convicted and moved by God’s Spirit to go to that brother and ask for forgiveness.”
Another witness of what God is doing through Life Action Ministries is Jerry Rankin, president emeritus of the International Mission Board.
As the result of a team ministering in the Mississippi church where he is a member, Rankin said, “Broken marriages were healed, members were reconciled, and lost people were saved.
“Many gained a new understanding of God’s work in their lives and resolved anew to live in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.”
The result of any revival should be obedience to Christ in all areas of life which would ultimately result in reaching others with the gospel. Grisham testifies that this renewal has produced “spiritual awakening in the lost world around (the believers).”
An April LAM revival in Tennessee gave birth to a resolution on prayer and repentance at this year’s Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Phoenix.
The resolution was initiated by Jamie Work, pastor of Candies Creek Baptist Church in Charleston, Tenn., and a member of the SBC Resolutions Committee and the SBC Executive Committee.
Though started in 1971 by one man and his wife, today Life Action Ministries has several different ministries but still one purpose – revival.
Some of the different outreaches are: Revive Our Hearts, a ministry for women with Nancy Leigh DeMoss; Revival Summit and THIRST, two travelling ministries; the Lodge, a facility in Michigan for pastors and ministry leaders to come for retreat; a collegiate ministry and youth camp. For more information or to contact the ministry, please visit the website: lifeaction.org.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Burwell Stark is a freelance writer and a member of Richland Creek Community Church in Wake Forest.)