ELKTON, Md. (BP)–A “God-sized” revival fell upon First Baptist Church, Elkton, Md., with 93 professions of faith and 30 rededications in services beginning Palm Sunday and culminating Easter Sunday.
First Baptist is a small church of about 200 (including the babies), just across the Maryland line from Delaware. Most of the professions of faith were residents in the surrounding area who were not church members. People were saved at each of the services during the revival.
Asked how momentum toward the revival began, said pastor Earl Taylor. “God convicted us that we just weren’t leading people to the Lord. So we sought his face and his will, individually and collectively, and prayed for revival. And we received exceedingly abundantly more than we asked. To God be the glory!” The pastor said God showed the congregation they needed to love and care for the needs of the community.
“The planning and preparation paid off,” Taylor noted. Members of First Baptist had been asking the Lord for revival for more than seven months. Committees were formed, which were deacon-led (the church has only six deacons), to address the needs for prayer, counselor training, phone calls, visitation, publicity and special emphasis nights.
Taylor prepared his congregation with messages on victory based on the Old Testament Book of Joshua from January to March 21. Church members also had been applying the principals of the “Experiencing God” discipleship course and had developed several study groups.
Taylor contacted the guest preacher, Randy Hogue, an evangelist from Gadsden, Ala., about three months prior to the revival. When Taylor first called, Hogue was booked solid for the week. Upon confirming his schedule, previously booked events fell through which allowed Hogue to come to Elkton.
Hogue came and not only led in revival services, but also spoke to four student assemblies in three Cecil County public schools: Elkton High, Elkton Middle and Providence Middle. He was so well received that several schools in the county now want him to return. Hogue goes into hundreds of schools each year, teaching about drug awareness and abstinence and teen suicide. His brother, Andy, died from a drug overdose, so Hogue speaks from firsthand experience.
“It wasn’t Randy, and it wasn’t us,” Taylor said. “God just sent it [revival]. I want to give God the glory.
“We knew revival was in the air,” the pastor continued. “You could just feel it. And the people knew it too. People sensed it. It was God-sized, beyond what we could ever put together.”
Taylor said the revival was not only within the church, but also within the community. “There is a tremendous turning of young people to God. They wanted something that is real. And Jesus is real,” Taylor said. This was evidenced by 65 of the 93 professions of faith being from youth in the community.
Wednesday night of the revival was youth night. The church held a pizza blast, coupled with a mini-concert by the contemporary group New Vision. About 275 youth from the area “blasted” the church, playing basketball and riding skateboards.
The church is now doing follow-up with the deacon body leading the way. Counselors — teenagers through senior adult trained by the pastor — are now encouraging the new believers in their new walks of faith.
Asked how he felt about getting back into the pulpit the next Sunday to follow such an outpouring of the Spirit, Taylor replied, “Fired up and ready to go!”
Yoakum is a correspondent for Baptist Life, newsjournal of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.