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Zero-baptism church comes alive

LOUISBURG, Mo. (BP)–Lacking any baptisms in at least a year, Roger Easter was eager to renew his church’s passion for Jesus Christ.

It was around February when Easter, pastor of First Baptist Church in Louisburg, Mo., invited two state convention staff members — ministerial services specialist George Roach and worship specialist John Francis — to pray with him about the need for revival in his church and community.

Roach had spoken at the Dallas County Baptist Association’s annual meeting last fall and said, “The Missouri Baptist Convention wants to partner in any way we can with any church that has not had a baptism in the past year or several years.”

Easter jumped at the chance to take Roach at his word and asked if he was serious. “Of course,” Roach responded. “How can I help you?” and they began to dialogue about the best approach for the church to increase baptisms.

“We invited people from the church who could come to pray with us,” Easter recounted. “We had eight men and four ladies join in the prayer time for our church and community.”

No one could have imagined what an impact those prayers would have on the congregation of about 45 people when they decided to host a revival — and about 50 people attended every night.

The Holy Spirit was at work, Roach said, as the church prepared for the revival by making prayer lists and prayerwalking in the community.

“Even prior to the revival there were two souls that were saved,” Roach said.

As a part of the preparation, Roach also suggested that Easter and the congregation study a book titled “Returning to Holiness” by Gregory R. Frizzell, which suggests goals for both the individual believer and the church as well as strategies and encouragement for pastors, all aimed at establishing Christ as the true foundation for revival.

Once the goals and the foundation are firmly established, Roach said a church can begin experiencing revival by allowing God to change how they think, act, speak and relate to others. That includes rejecting sins that are specifically forbidden by God and breaking free from the bondage of pride and self-reliance.

“The church took the challenge and the convention provided the books for the study,” Easter said. “The book has given a new enthusiasm to our church body,” including their commitment to visiting people to share the Gospel.

Roach, who preached at the Sunday-through-Friday services last April, was impressed by how faithful the church members were in their attendance, which is something he had prayed would happen.

“As the revival began, there was a little bit of apprehension,” Francis said, “but those feelings went away quickly. This church was hungry to worship God, and they’d use whatever means possible to do just that. They’d sing new songs that they didn’t know very well just as passionately as the old.

“One night it was as if I didn’t seem to want the worship time to end,” Francis added. “I was playing piano so my back was turned away from the congregation, but when I turned around, I could see that this once-hurting church was really worshipping God.”

Francis also went to the local high school and middle school, where he played the trumpet and worked with band members. “The band instructor was very interested in getting him to return this coming year,” Easter noted.

On the Sunday after the revival, one more person accepted Christ as Lord, raising the total number of salvations to three.

“At first this seemed a bit discouraging to us,” Roach said, but the Spirit hadn’t finished His work with the church. In June, six children were saved during First Baptist’s Vacation Bible School.

With their baptisms, the once-lifeless church that hadn’t baptized anyone in more than a year had now baptized nine.

“My hope is that other churches will follow suit and allow us to come alongside them to do some ‘in house’ things and help them realize what it is to be the church and do outreach,” Roach said.
Emily Crutcher writes for The Pathway, newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

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