Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
WINNSBORO – For three years, Zach Smith planted Gospel seeds in the life of his father-in-law, Frank Knox, with the hopes of seeing a great harvest.
Smith’s persistence paid off in early April, when Knox, 46, accepted Christ as his Savior during a session of the Deer Creek Association Harvest Revival in Winnsboro.
“My wife, Hailey, and I cried to God for his soul for so long, and to see him alive in Christ is so beautiful,” said Smith, youth minister at Temple Baptist Church in Winnsboro. “Glory be to God for what transpired during the revival and for what God has planned for him.”
Knox was so passionate about his newfound faith that he made it known the following Sunday in his desire to join Temple Baptist and share his testimony through baptism. A week after joining the church, Knox was baptized April 15 by Smith.
“I was blind my whole life and now my eyes have been wiped clean,” Knox said. “Having my son-in-law and my daughter not give up on me means so much. My plan now is to reach out to as many people as possible to let them know about Jesus.”
Knox was one of five people to come forward and accept Christ during the Deer Creek Association Harvest Revival April 2-7 at Winnsboro Elementary School auditorium. The crusade is one of several held so far this year dedicated to the statewide Harvest campaign to “pray for every home and share with every person.”
Nearly 900 of 1,650 Louisiana Baptist churches have signed up to participate in concentrated prayer and soul-winning activities such as multi-church crusades, door-to-door outreach, one-on-one evangelism, single-church revivals and other activities which leverage compassion ministries to share about the love of Christ.
DEER CREEK CRUSADE
In the past, churches in Deer Creek Association held multiple simultaneous revivals at different locations. But in 2018, the churches opted to have one single revival to coincide with the year of the Harvest.
“By doing so, we involved a lot of churches which will benefit us greatly down the road,” said Director of Missions Eddie Rhymes. “In fact, we believe that this Harvest event not only brought about a revival of souls, but a revival within our own churches.”
Prayer was a major focus in preparing for the crusade. Churches received prayer guides the first Sunday of January, and were encouraged to use those in the months leading up to the event. Individuals also gathered in Winnsboro for periodic times of prayer at the associational office, park and gazebo.
“Prayer was a big part in everything we did,” Rhymes said. “We are hoping churches continue that spirit of prayer now that the crusade has ended.”
Craig Beeman, pastor of First Baptist Church in Winnsboro, was excited to be a part of a unified coalition of churches whose mission was to share the good news of Christ for one week.
“In a day where people seem to be very politically divided, it was so refreshing to come together as believers from different churches for a week and rally around Christ,” Beeman said. “Decisions to follow Him were made as well as some who rededicated their lives to Him. I was strengthened in my faith to be reminded that the church I serve is not alone in the effort to share Christ with others. We have brothers and sisters all across this parish seeking to reach the lost.”
Casey Johnson, pastor of Bonita Road Baptist Church in Bastrop, and Bill Britt, evangelist with Compel Outreach International in Wylie, Texas, shared preaching responsibilities, leading three of the services apiece.
Paul Daily, founder of Wild Horse Ministries in Trout, used the taming of an unbroken horse during the Morehouse Association Harvest Roundup at the Morehouse Activity Center in Bastrop April 6-8.
While the weather was cold and rainy most sessions, Daily sensed the event was a success.
“The Lord was lifted up and He says if I am lifted up, I will draw men unto me,” Daily said. “This outreach was a different approach in a thought provoking way of show and tell with a horse. By all means God’s presence was definitely there. All praise and glory goes to Him.”
Association Evangelism Director Andy Myrick said Daily’s message connected with those attending the event. Though no salvation decisions were recorded, several people came forward to repent and return to living for Christ.
“He was able to really hit home with those there, from the cowboy type to the kids,” said Myrick, pastor of Oak Hill Baptist Church in Bastrop. “The times when Daily invited the crowd to come to a saddle near the horse and pray were a powerful moment in the time of the roundup.”
The association also set up a block party trailer for children to enjoy games.
Tim Post, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Bastrop, was impressed by Daily’s ability to use a horse to share the Gospel.
“The first thing that came to my mind was incredible,” Post said. “In his presentation he brought it all to a culmination that this is how God works in our lives. Though the weather hurt attendance, those who did come out on the rainy and cold days were blessed and received Daily’s message well.”
Luther Sanson, pastor of Twin Oaks Baptist Church in Bastrop, enjoyed the fellowship with other churches as they coordinated the roundup.
“We are trying to build fellowship with other churches and this is another way to do just that,” Sanson said. “This roundup is going to hopefully lead to a great outreach in the community, which is one thing I really like about this Harvest initiative. If we as individuals would tell someone and then they would tell someone else, we could reach the whole world.”
The Ouachita Baptist Association Harvest Crusade resulted in 77 people making a decision, including 44 who indicated their desire to trust in Jesus as their Savior. Between 800-900 came every night it was held at West Ouachita High School in West Monroe April 8-11.
Prayer coordinator Mike Holloway said prayer played a key role in the success of the crusade. Churches were asked to form prayer teams, and pray at least two months prior to the event. A prayer rally was held the evening prior to the crusade opening night.
“We had people who came forward for salvation decisions, but we also had some express prayers for assistance to overcome addictions, freedom from bullying and help with marital problems,” said Holloway, pastor of Ouachita Baptist Church in West Monroe. “I personally talked with one person who was at one point saved, but got away from the church. His desire is to now rejoin with my church after being away for 10 years.”
Holloway said 12 churches played a pivotal role in the crusade. He received numerous comments about the desire for churches in the association to get together for joint events.
“The benefits were more than just the salvations,” Holloway said. “It was the spirit of partnership. They left, even if they were believers, encouraged to see other fellow Christians coming together. Our churches really enjoyed getting to see each other and doing something together, all for the glory of God.”
Neil Everett, pastor of First Baptist Church in Calhoun, said the crusade offered his members the rare chance to fellowship with those from other churches.
“One of the great blessings from it was the fellowship,” Everett said. “We don’t have enough opportunities to get together with members of other churches. We saw members really growing closer together and forming strong bonds. When you worship together, you grow closer together. I think out of this we may have another big crusade down the road where our members get together again for a time of fellowship and service.”
Bill Britt presented the Gospel message each night of the crusade.