PINEVILLE – In 1970 much of the country was being torn apart by violent protests against the divisive Vietnam War, but in Monroe, Louisiana, revival was unifying the area with faith, hope and love.
Only 25 people attended the first night of that February revival which was being led by Baton Rouge native Sammy Tippit at Calvary Baptist Church, Monroe. But an area-wide movement quickly broke out. The scheduled five-day campaign had to be expanded into a three-week crusade, and, attendance exploded, necessitating a move to the Monroe Civic Center to accommodate the crowds.
Importantly, thousands of lost souls were subsequently saved.
“Pastor L.L. Morris was the only one praying at first and believed God was going to move mightily,” Tippit told the Baptist Message. “More of us joined him and a great prayer movement emerged, followed by many decisions by young people.”
Tippit, who founded Sammy Tippitt Ministries based in San Antonio, Texas, will share more about how God has moved through mass evangelism events as part of his message at the 2018 Louisiana Baptist Evangelism Conference, Jan. 22-23, at First Baptist Church, Pineville.
He will be joined in the program by Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, New Orleans, and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention; Brent Crowe, vice president of Student Leadership University, Orlando, Fla.; Rick Gage, founder of GO TELL Ministries, Atlanta, Ga.; Gregory Frizzell, founder of Gregory Frizzell Ministries, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Ron Herrod, founder of Ron Herrod Evangelism Ministries Association, Knoxville, Tenn.; and Karen Abercrombie, an award winning actress who played the spicy, 80-year-old prayer warrior, Miss Clara, in the film “War Room.”
“God was on the move, not just in Monroe but simultaneously in other parts of the country,” Tippit said in describing that time in our country’s history.
As the revival in Monroe came to a close, Tippit felt led to join his wife, Tex, and five others to take part in “A walk across America” to Washington, D.C., pushing a wheelbarrow full of Bibles as a symbolic means of calling our nation back to God’s Word. Along the way, Tippit and the team stopped at college campuses and other venues to hold rallies — and revivals similar to the one in Monroe erupted in multiple places.
At the same time, the Jesus Movement was spreading across the United States with thousands of young people each week turning their lives around to follow Christ, he said.
A few weeks after the rally in D.C., Tippit said, he and his wife traveled to Chicago, Ill., to open a street ministry working with young people.
Each night they hosted young people in their home-based Bible studies, and they saw a remarkable change in the local community — as people came to Christ, the nightclubs were forced to close early because of a lack of business.
This turn of events actually led to his arrest, prompted by angry nightclub owners.
“Early in my ministry, God allowed me to see that He has the power to transform our culture,” said Tippit, who added that the charges against him eventually were dropped.
ENDS OF THE EARTH
Tippit has preached the Gospel in more than 80 countries.
While serving as pastor of a church in Hahn, Germany, he witnessed the congregation grow from 50 to 70 people attending Sunday morning services to more than 500 worshipers on Sunday mornings and 700 in attendance on Sunday evenings. Moreover, Tippit said 70 percent of the growth resulted from salvations and aggressive discipleship.
“I started discipling the men and my wife discipled the women,” he said. “They then shared their faith and our membership exploded because people were getting excited about applying what we taught them.”
After Germany, Tippit was asked to minister in Romania.
Traveling church to church, Tippit said the buildings were filled to capacity one to two hours before the start of a revival meeting – with people arriving continuously to pray.
“I had never seen anything like it,” he said. “I felt like I was walking into a situation that reflected the stories of some of the great historic revival.”
Tippit continued to take mission trips to the country until he was arrested there in 1988 and told never to return.
But the pause in his visits was short-lived.
Revolution came a year later, and with the permission of the new government, Tippit resumed his evangelistic work there.
“Just as I was about to preach at a stadium following my return to the country, my translator turned to me and asked if I knew the significance of that day,” he recalled about the May 1990 crusade. “He said today is the day we had an answer to prayer that the Gospel would be preached in stadiums.”
His experiences in Monroe, Germany and Romania were extremely different in terms of his ministerial roles, but Tippit said they shared a common characteristic – God’s people cried out to Him and He moved in a mighty way.
Importantly, He believes Louisiana is ripe for harvest, too.
“I think Louisiana has incredible potential,” he said. “This culture prepares people for missions and the people of Louisiana have great potential to reach the world for Christ.
“I love Louisiana,” said Tippit, who co-authored “Twice A Slave”, which was about Joseph Willis, considered the father of Baptists in Louisiana. “That’s where God saved me. That’s where God sent me. That’s where God brought me my wife. To be able and come back to share and encourage pastors and friends and leaders of Louisiana, I am just thrilled.”