By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
HAUGHTON (LBM) – Members of First Baptist Church in Haughton humbled themselves individually and corporately leading up to the Haughton Harvest, and consequently saw the Holy Spirit convict 160 people of their need for Christ, May 6-9.
“We have never prayed as much for a revival as we have for this,” said Pastor Gevan Spinney. “Everyone got involved and when we showed up during the revival, we were expecting God to move. We asked Him to save our friends during that week, and it was really awesome to see God answer those prayers. The biggest thing is we prayed and asked God to show up, and He did.”
The Haughton Harvest is one of hundreds of events held or scheduled this year as part of the statewide Harvest campaign to “pray for every home and share with every person” in Louisiana.
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.
FREEDOM IN CHRIST
Almost 2,000 people showed up over the course of the four night event, which focused on a different age group or gender for each session. The harvest of souls included 15 on youth night, six at a ladies event featuring Iris Blue of Duane and Iris Blue ministries and 41 at a men’s event featuring professional bass fisherman Hank Parker. Already, 13 of the 160 new believers have been baptized.
The highest number to take part in a single session took place at the Bayou Dorcheat Correction Center in Minden on Monday, May 7. When the invitation was extended by Bill Britt, the evangelist during Haughton Harvest, 51 inmates and two guards made decisions to follow Jesus.
Jason Lovins, who along with his band provided the music the entire week, said his first exposure to leading worship inside a prison was an experience hard to put into words.
“I was so blown away by how much their warden loves these guys and how much he loves Jesus,” Lovins said. “We had this intense worship experience and could tell the Holy Spirit was moving inside those walls. The people at First Baptist Haughton prayed for this event 40 days and we could really tell how much they poured into prayer. The Lord definitely showed up and moved in ways we never expected.”
Spinney, who is the prison’s chaplain, said the response to the Holy Spirit during the worship service was the largest number of inmates to accept Christ at any one time since his congregation began ministering inside the correction center.
“Seeing 53 men give their life to Christ was a true movement of God,” Spinney said. “It’s one of those things you go home afterwards and ask yourself if this really happened. Some of the men in there have addictions to drugs and alcohol. God’s giving them freedom in Christ and breaking their chains in one sense.”
HOUSE OF PRAYER
The prayer movement for Haughton Harvest began in January.
Using BlessEveryHome.com, members prayed for their neighbors for 100 days. For the first 20 days, participants received a daily email containing names (heads of household) and addresses for five neighboring residences as a reminder to pray for the salvation for everyone in that home – for a total of 100 neighboring families each. First Haughton members prayed for more than 4,000 families during that timeframe.
A month prior to Haughton Harvest, members participated in 40 days of fasting along with their prayers, with members coming to the campus to ask God to move during the revival.
The final large prayer gathering took place April 29 during the church’s evening worship service. The Solemn Assembly focused on confession, repentance and renewed commitment to Christ. Adults and youth gathered in the worship center, while young children took part in a prayer walk around the campus.
Moving forward, Spinney hopes the movement by the Holy Spirit during the Haughton Harvest continues for years to come.
“My prayer is that this is that pivotal moment that changes the course of our church,” he said. “I pray we will really sense that purpose God has for us individually and corporately to be a light in the Haughton area. We need to have that burden and take that hope of Jesus to our neighbors. It doesn’t end with an event but literally impacts our community as the church goes out to be the church.