By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
NORTHEAST LOUISIANA – Extended prayer preceded revival at a pair of recent Harvest crusades in Louisiana.
Twenty-six people committed their lives to Christ during the Red River Crusade, and the Morehouse Youth Revival saw 16 individuals submit to live for Him.
“Prayer was absolutely essential to having the effective crusade we experienced,” said Red River Crusade Director Richard Kaufman, pastor of Martin Baptist Church in Coushatta. “We prayed where vehicles would be parked, where people would sit in the stands and even where people would be standing to get their food and drinks in the concessions area. The great evangelist Billy Graham said three keys to revival are prayer, prayer and prayer. The same thing goes for a crusade. I was overwhelmed at just how the Lord blessed our efforts.”
Both crusades were among a number held so far 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.
RED RIVER CRUSADE
Churches in Red River Baptist Association gathered for prayer walks and held individual times of prayer leading up to the crusade, which took place April 30-May 4. The churches also gathered for a prayer walk at the Red River Parish fairgrounds in Coushatta the night prior to the opening service of the crusade.
Kaufman said the cooperation among the association’s churches was a contributing factor to the success of the Gospel outreach to the community. Multiple churches played an active role in filling positions on the counseling, cooking and prayer teams.
“The times of fellowship, from the initial planning several months ago to the very last song, made this joint cooperation so enjoyable,” Kaufman said. “Anyone who is part of a crusade that spans this many nights will tell you that it takes a lot of teamwork to pull off something like this. A lot of people in our churches have a burden for lost people in our parish. By having that common bond, we were able to press forward in reaching our communities for Christ.”
Nathan Davis, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Coushatta, was encouraged by the new converts who came forward each night. He also enjoyed seeing so many of the association’s churches cooperate.
“When we see the young and old give their life to Christ, we rejoice with them,” he said. “It just goes to show us time and time again that anyone can be saved.
“Personally, I have been encouraged by the involvement across the association,” he continued. “We have people, from churches all across our area, who were trained as encouragers or counselors and to speak with those who came forward to be saved. We know the most important thing is seeing people come to know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. We owe Him everything.”
Sam Moore, who was the crusade evangelist, observed how the power of prayer played into the decisions made.
“The pastors of Red River Parish cooperated together in an intentional effort to reach lost people in their parish, and God blessed,” said Moore, founder of Sam Moore Evangelistic Ministries in Bentonville, Arkansas. “The churches prayed, invited and brought lost friends, family members, neighbors and co- workers to the crusade, and many of them left the crusade as new persons in Christ. There is power in the simple preaching of the Gospel and extending an invitation for people to receive Christ and be saved.”
MOREHOUSE YOUTH REVIVAL
During the Morehouse Youth Revival, evangelist Casey Johnson challenged students to come and lay down their burdens at the cross. Johnson, who is pastor of Bonita Road Baptist Church in Bastrop, was encouraged by the faithfulness of the students who came. Attendance averaged 140 each session, April 23-25, at First Baptist Church in Bastrop.
“In a culture that provides so much for them to do, it was great to see their dedication to gathering with their peers to worship Jesus,” Johnson said.
Bodie Spicer, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Bastrop, said the revival was bathed in prayer in the months leading up to the first session. He was overwhelmed by the students’ response as they cried out for repentance and revival at the altar.
“There were a lot of tears and a lot of decisions,” Spicer said. “The message and music were both timely, and God moved.
“This revival was another way we saw how God answers prayer,” he continued. “We prayed for months for the evangelists, musicians and the kids that God brought there. And we prayed they would be open to hear what God had for them individually. And all those things were answered. The kids turned out and we saw a great move by the Holy Spirit.”
Richard Gambill, pastor of First Baptist, Bastrop, said while he was pleased to see students come forward to accept Jesus, he also was excited that so many others expressed a desire to have revival in their own lives.
“The last night proved to be the climax of the revival, as Brother Casey Johnson challenged students to live out their faith day-by-day before their peers, many were convicted by the Holy Spirit,” he recalled “At the end, when he called the students to come and pray for strength in their walk, the alter filled. It was exciting to see God move among our youth and to see their desire to live for Christ.”
He expressed appreciation for the way the association’s churches came together for the desire of reaching the students and others for Christ during the revival.
“This is an association of churches who are truly working together for the glory of Jesus Christ and the advancement of His kingdom,” he said. “I’m glad to be a part of it.”