By Brian Blackwell, Message staff writer
PINEVILLE, La. (LBM) – After months of the Holy Spirit working on his heart, Will Sharbino, 11, finally was convicted of his need for a Savior, during a revival service, March 23, at the First Baptist Church, Pineville.
Leading up to that night, Sharbino had been soaking in biblical truths from his family as well as faithful teaching by his FBC Pineville Sunday school teacher, he shared with the Baptist Message. After that revival service, he went home and prayed with his parents, repenting of his sins, and committing to follow Jesus as Lord.
“I realized I was a sinner and knew Jesus had forgiven me for what I had done,” Shabrino said. “I then knew He lives inside my heart and that I would now go to live in Heaven one day with God.”
Sharbino, along with six others, publicly shared his faith decision during a special baptismal celebration, March 28, at FBC Pineville.
The baptisms were visible evidence of the rejuvenation experienced by the congregation from the four-day revival services. Stephen Rummage, pastor of Quail Creek Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, preached and the FBC Pineville worship team and choir led music each night, March 21-24, and the congregation hosted a meal beforehand.
Pastor Stewart Holloway prepared members for FBCP’s first revival in 20 years by preaching a series of sermons about revival, and the congregation prepared by praying for the Holy Spirit to bless the services, which averaged 260-290 in attendance each night.
“As we prayed about re-opening after the pandemic, I felt it was something we needed to do,” Holloway said. “Praying and other ways of preparing built up a receptiveness in our people. The Lord really was able to speak through Dr. Rummage. Our people walked out encouraged in their faith and wanting to invite people. It will be one of those things we look back and say God did something there. I’m confident we will see public decisions in the months to come.
SIGNS AND WONDERS
Despite the pandemic, the church has experienced numbers of blessings:
— The congregation’s Upward sports ministry celebrated the highest overall attendance of its nine-year history, with 264 first through sixth graders participating in either basketball or cheerleading during January and February.
— The church also had 402 in worship on March 28, the highest since before the onset of the pandemic, when 414 came to the March 8, 2020 service.
— April 16-18, FBCP hosted an exhibit to raise awareness about how Compassion International works to help bring children out of poverty around the world.
Moving forward, members will travel in June to minister to the impoverished of Appalachia in Tennessee. Locally, there will be summer outreach events such as Connect Camp, a day camp, July 5-9, which will feature messages, games, and other activities for kindergarteners through fifth graders.
“We have been focusing on the basics the last several months,” Holloway said. “The pandemic showed us what was really important. Everything on the church calendar got cancelled for a while and we were able to build back with discernment what we should focus on. We have concentrated on things that help equip us to go into the community and share our faith. Our staff has been amazing as they have pivoted frequently to make sure we had effective ministry, and our people have encouraged us constantly along the way.”