Second Baptist Church in Lenoir City invited missionary Ricky Sims from Yadkinville, North Carolina, to lead a revival in hopes of sparking individual change.
“I feel like we need to have revival, not only here in our church but across this country,” the Rev. Rusty Buchanan, who became Second Baptist’s full-time pastor in February, said. “People need to get back and get their relationship with God straightened out in their own lives and then we’ll see a revival in our churches, in our homes, in our schools and across this country.”
Sims, a full-time missionary who speaks in Smoky Mountain campgrounds and in Townsend, said his hopes for the revival were to point out the indifference church members can have toward God.
“I’m looking forward to move,” Sims said. “... It’s about a relationship with God. Until we get that in order — see, we’ve got our priorities out of order. You don’t have to look too far to understand that the world’s in a mess. I mean every portion of it. And to see why it got that way is because of us, really. We allowed it to happen. Just going to strike on that this week and work off that theme and see where it leads.”
Buchanan and Sims said revival is more than simply meeting as a church. Services were scheduled to conclude tonight.
“Revival is not about a church putting some dates on a calendar,” Sims said. “Revival comes one person at a time. Revival happens with individuals. Like when I get my heart right, I’m going to experience revival. Because I experience revival don’t mean you’re going to experience revival because it’s my relationship with God that sparks what I do for God.”
Sims focused on a list of connecting topics that will help church members get back on track with their walk with God. He hoped to highlight the importance of personal relationships with God, individual purpose, the potential individuals have through leaning on God and becoming an “overcomer” with God.
To kick off the revival Sunday night, Sims pointed to the trend of apathy he has noticed in churches that is driven by misshapen priorities.
“You’ll see people acting a fool over a ball game,” he said. “I mean, really. I watched a soccer match the other day. There was probably 200,000 people in that stand, and they watched a man kick a little ball into the net and went crazy. I mean take that into perspective. A man kicked a ball into a net and 200,000 people went crazy. We could have a soul come down that aisle and give his heart to Jesus and we’ll barely give a nod. That’s where we’re at in the church today. We’re in a sad shape.”
By the end of Sims’ first sermon, numerous church members were kneeled at the altar, placing hands on each others’ backs and praying for one another. Dry eyes were a rarity.
“Somebody’s heart — it doesn’t have to be everybody — but if one person, even if one person makes that initial decision to make Jesus the Lord and Savior of their lives, then the whole thing’s worth it,” Buchanan said. “That is the goal, is to get people into the right relationship with Christ.”
Second Baptist will host a back-to-school block party at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 21. A first responder service with lunch to follow will take place at 11 a.m. Aug. 25.