Tent revival comes to Loudon

Eddy Watson, The Watson Brothers Trio lead singer, opened the June 24 service with gospel songs.

A couple hundred people gathered under a white tent June 24-26 with the intent to praise the Lord in revival.

Preaching was led by evangelist Chad Oody, with Preaching of the Cross Evangelist Ministries, and the Rev. Jeff Waldrop, senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Lenoir City. Various singing groups were featured nightly, including Fishers of Men, The Gregory’s and The Joyaires.

Oody and Waldrop have been putting on tent revivals for close to a year now, Oody said. However, this was the first meeting held in Loudon. Revivals last year were held in Lenoir City and Sweetwater.

“Really the reason why the Lord gave us this ministry in this crazy world that we’re living in and all that’s going on I don’t believe the answer’s in politics or the government,” Oody said. “We can come up with all the things we want to, that’s not going to fix anything. We just believe that all the hope for this world is the Lord Jesus Christ, and so that’s the whole objective is to get the gospel message out and to try to win folks to the Lord. So that’s the main goal. That’s the main purpose. It’s an evangelistic outreach ministry.”

The Loudon revival was originally scheduled as a two-week event in April, but COVID-19 forced the men to reschedule for June. Oody hoped he would be able to extend the revival into the next week, but that wasn’t a possibility.

“We just felt led to do something here in Loudon this year and with time running out and everything, we just scheduled a three-day meeting,” Oody said.

Plans are to be in Lenoir City and Sweetwater in the fall.

As of now, the revival effort has only reached Lenoir City, Loudon and Sweetwater, but Oody said expansion is not out of the question.

“We would really go anywhere — if the Lord opens the door and the ministry grows, we would go to wherever,” Oody said. “… It’s a lot, a lot of work setting up the tents. Somebody basically has to stay with it the whole time and it takes a whole team more than just one or two. It’s a lot of guys working and involved with this meeting. You’ve just got to have a lot of help.”

Waldrop originally estimated attendance would range 150-200 based on previous revivals. However, the first night’s attendance was 250 people, while Thursday and Friday drew 200 people.

Waldrop said various churches in the area canceled Wednesday night services so members could attend. Grace Baptist Church in Lenoir City, Fellowship Baptist Church in Lenoir City, Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Loudon and Valley View Baptist Church in Loudon were among the congregations present.

“(Wednesday) because of the fact that several churches are represented it’s more church-related, but the next two nights are more evangelistic,” Waldrop said. “So it’s more geared toward folks that need the Lord and lost people.”