Revival tradition features unity

Visitors sing during a session of the National Campground Revival near Greenback.

Built on a long historical tradition, a five-day revival in Greenback is meant to bring the community together to worship God.

This year’s revival is set for Sept. 12-16 at the National Campground north of Greenback.

The revival dates back 148 years, which is less than a decade after the Civil War ended.

“It unifies the community,” Jimmy Guider, revival chair, said. “... We don’t emphasize denomination. We just come together to worship.”

The outdoor revival will feature preachers from several denominations.

“The purpose of the meeting is the same as it was in 1873, to bring unity to the community,” according to an event announcement. “We are the family of God first and foremost, no matter what our denomination. This is where we can come together as brothers and sisters in Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit and bonds of peace. May God bless these meetings and all who attend.”

Jim Chapman will lead congregational singing, and there will be music from special groups. Services will begin at 7 p.m. daily.

Church leaders set to share are Jason Sweeton of Christ First Community Church on Sunday, Mickey Rainwater of Fairview United Methodist Church on Monday, Scott Knight of Ball Play Friends Church on Tuesday, Nick Perkins of Greenback Presbyterian Church on Sept. 15 and Gabe Brown of Providence Baptist Church on Sept. 16.

Although he has attended the revival in the past, this will mark the first time Brown has preached.

The revival and a focus on unity and the gospel is timely given the divisions within the United States, Brown said. That was the same purpose when participants met initially with divisions around the Civil War.

“Every year it’s good to focus on unity, but especially this year,” he said. “It’s a tremendous honor to have been invited and to be asked to preach.”

Visitors are encouraged to come worship outdoors.

“It is a special time for a lot of people,” according to the event announcement. “They have attended when they were children with their parents and grandparents.”

The revival has been held even in difficult times such as two World Wars, other wars and the Great Depression.

“But through all of these circumstances people have come near and far on horses, buggies, cars and walked to come to worship God in His cathedral,” according to the event announcement. “A place where the night sounds give witness to His creation. It is there where we will worship again as people have done all these years. ... This year’s revival is a great opportunity to dedicate or recommit our lives to Jesus Christ. Please make every effort to join with Christian neighbors and friends to pray for renewed fellowship with the Father, our lost loved ones and our nation and its leadership.”

For more information about the revival and its location, call Guider at 865-738-3041 or send an email to