Revival was in the air March 29-April 2 at Old Time Gospel Baptist Church in Lenoir City.
Beginning at 7 p.m. daily, guests from the church and surrounding community gathered in the Old Time Gospel sanctuary for music and a message delivered by evangelist Donnie Harvey. Guests on Friday enjoyed music performed by the gospel group Journey Home.
The Rev. Junior Ward, church pastor, was pleased to host the revival after many revivals and other church events were canceled last year due to COVID-19.
“It’s happening,” Ward said. “We’ve had a good turnout, and a lot of churches have been here from Rockwood and stuff to join us and help us try to get to people looking and reach out to those out here that have been through something. Some have been hurt. Some have been in poverty, just neglected and all that. When they start to get revived, they get a vision for those around us and might reach out to help them.”
Ward said the most important feature of a revival is getting God into homes that may not usually receive him. The ultimate goal is to save lost souls.
“I think that if we all come together, and I tell them, the preachers in this church, it doesn’t matter whether it’s this church or another church, we need to bind together in this because things are getting bad,” Ward said. “We just want to reach out to people. It’s about the people. It’s not popularity. It’s not money. It’s just reaching out to others, especially our young people today. They need something. Of course, the way the thing is, there’s a lot of families today that are just depressed.
“It’s just something to have,” he added. “The revival is about that. Those that do come and visit us, they also get what they need, but the church also gets revived.”
Ward said 35-50 people attended nightly. He estimated more than 200 people visited throughout the week.
On the last night of services, the church also hosted a fellowship dinner. Ward wanted to extend an opportunity to the community to enjoy a home-cooked meal with friends.
Ward said the revival is important for the church since there were so many shutdowns last year.
“The more you shut down, the worse it’s going to hurt the church and people are going to begin to drift off,” he said. “Here’s our policy here. If you’re sick and you’ve got a fever or get sick or something like that, just stay at home and keep your distance, and if you do shake hands, then wash your hands, and if you want to wear a mask, you can. Just whatever you feel safe with but we’ve been back now for quite a while and we’ve had nothing big. … So far, I think God has been good, and he’s been taking care of us. Just be careful and watch what you do. I think that helps a lot to just watch what you do. If you’re sick and you know it, just stay home.”
Jessica Wade, Grace Baptist Church member, attended the revival at the suggestion of a friend. She arrived early Friday to help set up the fellowship dinner.
“We’re blessed to be able to be here and come together and worship,” Wade said. “We weren’t able to for a little while, so it’s a blessing to be able to be back in the house of God.”
Hannah Ward, Grace Baptist member, agreed. She also arrived early to help.
“This past year has been very crazy,” Hannah said. “I’m very thankful we’re able to be here, and we’re able to worship God and celebrate and be all together and not have to be separated, and just be very close just like how we grew up.”