Gospel music echoed through Woodlawn Baptist Church’s sanctuary Friday evening as several visitors raised their hands, praising God and singing along to the songs.
Friday was part of a week-long revival, which occurred Oct. 5-9 at the Lenoir City church. Discussion was led by the Rev. James Langston, Hillcrest Baptist Church pastor, who made the trip from Ringgold, Ga.
“I mean God’s people need to be charged up, fired up,” the Rev. David Latham, Woodlawn Baptist pastor, said. “Somebody else asked me if we were scared to have a revival, I’m scared not to have one. It revitalizes the church and keeps us going. It’s for the Christian more so than it is for the lost, but if we can get the Christian revitalized we can get the lost in.”
Last week marked the second time this year Woodlawn Baptist has hosted a revival. Turnout proved a success for the church, as Langston estimated 100-125 people attended each evening. Hand sanitizer and masks were available for visitors if needed.
“Our people mainly (attended), but we’ve had a lot of visitors, too,” Latham said. “It’s just needed. People love the Lord, and they want to go to church. Tired of staying home.”
Ronnie Lawrence, church member and local evangelist, was one of the several in attendance on Friday. He felt “God’s met us every night.”
“Getting right with God, getting right with him,” Lawrence said. “Even the best can still get right with him. … It’s more than just one church. No. 1, there’s a lot of churches involved. No. 2, it’s more than one kind of people. It’s everybody. Usually on church services you have your faithful people coming on a Sunday night and a Wednesday night and you have anything and everything coming on Sunday morning.
“But then on a revival, they just come,” he added. “If you got a burden, then what happens is if you got a burden for lost souls, burden for people around you, you’ll bring them with you, or at you at least try to get them here anyway.”
Langston, 85, has made the trip for more than two decades. Each time he has one main mission.
“Just trying to get people closer to God and get the lost saved and get people fired up for God,” Langston said. “My message just depends on whatever the Lord pressed upon my heart. … I preached Monday night on still excited about God, salvation, Scriptures and all that. I preached last night on surprises are waiting for people in hell that reject the Lord. Just however God lays it on my heart.”
Langston decades ago preached at Friendship Baptist Church in Lenoir City. Although nearly 86 years old, he said revivals are something he has done all his life.
“Up until this COVID hit, I was doing 40 to 44 revivals a year, but this year I hadn’t had but five,” Langston said. “… This month I’ll have my 68 years preaching and Oct. 30 I’ll have 66 years pastoring churches. … 68 years it’s a joy to go. You meet a lot of good people, have the privilege to lift Jesus up and worship God.”