I have had a few days to reflect on the weekend that was (and hopefully weekends that will continue to be). For three days the Belwood Charge was in the midst of revival (May 29-31, 2015). When I first arrived at the charge as the pastor, I was told about the annual Fall revival, its structure, and what usually happened. Being that I was only a few months into the appointment, my first appointment at that, I requested that we possibly move revival to the Spring, to which it was agreed with open arms. Thanks be to God that we were guided by the Holy Spirit to take the time to plan this Spring Revival!
For three days we were intentional about gathering to worship and to feel the Spirit of God descend upon us, opening our eyes to see, and our ears to hear what God was saying through our messengers. I am beyond grateful to my friends and colleagues in the ministry, Rev. Cindy Spicer, and Rev. James Burroughs III, for their willingness and acceptance of the invitation to preach. This was a special event for all three of us, because this revival was the first revival we all had every preached or led in some way. It is also special because we are all finishing up our first year in our first appointments.
I am also grateful and appreciative of our guest musicians The Fallston Baptist Trio, The Friendship Four, and Mandy Styers. One of my good friends from my home church, Kim Bennett led the worship on Sunday – something I have been trying to get her to do for years when we were together at Covenant UMC in Charlotte. I am grateful for her willingness to step out of her comfort zone and direct us in singing.
As you can see, for most of us involved in the revival, it was moment of firsts. And to all of my NOW (nurture, outreach, and witness) Team members, I cannot thank you enough for your time, creativity, and prayers in gathering all of the needed parts to make this worship experience a reality.
When I take a moment to reflect on this past weekend, tears come to my eyes. These are not tears of sadness, rather, these are tears of happiness, excitement, and thanksgiving. As the pastor, sometimes I am not in a place to experience worship fully, because I am often leading worship every Sunday morning (2 to 3 times a Sunday morning). So for me, this weekend was jam-packed, and I did feel rushed, and I am a perfectionists, and now as I reflect in this moment, I am reliving the heart warming experience of hearing extraordinary preaching, powerful music, and seeing the hearts of the congregation becoming alive in the Holy Spirit! This is an experience of worship I will never forget, as I was able to sit and reflect on what it means to be in worship and in tune with God during the worship – not just a series of tasks – but a experience of Christ.
The theme for revival was “ACT: Awakened, Committed, Transformed.” We heard messages of how Paul came to know Christ in his heart … we heard messages of how Jesus called his disciples not to be just followers, but committed disciples … we heard messages of how we can all be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit to know Christ in our lives and sent to make disciples!
I could type and type about the experience of this worship encounter, especially the culmination as we were all sustained and transformed by the Holy Meal of bread and juice on Sunday morning. The power of seeing our Triune God interacting among us in the worship is something I will never forget and is something I pray will continue in my heart and the hearts of this community and charge.
Hopefully I will be able to have the worship services uploaded in audio format to this post by the end of the week, so you too can experience an awakening, feel led to be committed, and come to know transformation. My prayer is this, let us continue to ACT by the power of the Holy Spirit!
Thanks be to God for Spring Revival 2015.