STEPHENVILLE—When a recent evangelistic crusade at First Baptist Church in Stephenville approached its scheduled conclusion, church leaders had no desire to let the calendar overrule what they saw as “a mighty work of the Holy Spirit.”
“The Lord was moving in such tangible, powerful ways. We knew it (the crusade) had to extend,” Pastor Ben Macklin said.
Scott Camp, about 300 people made public commitments to Christ, including 135 first-time professions of faith in Jesus, in six worship services.During the “Discover Joy Crusade” with evangelist
The crusade services each night marked the culmination of much prayer and active outreach by the church, staff and crusade team, said Danny Walker, minister of education, discipleship and missions.
A special event for various groups—men, women, children and students—preceded evening worship services. The events featured a free meal and testimonies by guest speakers from the crusade team. On average, 170 people per night attended the special events, which Macklin credited as one of the best tools to motivate church members to invite unchurched friends to the crusade.
“We really encouraged our folks for several weeks to be bold in their conversations and invitations,” he said. “We knew that if we could get them here, God would do miracles with them.”
During the crusade, 55 new Christians were baptized, and new believers have continued to baptized in the weeks since then at First Baptist.
“The impact of God’s work during the crusade hasn’t ended with the crusade,” Macklin said. “We continue to see lives being transformed through faith in Jesus Christ, and our church family sees this weekly as baptisms and testimonies continue.”
Students from Tarleton State University—including several prominent athletes—were among the number who made commitments to Christ at the crusade.
“If you knew where so many of these young men come from, you would know what a miracle this is,” TSU head basketball Coach Lonn Reismann said, as he watched 10 players from his men’s squad accept Christ one night.
Extended one more night
Although the crusade had been scheduled to end on Wednesday, Macklin invited the evangelist to extend it one more night before he had to leave for another engagement.
“Every poster, invite, newspaper ad and announcement was incorrect once we decided to extend. We had no way of letting people know the crusade was continuing. All we could do was to rely even more completely on the Spirit of God, and he did not disappoint,” Walker said.
Throughout the service, at the conclusion of prayer times, during musical worship and baptisms, the evangelist extended an invitation for anyone who wished to make a faith commitment to Christ to respond publically.
“The Spirit began to move through prayer and worship, and we never even made it to the sermon portion of the service,” Walker said.