This is an article that was published by The Wesleyan Church Department of Communications. I’ve copied it so that more people might be able to read of how God is moving in a small midwestern town.
Oklahoma Church Has Ninety New Believers in Four Days
Aug. 31, 2011 – Ron McClung (Wesleyan Information Network)
Ninety conversions in four days! That’s what happened at Alva Wesleyan Church on August 21-24, 2011. Pastor John Smith said, “Eighty-member churches don’t have ninety converts. God does that!”
Thousands of churches across America call evangelists to come for special services, often called “revivals.” In the case of Alva Wesleyan, located in a city of slightly less than 5,000 in northwest Oklahoma, it actually happened. On Sunday, August 21, this congregation that averaged 86 in worship attendance last year had 88 souls present. Eighty-seven were present Sunday evening. Eighteen went forward to receive Christ and ten were baptized that day. On Monday evening, 106 were present and several more were saved. On Tuesday, 130 people, wondering what God would do next, came to the service. By the end of the evening, the total had risen to 41 saved, 15 baptized.
On Wednesday, the sanctuary, which seats 135, was packed. Another room was set up with a screen and projector so more could see, and 290 persons came to the service. Some parked as much as four blocks away. Before the evening was over, the total had reached 90 professions of faith in Christ, with 26 baptized.
Evangelist for the special services was Ken Freeman, but the pastor was quick to point out that the revival is the result of prayer. In addition to speaking at the church, the evangelist gave his lecture on “Choices 101” at the high school, middle school, Vo-Tech school, and a nearby prison. His lecture encouraged students not to give into peer pressure and to live a life that makes a difference.
As people exited the church on Wednesday evening, an 81-year-old member of the church told the pastor, “I have to walk four blocks to get my car and bring it back to pick up my wife. What a great problem to have!”
Pastor Smith said, “Obviously, we have a lot of follow-up and discipleship to do and a lot of baptisms yet to perform.” He said four individuals feel they are called to some form of ministry, as a result of the revival.
When asked who these new believers are, he said about fifty were adults and forty were children or young people. The majority, he said, were unchurched.
Pastor Smith came to the church seven years ago when about 25 people voted to call him as pastor. Two years ago, the church bought five acres on “the busiest intersection in the county.” A house on that property became the location for a food bank to minister to the community. Between May 2010 and June 2011, the church distributed more than 220,000 pounds of food. Much of it came from the regional food bank in Oklahoma City, about 150 miles away. A grant enabled the church to purchase a 20 by 8 foot walk-in freezer. Additional food came from Wal-Mart’s Feed America program.
The revival continues as 110 people attended this past Sunday, with three more praying to receive Christ. Pastor Smith said they have started a new Sunday school class and a new college ministry as a result of the revival.
Ron McClung, firstname.lastname@example.org