Pastor's Letters

About Renewal Weekends At Their Church

IF YOU ARE A PASTOR AND HAVE EXPERIENCEDTHE CHURCH RENEWAL JOURNEY AT YOUR CHURCH, PLEASE SEND A LETTER AFTER YOUR WEEKEND.

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May 23, 2014

Mark A. Shipley Church Renewal Coordinator for IBSA

709 Stratford Drive, Washington, IL 61571

 Dear Brother Shipley,
Prior to the Lay Renewal Weekend, Marshall Creek Baptist Church had seen a lot of growth and revival from what started about a year ago as just a handful of people unsure of what God would have them to do.  The church had experienced a lot of trials and tribulations and was unsure if there even would be a future for the church.  I became the pastor on March 20, 2014 and we began to see God move in some mighty and powerful ways.  Even still, something was missing.  We had seen people coming back to church, others experiencing saving faith, and still others seeing transformation in their life.

 The Lay Renewal Weekend made it absolutely clear to us that many of us had become disconnected from the body in ways many of us had not realized.  We were doing ministry but not doing life together.  Since the weekend has ended, the church has experienced a new excitement that can only come from God moving in the lives of His people. 

We are in the process of getting small groups established as part of our church in the next month.  We are looking into new and more ways to be able to pray for our church, families, leaders, and the unsaved.  We are even looking into truly establishing an effective visitation program to really reach out to inactive members, visitors, and others at God leads us. 

The key is that these new ideas and programs are not what the aim is.  The key is that our people have recognized the value of relationships within our church and are hungry to build relationships internal and external to the church.  Thank you and the Lay Renewal team for taking time to help us see outside of ourselves and allowing God to truly move according to His plan and not just our own.  We are looking forward to doing the second step next year while working on what God has for us now.

 God Bless,  Bro. Travis Wilson, Senior Pastor,  Marshall Creek Baptist Church

 

 

 

 

 

Allan Baptist Church

Brownsville, TN

 

11-2-12 Lay Renewal Weekend

WOW!!!! WOW!!! GOD IS SO GOOD!!!!!

Thank you for an awesome weekend in the Lord!! Our folks are so excited and on fire for the Lord that words are inadequate to express what really happened in individuals lives this weekend. You may have heard already but our service last night lasted almost 4 hours and the people stood around talking and praising the Lord even after we dismissed. The testimonies were so precious and (I don’t like this phrase but it is the best description I can come up with) “gut-wrenching at times that it really is hard to put down on paper my impressions. The entire time was so powerful and so moving that you truly knew the Holy Spirit was in our midst and still working in lives. Al, the youth were so touched and spoke before the congregation and they usually do not do this. Two of the young ladies were very emotional and crying over some of the things the Lord convicted them of over the weekend. The children, Penny, were touched by your love for them. Of course, the adults were the most vocal ones but I wanted you to know all ages were touched in a very special way. Everyone that participated and I do mean everyone of them are ready to do it again and do it right now!!

Phil and I are so appreciative and were so blessed by you as our team and we keep talking about how God perfectly matched us up. The host families were blessed and so expressive of the wonderful time they had with you in their homes. I think the one thing that made the biggest impression on everyone was the “Catacombs” session on Saturday night. In fact, it made such an impression they want us to do it again and very soon.

We pray everyone returned home safely and without any mishaps and that you have had a great day in the Lord! I just wanted to share some of the afterglow and to thank you for a job well done! You will be hearing more from us in the days ahead!

THANK YOU!!!!

Blessings,

Phil and Sandra

 

  

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 Unity Baptist Church, Prince George, VA

ACTS 1:8 Weekend, March 9-11, 2012

 First of all…..PRAISE BE TO THE LORD OF ALL!

I want to THANK YOU all for the tremendous blessing you were to the Unity Family! The weekend led many in our church in taking steps closer to being that Christian w/a Mission that God has Called them. The Evaluation Service on Sunday Night revealed passions that had not only sparked in many but passions that had grown deeper in others! We had many guests in attendance Sunday Morning that were truly challenged in their spiritual journey, as well.

Some Testimonies:

 

To top all of that off: The church family seems to be ready to make a decision on partnering with a DC church planter. It’s just a matter of time until the particulars are hashed out & we are sending teams. I’m confident we may have a vision trip by summer’s end.

 

Please pray for the next couple of weeks. We’ve scheduled somewhat of a “low-key” Missions Fair to provide an opportunity for our congregation to get involved in the missional efforts already in place & even prospect on expanding into new territories. We pray this will continue the altar call to many whom the Lord is drawing.

I’d say it was an inspiring weekend & a great advance in the kingdom work that takes place in & out of the Unity Family. Thank you so much for being obedient & willing to be used by the King to make this happen!

Thrilled to be a part of it all,

Rev. Christopher W. Jenkins

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Pastor's Letter from Heber Springs, Baptist Church, Heber Springs, AR

Lay Renewal Weekend 

 

From: Mike Love [mailto:mdlove.hsbc@suddenlinkmail.com] 
Sent: Monday, August 22, 2011 12:50 PM
To: 'Jerry Haws'
Subject: Sunday Night

Jerry,

Just a note to let you know about last night. We had about 125 in the service which lasted over 3 ½ hours. Adults and youth shared and it was great – tiring but great! Many things emerged and many things will be clarified after we go through the Evaluation forms from last night.

Many things surfaced but two were consistent. One, the confession of complacency and leaving their First Love for Jesus. Second, many confessed – leaders whom I went to who approved having the LRW – they were uncertain about having it and didn’t think it would be beneficial and cost ineffective. One of our men who said we needed to have a Revival Meeting confessed that this weekend was more beneficial where the church was at than a revival meeting. It was a confirmation for me and LRW. I give the Lord full glory for it all.

Continue to pray for us naturally about our NEXT STEP.

In His Joy,

Pastor Mike Love

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Lay Renewal Weekend Report - Springdale Baptist Church - Dublin GA -

 Sunday Night Evaluation Service: about 75 to 80 people

 

 Personal Commitments:

 Continuing Commitments

 Interested in facilitating or leading a small group:  4

 Future Plans

  Some of the Personal Comments:

Report submitted by David Wilkes, Church General Chairman

 

 

 

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Bethlehem Baptist Church, Knightdale, NC

Made To Count Weekend May 13-15, 2011

 

 

Dear Bob and Phyllis:

 

Today is the beginning of the second week since our Market Place Ministry Weekend at Bethlehem Baptist Church.  It has been exciting to see the response from the church family. Thirty seven people (including some teens and children) made the commitment to become intentional witnesses for Christ in their market places.  As we commissioned them in a special Sunday morning worship service, it was powerful to see the tears on their faces.  It was evident that these were folks responding by making truly heart-felt commitments.

 

On Monday after the commissioning service, we began receiving emails from our newly commissioned market place missionaries telling us how God was opening doors for them to share Christ. Yesterday one of our men came by to ask me to pray with him that God would teach him how to initiate witnessing conversations.  One of our mothers shared that her teenage daughter has been asking her all week to pray with her about specific people she feels led to witness to each day. Wow! Even the night of our sharing service a couple shared that they had witnessed to their server at the restaurant where they had eaten that afternoon.  These are the types of testimonies we are hearing.

 

Even those who did not make public commitments to be intentional witnesses have made positive comments about the weekend.  I don't think you could sit through the teaching sessions without having the Lord speak to you about witnessing. As Pastor, I look forward to seeing what great things the Lord will do through these who have made the commitments to witness.

 

In Christ,

George Fox, Senior Pastor

Bethlehem Baptist Church

 

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Ocean Park Baptist Church - Jacksonville, Florida - Pastor Russell Franklin

To Terry Land, Lay Renewal Coordinator

Dear Terry,

How do I begin to tell you how much I appreciate you and the entire Lay Renewal Team?  The whole process, from the planning teams to the sharing service on Sunday night, greatly impacted me as a pastor and our church family.  Our weekend was April 16-18, but the process began back in the fall of 2009 when I first contacted you.  You then came in November and gave an overview during a morning worship service.  We then voted unanimously to participate in a weekend.  Even though there was overwhelming support, many were still apprehensive and unsure about what a LRW was. 

As the time began to draw near, you and a few others came to lead a time of training for our planning team.  Our team came away from that night with an excitement than began to spread across our congregation.  Out teams set off recruiting members and completing their assignments.  That alone was a time of bonding as they served together in the planning process.  Our general chair person did an outstanding job keeping things going, making sure everything was progressing.  As a pastor, it is challenging to take my hand off and let others take the wheel, but how will they grow in service of our Lord if I do everything for them?

As the weekend began, there was a stir of both excitement and uncertainty.  Everyone was glad to be there, but they still did not know what to expect.  As the weekend progressed, I continually heard, “I’m learning things about people I never knew.”  The main thing I walked away with was the opportunity to hear the hearts of my people – it caused me to love them even more.  Our Sunday evening sharing time lasted for over two hours, but it flew by.  There were tears mixed with laughter, as one by one we shared how God had moved in our lives throughout the weekend.  The highlight was when one of the Coffee hostesses shared.  She had not been in church from over a year and was unsure about hosting a coffee, but finally agreed.  She shared how much she missed being with us and that she was coming back.  She was hugged and loved on by everyone there.  I think that is the meaning of this powerful weekend – to renew our walk with Christ and others. We had five that I know of who rededicated their lives to Christ.

I highly recommend Lay Renewal to pastors and would be happy to serve as a reference. 

In His Grace,

Russell Franklin, Pastor, Ocean Park Baptist Church

Jacksonville Beach, FL

 

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Haven Heights Baptist Church, Wauseon, Ohio - Pastor Larry Polston

To: Team Members

From: Pastor Larry Polston

Re: Lay Renewal, April 29-May 1, 2011

Sunday night, May 1, Haven Heights Baptist concluded our Lay Renewal Weekend. A normal service in concluded in about an hour. But Sunday night took three hours as person after person came to share what the weekend meant to them. It was amazing that three hours went by so quickly!  With genuine honesty and openness each one shared. People who have never shared publicly in the last four years came to the microphone to share their rededication to the Lord. What was even more amazing was to see these same people come the following Wednesday night to Prayer Meeting. New faces to our church also came to share testimonies of how God has worked in their lives. God has richly blessed us through this special weekend!

We praise God for the 21 member team who came from Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, and Indiana – at their own expense!  Our church members opened their homes for these honored guests.  They did not come with a prepared program but with their own testimonies of how God has worked in their lives. As we met in our small groups they asked us questions about our walk with God. They asked what He was doing in the church that we would be willing to share with others. It was like a fresh wind as the Holy Spirit worked among us. Our children and youth were touched as well. It was a blessing to see our youth “huddled together” in prayer before their team leader was about to depart for home.  I believe the hurts some have carried in the past can now begin healing.

When the “Evaluation and Commitment Surveys” were turned in, everyone sensed the need for spending more time with God. There was also a desire to continue the Lay Renewal Journey.

To God be the glory, great things He has done at Haven Heights!

Pastor Larry Polston, Haven Heights Baptist Church

Wauseon, OH 43567

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Long Creek Baptist Church, Dallas, NC 

March 7, 2011 

Thanks again to you and all the Team for an absolutely GREAT Lay Renewal Weekend. 

The Evaluation Service was great.  Almost everyone there shared somethilng about what the weekend meant to them.  Some of the couples who were present had only one spouse speak but of several couples both husband and wife spoke.  One lady who is very shy spoke for about 10 minutes or more (I didn't time her).  After the service I heard several say that they had never heard her say so much in all the years they've known her. 

 Several people expressed some ongoing needs that they have.  As they did, we stopped and prayed for that need right then.  It was so refreshing and encouraging to hear people get up and speak.  No one, of course, was compelled or obligated in any way to do so.  But to hear folks, especially those who aren't usually very outspoken, stand and freely share from their hearts is priceless.

 I have heard nothing but good comments about the entire experience.  I used the Wednesday night service to continue getting feedback about the weekend as well as to encourage our people to utilize the same principles used in the weekend in the activities we are already doing.  For example, to spend time sharing needs and concerns and praying for one another during Sunday School, the original small group.

 Right now, we are planning to use Sunday evenings for Small Groups.  We may, and probably will, add Small Groups on weekdays and evenings as time goes on.  I have heard several speak of wanting to continue having Coffees in homes as well as prayer groups and 24-hour prayer vigils maybe once a quarter.  Noting is set in stone as they say, but I am excited about the possibilities and how things will evolve out of this.  We will definitely plan for the next step: the Lay Ministry Weekend.  I will try to let you know soon when we will plan to have it. 

 GOD IS GOOD!  Isn't it great how God continues to bless His people through these weekends and through His faithful servants who give of their time and energy to lead them.  Thanks again to all of you who helped put this Lay Renewal Weekend together here at Long Creek.  God's people have been renewed in many ways. 

 To God be the glory forever, through Jesus Christ, our wonderful Savior and Lord!

 Jim Shaw

In His Service at Long Creek Memorial Baptist Church, Dallas, NC

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 Regency Park Baptist Church, Moore, Oklahoma

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 3, 2011

Dear Pastor,

I appreciate you taking the time to read what our Lay Renewal Weekend (LR W) meant to our church. I have never been involved in anything that touched and moved the church body as a whole, to a greater commitment to Christ than our LRW.

The testimonies that were shared during the small group times created a time of bonding for our people. After hearing the testimonies ofothers, many in our church realized that they were not the only ones experiencing difficulties. It was also during this time that many in our church body came to the realization that they truly had a church family who cared for them, and was willing to help them through their difficult times. I also sensed that our church membership felt a greater sense ofcompassion towards one another after hearing one another's testimonies, and a greater awareness ofthe problems that other people were facing in their lives. I truly believe that through our LRW, our congregation went away with a greater understanding of what Jesus meant when He told us to "love one another."

It was also through our LRW that our congregation gained a better understanding of the power and the importance of prayer. Many of our people rededicated themselves to the Lord and to spending more time in prayer during our 24 hour prayer vigil the day before our LRW started. The importance of prayer was not only emphasized throughout the weekend, but also demonstrated for our people to see. To me, one of the most special times ofthe weekend was the group and family prayer time on Saturday night. Even after the prayer time was over, I sensed that our people didn't want to leave.The share time that we had on Sunday evening was phenomenal. As our people shared what God had revealed to them, you could feel our church being renewed in our passion, and being reminded ofour purpose.

 

The LRW that we had at Regency Park Baptist Church was one of the most significant events that I have ever been involved in as a pastor. I truly believe that a LRW will have the same effect on any church that is willing to commit to renewal and allow the Holy Spirit the freedom to move.

In Christ's Service,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First Baptist Bartow Florida

Dear LRW Team Member:

It has been a little over a week since you joined us in Bartow for what turned about to be a “God thing.”  Words will never be able to express our appreciation for your time, energy, and leadership.  God used each and every one of you to touch hearts and change lives forever.  Many have commented, “Pastor, we don’t want this to be a flash in the pan.  We want this to last.”

We have an amazing service the Sunday after Lay Renewal.  We set aside some time in our worship service and called it PR with God.  The PR stands for Prayer Renewal.  This is a direct result of the catacombs service.  We break off into small groups during the worship service and pray that God will move in a mighty way.  It was exciting to hear the “holy buzz” of prayer.  People were praying together all over the sanctuary.

We are preparing to set up small groups so that people from every age group can meet together.  Almost every survey indicated they wanted to continue small groups.  Please pray for us as we make that happen.

On Sunday evening after Lay Renewal, we met to share what God had done in our lives.  We met for three hours sharing with one another, crying with one another, and praising God.  All of this was made possible by God with your help.  I told Terry that I would like to send everyone a letter expressing appreciation on behalf of the church and ask a personal favor.  Would you take some time and give us your impression of the church?  I thought about giving you several questions to answer but I decided to simply ask you to write down how you saw the church when you were here.  It would be very helpful for us.  You can simply send me an email at ronfbcbartow@hotmail.com.

Again, thank you for allowing God to use you to lead us in a life changing weekend.  God bless.

 In Christ,

 Ron Burks, Pastor

 First Baptist Bartow Florida

 

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Smyrna Missionary Baptist Church

“A Beacon Of Hope In The Heart Of Smyrna”

PO Box 120

231 HWY 70 Smyrna

Smyrna, NC  28579

252-729-3331

Pastor:  Rev. Mike Willard

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January 18, 2010

 

Dear Fellow Bother and Sisters in Christ;

 

This letter is in reference to the Lay Renewal Weekend that Smyrna Missionary Baptist Church experienced on August 20-23, 2009.  This letter is a little delayed and I apologize for that.  I am writing as the Spirit leads and expect some grammatical errors will occur but want the Spirit to lead me in this writing.  We entered into the possibility of having a Lay Renewal towards the start of 2009.  I explained the process to the church and we had Tom and Brenda Boberg come in and talk more about the experience.  The church voted 100% on a Wednesday night business meeting to engage in the lay renewal, although several were overly worried about the lodging and food process.  I explained that for anything good to occur we must be obedient and faithful to God.  Well, within one week we had all the lodging worked out.  One of our newer members Eleanor Sullivan who took the leadership and allowed God to be included in everything, motivating the church to step up and accomplish the dinners and lunches, tackled the food arrangements.

 

Time was nearing for the Awakening Lay Renewal, the first lay renewal the church has ever held.  We were nearing the time for the prayer vigil.  I did not have many members working on teams or committees, which I did on purpose so not to overwhelm the process, even though the Lay Renewal is about the laity working together.  A night before the lay renewal we had 6 one hour spots left open, most in the late night and early morning hours.  I gave it to the Lord and He took over.  Personally, I signed up for the 4 am slot.  As the prayer vigil started and moved into the evening, I started getting calls about the moving of the Holy Spirit upon the people who participated, the tears, the feeling of God wrapping His arms around them as they went through the guide.  Each and every person that went through the vigil explained the same feelings.  Without prior knowledge of how others felt the Spirit moving upon them.  Here came my time 4 am, early it was and still the slots towards daybreak and 10 am were open.  As I began, the Spirit consumed me, as if I was in a garden of serenity.  About fifteen minutes into it, I heard a door open and it was a person that was moved by God to fill what they thought was the empty 4 am slot.  Praise God.  Then as the morning moved on this person served 3 different hours in the vigil!  As I came back for the 10 am slot that was empty, to fill the void, I walked in and found another person led by God to fill it without my knowledge, because of what they had already experienced in their first hour.  All this before the Lay Renewal team hit the area.  We were already experiencing renewal.  I came in to see how things were going and the person had begun to feel ill.  I helped her down and we ended up at the hospital, but she explained she was renewed at the vigil like never before and continued to experience a renewal of her soul while in the hospital the next few days.

 

The Lay Renewal service the first night was awesome.  We had at least 40 show, surpassing my expectations.  God moved through the small groups.  Word spread about what was happening, and the next morning we had two coffee meetings, and about 30 showed between the two places.  The Spirit moved again people were in tears, tears of letting the bondage of Satan being released from their lives.  We saw a swelling of the numbers at the evening session with at least 50 plus.  Folks were amazed God was moving, the church was in awe of what the Holy Spirit was doing.  We the church did not want this to end, as we knew that Sunday the team would be leaving.

 

Sunday, we had one of our largest attendances ever to Sunday School.  The church two years ago was at 15 for Sunday School enrollment and had recently swelled to 62.  This Sunday we had near 100% of enrollment, which is normally around 75%. Sunday morning worship was packed.  God was moving.  We were moving closer to God.  We saw six people come forward to join the church, all 6 would need to be Baptized, one came for Salvation.   The excitement was mounting for Sunday night share time.  Some doubted that much would happen and that attendance would drop.  We began at 6 pm.  Over 45 came back to the sharing time.  Tears flowed until 9:15 pm that night.  Tears of joy, tears of sorrow broke free.  God’s people at Smyrna were moving closer together.  I issued an invitation to close the share time and we saw three more come forward to join the church (already saved), one more to be Baptized.  Nine people joined Smyrna in one day!  This added to what had started 18 months ago, now with over 40 new members in 18 months.

 

Adding to this experience we saw a few people that had not stepped into a church service here at Smyrna in fifty and twenty years.  But, they saw the excitement and buzz of a full parking lot Friday. 

 

The church averaged about 20 in worship in November 2007, when I arrived as the pastor, and now averages about 60 – 70.  Now due to all this growth that had started in 2008 and due to the Lay Renewal growth, we are now working hard to expand seating room in a sanctuary that can really only seat 70 without chairs.

 

Baptism had to be held, praise God.  We baptized on August 29th, as we had some that were waiting prior to the Lay Renewal.  Eleven were baptized that evening in a pond across from the church.  Another invitation was issued at the pond side and two more joined the church by statement of Faith!

 

Since the LRW we have had more join, and we and we held another Baptism with 6 included in that.  Since 2008, this church has now baptized 25.  We have seen at least 40 join the church since 2008 as well.  God continues to move across this church and the community and we are excited about where He is leading us.

 

We are also excited that on the same night of the sharing service we voted 100% to have the next journey in the LMW.  We also have continued with a Bible study on Thursday nights twice a month.  We had just finished Revelation that took one year to go through with about 12 in attendance on an average.  Now we are in Acts, The Church on Fire Study though LifeWay with 18 in attendance on average.  Our Sunday night Bible Study has grown from about 20 to now over 30 on some Sunday nights.  Wednesday night is also healthy with over 20 in normal attendance.

 

Can a church afford not to experience a Lay Renewal, not at all.  We have started word of mouth promotion of the LMW and pray that all the churches in the Atlantic Baptist Association will move forward and have a LRW.  Any church in doubt of a Lay Renewal needs to reconsider and see how God will move in His Church.  I hope this letter will hope strengthen the LRW ministry and get the word out to more churches the need for these weekends.

 

Please feel free to contact me for any further information or comments about this LRW we have experienced.  We want the whole state and beyond to know what can and will happen with the Holy Spirit in charge.  Currently we are scheduled for our second LRW in May of this year.  Excitement is building.

 

God Bless

 

Rev. Mike Willard

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WOODLAWN BAPTIST CHURCH PRAYER/EMPOWERING WEEKEND

Dear Prayer Renewal Team:


Words are inadequate to express my heartfelt gratitude to God and to each of you for the wonderful experience this past weekend. In thirty years of ministry and seventeen as shepherd of the precious saints at Woodlawn, I cannot recall anything that has impacted me personally and our church family collectively like the Prayer Renewal Weekend.

 The presence of the Lord was evident during the testimonies, worship, teaching, and times of prayer in large and small groups. Each time we prayed I could hear people weeping throughout the sanctuary. And Saturday evening to see all the families at the altar, praying and weeping together before the Lord - that is something etched in my mind that I will never forget.

Sunday evening we had a three hour service with our dear people sharing testimonies of how this weekend changed their lives and no one spoke more than once during the evening. It was incredible as our church family laughed, wept, and prayed together.


So, let me thank you from the depths of my soul for investing your time with us this weekend. Only eternity will reveal the significance of this event. You were so gracious and kind to us and we learned so much from each of you. Thank you for being such a beautiful reflection of Jesus to us. I would highly recommend that every church in America host a Prayer Renewal Weekend. I believe it could truly be the impetus for a national spiritual awakening and renewal. Blessings to you all.

Sincerely,

Dr. Ed Yount, Senior Pastor
Woodlawn Baptist Church
Conover, North Carolina

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FIRST BAPTIST CHARLOTTE, NC - LAY RENEWAL WEEKEND

Dear Team,

 

There is no way that I can adequately express my appreciation for you and the Lay Renewal Team you led into the First Baptist Church of Charlotte October 9-11.  I have taken a couple of weeks to digest all the things I saw and experienced, but I must confess, that before I am fully able to digest something from that weekend that occurred, I find myself seeing and hearing of yet another "movement of God" in our church, that I can so clearly trace goes back to that weekend.  So, I am not sure I will ever fully digest what God did for me and our church that weekend this side of heaven. But I do want you to know what it meant to me as pastor of this body.

 

First, your team swept in here on Friday evening, invading this place with expectancy, with energy, and with enthusiasm for what God could do.  The weeks of prayer and devotion leading up to the weekend were powerful, but I did not fully realize just how powerful they were. I had been concerned for whether or not people would travel back into downtown Charlotte for not only a Friday night meal and service, but really throughout the many meetings of the whole weekend.  I have to tell you, I was blown away when we ran out of chicken Friday night and the last 75 or so people ended up with turkey!  When I saw that crowd gathering Friday evening for the dinner, it was on from there, and I sensed God was about to do something unique and powerful.

 

The general sessions were certainly Spirit-filled, with great music, phenomenal testimonies, and clear direction of where we were headed.  The youth and children's ministries that your team led were tremendous.  People still speak of the drama the youth presented Saturday night. 

 

The small groups and the home coffees were perhaps the greatest tool that opened the eyes of so many of our people.  Being a larger church in a large city, our people travel great distances from around the regionto worship and serve at our downtown church.  We don't often bump into people from church in just our everyday business of going to the grocery store, stopping by the bank, or going by fill up at the closest gas station.  In fact, Sunday morning for many is the only involvement many people have unless real effort is made to do otherwise.  The small group experiences and the coffees in the home has created a hunger and a response for an ongoing small group ministry that I believe will meet a need our church has had for years.  These results from the weekend will be felt for generations in the life of First Baptist Church Charlotte.

 

The Sunday night service of sharing was like nothing I had seen or experienced in over 20 years as a pastor.  For over four hours I listened, watched, and witnessed a movement of God's Spirit that was filled with encouragement, healing of hurts, repentance of attitude, expressions of vision, and well I could go on and on.  We ended the night sharing The Lord's Supper, and it was perhaps the sweetest communion service I've been a part of in a long time.

 

I have the opportunity to preach a number of revival meetings through the years, and I am very aware that the "preacher doesn't bring revival with him."  But I must confess, the invasion of your people, who were so obviously prayed up, filled up, and ready to lead and encourage as they facilitated, was something that will be forever etched in my mind.  There is so much more to tell, and I'm convinced, will be even more in the future as a result of this Lay Renewal Weekend.  Please tell your team of my gratitude and thank them again for helping us achieve our goal as we came before the Lord that weekend: that we would never be the same again!! 

 

In His Love,

 

Mark E. Harris

Senior Pastor

Charlotte First Baptist Church

 

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Parkwood Baptist Church 

Subject: FYI - Thank You Letter from Steve to LR Visitors

Dear Visiting Parkwood Baptist LRW Team,

There are no words to adequately express the gratitude and thankfulness I feel today as a result of your faithfulness and obedience to God’s calling on your life to be a Lay Renewal volunteer.  The weekend far exceeded my expectations in many ways and I wanted to take the time to let you know about some of the ways He answered our prayers.

We started our evaluation service on Sunday evening at 4:30 and I’ll have to admit the Super Bowl was a consideration in setting the early time. Around 9:00 PM, everyone reluctantly agreed that we should wrap it up and head home. Not a word about missing the Super Bowl was mentioned, but there was some cheering for the exciting things God did among our people.

There were 11 who stated that they accepted Christ, along with over 100 who have committed to learning how to share their faith, developing a personal quiet time and/or requesting baptism and church membership. Over 50 members have faithfully committed to meeting in a small group with many of those desiring to open their homes to a small group meeting. You’ll also be happy to know that 16 of our members have expressed an interest in participating as a team member in future renewal weekends at another church.

As I mentioned earlier, the weekend far exceeded my expectations. I sincerely appreciate you being our guests and thank you for your commitment to Lay Renewal ... but most of all, I thank God for answering our prayers in a way that only He could.

Sincerely,
Steve Weaver
Pastor, Parkwood Baptist Church

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Pactolus Baptist Church

 Dear Bill and Sims,

Thank you so much for coming to Pactolus Baptist Church on February 27-March 1, 2009, and leading a Lay Renewal team. Your presence and passion for the Lord greatly enhanced our week-end experience. Your oral and lifestyle testimonies in both the large and small group settings, as well as the dinner table, the hallways, and in our member's home demonstrated to us how God works and uses people from all walks of life to accomplish his purposes of discipling Christians and reaching out to the lost. I was most pleased with your leadership of the team and your inclusion of me, not being a pastor, in your daily planning. That's the only way I could hear of some of the moments in the small groups and relay these to our pastor. You two certainly use your gifts to the fullest.

 We had 43 adults, 9 youth, and 4 children during the weekend. Eighteen spoke at our evaluation service and all mentioned how pleased they were with the visiting team and how much they had learned about their own relationship with God and some of the changes they wanted to make in their lives. Everyone indicated they would take part in the small group study we are planning to start in late March. And to show you God is working in us, five indicated they would be willing to lead a small group. Also most of the roup indicated they wished to continue the renewal journey with a Lay Ministry week-end. Several indicated they might be interested in becoming team members.

 Our pastor, Freddie Harris is improving day-by-day. His wife went back to work today. We look forward to and pray for his rapid return to our pulpit to preach God's Word. Please remember him and our church in your prayers. And we will pray for resolution of your health issues and your continuing Lay Renewal ministry. I will be in touch with you hopefully in a few weeks after conferring with our pastor and deacons to begin developing a plan to have the Lay Ministry weekend at Pactolus. Thanks again for your presence and ministry among us.

In Christ,
Bill Jones
Lay Renewal General Chairman
Pactolus Baptist Church

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New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, Wilson, NC

 

 

 

 

Bethlehem Baptist Church, Knightdale, NC

Made To Count Weekend May 13-15, 2011

 

 

Dear Bob and Phyllis:

 

Today is the beginning of the second week since our Market Place Ministry Weekend at Bethlehem Baptist Church.  It has been exciting to see the response from the church family. Thirty seven people (including some teens and children) made the commitment to become intentional witnesses for Christ in their market places.  As we commissioned them in a special Sunday morning worship service, it was powerful to see the tears on their faces.  It was evident that these were folks responding by making truly heart-felt commitments.

 

On Monday after the commissioning service, we began receiving emails from our newly commissioned market place missionaries telling us how God was opening doors for them to share Christ. Yesterday one of our men came by to ask me to pray with him that God would teach him how to initiate witnessing conversations.  One of our mothers shared that her teenage daughter has been asking her all week to pray with her about specific people she feels led to witness to each day. Wow! Even the night of our sharing service a couple shared that they had witnessed to their server at the restaurant where they had eaten that afternoon.  These are the types of testimonies we are hearing.

 

Even those who did not make public commitments to be intentional witnesses have made positive comments about the weekend.  I don't think you could sit through the teaching sessions without having the Lord speak to you about witnessing. As Pastor, I look forward to seeing what great things the Lord will do through these who have made the commitments to witness.

 

In Christ,

George Fox, Senior Pastor

Bethlehem Baptist Church

 

 

Greetings to all in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! 
 
I am amazed at the powerful way our lord moved in the lives of us all this past weekend. I praise God for the team He sent to us and the way each of you allowed Him to use you to minister to each one of us here at New Hope.  Thank you so much for coming, thank you for sharing your gifts and talents, thank you for your testimonies, thank you for the way loving way you ministered to each of us.  It is obvious to me that God is using you and I pray that He will continue to bless you mightily as you serve in His name.
 
I have just begun compiling the data from the evaluation forms and I can tell you that this information is going to help us in many ways as we move forward.  It is obvious from the responses on the forms that our folks, some 90% of them, desire to continue the Lay Renewal Journey.  Based on my personal experience and my observation of the impact on the lives of those who attended the weekend I would very much like to continue the journey as well. Through out the weekend and especially on Sunday night I heard people say how much the testimonies of the team members encouraged them and how much they learned about each other during small group meetings.  We learned that our lives are not perfect and our walk with the Lord is not perfect, but He is perfect!  I can tell you also that nearly 90% of the people who filled out the evaluation forms want to get plugged into a small group that meets for study, prayer support and ministering to each other.  And, based on the responses we have people to facilitate the groups and plenty of people willing to open up their homes for one of the groups. As a pastor I am very encouraged to know that many of the people interested in small groups expressed an interest in learning more about prayer, sharing their faith, recognizing and using their spiritual gifts, personal relationships with their spouse and a greater understanding of scripture. I am looking forward to seeing how God is going to work in our lives as we continue our journey together.
 
My life was deeply impacted by the Lord this weekend and as indicated on the evaluation forms many other lives were as well.  I will be following up with many of those who expressed personal decisions of rededication and commitments this past weekend.  I praise God that 43% of the people who filled out the forms indicated that they were presenting their lives to Jesus Christ in total surrender to His Lordship, 57% desire to develop a personal quiet time with the Lord each day and 45% want to learn to share their faith in Jesus!  Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
 
Again, I want you all to know that that everyone here at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church appreciates you coming to spend the weekend with us.  You have helped the body of Christ to grow stronger and our personal relationships with the Lord and with one another to grow much deeper and personal. Until we meet again (and I hope that won’t be long), may God bless you, your families and all you do in His name!
 
Wade G. “Steve” Stephenson
New Hope Missionary Baptist Church
5142 NC Highway 58 North
Wilson, NC 27896

 

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Parkwood Baptist Church, Rocky Mount, NC
 
Good Morning Team, 
 
The Sunday night evaluation service was absolutely "Awesome"!  We started at 4:30pm and it ended unofficially around 8:45pm with folks still hugging, crying, and praying for one another at the altar. If I hadn't been there, I would have never believed it would be as equal
and/or better than what took place during the Sunday morning worship service.   The entire weekend was truly amazing and much more than I
ever could have imagined!
 
Your Brother In Christ,
 
Mike Haymore,
General Chairman
Parkwood Baptist Church, Rocky Mount, NC

  

 

 

First Baptist Cobden, IL

From: DENNIS KILMER [mailto:buckskin7@verizon.net]

Subject: Lay Renewal weekend
 
Bob and Phyllis,  Just want to get in touch and say what a wonderful weekend Judy and I had this past weekend at the Cobden First Baptist Church.  You and your team were wonderful and it has changed my life.  I have been able to get into the word with more clarity and it seems that the Lord has really opened my eyes to a lot of things. 
 
I have been looking into the faces of people and my heart just melts and tears start to fall.  It's indescribable!  Really, this past week end was, how can I say it, the heaviest outpouring of the
Spirit that I have maybe ever experienced.  I can't really describe it properly. 
 
I have a hunger for more of the Lord than maybe I have ever had. I know that I'm saved, but in the several months I have lost the joy that I once knew.  IT'S BACK!!!!! I'm so thankful.  Our church is healing also. 
 
Lay renewal has deeply affected everyone.  Oh yea, there may be a few that resist, but God is in control of all that.  What next?  Sunday night, we ate the cake and it was goooooood!  We will have some small groups starting in Feb. and we will host one of those small group sessions.  Like you said
 
Bob, I don't know what God is going to do, but I know that He's going to do something and has
already started in our hearts.  Judy and I signed up to be a part of the team and I believe 30 others have too.  Hallelujah!!!  Just wanted to let you know that I appreciate you guys and am so thankful that you took the time to share God's love with us, it has truly changed our lives. 
 
Please send me Jerry Haw's e-mail address, I want to stay in touch with him and the rest of the
guys.  I think Peggy has everyone information of which I haven't asked her yet, but I didn't want to wait any longer to contact you.  I got you e-mail
address off the NAMB website.
 
Have a great day!!  Looking forward to hearing from you and working with Lay Renewal.  God bless you, 
The plain ol' hamburger,
Denny Kilmer
Member of First Baptist Cobden, IL

 

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NORTHSIDE BAPTIST CHURCH, GREENSBORO, NC 27405

5/6/08

Dear team member,

We are so grateful for your faithfulness and participation in our Lay Renewal weekend. It was just what our church family needed and your contribution to each service will be remembered in times to come. I have nothing but positive comments from our members about what God did that weekend, To God be the glory!

Our Sunday night evaluation service was beyond belief. The service lasted for two hours and forty five minutes. We had adults, youth and children lined up to share what God had done in their life. One of our members, that I have been trying to get her to share her testimony for almost a year, was eager to share her excitement as to what God did in her life and the life of her family that weekend.

Our people are already talking about continuing with the second phase of the lay renewal weekend this fall. I truly believe that this is the turning point for the life and direction of our church. We are so blessed to have folks like you who are ready and willing to be used of God in carrying out His kingdom work at any cost.

Thanks again for your faithfulness to God, your willingness to serve and for having the desire to lead people to Christ and a deeper walk with God.

May God richly bless you and continue to use you in His work and His purpose wherever His call may lead.

For the Master’s glory,

Rev. Thomas G. Brown

Senior Pastor 

(LRW April 25-27, 2008)

 

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PRINCE AV BAPTIST CHURCH,HANNIBAL MISSOURI

Lay Renewal Weekend on May 4-6, 2007

 

 

Dear Pastor/Church Leader,

I was a bit hesitant to host a LWR at our church since it seems that we really didn’t need one. We are a growing congregation that has a pretty solid grasp on what we ought to be and where we are headed. However, after God led us to purse it, I found out that it is so much more than could possibly be described (and still have a hard time describing it!).

 

God used the team and LWR to solidify our convictions, confirm our current path and challenge some things that needed to be reconsidered. Our people are more focused than ever to reach out, send out and give ALL of themselves to the work of God’s Kingdom. We already have families interested in serving as future team leaders. As well, we have grown even closer in unity and scheduled a Lay Ministry Weekend before this one was complete!

 

Sunday night went very well. We had 87 in attendance! There were about 15-20 that gave testimonies and the service lasted about an hour and a half. I think the main thing that God accomplished was two-fold, we have a stronger fellowship through our understanding/ knowledge of one another and we also have a greater unity regarding who we are and where we are going. As well, many people were convicted on a personal level about sin, calling and purpose. I already have one family that wants to serve on future LRWs!

 

We had 74 participants that were there the entire weekend and 24 more that were partial.  Our attendance on Sunday a.m. was 170.

 

Thanks for everything, we look forward to working with everyone again in the Fall, and the changes that God will make in the meantime!!

 

For whatever need you may have as a congregation, LWR is flexible enough, and the team sensitive enough to allow God to meet you where you are.  Without hesitation, I not only recommend that you participate, but would exhort you to seek the Lord seriously about this awesome opportunity.  No doubt, the concept, the mission and the actual event are blessed by God’s anointing.

 

Pastor Jeff Brown

Prince Avenue Baptist Church

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Lay Ministry Evaluation Summary
November 16, 2006
Weekend Dates November 3-5, 2006
 
 
Our weekend of Lay Ministry was a continuation of what God is continuing to accomplish among His people at Welcome Home Baptist Church.  Many of our people know that God wants to use them to work through their lives but have never been discipled how to do those things.  This weekend allowed us to discover that God has given us a gift that to serve His kingdom.  As the weekend developed I began to see individuals begin to recognize how God has been using them during their daily lives and didn’t even realize it.  As we meet together in small groups others could share with those in their groups what they seen God doing in their lives and it brought understand to others that God is working in my life.
 
We had about 45 average attendances during the weekend.  Our Sunday morning service was the climax to the weekend.  We had leaders on the altar seeking God’s face for the ministry of the church and their service.  We had friends praying with one another for God to use them.  We had families embracing and encouraging one another.  We had people recommitting their lives to Christ.  We had one individual to join our church by transfer of letter. 
 
That worship experience carried over into our Sunday evening evaluation service.  We had 35 in attendance for our evaluation service.  Fifteen of those shared what the weekend meant to them.  The evaluation part lasted about hour and ten minutes.  Individual shared how they seen themselves and how they were serving was making a difference outside the church.  Many shared how they had discovered what their gifts where.  Some shared how they were using their talents but they wanted them to become gifts that glorified God. Some shared how their survey reveal gifts they didn’t expect to have.  They perceived their gift to be different.  We took time during the evaluation to pray for some of the visiting team members who were seeking God’s face for things in their lives.  We were able to help some identify what their gifts were and then affirm them in those gifts.  Our evaluation time transitions into affirming others of their gifts.  The affirming service lasted about 30 minutes.
 
This is the summary I shared with the church about my prespective on the weekend.  We come to a realization of how God has given us gifts to serve His kingdom.  To many times our focus is about our church and not about the kingdom.  Many times when we do things it is about will those individuals come to our church.  I tried to encourage our people that serving God with our gifts is much larger than our church. 
 
As we use our gifts through the church and between Sunday’s the difference we make in people’s lives  is were the success comes in.  We should be looking at spiritual growth within our congregation and  how using our gifts maybe expanding the kingdom that we may never know about.  Those are the areas that produces real quality in the life of a church.  If our desire is on making a difference in the kingdom we will see numerical growth.  But that shouldn’t be the motivation behind our service.  It should be using our gifts in our daily lives may change the life of others for eternity.  It may go unnoticed on earth but it will never be unnoticed by God.  I concluded my comments by sharing with them the song Ray Bolts.  One day as we walk the streets of gold one may come and say thank you for giving to the Lord, I now have a life that was changed.
 
Allow me to share a huge thank you to the team and  their commitment to serve the Lord and  willingness to travel to move  God’s people closer to Him.  You all will be family to us and we are delighted that you can call us home.  God bless you as you serve Christ.
 
In Christ Love,
Jeff Collins (PJ)
Pastor

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From: Lawson Horton  lhorton43@earthlink.net

May 13, 2006 10:30 PM
 
Subject: LRW Associational Weekend

 

This past weekend has been a marvelous experience for the six churches that participated. There have been no negatives. The Pastors have been elated with the results.  People in these churches are talking to neighbors, fellow employees and others they see in shopping centers that may not have been involved in this awesome event. We had people saved, one of our own answered the call to the ministry. There were large crowds at each church session. The Pastors all felt that Sunday night was well worth the effort.  We have set May 30 to have a rally. The word is getting around in town.

 

This has helped the churches that participated and I pray that other churches will be encouraged to have a Renewal soon. I have prayed that renewal would come to our churches, and then we will see the results of our ministry in this area. There is much immaturity in churches everywhere but I am most familiar with the ones here.

 

This is a start of what I pray will be a great revival where people are saved, added to the church, and become responsible followers of God. I am so glad that I made the contact with Bob Foy and he said an Associational Lay Renewal Weekend could be conducted. He had already had this experience in other Associations. I guess I was in the dark. I do not mind being in the dark on this matter. That way I know this was a God send meeting for our Association. I did not get the idea from someone else and thought I would try and see if it would work here. I have learned if we talk to God, He will answer according to His way and in His time.  When God is leading the way it will always be right. I just thank God for allowing us to have this meeting. I know those who participated are greatly blessed. If we do what is expected of us, God will do His. 

I am planning on keeping in touch with the pastors of the six churches in this Weekend I am going to insist that we meet as often as once a month for prayer, renewal, and encouragement. I do not want the moving of God's Spirit to stop now. We must lean on each other and draw our sister churches into the same frame of mind. It is the best idea God has allowed me to have in my 14 years as an Associational Missionary and 26 as a Pastor, although I have had many blessings in both positions previously. This is one of my spiritual highlights.

 

Thanks to all who came, sent by God to our churches. The Lord always knows what is best. Everyone of the church Pastors felt that our Lord put together the exact visiting team for their church. We will seek God and see where He takes us from this point. May God continue to bless the ministry of Lay Renewal.  If I can ever help promote this movement, please let me know.

 

In the Savior's name, your friend, 

Lawson Horton

Director of Missions
Brushy Mountain Baptit Association

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 May 10, 2006

Dear Friends in Christ,

Thank you so much for the Lay Renewal experience at our church May 5-7, 2006. Thank you so very much for your patience with us as we prepared for it. You told us from the outset that God already knew what was going to take place and who would come, where they would stay and what would be said and done. We listened. We even repeated it among ourselves, but often times, as we do with our own personal relationship with God, we don't obey. We wrestled with our preparations and bugged you even more. Yet, it came together just as you said it would.  Oh, did it ever come together!   We had a blessed, joyful time of praise. Oh, the value of experience. It truly is the best teacher. 

God bless you and God bless Lay Renewal. It was the most riveting and spiritually uplifting time in our lives. The church was so moved. We know that we can journey on, sharing the same joy and giving God the praise, that we did last weekend. 

WE GIVE GOD ALL THE PRAISE.  The Lay Renewal Weekend helped us to know our fellow members better and to better appreciate life. Life is a journey that takes us in different directions yet we cross paths along the way. We all have common strengths and weakness. May we be able to bear one another's burdens, and share each other's joys as we journey along. May we be committed to seeking God's Guidance: allowing the Holy Spirit to minister to us, AWAKENING US to the abundant life God wants all us to have. We "have" not, because we "ask" not. Whatever you led us in, (music, Adult session, Children, youth) we thank you for it. Keep us in your prayers.

Sunday night evaluation started at 6:00pm. GOD  WAS IN THE BUILDING. YOU COULD FEEL THE HOLY SPIRIT MOVING.  Time went by in a flash. Attendance was good despite the weather. Lawson, our General Chairperson, led the session. He opened of course with prayer and comments. Many prayer requests were made. We had several prayers at the alter. We sang praises. We completed evaluation forms. Lawson recognized Group Leaders and those who helped with preparations for the weekend.  Many people gave testimonials about what Lay Renewal meant to them.

The response was tremendous. One by one they came; opening their hearts and sharing their feelings in such a moving way. Some who are always in church but never have much to say before came forward. Lay Renewal evokes so much emotions tha it seems fitting to say that the "tears" washed and cleansed our souls and revealed our human side. We truly became brothers and sisters in Christ those few hours Sunday night. We had coffee and cake afterward in the fellowship hall. We were together better than three hours. Some stayed until almost 11:00pm.  The journey has just begun.  We claim God's promise that if we just obey the Holy Spirit, we can live the abundant life here in the Moravian Falls community. That's what He wants for us. That's what we need to want for ourselves.

Lawson mentioned plans for future prayer session. Many want to continue the "cottage prayer meeting" and coffees. Others spoke of the youth and how they were considering giving up their time with the youth and now it seems like "not so fast, don't quote me on that" type thing. I think I heard a "let me pray about it some more" somewhere in the testimonial. God used Adam and Lori to help with that decision. That's called  RENEWAL. Anyway, I think we are on to something and pray that we will obey that voice which speaks to our hearts and tells us where we are and what it is we need to do to have spiritual growth in our church. Someone once said "for every problem, there is a promise, and for every promise, there is a provision."  We claim the promise. Someone also said "the journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step." Our church has stepped out on the JOURNEY.  Pray for us as we "Journey On."  I think God for all of you visiting team members and for our church attendance. Thank you to those who came and those who were unable to come, but kept us in your prayers.

Thanking God for you and your ministry,

Rev Jay Johnson, Pastor 

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Lay Renewal Renewal, Cairo Baptist Church

 
“I have experienced a huge change in my spiritual life, but I still can’t explain Lay Renewal. It is something you just have to experience for yourself.” This was one of the responses to the recent Church Lay Renewal at Cairo Baptist Church, April 21-23, 2006.
 
“There is a tremendous renewal in our church. People are finally beginning to actually pray for each other. Hearts and lives have been changed!” says Rev. John Davidson, pastor of Cairo Baptist Church. “Lay Renewal Weekend is one of the most life-changing weekends in a church’s life! We did 40 Days of Purpose and people really responded. We did a Solemn Assembly and people responded as well, but Church Lay Renewal Weekend has transformed our church’s heart. Our Sunday evening testimony service went on for over three hours. God dealt with all of us and people testified about how God had changed them.”
 
G.B. Hambrick from Pocahontas, Arkansas led the Lay Renewal Team. Members came from as far away as Dallas, Texas and Rogers, Arkansas. None of the on the team were ministers. All were lay people who came to share with the people of Cairo Baptist Church about what God had done in their lives. The Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday morning services were filled with lay persons giving their testimonies, not about their salvation, but what God had done in their lives during times of failure and success.
 
Tom Pearson, one of the Renewal Teams members, told the Sunday morning congregation, “God never uses a self-made man in the Bible, and I had been a self-made man and God couldn’t use me until I finally surrendered to Him. Now, I’m God’s man.” Beverly McCulloch, from Potosi, Missouri, shared about sharing God’s Word. She said, “Using the Parable of the Sower, God scattered the seed to all types of ground. What we do today, is we carry one little seed around with us, looking for just the right ground to plant it. Most of the time we never plant it anywhere! That’s not how God does it. He scattered the seed, the Good News, everywhere and we should do that too! I was a school teacher who scattered seed all the time at school. You too can scatter seed anywhere; school, work or anywhere.”
 
“I was skeptical about this Lay Renewal Weekend,” says Leon Creed, Sunday School Director at Cairo Baptist Church, “In fact, on Friday night I went to something else that I thought was important. On Saturday, I came to Lay Renewal and I realized that what I went to on Friday night wasn’t important at all. I am so thankful I came to Lay Renewal Weekend.”
 
In the weeks that have followed, God has continued to move as we have had several more professions of faith. Cairo Baptist is now working on developing small group ministries in the church.
 
Church Lay Renewal Weekend is a ministry of the North American Mission Board and is available to any church who wants to experience Church Lay Renewal Weekend. To be a Lay Renewal member, you cannot be a minister or professional staff person. You must be a lay person with a desire to serve others and be willing to go to other churches and share what Jesus Christ has done in your life.
 
If you are interested in having a Church Lay Renewal Weekend, you can contact Danny Decker at the Missouri Baptist Convention or Bob Foy at the North American Mission Board. You can also go the Church Lay Renewal website: churchrenewaljourney.net.
 
Members of Cairo Baptist Church will also make themselves available to talk to any church about doing Lay Renewal Weekend.
 
John Davidson
Cairo Baptist Church
P.O. Box 138
Cairo, MO.  65239
 660-263-3960 
cairobaptist@mcmsys.com

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First Baptist Church,                 
Cross City, Florida
  
April 10,  2006  
 
Dear Friends:
 
Two weeks have passed since your team led our church in the Lay Renewal Weekend. I have to tell you  that the experience was everything that was predicted and more. Our Deacons met last Sunday to discuss the Renewal and indicated their amazement at how quickly people felt comfortable opening their lives to share hurts and struggles. Everyone acknowledged that they discovered important things about people they had known for many years.  We were all made aware of the need for small group fellowships. We are now proceeding to get these established.
 
Our Sunday night sharing time began at 6:00pm and continued until 9:30pm. After
We dismissed the services, many people continued to talk with each other until well after 10pm. Eighty eight evaluation forms were completed. Here are a few of the highlights.
 
            76 indicated a desire to schedule the next step of the Renewal Journey.
            39 were willing to open their homes for small group meeting.
            48 wanted to be a part of a small group 13 week meeting.
            42 desire t learn to share their faith.
            58 desired a personal quiet time with the Lord each day.
 
The personal comment section of the evaluation forms have provided some wonderful
Inspirational reading. Let me share just a few excerpts for your encouragement.
 

These testimonies reveal that God did an awesome work in many lives. I want to say thanks to you for making yourself available to God for the advancement of His Kingdom. It is evident that He touched, loved, and encouraged through you during this very special weekend at First Baptist Church. Continue to pray for us as we prepare to take the next step on the Renewal Journey.

In Jesus Wonderful Name,  

Brother Mike

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Pafftown Baptist Church
4336 Transou Road
P.O.Box 27
Pfafftown, NC 27040
 
November 14, 2005         
 
Dear Team,
 
Allow me to express a warm and genuine thank you for the offerings of your time and energy toward our Lay Renewal Weekend. Through you God did an awesome work! Your surrender to the purposes of God rather than you own personal agenda had great impact. Our people could not argue with your life. Your faith, hope and love, shared through your individual stories, encouraged the investigation of our own.
 
The Sunday evening service continued for three hours, bu the results of what happened will remain long into the future. It was a spiritual earthquake. The sanctuary shook as believers young and old confessed and cried. The stirring took us collectively into a new experience of faith. This new experience was a renewal of our togetherness in Christ. We had been pieces and parts before, but now we experienced a collective wholeness. The sweetness of this togetherness came through both the silent moments as well as the tear-filled moments. It was as if God took a can opener and took off our religious lids and revealed the contents of our souls. We locked arms and hearts and God brought healing to our body of faith.
 
The part you played was invaluable. Thank you so much for your willingness to be a servant during this time. We covet your prayers as we begin nurturing this renewed togetherness. In Christ we are whole. Renewal helped us to see this.  May God continue to bless your offerings in the days ahead through Lay Renewal.
 
Sincerely,
Craig W. Bowman, D. Min.
Pastor
 
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Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro, NC

 
October 25, 2005
 
Dear Lay Renewal Team,
           
On behalf of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, we wish to express our deepest gratitude for your ministry through the emphasis of Lay Renewal Weekend. The entire weekend was filled with a genuine interest by all who participated.
 
Your team gave much to making the weekend such a success.  We appreciate your faithfulness to God and your willingness to participate in this ministry to His churches.  From the testimonies and the music to the small groups, we could feel God's presence everywhere. We thank you for your team work and showing us how important Lay
Renewal was to each team member. You embraced and exemplified unity in the mist of diversity – coming from all walks of life and experiences in your faith journey. The team exuded such a joy and effortlessness in each person's willingness to do whatever was needed!  We were particularly moved by your prayers for one another.   What an example and an encouragement to us leaders and to our lay people.
 
Our Sunday night Evaluation and Commitment service was a very honest moving service.  Most of the church family who attended the sessions throughout the weekend were present along with a few who only came on Sunday morning.   We had approximately 20 Testimonies given during the 2 ½ hours. Here are some of the things that were shared:
Following is a summary of the commitments made on the evaluation form:
Our prayer for you is that you continue in your service to our Lord and as Paul said to the Colossians: "We ask god to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives. An we ask him to  make you wise with spiritual wisdom.  Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others.  All the while, you will learn to know God better and better."  (Colossians 1:9b-10 NLT).
 
Gratefully yours,
Shelby L. Stephens, Pastor
Gwen Norwood, Coordinator
Sandi Brady, Minister of Youth/Children
 
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 Parkwood Baptist Church, Concord, NC

 
October 21 – 23, 2005

Results of LRW Awakening 

Words can’t describe how God’s Spirit swept through our congregation this weekend.  Hearts were changed, people were saved, and commitments were made to surrender to Christ’s Lordship in lives across the congregation.  People who didn’t know each other found common bonds as God placed us in small groups together.  Language barriers between the Deaf and the hearing disappeared as we met and sought God together.  People with special needs were embraced.  On Sunday night, one mentally handicapped man who rarely talks at all came forward to say “God died on the cross for me, and I was prayed for by my family and friends.”

When people returned to the sanctuary after dinner on Saturday evening, families filled the alter.  No invitation or opening remarks were necessary.  God was working in lives in such an awesome way, entire families began gathering together on their knees before the invitation to do so was given.   People who attended alone joined with others who were alone to make a family or joined with other families.  It was an inspiring sight.
 
A young father saw his young son bring a friend to the alter to pray and later said, “I realized I hadn’t even invited my friends to the alter.”  As he found his friends in the congregation, a group of 15 to 20 young men huddled at the alter in prayer.  And a little child shall lead them…. 
 
Sunday night was the highlight of the weekend as people lined up to share what the week-end meant to them.  People said time after time, “Standing in front of people to talk is something I do not do.”  But, they couldn’t hold back what God had done in their lives.  They talked about how seeing young men huddle together crying and praying touched their hearts; how young children had come to know Christ, how miraculously being placed with other people with hurts similar to their broke down barriers that brought them to their knees together. 
 
One man talked about his initial disappointment that he and his wife were in different small groups, but out of that group he suddenly realized he was not spending time with his wife, and the group prayed with and for him.  He was later broken when the aunt and uncle he had prayed for came to the alter for prayer for the first time ever.  What would our world be like if it happened like this everyday - deacons and pastors, seniors and youth, deaf and hearing all praying together at the alter.  Awesome!
 
 
The mother of one young boy who was saved gave a charge to the youth of the church telling them they were role models for her young children; that her young sons are excited to be around them and they pray for them at night.  She challenged them to live lives of influence for younger children and promised to pray for each of them by name every day.
 
One person said they realized when the lay renewal team arrived at the coffee home that while we had been praying for the LRW visiting team, they had been praying for us.  She said, “I’m not usually very emotional, but when the Lord squeezes your heart, out come tears.”  She said an incident almost kept her from attending, but the fellowship was so sweet that she shared her problem and the group prayed.  She talked about how wonderful the Lord is and her promise to serve Him and keep this spark alive in our church.
 
Jeremiah 29:11 was quoted:  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord."
 
One woman reported how she and her husband had the worst fight they’ve had in years just before the weekend.  She almost didn’t participate, but her husband apologized telling her he didn’t want her to miss her blessing.  She was able to pray with her entire family at the alter – grandparents, grand children, great grand children together.  “God is moving,” she said and “I don’t want to miss it.”
 
A man who didn’t attend the LRW at all said he knew something was different when he walked in the church Sunday morning.  He could feel the Holy Spirit and thanked the church for being such a model of Christianity.
 
One man talked about how he had prayed at the alter with his Dad for the first time ever.  Another talked about uncertainty about salvation and asked to be re-baptized.
 
A man who had to drive 122 miles after the service said he knew we were having revival on the Sunday Steve changed his sermon on the spot (after a member testified about what lay renewal was doing in his life.)  Steve talked about soaring like an eagle on the wings of the spirit.  This man said God placed him in a group with the Deaf, and he was blessed from the top of his head to the tip of his toes.  He talked about how we worship in a building, but we are the body of Christ.
 
One young father struggled to suppress tears as he talked about the brotherhood he felt with Sunday school class and what the church has meant to him.  As he attempted to keep control, his friends called out to him, “it’s ok, let it go.”   He talked about how he hadn’t experienced this, “stop, drop, and pray” before, but he liked it and thought we should keep it up.  Of course he was talking about the weekend practice of stopping immediately and praying when a prayer request was stated.
 
During the Sunday night evening, as people expressed prayer needs, people gathered around them to pray.  Sometimes there were three or four; sometimes there was 15 to 20.
 
One man shared his story of running from the call to the ministry for 30 years.  This weekend he submitted to the call to full time ministry.  He doesn’t know exactly what that means yet, but he is now certain and excited about making himself available.
 
We agreed that what we experienced this weekend was the result of prayers of 50 years ago, when the pastor who was told there was no need for a church at Parkwood listened to God began services in a small brush arbor anyway.  Along with other prayers, this pastor prayed for a Deaf ministry at Parkwood. It started 30 years after he first prayed.  While the Deaf and hearing have always joined together as one church, during LRW, we became more spiritually united.  Over the years, Parkwood has seen God’s hand at work.  Sound biblical teaching and a pastor for the last 34 years who is the role model for how Jesus loved people have brought us to where we are today.
 
When we started planning for lay renewal, we began to pray that God would give us a fresh touch.   We gave our LRW wakening weekend the title, “Coming Alive in 2005.”   Then, we prayed that God would refresh His spirit in us.  Matthew 21:22 says “whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”   We asked, and we received.
 
As our people began to pray, weeks before the actual event, God began to pour out his spirit, touching individual lives and then spilling over to others.  Our LRW coordinator told us the most important part of our planning meetings would be our time spent in devotion and prayer, and our revival started with the team as God began to touch lives.  Then cottage prayer meetings were held by seniors and other groups across the congregation.  The final step in preparation occurred with our 24 hour prayer vigil, an awesome experience.   
 
Thank God for LRW leadership who guided us to prepare our hearts.   
 
==========================================================================================================================================

 

Spring Garden Baptist, New Bern, NC

 

Dear Team,
 
This past weekend was amazing!  As a pastor I have never seen anything like what God has done in our midst.  During the weekend, God exposed me to just what was going on in many of my congregation's lives.  It was a time of sharing, praying, accountability, and praising that awoke me to the necessity of allowing God to speak through each life! 
 
The weekend was an inward journey that also made me realize some things about my life and ministry as a pastor.  Prior to the weekend I was hesitant about it because of the lack of control that I had over it.  As the Sunday evening reporting time rolled around, God made it evident in my life that I was controlling too much of church life and not allowing His Holy Spirit to do the controlling that He desired!   I confessed that before the church Sunday night and asked forgiveness of it.      
 
During the Sunday morning service, many longtime church members came forward in a spirit of brokenness and prayer before God.  There were many rededications that morning as well.  A young man also came forward to receive Christ.
 
But the Sunday night service (after the visiting team had all left)....was amazing!  God moved in that place as person after person came to the front to testify about what God was doing in their lives as a direct result of the weekend!  We prayed for one another, cried for one another, laughed with one another, and praised God together!  The service started at 6:00 pm and we had to cut it off at 10:00 pm with plans to continue testifying tonight (Wed) about what God is doing!
 
Pray that God will continue to work in and through us and that we would be obedient and receptive to the Holy Spirit.
 
In Christ,
Rev. David Welch,
Pastor, Spring Garden Baptist, New Bern

 

 
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Lee’s Chapel OFWB Church
Dunn, North Carolina  28334
 
 
June 29, 2005
 
Team,
 
I just had to send you this praise report, especially since I believe the Lay Renewal Weekend we had in March of this year was an important part of our recent blessing.
 
On June 26, we were blessed to baptize fourteen people as new members and officially finalized six more members from transfers.  That, plus a few from January of this year, gives us a total of seventeen baptisms and twenty one new members so far this year.  Based on our active membership of 250, that is an 8.4 percent increase in just six months!  To God be the glory.  The long-term members of our church testify that they do not remember such a harvest in our church since the 1950’s.  Pray for Lee’s Chapel and their pastor.  Our challenge now is to nurture these new members and capitalize on the momentum that God has blessed us with.
 
I look forward to seeing you on July 12th at 7:00 p.m. for our chairman training as we prepare for our Lay Ministry Weekend on Sept 9 – 11.  I have invited the president of our denomination and our director of convention services in hopes that other churches in our denomination may have an opportunity for God to bless them through Lay Renewal.
 
Take care and God bless,
 
Ricky Warren, Pastor

 

===================================================================================================================================================

 
EL CALVARIO
Iglesia Bautista El Calvario, Seymour, IN
Ed McCrary, Weekend Coordinator
 
April 1-3, 2005
 
Dear Family in Christ,
           
I want to express my gratitude for your prayers and cooperation in the last Lay Renewal, and at the same time I want to ask our Father and Lord to pour rich blessings in your life. There were obstacles in the way but God, who is rich in mercy did strengthen us and showed us that He is always here to help us! Thank the Lord!
 
As a church we are grateful for the group that God sent to us including those wonderful ladies in the kitchen and those in the nursery and those who were driving the vans. This was not man's idea, it was an answer of God's to his people in prayer. As a result God sent us a wonderful group of brothers and sisters who have never before done Lay Renewal Weekend in Spanish. The good thing about it is that they heard the voices of the Lord when He asked "who will go for us?'' And they answered "here we are, we don't know much Spanish, but if you want us to use us! Here, send us!" This happened because the local church was praying to have a Renewal and other groups far away were willing to obey. God moved by sending us a group to do the Lay Renewal.
 
That's why we had the following good results:
 
Results of the Lay Renewal Weekend (According to survey of compromise and evaluation sheet)
           
            7          Adults accepted Christ as their personal Savior
            5          Kids accepted Christ as their personal Savior
            5          People decided to get baptized
            8          People decided to consecrate their lives to the Lord
          18          People decided to have a devotion with the Lord
            2          People would like to be a part of a small group
            5          People would like to offer their homes to have small groups
          10          People prefer to keep coming to our regular services
            7          People would like to become a part of the group to go on weekends
                          
 
Pastor Gustavo A. Vasquez              
 
==============================================================================================================================================
 
Pitts Baptist Church
Concord, NC
 
April 22-24, 2005
 
Dear Team,
 
I thought I would sit down this week and give a response to Sunday night.
 
The service went from 5 p.m. until 8:35.  One after another shared.  You had warned me that when people started getting up to share for the second and third time, it may be time to end the service.  However, people didn't have a chance to get up two and three times each.  There was a constant stream of people getting up to share one time.
 
The testimonies were phenomenal.  One husband and wife got up and publicly gave thanks to God for one another, and praised one another; one man got up to share who said he had not shared publicly in a really long time; one woman shared about being released the weekend before at the Ladies Retreat and Lay Renewal being the icing on the cake - released from a childhood of physical, mental, and sexual abuse.  While all of that was going on in her life up until she was a young adult, she shared about a suicidal moment.  You could have heard a pin drop.  Another woman shared about the blessings of the weekend, and all the many trials she had had through life, and about a suicidal point in her life many years ago.  She is now probably one of the strongest believers in our fellowship.  Another woman got up to share about how God had healed her of the very disease that Hugh and his wife shared that he had.  This woman fully recovered, and she told of her experiences.  We learned that the women in the kitchen had been having a little Lay Renewal of their own.  They spent the weekend in the kitchen singing hymns and praising the Lord.  The testimonies just kept on and on.  It was great!
 
Please communicate to all the team members how grateful the church is.  
Some of our folks have continued to speak so affectionately of the weekend and the team members that came with you.  The weekend has definitely left a positive mark on everyone.
 
I want to also thank you for coming.   You are being used mightily in this way.
 
May God richly bless you and your loved ones!
Scott Davis
Pastor, Pitts Baptist Church, Concord, NC
 
 
==================================================================================================================================================
 
Unity Baptist Church
482 North Myrtle School Road
Gastonia, North Carolina 28052
704.865. 7601
 
Dear Team,
April 15-17, 2005
 
In his book, “A’ Utmost/or His Highest, “Oswald Chambers writes, “We all have moments when we feel better than our best.” That is exactly how I felt during our Lay Renewal Weekend. What a tremendous experience! I cannot thank you and the team enough for gracing our church with your presence spiritual gifts joy and love, Unity is forever changed for the better because of your service to Christ and His church.
 
What we had prayed for—happened! As we prayed we asked God to help us regain our zeal for His Kingdom and to renew our hope that He is not finished with our church. We concluded the Renewal Weekend with an excited awareness of who we are as a child of God. and I am convinced that the future of Unity Baptist Church is bright. Oswald Chambers continues in his book, “Never allow a feeling which was stirred in you in the high hour to evaporate.” I assure you we will not! God has blessed and we are on the way to continued renewal and service.
 
I thank you and praise God for how he has used you and the Lay Renewal Team.
 
Sincerely yours,
Larry Bostian
Unity Baptist Church
 
==================================================================================================================================================
 
First Baptist Church
Heber Springs, AR
Lay Renewal Weekend
 
April 8-10, 2005  
 
Dear Pastor DeBusk,
 
My heart is still overflowing from last night. I tried to tell Grayson about what happened in an e-mail and I doubt that I caught the essence of it. But I  thought I would share it with you. If you think that the members who were not there could benefit from what I have written, feel free to use it in the newsletter or any way that you see fit.
 
My Dear Grayson,
 
Oh, how I wish you could have been here. We had the most glorious service at church last night that I have ever experienced. I never thought it could happen a First Baptist Church, Heber Springs.
 
At 6:00pm we were to have the Evaluation Service for the Lay Renewal. The preacher just sat on the front row, and the people were encouraged to get up and tell what the Renewal had done for them or the church.
 
I know I can't explain this in words, but people kept getting up and coming to the mike at the front of the aisle and testifying and crying from hearts broken by their past hard heartedness and with love overflowing for God and fellow Christians. The Holy Spirit was really there.
 
This went on for two hours and twenty minutes, and no one left or even seemed restless. I don't think our church can ever be the same again. After it was over, the people didn't want to leave. They just stood around talking about God's goodness and hugging one another and crying together and smiles were on each face. The greeting that was being passed on from person to person was a spontaneous "God is good".
 
The first night of the renewal we were asked in small groups what our vision was for the church. I said I wanted to see more spontaneity in our services. I jokingly said, "If the Holy Spirit wanted to come in on one of our services, He would have to wait until He was listed in the printed program."  Well, He didn't wait; He just filled the room with love like I had never experienced.
           
I learned more about the people who were there in one service that from years of being a member of First Baptist Church. People took off their "church faces" and let us see the real person broken before God. Big men cried unashamedly.  Husbands and wives expressed their love for one another publicly. When a prayer need was mentioned, one person, and just one person,  would stand up and pray about that need as if it had been planned. Each person who went forward to speak was prayed for before they spoke.
 
Trying to tell you about this makes me wonder how the writer of Acts ever was able to set down on paper what happened at Pentecost. All the way home I was singing the chorus "Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul." I wish you could have been there.
 
============================================================================================================================================
 
Lee's Chapel
Original Free Will Baptist Church
God's Love In Plain View
 
March 16, 2005
 
Dear Lay Renewal Team,
 
As pastor, I would like to thank you for allowing yourself to be used by God in His work at Lee's Chapel on March 11-13, 2005. It was evident that the Holy Spirit was at work in the lives of our people and in you.
 
I am sure your are interested in the results of our Evaluation Service. We had to end our service after two hours and forty minutes of sharing. During that time, the one hundred and twenty people in attendance heard many positive comments from their ranks about the weekend. Some of the key points made were the value of the prayer vigil, the inspiration of the team members, the joy of seeing the Holy Spirit move in our church and the need to move forward from here.
 
Some of the tangible results of the weekend are that three people joined our church by transfer of letter, one father rededicated his life to Christ and one teen made a profession of faith for the first time and asked to become a baptized member of our church. Through conversations with others, I am aware of at least one more decision for Christ, and at least one more by letter of transfer that will be acted upon as well. That would be a total of six new members and one rededication.
 
Other decisions were made a well. Several had told me privately of their renewed commitment to be of service to God and their excitement to see what He will do next. Perhaps the most telling results of the weekend came on Sunday night when I asked the congregation to stand if they wanted to continue the journey by having the second Lay Ministry Weekend. As best I could see, every person in the church was standing. Praise the Lord!
 
We are now busily about the work of providing for the needs of our rapidly growing Christians.  Several have indicated a need for help with knowing how to share their faith, and how to have a personal time with God. Several others have even expressed a desire to serve on a Lay Renewal team in the future. In a couple of weeks, we have plans to offer five small group Bible studies in homes. From there we are considering offering training in relationship evangelism so that we can share the joy by adding to our number, and then hopefully a Lay Ministry Weekend in the Fall of this year. To God be the Glory!
 
Thank you again for allowing God  to use you in His work at Lee's Chapel. You have endeared yourselves in the hearts of our people.
 
May God continue to bless you as you continue to seek Him.
 
In Christ,
Rick Warren, pastor

4948 PLAIN VIEW HIGHWAY – DUNN, NORTH CAROLINA, 

 

======================================================================================
Oak Grove Baptist Church   
Rev Richard Myers, Pastor
4013 New Town Road
Waxhaw, North Carolina, 28173
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
February 24, 2005
 
Dear Team,
 
Wow!! What a blessing it is to write this letter of thanks to you and your family for blessing us so deeply during our Lay Renewal Weekend. We were overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit and by your sacrificial service. Please accept our deepest gratitude for being used of the Lord to usher in a deep move of God in our lives.
 
We experienced so much that is hard to put into words. Our Evaluation Service was over 3 hours in length!! It was obvious God had prepared the people. Many shared deep rooted grudges that were dissolved. Many shared "hidden" burdens that were immediately prayed for. Many shared their excitement of having their prayers instantly answered.
 
On Sunday morning a dear young couple joined the church. On Sunday night another precious family with three children joined even though there was no invitation.  The whole church moved into a time of recommitment and rededication.
 
One of the greatest blessings of the weekend was meeting you and the visiting team. We are excited about what God is going to continue to do in our midst. This past Sunday we voted unanimously to pursue the second phase of the Journey, so please pray for us as we prepare for this time.
 
May God bless you and your family greatly this Easter season. We hope to see you very soon. We fully anticipate our Lay Renewal Paths to cross again soon. Please take care and may God Bless you for your service in God's Kingdom.
 
Your Servant,
 Rich Myers
 Pastor

 ============================================================================================================================================================

 
Mint Hill Baptist Church
Mint Hill, North Carolina
 
November 8, 2004
 
Renewal Team Members,                                      
 
It is good to see your smiling faces!  Approximately forty souls were present for the Evaluation time of the Lay Renewal Week-end at Mint Hill Baptist on Sunday evening, November 7, 2004.  More than half of them spoke about the significance of the LRW.
 
The skit presented by the youth on Saturday evening's general session had a
powerful impact, according to the verbal reports given, especially on the parents who watched their children die and then were relieved that they were admitted to heaven!
 
Verbalization was given by two or three of those who spoke, to be more intentional in evangelizing family and friends.  Three mentioned their delight from the involvement in the 24-hour Prayer Vigil which began on the Thursday  before the LRW.  There were repeated declarations of anticipation of the next step, or the next LRW.
 
You are already aware of the salvation experience on Friday night, during the Youth Lock-in; which was mentioned at least three times as making the week-end worthwhile.  Three mentioned how wonderful was the immediate connection with the members of the Team, and what gracious folk they all were.  Three mentioned how powerful the Saturday evening prayer time was, particularly with young  people coming repeatedly to kneel and pray.
 
The Home General Chairman, Craig Jones, distributed the evaluation forms, had the people complete them, and return them before the service concluded.  They will be mailed by our Church secretary today.
 
There was openness about the hurt Christians experience, which is common to us all, and acceptance that admitting the hurt does not equate to being able to remove or heal the hurt but does strengthen the bonds of fellowship.
 
Some clearly were renewed.  Others were grateful to have been given the opportunity for fellowship and advancement in Christian love which results when believers know more about each other.
 
I am grateful for the ministry the Lord gave the Church family at Mint Hill Baptist, using you and the members of the team.
 
Lee Proctor,
Pastor
Mint Hill Baptist Church
Mint Hill, NC

 ================================================================= ========================================================================================

10-10-04

Dear Team,
 
What an awesome evening!  Sunday evening was the climatic ending to the entire weekend.  Our people responded overwhelmingly to the moving of the Holy Spirit, so much so that at 9:30 I turned the church over to them and let them lock up when they felt the need to end (which several expressed they hoped the night would never end!).
 
I am not sure how to thank-you or your team appropriately for being the willing vessel that God used so mightily and miraculously here this week-end. I know it was said before, but it was truly God who placed just the right people here that He knew we needed and would respond to the best.  What a honor to have the team members express that they felt at home here at Crosspointe.  
 
I am truly humbled at the awsomeness of God and last evening was so powerful and the presence of the Holy Spirit was so real, but the real deal was to hear it in the people's voices and see it on their faces, there is just no denying that we here at Crosspointe had a Renewal this weekend!
 
To God be all Glory, Honor and Praise 
 
In His Service,
Leon Hawks
Pastor, Crosspointe Baptist

 

==================================================================================================================================================
 
10-10-04
 
Dear Team,                                                                 
 
Just a quick update on our Renewal Weekend. 
 
Sunday night we began at 6:00 p.m. with some singing and prayer and then Larry shared how the service would continue.  He encouraged everyone who wanted to share to please do so by coming to the front to the microphone so that everyone could hear what was being said.  I'm not great at estimating crowds, but I guess there were close to a hundred present.
 
Rick came and shared first. After him, there was a fairly steady flow of folks for about an hour.  Interspersed were times of prayer for special needs as they were raised.  We sang a couple more choruses and then Larry and Rick passed out the Evaluation Forms and encouraged everyone to be open and honest in their evaluation and provide answers to the requested items.  After doing this, we began a second time of sharing, which began about 7:30 p.m.  This session of sharing was fairly continual with only a few "slow times" and lasted until about 8:15 p.m. or so.  A total of at least two dozen or more came and shared. (I was trying to keep a tally, but I'm sure I missed some along the way.)  We also went through the better part of two boxes of tissues — and not just for the ladies either, the guys used a bunch of them too!  It was a truly awesome and amazing time!
 
I wish I could tell you all that was shared, but there isn't space and I know I would leave something out.  We had a husband come forward and ask forgiveness from his wife for not being the husband he should have been and then asking his daughter to forgive him for not being the dad he should have been.  Then he asked the church to forgive him for not being the deacon and church member he should have been and publicly committed himself to being all the Lord wants him to be.  Wives asked the church to pray for their husbands and their marriage relationships.  One lady asked forgiveness of another lady for the way she had acted recently and forgiveness was given and they hugged and told each other they loved one another.  Youth and children expressed their love and appreciation to the church for their support of them.  Adults expressed their love and concern for the youth and children and promised their continuing support to them. Gratitude was expressed to our staff members for the work they do and what they mean to the church.  Some even thanked the preacher and his wife and shared how much they loved and cared for them!  And this is just a small sampling of what went on.
 
When Larry sensed the time of sharing was ready to be closed, he nodded to me and then I came and shared what I had felt and experienced during the renewal weekend.  I addressed what I had sensed others were sharing.  We had all come wondering, "What is Lay  Renewal?"  I think we each had discovered, perhaps in different ways or described in different terms, that Lay Renewal is a new realization about where we are in our relationship with God, and also where we are in relationships with one another within the body of Christ, and that with God's help, we each will try to do more to make both of these relationships closer and stronger.  The phrase that surfaced several times was that of "total surrender to the will of God."  I think that almost all of us came to see that it's not about me — it's all about Him.
 
After these comments, I asked the organist and pianist to come and play "Softly and Tenderly" while the congregation was standing together in a season of silent prayer.  The invitation was for each to do as the Lord directed.  There was an invitation to come and receive Christ; to come for rededication of life; to come for church membership; to come to the altar and pray; or to do whatever the Lord led them to do.  It was again a truly awesome time.  I know at least four or five more came for rededication and in dealing with them, I'm not really sure how many came to the altar to pray, but there were many.  I saw members leaving their pew and going to others who had shared something special in the way of personal needs etc. and hugging them and praying with them.  Then one of our youth, who had been saved about a year ago, came and said that the Lord had impressed upon his heart that it was time to be obedient and follow Him in baptism.  This was just more icing on the cake!!! Our God is so AWESOME !  We really didn't want to, but we knew we must, so we reluctantly closed the service (although very few were really ready to go) and had the benediction about 8:45 p.m.  Freeda and I finally left the church about 9:45 p.m. and there were still ten or twelve standing around talking and hugging, etc. when we left.
 
I got up this morning still in awe of all that had happened on Sunday.  I felt that it couldn't get much better than this. Then about 10 a.m., I received a phone call from a young man who has been attending our church for over a year now.  He said, "Pastor, I need to talk to you.  Could you see me this morning?"   I sensed something in his voice that told me something was wrong and so I told him that I would be glad to, and asked him when would be a good time to come by.  He asked me if in just a few minutes would be okay.  He was there in about five minutes.  I was dressed in jeans and a  t-shirt (I was getting ready to mow grass) and barefoot because he got there quicker than I expected.  He came in and scarcely sat down when he began to weep and pour out his heart.  Long story short, some things from the renewal weekend got him to thinking about his salvation experience and he had no peace at all about it and realized he needed to be saved.  He was miserable, broken, and ready to make things right with God.  I shared some Scripture with him and a brief plan of salvation and he prayed and asked Christ into his heart!  He's also ready to be obedient and follow the Lord in baptism.  His plans were to leave my house and go home and tell his wife and then go back to work and tell his boss what had happened. The young man went away with peace in his heart and tears of joy in his eyes.  God is good — all the time!  All the time — God is good!
 
Thanks again to you and all them team members for being used of the Holy Spirit this weekend and for being a part in the lives that have been changed by God.  I can hardly wait to see what else happens and what the Lord does next.  We will be in touch.
 
Your brother in Christ and fellow servant,
 
Roy Helms, Pr. 3:5-6
Pastor, Love's Creek Baptist Church
Siler City, NC
 

 

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Green Hill Baptist Church
Rutherfordton, NC

3-23-04 

 

 
WOW! 
This is already the most awesome thing that I have ever seen in my 11 years at Green Hill and we are just in the planning stages.  The prayer team has developed a 9 week prayer guide with special prayer topics each week and they have picked a different verse each day to read before our prayer begins that day. 
 
The meeting for planning this was almost a revival in itself.  They are also getting the prayer vigil scheduled with at least 3 persons in the prayer room at the church for each hour of the vigil.  The spiritual growth team met Friday night for two and a half hours and they also reported a revival taking place in their meeting.  Beginning on Easter Sunday, actually the Saturday before Easter, they will begin leading us through 40 days of purpose. If you count that up the 40 days will end on the Wednesday before our prayer vigil begins on Thursday. 
 
We will be doing the small group times of 40 days during the Sunday School hour on Sunday morning and also during prayer meeting time on Wednesday night. Plans right now are that the church is going to provide one book per family with an invitation to participate in the small group sessions.  If they want more books they can be purchased. We have been looking for something to give our Sunday School a boost and Lay Renewal has given us the reason to change it. 
 
Also, beginning Easter Sunday we will be combining our 2 worship services together into one service at 11 am on Sunday to help promote church unity.  We have been looking for a smooth way to accomplish this and once again Lay Renewal has given us the reason. 
 
Our deacon chair is on the spiritual growth team and he said to me this morning, "It has been a long time since I have been this excited about something happening at the church.  I just hope I can convey my excitement to the rest of the church."  I can hardly wait to see what happens in the next few weeks.  We have a mailing list of 346 people that we will be sending letters to when the time comes. 
 
I could keep rambling all night but I just wanted to let you know that I have already had a blessing just hearing the excitement and I am just being part of the prayer team!  They are developing the plans and just keeping me informed about what is going on.  That is great!!!
 
In His Service
Terry Brooks
Pastor, Green Hill Baptist Church
Rutherfordton, NC
 
 
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May 23, 2004

 
EMAIL LETTER FROM PASTOR TO TEAM ABOUT
SUNDAY NIGHT EVALUATION SERVICE
 
Dear Visiting Team,                                                                       
 
Well, it is 11:30 pm on Sunday night as I sit and try to express to you what has just happened during this weekend. The reason I am just now doing this email is because we had a service tonight that started at 6:00 pm and ended at 10:30 pm. You're right, that is 4 1/2 hours. We allowed the Holy Spirit time to move and He just kept moving. We prayed for needs that were expressed, we rejoiced with recommitted lives. We cried, laughed and just simply enjoyed being together. As a result of our Lay Renewal weekend we had 4 new members join this morning, 2 by baptism (which was done this morning) and 2 by letter from local churches of which they have not attended in many many years. Of course you team members witnessed the joining this morning but I do have news to share with you that we had a family of 4 to join tonight. You might have had Michael or Angie Taub in your groups this week. They have been visiting for a year or so and joined by letter.
 
If you counted that is 8 new members today!   "And God added to their number daily"!
WOW what a night!!!!!!!! WOW what a weekend!!!!!!
 
A highlight of mine was when all 9 of our deacons stood in front of the church tonight as a group and committed themselves to stepping out of the way and allowing God to have control of the church. They also committed themselves to me as their pastor and vowed to follow me as I followed God to lead the church wherever He wanted it to go.
Praise God and we must give Him all of the glory for everything happening at Green Hill. I could go on for hours but I must stop here. Thank you all for your prayers and interest in Green Hill Baptist Church.
 
In His Love,
Terry Brooks
Pastor at Green Hills Baptist Church
Rutherfordton, NC
 
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Marvin Gobble 

Pastor, Zoar Baptist Church
Shelby, NC
 
What a weekend!  The Lay Renewal at Zoar far exceeded our expectations as God revealed himself in a mighty way and the Holy Spirit convicted us to confess our sins, strengthen our prayer lives, totally surrender our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, renew our commitment to the church, express our love for each other, and willingly our their faith. 
 
Thank you again for being obedient to God and available to share your testimony in word and song with fellow Christians at Zoar.  It truly was a blessing and an inspiration as evidenced by the fact that nine of our church members expressed an interest in participating as team members in future church renewal weekends at other churches. Your excitement and zeal for God and his work is truly contagious.We trust you also received a blessing from worshiping with us.
 
As you know, the weekend culminated with an evaluation service on Sunday night which, as promised, was the highlight of the weekend.  The moving of the Holy Spirit was evident as, for several hours, a steady flow of members emotionally expressed how the weekend had impacted their lives.  It seemed everyone felt the weekend was "just for them" as God provided exactly what each person needed to bring renewal in different areas of their lives. 
 
Here are a few examples of how some of our members described the impact of the weekend:
The membership found the coffees and small group sharing times especially meaningful as a way of growing closer by getting to know each other better and sharing burdens and prayer needs.  Over 80% of the evaluation forms stressed the importance of continuing with small groups in some fashion.
 
 
Future discipleship training at Zoar will emphasize small groups meeting in homes for study and mutual support.
 
It was evident over the past year or so that Lay Renewal was a part of God's plan for Zoar Baptist and that this was God's timing for such an event.
 
 
There are numerous examples of how God intervened to get us to this point, provided guidance during the planning phase, sent exactly the right team members to stay in exactly the right homes, and linked just the right people together to get done what he wanted to get done in our midst. 
 
None of this would have been possible without the power of prayer.  The 24-hour prayer vigil may be the single most important season of prayer Zoar has ever experienced. 
 
While the Lay Renewal weekend is now behind us, I view this as only a beginning.  The vast majority of the evaluation form respondents indicated an interest in continuing the journey.  Zoar will be in prayer about the timing of the next leg of the journey, the Lay Ministry weekend.  In the meantime, now that we better understand what Lay Renewal is all about, we will be much in prayer for the entire team and for other churches as they are led to experience what Zoar  experienced last weekend. 
 
Thanks again and may God continue to prosper each of you.
 
I have personally experienced 'times of refreshing' and renewal as the Holy Spirit moved in my life.  Also, it is an honor to serve as pastor of a "spiritually renewed" church.  I am seeing people act and hearing them say things I could have only imagined before the renewal event.  We have been blessed, and I am sure our nine volunteers will be a blessing to other congregations. 
 
I thank you, the Lay Renewal Team Members, Ron Rogers, and the eighty-three members of Zoar who surrendered to God to make this weekend possible.
 
Your Friend In Christ,
Dr. Marvin Gobble
 
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Baptist Temple Church

Reidsville, NC
July 7-9, 2006
 
The Start of Something Great:
A Report on the Lay Renewal Weekend
 
 
What did folks have to say about the Lay Renewal Weekend July 7-9th?
 
One member said, "I don't have adequate words. My life has been changed. The Holy Spirit has been so very real. God's presence has been real. Our church relationships are closer. My prayer life will have a new revival. I have been richly blessed."
 
Another member said, "The prayer vigil was a great way to focus on God & prepare the way for His Spirit. The coffees were an amazing time of fellowship."
 
Many, many folks remarked that the small group times had meant a great deal to them and that they had felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church in a new and fresh way.
 
One young person said, "This weekend was awesome, fun and glorifying. It touched my heart and has changed me so much. It helped me realize how powerful and almighty the Lord is. This was a great experience and would recommend it to anyone, whether they are Christians or not, because you can feel the Lord with you and near you. "

A word I have heard many folks use to describe the weekend was, "awesome." I know I felt that sense of awe and wonder at all that God did in our church. There were three requests for baptism during the weekend. On Sunday morning, Madison Angle came forward to make her public profession of faith and request baptism. Jane Stanley came requesting to be re-baptized due to circumstances of her first baptism (she wanted to make sure).

Then, at the Sunday night evaluation service, Lyle was about to close the service in song, when Lynn Carter came down the aisle. "Wait," I said to Lyle, "There is one more testimony." Lynn came and shared how God had used the sharing time at coffee held at Charles and Bernice Phillip's home to convict her that it was time for her to be baptized! Lynn was saved years ago, but had never taken the step of Baptism by Emerson. There were tears of joy and lots of hugs as a result of Lynn's decision.
 
At the Sunday night evaluation service there were so many testimonies about what the weekend had meant to the church family that we could never share them all in the newsletter. The service lasted three hours and fifteen minutes. That should give you an idea about how many testimonies were shared and how full our hearts were.
 
There were seasons of tears, laughter and joy! During the service, Dan Haberer, Chairman of the Spiritual Growth Group, handed out "Lay Renewal Commitment and Evaluation Forms" to everyone present. Seventy-three completed forms were turned in. Next week I want to share with you the "measurable" results revealed by the tabulation of those forms. You won't want to miss it!
 
I hope you enjoyed the first half of my report last week on the Lay Renewal Weekend held in July. I closed my article explaining that Dan Haberer, Chairman of the Spiritual Growth Group, had given everyone present at the Sunday night Evaluation Service an opportunity to evaluate the weekend in writing. Here are some of the "measurable" results revealed by the tabulation of those forms.

There were also many wonderful comments made on the forms turned in at the evaluation service, but let me share just a few.

 
Sincerely, Pastor Fox
 
 
 
The Start of Something Great:
A Report on the Lay Renewal Weekend (Part #2)

 

Kingsway Baptist: A church that wants the King's Way.
1999 Long Crescent Rd.
Bristol, VA 24201

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.  Philemon 1:7

Dear servants of the Master, you have truly refreshed this body of believers through your willingness to be useful instruments in the hands of the Jewish Carpenter we follow. God used you to help us rediscover the image of God in one another. For whatever reason we had lost sight of the wonderful people within our church family. Through your genuine and simple strategy of sharing testimony and facilitating probing questions we have caught sight of Jesus in one of the most obvious places, a place that somehow we were not looking: within His other children.

 

This discovery was more than evident Sunday night. Nearly everyone present shared testimony of how God gave them a new and rekindled love for the church family, and ultimately for the Lord Himself. This went on close to three hours, along with many tears and great joy. Trace Bratton, one of the members shared that at first he was hesitant about coming. He said, “I asked my wife if we were going to have a Revival. She said, “We are going to have a Lay Renewal Weekend.” “What is that. We need a Revival.” Then he smiled and continued. “We have had a Revival.” Trace went on to explain, “People yelled across the sanctuary a person's specific name followed by the precious words, “I love you,” I once read that a true sign of genuine Revival is not seeing people come down the aisle but across the aisle. When draws us close to Him, He moves us closer to one another.

 

I have always disliked the label Revival. After all, how can a Revival be planned or scheduled? Only God can send Revival. We cannot coerce God to show up. All we can do is cultivate our hearts in such a way that He is welcome. God used you to be tillers, instruments that prepared the soil of hearts. We will always be grateful and we covet your prayers that we will continue to seek His face and move closer now that we have been refreshed.

May God Richly Bless You,

Rev. Todd M. Freeman, Pastor
Kingsway Baptist Church
 
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Southbury Baptist Church in Southbury, CT

lay Renewal Week End in May, 2008

 
Southbury Baptist Church had been in decline for several years and having lost their pastor was led by lay leadership for approximately 18 months. The church never lost the commitment to prayer even during the difficult times.
 
The two elders had each previously been involved in lay renewal week ends in other churches and felt the Lord leading in that direction for Southbury Baptist.
 
The preparation for the week end pulled people together for a common purpose. Excitement began to build even though no one was able to define what a lay renewal week end was. A 24 hour Prayer Vigil for the lay renewal week end was held to prepare our hearts for what the Lord wanted to do. 
 
The teams came from other parts of the country.   They had different backgrounds and personalities but blended with our people wonderfully. During small group times people began to open up and share from their lives.   The Holy Spirit began to move in a way that we had never seen in our church.   The catacomb service was especially powerful.
 
By the time the week end was over the people had gained an excitement about what the Lord was doing that has continued and even gained momentum since the lay renewal week end.
 
The new Pastor came the following month and became a part of a fellowship that was already on fire for the Lord. The church has increased from an average attendance of 85 on Sunday morning to over 150 within a six month period.
 
The People were given a spirit of service and of giving. They blessed the new Pastor and his family with a Swing set for the children, groceries, deck furniture and washer and dryer. They worked many long hours preparing the house for the Pastor and his family to move into; cleaning, painting and landscaping.
 
The Lord used the Lay Renewal Week End to build an excitement in the people of Southbury Baptist and to prepare hearts for the next phase of ministry and growth. The church has changed from a declining state to a church that is on fire for the Lord and is increasing in number and ministry.
 
The next Lay Renewal is planned for next spring.
 

Harold Wisener, Elder

 

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It is the morning after our Lay Renewal Weekend, and I am thanking God for the way He worked in hearts and lives during the past three days. Over the weekend we saw more than 100 of our people participate in at least one session of the Lay Renewal Weekend. Two people made the decision to unite with Cornerstone by transfer of letter, and one made a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ! Many other people felt led to pray at the altar or make a private commitment or rededication of life to Jesus Christ. We praise God for every single one of those decisions!

God put together a wonderful team of people who came and led us! It is amazing to know that the Coordinator had really never worked with anyone on the team before. They came from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Georgia, and North Carolina. Yet, God knew exactly who needed to be here with us for this weekend. It was inspiring just to see how God put the team together, and to watch how the Holy Spirit led them and guided them.

He blessed us through the testimonies of these laypeople, who simply shared what Jesus Christ had done in their lives. But that simple testimony is powerful, because it communicates to us what God can do in us if we will be submitted and open to His leadership, power, and grace.

The Weekend provided time for us to draw closer together, to better understand one another and pray for each other's needs. I am coming away from this time with a real sense of renewal, refreshing, and encouragement, and I know many others are feeling the same way!

In the days ahead, we will work together on ways we can continue to draw closer together and more effectively share the love and power of Jesus Christ with our neighborhood and community. This Lay Renewal Weekend has helped to unite us as never before. Many of our people got to know other church members for the first time, or in a way that got beyond just a surface knowledge. I look forward to seeing what God will continue to do in the days ahead.

The Worship Times were tremendous, with God speaking to hearts through the testimonies and the music. I know that people were challenged and encouraged in powerful ways. At our Evaluation Service, person after person rose and shared how much the weekend meant to them. Some of them said they had honestly been skeptical of having the Lay Renewal Weekend, but in every case they said it had turned out to be a wonderful blessing!

There is nothing really "flashy" about what was done. But the process of preparing for the Weekend through dedicated prayer, and the simple but powerful testimonies of what God is doing in the lives of average people truly becomes an overwhelming experience of God's power and Presence. I would encourage other churches to seriously consider having a Lay Renewal Weekend. Give God a chance to work in your lives as He has so wonderfully in ours through this important ministry!

Brian K. Credille, D.Min.
Pastor
Cornerstone Baptist Church
Jefferson City, Missouri

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Dear Team,

It is the morning after our Lay Renewal Weekend, and I am thanking God for the way He worked in hearts and lives during the past three days. Over the weekend we saw more than 100 of our people participate in at least one session of the Lay Renewal Weekend. Two people made the decision to unite with Cornerstone by transfer of letter, and one made a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ! Many other people felt led to pray at the altar or make a private commitment or rededication of life to Jesus Christ. We praise God for every single one of those decisions!

God put together a wonderful team of people who came and led us! It is amazing to know that the Coordinator had really never worked with anyone on the team before. They came from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Georgia, and North Carolina. Yet, God knew exactly who needed to be here with us for this weekend. It was inspiring just to see how God put the team together, and to watch how the Holy Spirit led them and guided them.

He blessed us through the testimonies of these laypeople, who simply shared what Jesus Christ had done in their lives. But that simple testimony is powerful, because it communicates to us what God can do in us if we will be submitted and open to His leadership, power, and grace.

The Weekend provided time for us to draw closer together, to better understand one another and pray for each other's needs. I am coming away from this time with a real sense of renewal, refreshing, and encouragement, and I know many others are feeling the same way!

In the days ahead, we will work together on ways we can continue to draw closer together and more effectively share the love and power of Jesus Christ with our neighborhood and community. This Lay Renewal Weekend has helped to unite us as never before. Many of our people got to know other church members for the first time, or in a way that got beyond just a surface knowledge. I look forward to seeing what God will continue to do in the days ahead.

The Worship Times were tremendous, with God speaking to hearts through the testimonies and the music. I know that people were challenged and encouraged in powerful ways. At our Evaluation Service, person after person rose and shared how much the weekend meant to them. Some of them said they had honestly been skeptical of having the Lay Renewal Weekend, but in every case they said it had turned out to be a wonderful blessing!

There is nothing really "flashy" about what was done. But the process of preparing for the Weekend through dedicated prayer, and the simple but powerful testimonies of what God is doing in the lives of average people truly becomes an overwhelming experience of God's power and Presence. I would encourage other churches to seriously consider having a Lay Renewal Weekend. Give God a chance to work in your lives as He has so wonderfully in ours through this important ministry!

Brian K. Credille, D.Min.
Pastor
Cornerstone Baptist Church
Jefferson City, Missouri

 

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Thanks again to you and all the Team for an absolutely GREAT Lay Renewal Weekend. 

The Evaluation Service was great.  Almost everyone there shared somethilng about what the weekend meant to them.  Some of the couples who were present had only one spouse speak but of several couples both husband and wife spoke.  One lady who is very shy spoke for about 10 minutes or more (I didn't time her).  After the service I heard several say that they had never heard her say so much in all the years they've known her. 

Several people expressed some ongoing needs that they have.  As they did, we stopped and prayed for that need right then.  It was so refreshing and encouraging to hear people get up and speak.  No one, of course, was compelled or obligated in any way to do so.  But to hear folks, especially those who aren't usually very outspoken, stand and freely share from their hearts is priceless.

I have heard nothing but good comments about the entire experience.  I used the Wednesday night service to continue getting feedback about the weekend as well as to encourage our people to utilize the same principles used in the weekend in the activities we are already doing.  For example, to spend time sharing needs and concerns and praying for one another during Sunday School, the original small group.

Right now, we are planning to use Sunday evenings for Small Groups.  We may, and probably will, add Small Groups on weekdays and evenings as time goes on.  I have heard several speak of wanting to continue having Coffees in homes as well as prayer groups and 24-hour prayer vigils maybe once a quarter.  Noting is set in stone as they say, but I am excited about the possibilities and how things will evolve out of this.  We will definitely plan for the next step: the Lay Ministry Weekend.  I will try to let you know soon when we will plan to have it. 

GOD IS GOOD!  Isn't it great how God continues to bless His people through these weekends and through His faithful servants who give of their time and energy to lead them.  Thanks again to all of you who helped put this Lay Renewal Weekend together here at Long Creek.  God's people have been renewed in many ways. 

To God be the glory forever, through Jesus Christ, our wonderful Savior and Lord!

Jim Shaw

In His Service at Long Creek Memorial Baptist Church, Dallas, NC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, Neal hosted a lunch (thanks Neal!) for any pastor’s that we could round up from the area on Monday. We had 12 of us present, representing 7 different congregations from 5 different localities. Out of this luncheon some cooperate discussion is formulating amongst our local association (Petersburg Baptist Association) of church planting locally & partnering in the DC area. We discovered a couple of our churches were already involved to some extent & realized where we could come along & be good “Aunts & Uncles” to some “Sending” churches. Our Associational DOM called me on Tuesday still on “Cloud 9” from Monday’s lunch. He said it had been far too long for that kind of discussion to take place among our churches & was glad to hear it going again! I’m expecting some good growth to take place from that meal (in more ways than one)!

 

Dear Team Members,
First, let me apologize for the inexcusable delay in writing this letter. The tardiness of my communication is in no way reflective of your excellent work in Seabrook.
I can't thank you all enough for taking time from your lives to exercise your ministry here at First Baptist Church of Seabrook. Your commitment to the Lord and to His people shined through everything you did! 
It's a shame that you weren't present for the Sunday evening service. What began as "another service" ended up being a love-fest! As our folks testified about God moving in their lives over the weekend the Holy Spirit of God began to move through the sanctuary. In short order, testimonies turned into affirmations and various individuals began to call leaders and teachers and servants to the front of the church to be affirmed. It was, indeed, a very special evening.
I'm not sure how many actual professions of faith occurred. I am sure, however, that most all in attendance over the week-end rededicated their lives to the Lord and to loving one another.   This has been manifested in the start of six small groups. Each of the groups is at capacity and we are excited about the growth and continuation of this new small group ministry.
As was said many times during the weekend, our church felt we needed more and better communication among ourselves and a greater presence in our immediate neighborhood. I am beginning to see those desires met by new commitments of members to better plug-in to the church. I foresee a stronger FBC Seabrook due to the depth of the relationships that are now being built within the body.
Again, thank you very much. May God continue to bless you mightily in His work!
Sincerely yours,
Securely His,
Pastor Rob Purdy
FBC Seabrook, TX

 To the North American Mission Board;
 The Lay Renewal Weekend “is exactly what our church needed,” said Deacon Clint.
Twenty days later, church members are still expressing how they were impacted by the guest team leader’s testimonies. They talk about getting to know other church members who have been very good friends for a long time, yet there were some stories that they had not heard.
I had heard about the Lay Renewal Weekend, but I had not participated in one. When I met Bro. Bob at a Senior Adult Ministry conference, he related to me what the Lay Renewal Weekend entailed. I had been praying about what direction our church should take regarding its growth and ministry. As he explained the content of the event, the Holy Spirit began to impress upon me that we should try this opportunity. I am sure glad we did. In fact in our last business meeting, we agreed to take the next step and sign-up for the “Equipping Weekend” sometime in September.
Now that we have experience what a small group can do, we are organizing small group fellowships that we will call LIFE groups. Our desire is to spend more time with one another with the intent of getting to know each other better.  One of the greatest things about the small groups was stopping to pray for one another when someone described a need or hurt in his or her life. The small group’s prayers really had an impact on us.
I highly recommend the Lay Renewal Weekend for any church.
 May the Lord bless you greatly,
 Pastor John Mixon

FBC Atoka, Oklahoma

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March 22, 2014