Past to Present: Calvary Chapel Lebanon Puts Modern Twist on Old-Fashioned Revival
Story by Sean Labar
File photos by Calvary Chapel Lebanon
Mark and Melody Gries, who attend Calvary Chapel Lebanon, PA, were overjoyed to discover an innovative medium to connect with God’s Word and their church community while confined to their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After my wife Melody and I listened on the radio to the first of seven teachings from the old-fashioned revival, this week-long series became a do-not-miss part of our evening schedule,” Mark said. “It was amazingly inspiring. We laughed, we cried, and experienced nearly every positive emotion in between.”
Mike Sobol, a member of Calvary Chapel Lebanon, PA, had been praying for ways to share God’s Word from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
State mandates were not getting lifted.
Churches did not appear to be opening anytime soon. In a time of prayer, Mike sensed the Lord’s leading on revival.
Believers in Christ came together in a past year to be encouraged and refreshed in the Lord at a tent revival.
“I sent our pastor, Thom Keller, an email with my idea,” Mike said.
Instantly, Pastor Thom recalled a Scripture from Ephesians that referenced evangelism within the church leadership structure.
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11–12
“Several months ago, I was teaching through this section of Scripture in Ephesians and I realized our church had long neglected the office of evangelists,” Thom remembered. “I discovered that the early church evangelists were actually the church planters, and if they settled in a particular community and had the giftings to be a pastor, many of them became pastors and teachers.”
Since that realization, Pastor Thom began to envision that Calvary Chapel Lebanon could be a place where people with the gift of evangelism could come to be nurtured and developed, while mentoring others with the same gift.
When Mike suggested the idea of the old-fashioned revival, it was obvious to Thom that this was the Holy Spirit coordinating these two undertakings. “As a result, we asked some of the men in our church who have the gift of evangelism to be the speakers during the week of the revival,” Thom explained.
Prior to the pandemic, many unbelievers came to faith during the event and the speakers were sparking revival in the hearts of attendees.
Mike coordinated with Pastor Thom and the other elders of the church to organize speakers and bring the concept of an old-fashioned revival to the Internet.
From Sunday, June 21 to Saturday, June 27, Calvary Chapel Lebanon hosted a nightly virtual old-fashioned revival with a new speaker featured each night. It was broadcast on local radio stations and accessible through the church’s official website.
Mike said the nightly event reached thousands as the speakers shared messages to “revive” believers. But the event also brought unbelievers to a saving faith in Jesus Christ by explaining the Gospel message simply.
All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version.
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