By Sherrie Norris
Last year’s tent revival — like no other in recent memory and lasting for five weeks — had a life-changing effect on hundreds of people in Avery County. It was a “mountain-top experience” in every sense for many who attended and participated in person and/or through the livestream opportunity.
Host church, Victory Baptist Church of Newland, has been planning its second community tent revival for several months, and anticipates another great event.
“It’s scheduled for two weeks this year (Aug. 22-26, and Aug. 29-Sept. 2, beginning at 7 p.m. each night), and that’s all we are focusing on at this time,” said Pastor Ethan Greene. However, he added. “Just like last year, only the Lord knows if it will extend, or not.”
Greene said he has been encouraging his church members to look at it as though they will have only two weeks of meeting this year, “so we don’t waste any time.”
“We need to be busy inviting our friends and family to the meeting now,” he stressed, “ instead of thinking that if the meeting were to go into a third week, that we would invite them, then.”
The 2021 five-week meeting was indeed something that Greene, his church and surrounding communities will never forget, during which, he said, “There were many professions of faith and several men dedicating their lives to preach the gospel.”
While sponsored by Victory Baptist Church, Greene admitted, “It’s much bigger than us. It’s our desire to see God work in the hearts of people who live right here in Avery and surrounding counties. We want revival to come — not just to our church, but to the surrounding churches, as well. We are not after anyone’s money or church members; our focus for Mount Victory is on two primary things: The Word of God and prayer.”
Some people might think that this (revival) meeting is strange, or that it’s all just emotionalism, Greene shared, and while he agrees that emotions are involved, he disagrees that it’s emotionalism.
“God gave us our emotions, and with our emotions we express how we feel and what’s in our hearts,” he explained. “ People will think it’s odd to show any real emotion in a church service, but won’t think twice about it when they are sitting in the bleachers cheering over a ballgame.”
He said he can get excited over a ballgame as much as anyone, “But I don’t want to act like a Comanche Indian at a ballgame and then act like a wooden Indian over the things of God.”
A good friend of his (at church) not long ago asked a rhetorical question that was convicting to him, Greene said. “He asked, ‘If what we’ve been doing for the last 50 years in our churches was so good, then why are our communities, this state and our nation in the shape they’re in?’”
Greene responded, “Some people will blame the ungodly characteristics of the days that we are living in as the reason for decline in church attendance, and in interest for spiritual matters, but I disagree. It’s time we stop blaming society for our problems and start believing God again!”
Greene reminded us that faith is the reason why a place like Mount Victory exists.
“Noah was, no doubt, considered crazy for building an ark; Abraham was laughed at for believing God was going to give him and his wife, Sarah, a son in their old age — and some might think it’s crazy to have 81 acres and a tent revival. That’s OK. It’s actually par for the course when you study the lives of other Bible characters,” he said.
Faith is an easy subject to preach on, but it’s not a popular lifestyle,
Greene continued, “There is no disputing what God did on the mountain last year. There are the naysayers, but again, there have always been and always will be the naysayers.”
Greene shared, “I can introduce you to couples whose homes are together today because of the revival last year. All of the people who professed faith in Christ, that we have been able to stay in contact with, are in church and praying now for their friends and family to come to know Jesus, as well. Men dedicated their lives to preaching the gospel of Jesus who are still faithfully preaching God’s word today. The fruit from last year remains. We are believing God for even bigger things this year.”
There will once again be congregational and special singing Monday – Friday, both weeks, as well as a Bible-based message by returning Evangelist Heath Williams. Pastor Daniel Buchanan will lead a prayer service at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday- Friday each week.
Friday night, Aug. 26, is designated as youth night, with a special invitation to pastors, youth directors and parents, to bring youngsters to this special service, followed by food and a bonfire.
Pastor Greene concluded, “Everyone is welcomed and encouraged to come be with us.”
Mount Victory is located at 507 Mill Timber Creek Rd, Newland, NC 28657
For more information, visit the church website at www.victorybaptistnewland.com, find it on Facebook or on Instagram at victorybaptistnewland.