About Renewal Weekends
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Dear Followers of Jesus,
During the weekend of April 15-17, 2016, Louisa Baptist engaged in the second phase of the Lay Renewal Weekend, the Equipping Weekend. After experiencing the Awakening Weekend in 2015 our people were eager to find out what God had in store for them this year. They were not disappointed. We found enlisting volunteers to prepare for the weekend much easier, as they reflected on the great things experience previously. But this year the experience took our congregation into greater depths of growing in Jesus.
As before the Lord did not wait to begin His work on Friday when the visiting team arrived. It began during our 24 hour prayer vigil the day before. I expected the hours of midnight to 6am would be the most difficult to fill, instead they were the first to fill. Many participants in the prayer time spent more than the hour that they volunteered to serve. God was already at work.
By the time the weekend got underway, our people were prepared for what God was going to do in our church. None were disappointed. The teaching of our S.H.A.P.E. or how God has created us to work together in Christ was amazing. The relationship building and openness of small groups brought to light once again the need of accountability among Christians toward each other. On Saturday evening members of our church touched each other’s lives by blessing each other in recognizing God’s giftedness in their lives.
The Lay Renewal visiting team was once again sent from God and exactly what our church needed. They volunteered their weekend to share with us without receiving a penny of payment. We are enormously thankful for the team’s generosity and very evident love for Jesus. They experienced God’s love through Lay Renewal in their church and could not help but share that love with us. In turn some of our members have now volunteered to serve as Lay Renewal volunteers at other churches.
One of the highlights was Sunday evening. The visiting team left for home and the body of Louisa Baptist came together to express what they experienced over the weekend. People who normally do not speak in public shared the grace of God in a wonderful way. The general sense was a renewal within lives that each person is a minister of God and a greater comfort zone of serving in the special way God has created them.
For those pastors considering a Lay Renewal Weekend, we experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit during our first weekend (Awakening) but God was working just as much through the Holy Spirit during the Equipping Weekend. Members are already talking about step three, the Commissioning Weekend. God will touch your people’s lives. This was greater than any revival I have ever experienced.
Do I recommend you having a Lay Renewal weekend at your church? Most definitely! God is moving and changing lives with Lay Renewal.
In Jesus’ Name,
Dr. Larry G. Hoyle
Louisa Baptist Church
April 15-17, 2016
I’m still in awe of what God has accomplished in our church in the past three days. I‘ve not felt His presence any stronger at FBCC than what I felt on Saturday night. The openness and Christian love that permeated the sanctuary was a joy to experience. I’ve already, it’s a Monday morning, had people come by my office and tell me that walls have begun to come down and relationships are on the mend. Our God is an AWESOME GOD!
Sunday night was unlike anything we’ve had in the 13 years I’ve pastored FBC Chocowinity. I admit that at first I was a bit skeptical as to how well an open ended service might be received and at first folks were a bit timid about speaking. Then something happened and the Holy Spirit began to work and gave folks I’d never thought would speak publicly, the boldness to get in front of others and speak. Not one negative comment, not once. Did I say Hallelujah? Oh, yeah! God is good!
Richard Sheriff, Pastor FBC Chocowinity – April 8-10, 2016
Our people are on fire for the Lord, and have been renewed, refreshed, and in some cases have either rediscovered or discovered how God equipped them to participate in the ministry of His church. While we have always had a solid core group that has served, it is obvious that our core servant group has increased as a newfound zeal for ministry has hushed through those who have participated in the weekend. It further was a blessing to see the bond of unity that the weekend created not only among the congregation, but also between the congregation and myself as they committed to serving the vision that God has been leading me toward…in fact, they committed without even questioning what the vision was!
I have never seen anything like that before. It was and is a complete exercise of faith in their God and confidence in their pastor…and I am humbled so deeply that words cannot express how grateful I am to be serving our Lord Jesus with this body of believers! Please be assured, that your ministry is perhaps the most influential, significant ministry that I have seen through the State Convention. Your service to our Lord has been rewarded in the transformation of our members, and I want to personally thank all of you for your sacrificial service and allowing God to use you in such a dynamic instrumental way. I am convinced that if more churches committed to this ministry, than less churches would be declining or dying in our state and in our nation. Please, whatever you do, continue to walk faithfully in this ministry.
Pastor Jeff Chappell, New Life Praise March 18-20, 2016
Our church came together on Sunday evening, we witnessed an incredible outpouring of God’s Spirit. Many tears were shed and many testimonies shared of where we saw God at work. Several members have commented to me since the service that it was the most powerful service they have ever experienced. On Sunday night, participants were given the opportunity to share the commitments they made during the weekend. Thirty-seven people indicated that they wanted to develop a personal quiet time. Imagine how God will move in their lives as they spend time in His presence. Seventeen individuals indicated that they wanted to learn to share their faith. Twelve shared that they had rededicated their lives to Christ and ten people presented their lives to Christ in total surrender to His Lordship. This is just a small sample of the ways that God was at work. I have witnessed our church come together in the Spirit of Christ to seek His face and to live for His glory. Each of you will have a special place in the history of Front Street and how we move forward. Thank you again for giving of yourselves for the sake of the Gospel. Thank you for continuing to pray for us as we seek to be salt and light to our community and to the ends of the earth.
In Christ, Pastor Tim Stutts, Front Street Baptist Church – March 11-13, 2016
Acts 1:8 Sending Weekends
Our folks were excited by the opportunity to see and hear about all the opportunities the Lord has opened to us to participate in the Great Commission. The especially enjoyed getting to connect with Church Planters that we will be partnering with in the future. They were challenged by the teaching of Dr. Brian Davis, who did a wonderful job and they were encouraged by their Small Group gatherings. They liked the Small Group formation on the fly approach so much they have asked us to do that more often when we have combined services on a Sunday.
As for the results, we are still reaping the benefits of this Acts 1:8 Sending weekend. We commissioned 120 people that Sunday morning to be a part of the Lord’s Harvest in our community and to the ends of the earth. We had several people respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to participate in one of our International Mission trips this year. I recently heard from one of our guys who responded that weekend that he’s been asked to travel to another church in our state and help them start a ministry we have here to people struggling with addictions. Our folks are thinking strategically and creatively about being Front Porch kind of people and I believe the Acts 1:8 Sending weekend was a big part of that.
Kevin Clubb, Pastor, Cape Carteret Baptist – Feb 19-21, 2016
December 11, 2015
First Baptist Church, Gridley is moving ahead in ministry outreach! Our “Where do we go from here?” group has met and is working off the momentum the weekend has given us. We are currently organizing a couple’s seminar and using the same prayer emphasis and some of the other planning tools from our preparation for the Lay Renewal Weekend. We will also do the next Church Journey weekend next year. God is using our membership to work together for His bigger mission and ministry in our community. I praise the Lord for the good feedback from those who participated. One grateful observation was that our church has good unity and a great spirit. Another outcome from the weekend experience is that we all agree each of us needs to be more inviting to others in order to grow and bless others in our community. We want to show more hospitality to outsiders when they are with us in our activities and worship. We are speaking and thinking, “outreach.” Several of the evaluations included a willingness to open their homes in order to have more ministry opportunities and interaction within our church. Previous to the weekend, I noted a reluctance to show hospitality in this way. The team members who stayed in our members’ homes really ministered to us. The team was wonderful, a tremendous blessing to everyone they served. They were able to relate to our people in a way that has built us up as fellow servants with Christ. The Response Service was a heartfelt and dynamic Sunday night. Many comments were from people who enjoyed the lights out prayer and scripture worship service. What a blessing to hear God’s word from our individuals stirring so many of the others in the fellowship! The men’s and the women’s sessions were addressed during the testimony time. How inspirational Phillis is as a speaker. Our men are working on blessing and being deliberate with our testimony to those we are called to care for. One person wrote in their evaluation that “presentations were organized and well put together. The speakers were dynamic, funny, interesting, and loving.” Several people made commitments and expressed a desire to deepen their walk with the Lord. Another participant shared, “The weekend was very refreshing. I felt as though my faith was revived and felt inside the way I was when I first became a Christian. I totally enjoyed the speakers and the group leaders. I identified my spiritual gifts in a way that I had never experienced before.” Your efforts here have given our church a new willingness to serve others. Several have made comments and commitments expressing their desire to help other churches experience the same kind of growth we have. Thank you for investing your personal time and resources to build up the Body of Christ here in Gridley, California. God has greatly used you to encourage us.
Pastor David Henry
WOW…..Where do I begin? The Lay Renewal Weekend at New Life Praise Church was a HUGE success. In all my years of pastoring, I have never experienced a revival so designed to renew a church.
Our church had prayerfully asked God to make this an awesome awakening through cottage prayer meetings and special prayer times. He answered our prayers!
When Brother Bob and Sister Phyllis came, they brought about twenty people with them. I was amazed that after I met them they were “old friends”. The entire group was a perfect fit for our church family. It was evident in how quickly our people opened-up under the leadership of this group.
I think that in this Renewal Journey, they took us back to the basics. They taught us how to pray and to seek God’s face. They took the Bible and opened it and said “this is God’s Word”. They even went back to the Ten Commandments. They set us back on the foundation of God and on the rock of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. I am so grateful.
Every congregation needs a Holy Spirit filled renewal and revival in this day and age so I pray that the ministry of this group will continue to grow and spread. I can’t express how necessary it is for a church to begin to pray long before the Renewal Journey begins. This is not the end of our journey but only the beginning as we continue to seek God’s path for us.
Thank you and God bless the Lay Renewal Members for everything. It was so wonderful and special. Amen and Amen!
Rev Roger Thomas
New Life Praise Church
Dear Lay Renewal Team,
First, let me say “Thank you” for all of your preparation and prayers. I can truly say that God orchestrated your team for Piney Grove. The Weekend was one of the most meaningful weekends this church has ever experienced. Many members have expressed the same sentiments.
Throughout the duration of the weekend, people have testified to an “awakening.” I was told by one individual, “I have never had such a meaningful experience, and now I know where I stand with the Lord Jesus.” Many others made solid and long term commitments to serve in ministry.
For many, the coffee groups were the highlight of the weekend. For others, it was the 24 hour Prayer Vigil that’s left a lasting impression. In the 24 hours of prayer, God spoke to so many individuals and tilled their hearts in preparation for the weekend. The Holy Spirit was moving in a mighty way during this time of prayer, and it was during this time where folks stated, “This was my Awakening.”
During the time of evaluation, person after person stood up and gave heartwarming, spirit led testimony. Our Sunday evening service normally last for an hour, but on the night of the Renewal Evaluation/Celebration, the worship service stretched for two and half hours. “God is truly working,” was my exact thoughts, and I am still witnessing the amazing affects of the weekend.
Because of the weekend, and because people have been obedient to the Holy Spirit, many ministry opportunities have begun to appear. I know this is an Awakening Weekend, but the consensus of the congregation is, “we need to do something about what we just experienced.” There has been the idea of starting a multiplicity of small groups, commitments to Jesus as Savior, and people answering the call to ministry.
I can sense that God is up to something great at Piney Grove and I am excited to be part of it. Even the folks that were unable to attend the weekend have stated, “I can sense a change in this church.”
We know all glory goes to God, but thanks to the Lay Renewal Team for being obedient to the Holy Spirit. We look forward to the next Journey ahead!
Dear Servants of Jesus,
During the weekend of March 20-22, 2015, Louisa Baptist took the journey of Lay Renewal Weekend. To be more specific we experienced Awakening Weekend. Even with all the planning and the work of countless volunteers to prepare for what God had in store for us, none of us knew the impact it would have on our lives.
But the impact of awakening unto the Lord did not begin on Friday when the visiting team arrived. It began during our 24 hour prayer vigil the day before. The first miraculous event was when the most difficult hours of midnight to 6am were filled first. Most if not all entered their prayer hour wondering how they could pray for a whole hour. But with the suggested materials, testimony after testimony came back that people stayed longer than an hour. God was already at work.
By the time the weekend got underway, our newly found prayer warriors were pumped for what God was going to do in our church. None of them were disappointed. The relationship building and openness of small groups gave a sense of walking with other travelers down the road of our Christian walk. Large group worship was an inspiration because of the dynamics of small group time.
The catacomb worship experience brought tears as we sang of God’s greatness and recited beloved scripture in the dark. Some of the most touching moments of the catacomb service was the sound of children’s voices proclaiming scriptures they knew by heart. Families found a renewed, if not new for some, sense of God’s healing happening in lives. Fathers prayed as the men God called them to be and blessed their wives and children. In some cases 3 and 4 generations of families prayed together for the first time in heart felt prayers.
The Lay Renewal visiting team was sent from God. They volunteered their weekend to share with us without receiving a penny of payment. God brought together the perfect team to lead us and many did not volunteer until the week leading up to our event. We are enormously thankful for the team’s generosity and very evident love for Jesus. They experienced God’s love through Lay Renewal in their church and could not help but share that love with us.
One of the highlights was Sunday evening. The visiting team left for home and the body of Louisa Baptist came together to express what they experienced over the weekend. People who normally do not speak in public shared the grace of God in a wonderful way. Some spoke of feeling close to people for the first time. Some spoke of being able to share difficulties in their life for the first time. Many, many spoke of how the 24 hour prayer vigil was the greatest prayer experience they had ever known. It took 3 hours of testimony and sharing before we headed home that evening.
But for those pastors considering a Lay Renewal Weekend, I will say there was a continual outpouring of the Holy Spirit throughout the weekend. God will touch your people’s lives. This was greater than any revival I have ever experienced. But on a personal note, for my wife and me an event took place that was very unexpected. At the conclusion of our Sunday night sharing time, two chairs were placed in the front of the worship center. We were told to sit in these chairs and the entire congregation surrounded us and sent up beautiful prayers of hope, encouragement and love.
Will we move forward in the future to the next step after Awakening Weekend? Most assuredly! Do I recommend you having a Lay Renewal weekend at your church? Most definitely! God is moving and changing lives with Lay Renewal.
In Jesus’ Name,
Dr. Larry G. Hoyle
Louisa Baptist Church
Blessings Lay Renewal Weekend Team Members,
The weekend was wonderful. I haven’t experienced an outpouring of God’s Spirit this powerful in many years. I, personally, want to thank you for each and every part you all played in this revival weekend.
After you folks left on Sunday, we came together on Sunday night and opened with a song and prayer. Wade Dellinger gave a testimony to how he saw God move in his own life and pointed out the family prayer time as the high light of his weekend. Brother Wade then turned the microphone over to the congregation. I was just expecting a few folks to come forward and share of their highlights from the weekend. Wow! Boy was I wrong! Folks got up and not only shared about the weekend but began to share their personal testimonies of how they came to faith in Christ. There were at least three people who testified who didn’t even come to the Friday and Saturday services. There were folks who got up and spoke who never say anything! People were sharing of how they had never felt really excepted at NBBC until this weekend. At about two-thirds through the service, some asked if we could sing. Our music leaders came forward and the congregation wanted to sing “Forever.” This is one of the songs we sang in the morning service. The music leaders were bouncing around, smiles on every ones faces; there was true joy from the presence of the Holy Spirit was all throughout the room! The microphone was opened at around 6:10pm. At 8:10pm I came forward and shared my heart of how I saw God working in my own life and His great presence in their lives. Then I turned the service back over to Wade. We closed the service at 8:30pm and I left at 8:50 and folks were still gathered talking and celebrating!
We had a good crowd for a Sunday night during the evaluation service. Brysan Williamson trusted Jesus as His Savior on Saturday night. There were many folks who came forward Sunday morning making recommitments to the Lord. There were also several folks who came forward wanting to know where they can get plugged in. Also, a man who had been very skeptical about everything I have done since I have been there for the past 2 ½ years came to my wife and I and apologized about the attitude of his heart. He said he was wrong and wanted us to know he was on board with the direction the church was going!
This didn’t stop Sunday night. Wednesday, during the day, three ladies showed up at my office. Two church regulars and one young lady who had been attending sporadically. This other lady was there for parts of the weekend. She openly professed that she needed Jesus and got on her knees in my office Wednesday and prayed to receive Christ. We baptized her (Rebekah) and Brysan this past Sunday morning. During this service a lady (Teresa) and her teenage son (Dalton) who have been attending came forward to move their letter to NBBC. Also, a young man (Eric) came forward and repented of his sins and trusted Jesus as his savior. I met with him yesterday about being baptized this coming Sunday!
I am excited to see what happens this week. We are on course to get our small group studies up and running. I expect to see a continued close relationship between folks who really didn’t know each other very well. Our Wednesday night prayer meetings are allowing more folks to pray audibly instead of just silent groups. We really are asking God, “What now?” I have to help several folks find their niche. They have asked where they can serve but the things I have mentioned really were not things they felt drawn to.
Thank you all so much! Praise the LORD! This truly has changed the demeanor of our congregation. We have already scheduled the next “equipping weekend” with Bob. It will be in October. Prayerfully, some of you will be back with us again!
In Christ’s Love,
© 2018 The Church Renewal Journey