JONESBOROUGH — New Victory Baptist Church here is experiencing a revival and growth spurt after a series of “disasters” befell the church, according to its pastor Coy Rice.
“We have had a continuous revival in the church after some unexpected events,” said Rice. “People in the church and in the community have been led by the Holy Spirit to get saved. The revival has also led members to get out of the church and tell the community about Jesus,” he added.
On April 1 an older church van caught fire and was destroyed in the parking lot. Then lightning from a storm struck the church April 3 and damaged some office equipment including computers.
Another storm on April 5 knocked down a large tree on the church’s parking lot, which blocked a nearby three-road intersection, caused flooding in the church building and community and damaged the roofs. The winds also took down the church’s power lines.
“I was stranded at the church when the storm hit,” said Starlete Cochran, church ministry assistant. “It was scary!”
With hail and rain causing low visibility for drivers, five cars stopped in the church parking lot to wait out the storm. Three car loads of people came into the church to wait inside the darkened church at the invitation of the pastor.
When the police arrived at the blocked intersection, they decided to divert traffic through the church’s parking lot to get around the tree. Rice saw the opportunity, texted members for help and then started stopping the cars in the church parking lot and asking the drivers if they and their passengers were okay. He and about 50 members not only checked on the drivers and others but also handed out church flyers inviting them to attend Easter services.
Prior to Rice coming to the church as pastor on March 25 and these unexpected events, the church had averaged about 250 people in Sunday morning worship services.
Easter Sunday, April 8, almost 465 people attended the only morning service, and one person made a decision for Christ. With people accepting Christ during the next week, a baptism service for two people was held April 15 at the river.
During a service the following Sunday, four church leaders gave their testimonies.
“I think when these leaders gave their testimonies, then the flood gates for revival opened in the church,” explained Cochran. “People … heard stories from the leaders that were similar stories to how they walked in their faith.” This testimony service led to a discussion of a church outreach program for the community.
The following Sunday an open microphone testimony service at the church resulted in nine people making salvation decisions. There were also nine others baptized in the river.
Two days later on a Tuesday evening, a special called prayer meeting for a “God-led” revival was held, and three people accepted Christ. During the service, Rice shared that God had told him to build a community cross. Two days later the congregation erected a 30-foot cross across the street from the church on land it owns to which community prayer request cards could be posted.
During the next four weeks 14 people made salvation decisions at the church — one Sunday morning service before the sermon was presented — and 26 people were baptized in the river.
Also church outreach training was held during this period and teams began working. They contacted 230 homes in a four-mile radius of the church.
Since the prayer meeting for revival on May 1, there have been nightly revival meetings at the church.
Reviewing the numbers from the second week of April when the initial revival began, over 50 people have given their hearts to Jesus. To date 44 people have been baptized, and there is a waiting list of 12 more to be baptized, noted Rice.
Currently, the church is averaging about 350 people in that service.
“It’s been phenomenal since these nightly revivals have occurred, and a community cross was raised to hold prayer requests. It’s been amazing,” reported Rice.