39 people turn to Christ in Habersham County through evangelistic outreach


CORNELIA, Ga. — A spiritual movement that began in Georgia in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is still going strong, showing up most recently in Habersham County where 39 people made salvation decisions last week in an evangelistic outreach.

Tony Gray, associational missions strategist in the Habersham and Liberty Baptist associations, said a new church also could be planted as a result of the outreach, which, he said, shows the impact congregations have when they work together.

The Columbus Baptist Association sent 75 volunteers to help in what they’re calling a “Judea partnership,” one in which they focus on reaching their home state.

That partnership has resulted in about 130 people turning to Christ in Habersham County over the past year.

“The whole idea of the partnership was to give us a shot in the arm after the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gray said. “This year, we added even more ministries to what we were doing.”

Volunteers led Vacation Bible Schools, held evangelistic block parties with food and games, sponsored youth rallies, showed Christian movies at mobile home parks, sent out landscaping work crews, ministered to nursing home residents, held a revival service, and walked through neighborhoods praying for families.

Gray told his churches in an email about the owner of three mobile home parks who offered the use of a building to plant a church and to do family ministry. He said 18 families have expressed interest in attending the proposed new church.

“It was a great couple of weeks working together with these brothers and sisters,” Gray said. “Praise the Lord for what He did.”

Georgia is seeing revival across the state with large numbers of people making professions of faith in a wide range of gatherings.

Jenni Carter, kids ministry consultant for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, said thousands of chidlren made salvation decisions at Vacation Bible Schools held at churches across the state.

Carter said churches of every size and in every region of the state reported not only the highest attendance in years at Vacation Bible School but also large numbers of children committing their lives to Christ.

At Fayetteville’s New Hope Baptist Church, 86 children responded to the gospel during Vacation Bible School attended by more than 630 children on the congregation's two campuses in June. And at the 1025 Church in Monroe and Statham, some 500 children gathered for Vacation Bible School in June. Of those, 45 made professions of faith.

More than 30 migrant workers who came to southwest Georgia to harvest watermelons prayed to receive Christ at dinner at First Baptist Church of Rochelle earlier this month.

At the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s IMPACT camp last month on the Shorter University campus, 73 students made salvation decisions and 31 others said they felt that God was calling them into ministry.

A Simons Island youth retreat hosted by the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches of Georgia resulted in 15 students making salvation decisions.

At least 27 students in Stephens, Banks and Franklin counties have made professions of faith during the school year that just ended through Christian learning centers that provide students a place to study the Bible and pray together.

Center Baptist Church in Robertstown recorded 37 salvation decisions at a trout tournament on the Chattahoochee River that drew more than 400 people to the Chattahoochee River.

Annual church reports submitted to the Georgia Baptist Mission Board show baptisms have risen by an eye-catching 47% in the past two years. They rose from 10,243 reported in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic was gripping the state to 15,071 last year.

In the first quarter of this year, 119 college and university students made salvation decisions through Baptist Collegiate Ministries, said Beverly Skinner, collegiate ministry catalyst for the Mission Board.

“We’re definitely seeing a move of God in Georgia like we haven’t seen in a long, long time,” said Villa Rica Pastor Kevin Williams where 53 people surrendered to Christ at a Passion play attended by more than 4,000 people leading up to Easter.

In some instances, several churches in a single community have joined together for evangelistic outreaches, as was the case with Love Loud Bowden, where 32 people made professions of faith.

Northside Baptist Church in Valdosta had seen 43 baptisms as of March and 67 since Christmas. Others that have seen big numbers of salvation decisions include Pleasant Valley South Baptist Church in Silver Creek where 21 people made salvation decisions at a sportsmen’s banquet, at Dudley Baptist Church where 42 people made salvation decisions, and at Hopeful Baptist Church in Camillia where 30 people made salvation decisions.

In February, 41 people surrendered to Christ at a wild game dinner in the fellowship hall at Bethel Baptist Church in the tiny community of Omega where some 400 men had gathered.

In January, First Baptist Church in Blackshear reported 19 professions of faith at a venison supper. Another 28 people recommitted their lives to Christ at that event.