Once a year, Fort Worth becomes the epicenter for revival as it sends more than 100 students and faculty to churches nationwide to share the gospel, minister to churches and encourage pastors. Over a span of 54 years, the effort—now called Revive this Nation (RTN)—has seen Southwestern partner with about 4,850 churches to lead 14,000 people to profess their faith in Christ.
With 2013 quickly winding down, another revival year winds up.
Next spring, students and faculty will preach revivals March 9-12. Southwestern will pay for the round-trip transportation to get a preacher anywhere in America, including Hawaii and Alaska. The host church provides meals, lodging and local transportation for the student during his stay.
Trinity Pines Baptist Church in Trinity, about 80 miles north of Houston, has served as a host church for Revive this Nation for two years now. Pastor Mark Gray said both times were a blessing.
“Both men impacted our church with their preaching, commitment, sensitivity and professionalism,” Gray said. “Our church grew in its spirituality, because both preachers brought God’s Word in love, truth and passion. It was very clear they had listened to God and let him lead them in their preaching; we heard what God wanted us to hear. Their genuineness was evident from the beginning and God used the preachers to lead us to a closer place with him.”
In addition to the revival’s impact on local congregations across the country, the effort also extends seminary education beyond the classroom and into the church. Jeff Hampton, the Southwestern Ph.D. student who preached at Trinity Pines last spring, said as much regarding his preaching experience through RTN.
“I think RTN helped my seminary preparation by putting me in touch with the practical side of ministry,” Hampton said. “Oftentimes in seminary, we dwell in the realm of theory, but RTN thrusts you into the realm of the practical, allowing you to live out what you are learning in the classroom with real people in the real world. You get to see and experience some of the joys and the heartaches of pastoral ministry. Participating in RTN obviously isn’t a one-to-one match with being a pastor, but it gives you a taste of that world and a chance to learn from those who are on the front lines of ministry and to minister to them as well.”
With revivals only six months away, Southwestern already looks forward to the way the Lord will work through its faculty and students during spring break.
“We are eagerly anticipating God’s continued faithfulness in reaching the lost as our students and faculty prepare to preach revivals across the country,” said Steven Smith, Southwestern’s vice president for student services and communications.
Those interested in participating may find more information at swbts.edu/rtn.