Gospel Meetings … do they still work?

I’m enjoying a 5 day Gospel Meeting (Revival) at the Highland Church of Christ in Tecumseh, Oklahoma. Two nights of the meeting are down and three still to go.
Most churches don’t have Gospel Meetings anymore because they don’t feel like it’s effective or attendance just isn’t what it used to be in the old days. I know the church in Childress has MUCH better luck with outreach through Friend’s Day, etc. The thing I find interesting is that the Highland church, where I’m at now, still has a very successful meeting. The building is full every night. They start months in advance advertising, inviting the community and talking it up. Every member goes ALL out to make their Gospel Meetings successful. So much for my old thought of, “The days of the successful Gospel Meetings are in the past.”
So what do you think? Are Gospel Meetings/Revivals working in your church? What do you do for outreach?

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
17 Comments Post a Comment
  1. DJ | AMDG says:

    I think in general they are, however, I also think anytime a communities efforts can be described whereas, "They start months in advance advertising, inviting the community and talking it up. Every member goes ALL out…" then whatever the event (assuming the Holy Spirit agrees) will be a big success. Isn't that the real problem, though? Most churches can't rally "every member" the way you described and outreach is typically only done by a few "gifted" people?

  2. Joshua Tucker says:

    I know of one Church that passed out thousands of flyers to a gospel meeting and had zero visitors come. I suppose it may depend on what area of the country you're in. If it works, I say go for it.

    Most of the ones I've seen have been more geared towards Christians than non-Christians, anyway. I'll admit, if I was a non-Christian, I'm not sure going to hear a sermon would appeal to me near as much as being able to sit down with someone and ask honest questions about the Bible.

    But, one of my mottos for ministry is, "something is always better than nothing." We can point out the problems and hurtles of any endeavor, but I think we can't rule out God. I believe if we're trying faithfully, He'll honor our faithfulness and provide opportunities if we keep trying and trusting Him.

  3. Terry says:

    We have never had a gospel meeting/revival meeting. However, we often go to the public housing apartment complexes to have cookouts, give away clothing, and to play ball with the kids. We attract a lot of visitors to our assemblies and initiate a number of Bible studies with that method. About 2 weeks ago, we had a cookout and a concert by First Day in a public park with a short sermon at the end of the event. It drew a fairly large number of people.

  4. Peter P says:

    I think that the key is member buy-in.

    Whatever you do, if the members buy into it, take responsibility for its success and work toward making it great, you'll get success.

    If the members just leave it up to the 'leaders' to make things happen… then you don't have such great success.

  5. JamesBrett says:

    i guess it depends on how we define "successful." is it numbers of people, numbers of visitors, numbers of baptisms, or numbers at all? i suppose i would define success either by making disciples or by current disciples becoming more obedient to God through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    so i'd never say a gospel meeting isn't successful, but i would argue that it's not the best way to make disciples these days or to bring obedience into the lives of disciples. gospel meetings seem to be focused on information. and discipleship requires some information, but a lot more life. obedience over knowledge.

  6. Stoogelover says:

    Probably location specific, and depending on the energy and enthusiasm of the congregation. Where I grew up in North Alabama, it was just a way for preachers to make extra money. "You attend our gospel meeting and we'll attend your gospel meeting" was the attitude so it looked like the meeting was successful. Announcements were made to that effect, encouraging us to go to another church's meeting so they would support ours later in the Spring or Summer. I found it all very silly … trying to "save" all the church members from various congregations.

    In Long Beach we just didn't do it because (1) none of the other churches would come if we had one because we were considered far too "liberal" and (2) there was a better use of the resources. We helped a local home for unwed mothers and felt that was a better way to spend money and encourage people's participation.

    If you were to preach at a "meeting" around here, I would come to hear you and to meet you. Hope the rest of the meeting goes well for you.

  7. AAlford Tecumseh, OK says:

    I think they they are very much sucessful. Well, perhaps that is because I am from the church in Tecumseh, OK!!!!!

    But truly, you are doing a GREAT job, I have bragged to my husband about you, and I think that he might just come by tonight.

    So, we welcome you to beautiful Tecumseh, OK. (Just a P.S. my grandmother is the one that introduced herself as a Morgan, too)

    God bless and see you tonight. Oh yeah, and don't forget your rain jacket, perhaps your canoe. Definately those little orange floatie things!!!

  8. Tommy says:

    Everybody would come out to hear Trey. You're a famous fantasy nascar champion.

  9. TREY MORGAN says:

    DJ AMDG – You are right, that is the real problem.

    Josh – Not only do I agree, but you said it very well.

    Terry – I like what you guys are doing.

    Peter – Your last sentence was right on.

    JamesBrett – We seem to use meetings for encouraging our members and not for outreach. Obedience always over knowledge.

    Greg – and I'd gp hear you too.

    AAlford – Thanks for the plug :)

    Tommy – I think that's 2-Time Nascar champion. :)

  10. Mark says:

    why do we even ask the question about something being successful? not sure we can ever really know the answer. i do know this…. every moment of our lives, no matter what we are doing, we are being shaped into whatever it is that god is creating us to be. he is present in all things, always. whether any particular moment or event is "successful, unsuccessful, good, bad, fun, boring, etc., is irrelevant as all of those moments are part of what makes us who we are.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Well Trey, I am glad that you decided to do this gospel meeting. I know that my parents were really looking forward to being able to have you stay in their house. And the church there always amazes me in how successful they make things. And they were really looking forward to hearing you speak. I think my Dad is getting the DVDs together to mail to me so that I can enjoy them myself. :) So thanks for doing it!

    M of the S

  12. Wendy says:

    And here in Sydney, Australia, the idea of a gospel meeting or revival is completely foreign. I'm quite intrigued by them!

  13. The Noodle says:

    I will tell you exactly why they work. Wether they are directed to church people or non-Church people. We are all sinners wether plugged into church or not. I have had many struggles in my own life. I was at this church this morning ONLY for the reason of Gospel meeting and good food and too visit family but the message I heard was so impactful on my life! It was a renewing of my spirit today that I have needed. Many things in the lesson touched my life in a positive way. So if one person was touched and spoken to, I would have to say, WHAT A SUCCESS!

  14. TREY MORGAN says:

    Noodle – Glad you stopped by my blog, and better yet, that you were touched be a message. VERY well said.

  15. ran says:

    Some of it depends on where the meeting is held. My husband holds meetings in NY every year, where the congregations are very small and far spread (very unlike the south). The people are hungry for good teaching. I am amazed and uplifted by the effort they go to just to attend; an hour drive is common. I suspect I might have been more encouraged by their holding on despite the struggles. They seem to soak up the teaching. And the meetings are very well attended.

  16. Kevin Rayner @ Highland Church of Christ says:

    The power is in the gospel. The success comes from prayer and working as a whole toward a coming goal. The group must lay aside their goals and allow Christ's mission to become the deciding factor in their hearts. No personal agenda.

  17. Adam Faughn says:

    There is something to be said, too, about the "subject" of the meeting.

    I am always glad when a congregation sends me topics that they feel will accomplish a purpose (either reaching out to the community or encouraging the members). I then know I am studying and presenting lessons that are needed. It seems to go much better than just "preach some old favorites."

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Trey Morgan
Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
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