HEAVENER—If the sanctuary is too small for revival meetings, where can a church meet? How about the high school gymnasium?
That’s where Heavener, First decided to have its revival last September. Pastor Brock Hardin said the Sunday-Wednesday event experienced 36 professions of faith in Christ and many
other spiritual blessings with the church. It also revealed a powerful relationship with the local school system that is a rare sight to behold.
“Our school superintendent is an incredible man of the Lord,” Hardin said. “He attends church here, and four board members attend as well.”
Hardin also said the Heavener school system is open for his church to lead Bible studies during lunch time. Church leaders go every day and share Bible-based character lessons with all grades, from 3rd grade to high school.
“The school is completely wide open to go into and share the Gospel,” Hardin said. “We will use (this relationship) as much as we can, but we’ve been on a roll so far.”
And “use it” they have, as Heavener, First had 717 people fill up the school gym for a Sunday morning revival meeting. “It was incredible,” Hardin said. “There’s no way we would have been able to fit everybody (in the church worship center). It was the best idea ever that we moved it to the gym.”
Hardin said they incorporated a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and a shrimp boil to help generate community interest.
“This was the first big thing we’ve done with me being the pastor,” Hardin said, mentioning the church voted him to be pastor in June, after serving as the student pastor. “We wanted to do it a little different. I didn’t want to do it the same as we’ve always done (a revival).”
The basketball tournament had 32 teams compete with two divisions—30 & older and 30 & younger, Hardin said. The one requirement to participate in the tournament was attending the Sunday morning revival service.
Many who had never been in a church heard the Gospel for the first time, and 10 people made professions of faith in Christ that morning. “We had one man who got saved, and we’ve been praying for him for 10 years,” Hardin said. “We couldn’t get him in a church building, but we could get him to a basketball tournament.”
The shrimp boil was featured in the school cafeteria that Sunday. “They got a big plate of shrimp and had a great time of fellowship,” Hardin said.
Heavener, First met again that Sunday night in the gym with approximately 400 people in attendance. Hardin said the Monday and Tuesday meetings also averaged 400 people, and the final Wednesday evening serving had close to 800 people fill the gym.
Chadd Pendegraft, pastor of Tahlequah, Crescent Valley, was the revival speaker, and Hardin led worship in song. Hardin said Pendegraft preached messages relevant for church members and unbelievers.
“He said things that needed to be said in the church,” Hardin said. “He covered salvation issues, parenting issues. He took one night just to preach on marriage. His messages were applicable to the 10-year-old and to the 90-year-old. We’ve had incredible momentum coming off of (the revival meetings). We’ve baptized 37 since September.”
Hardin said Heavener, First is already planning another event to meet at the football field. He emphasized they plan to be innovative in “getting the Gospel out.”
With a population of more than 3,000 and located Eastern Oklahoma, Heavener has a unique opportunity that can have a lasting impact on many students. May God continue to bless this connection Heavener, First has with the schools.