A spiritual awakening that has led to an estimated 3,000 conversions and appears poised to last through the summer is creating continuing enthusiasm among Assemblies of God churches in southern West Virginia.
"The past six weeks our Sunday morning services have been more spiritual," says Terry Blankenship, pastor of Victory Christian Center Church in Lenore. "The move of the Spirit has gone up two or three notches."
It's not church as normal, according to Blankenship, who in recent weeks baptized 13 converts, or about 10 percent of Victory Christian's average Sunday morning attendance.
"Our kids want to be involved in Bible study," Blankenship says. "It's been a real change for our whole valley. It's put me on my toes and brought more unity among churches."
"Some of our pastors and youth groups have traveled a few hours to get there," says Adam Pelfrey, director of the AG Appalachian Youth and Christian Education for the AG Appalachian Ministry Network. "This has had some pretty far-reaching results, especially for youth ministries."
Pentecostal evangelist Matt Hartley of Cleveland, Tennessee, held mid-April services in Mingo County. Since then, the ongoing series of revival meetings has attracted visitors from other states such as Texas, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Georgia and Florida.
After meetings in Williamson and additional areas of Mingo County, on May 14, the Appalachian Awakening shifted to Logan High School's football stadium. Casey Doss, lead pastor of The Ramp Church in Hamilton, Alabama, spoke in place of Hartley, who had been preaching at a revival in central Kentucky.
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