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FBC Opelika hosts area revival to ‘build the Kingdom’comment (0)

April 28, 2011

By Grace Thornton

When Rick Hagans was 9 years old, he tried to hop on a freight train bound for New York City — he felt called to preach the gospel there.

He never would’ve dreamed that years later he’d be bringing New York home to preach to his home state of Alabama.

For three days in early April, a team from Times Square Church in New York City spoke to a crowd of nearly a thousand at First Baptist Church, Opelika, thanks to a relationship built by Hagans with the church over the years.

The Tuskegee-Lee Baptist Association church hosted congregations of various denominations from across the area for the event, called A Time to Build. The crowd filled the church and spilled over into an overflow area with a JumboTron outside on the Lee County Courthouse lawn.

“The theme wasn’t about building a church — it was about building the Kingdom,” said Hagans, founder and president of Harvest Evangelism and a member of First, Opelika. “The event exceeded its goal. Revival is to awaken the sleeping giant, the church, and I believe it did.”

Pastors and members of churches of other denominations and languages “turned out in an awesome fashion” for the event, Hagans said. Carter Conlon, senior pastor of Times Square Church, brought the messages, and a worship ensemble from the New York church led a community choir made up of east Alabamians.

Those present for the event were encouraged by the Times Square Church staff to return to the heart of the gospel and love each other as Christ does, he noted.

After the challenge, the altar filled with pastors and leaders “from the biggest church to the smallest church,” Hagans said.

Steve Scoggins, pastor of First, Opelika, said they were trying to embrace John 17:20–21 and be unified in their love so the world would believe in Christ.

“We were very pleased. We had a great cross section of individuals of different races and denominations,” he said.

And the following Sunday when Scoggins spoke at a local Methodist church — in keeping with the spirit of unity — they expressed to him how encouraged they were by A Time to Build.

“God really blessed them through it,” he said.

Encouragement is a natural outcome of unity, Hagans said. Before the event, about 100 churches in east Alabama banded together for concentrated prayer, fasting and organization. On one particular evening, about 300 people came to the courthouse lawn as part of an all-night prayer service for revival in the community.

“We weren’t trying to start a megachurch or mega-movement, but it was pretty cool to come together as the greater body of Christ and experience and enjoy that unity in worship,” he said.

On the Sunday afternoon after the event ended, the team also went to Selma and led a similar service there.

In the days since, Hagans said he’s heard excitement expressed over how God moved through the entire event.

“I’ve heard comments on Facebook and around town saying, ‘Wow, that was awesome. Can we do this again?’” he said, adding that pastors have already begun discussing how to meet together more regularly for encouragement.

God has brought a fresh fire to Opelika, he said.

“The church was awakened,” Hagans said. “Now what we do in that awakened state is up to us.”

For more information about A Time to Build, visit the event’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/atimetobuild. For more information about Times Square Church or to download the audio of the messages from A Time to Build, visit tscnyc.org.

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