Three years ago, the world came to an unexpected halt with the onset of COVID-19 and the subsequent efforts to stop its spread.
Three years later, the world has come back to life — but at a cost — or so it seems to Pastor Robert James of First Baptist Church and other worship leaders in the Fayetteville community.
“We haven’t really come back,” James explained. “The world is not the same. There’s still a dark cloud — a need to come together and call God for help. We need to be revived.”
With a revival in mind, Pastor James and leaders from Hay Street United Methodist, One Church Covenant Fellowship, First Presbyterian Church, and Luke AME have come together to create the first-ever “Revive All” in Fayetteville. From Sunday, May 14 through Sunday, May 21, First Baptist Church will host a city-wide revival to restore the community’s heart, mind and spirit.
“This is the church’s response to the reality we find ourselves in post-COVID,” James said. “If anyone has a background in hope, resurrection and renewal — it’s Christians. Our entire faith is based on belief in bringing back what has died.”
The event’s name, “Revive All,” is less a clever play on words and more a comment on the scope and objective of the project. While worship, prayer and the ubiquitous revival tent will be present — if a revival has “rules,” then the “Revive All” seeks to break them.
While an annual revival is a typical event in the Christian faith, what Pastor James and his co-sponsors are attempting to do is unique. Five ministers of different churches and denominations will spend each night of the “Revive All” focused on a specific spiritual element in need of revitalization.
“We’ve been forced to retreat into ourselves for so long, people have missed a sense of community … they don't realize how much they need each other,” said James.
“Every night of the ‘Revive All,’ we’re asking God to revive just one thing.”
Starting Sunday, May 14, the “Revive All” will each day revolve around themes such as joy, family, grief, and commitment to bring unbroken focus to the elements of spirituality and worship that really matter. The inclusion of different denominations is an attempt to erase ideological division, which can so often keep people from coming together in faith.
The “Revive All’s” aim is to remind the people of Fayetteville that irrespective of faith-based traditions, “we still need each other. We all need a community of people to care for,” said James.
“At the end of the day, we’re united in our faith,” James continued. “All of our reasons and traditions may differ — but we are the same at the core and root. The needs in our community are larger than one church or denomination.”
Due to the influx of cultures, religions, and beliefs into the area, Fayetteville has been a receptive site for this groundbreaking initiative.
“It seems to be seeped into the ground here,” James said. “It [The Revive All] has not been a hard sell. We’ve gotten amazing contributions … people believe in what we’re trying to do.”
Ultimately, the “Revive All” is a community-wide celebration of things both lost and remembered, a rallying cry for the faithful to take up arms against the chaos and uncertainty of the past few years.
Each night’s thematic focus is the church’s holistic attempt to heal what’s broken by reviving each part of the spiritual body to save the whole.
Schedule of Themes
- Sunday, May 14: Revival of Joy in Worship at 6 p.m.
- Monday, May 15: Revival of Faith and Family at 5:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, May 16: Revival of Community and Church at 6 p.m.
- Wednesday, May 17: Revival of Grief and Hope at 6 p.m.
- Thursday, May 18: Revival of Christian Unity at 6 p.m.
- Friday, May 19: Revival of Repentance and Commitment at 6 p.m.
- Saturday, May 20: Revival of Missions and Service at 8 a.m.
- Sunday, May 21: Living Revived Lives at 11 a.m.
Each theme has a related activity to bring the community together in worship. A family-oriented service will include hot dogs, snow cones, games, and a bounce house on Monday.
Tuesday, “Revive All” worshippers will hear testimony and a message from guest speaker Bishop John Godbolt, co-pastor of One Church Covenant Fellowship, on the importance of community.
Wednesday, a special memorial service led by Rev. Marvin T. Clowney, chaplain for Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, will be held. Thursday, five worship leaders from different churches and denominations will preach jointly on the question, “Why, Jesus?” Friday, a community-wide Communion service. Saturday, worshippers will go out into the community to spread love through acts of kindness and service.
Sunday, congregants will return to their traditional houses of worship, and all participating pastors will preach the same sermon: “How to Live a Life Revived.”
“This is a chance to not just go to church but be the church,” James said. “I’m consistently scared and excited. God trusts us a lot to put something like this together. I don’t know what will happen — I just know what I hope.”
First Baptist Church is located at 201 Anderson Street in downtown Fayetteville. Except for May 17, when the service will be conducted in the sanctuary of First Baptist, all services will be held in a tent at the rear of the First Baptist building at the corner of Anderson Street and Maiden Lane.
The “Revive All” is intended to be the combined efforts of churches across Fayetteville and surrounding areas. If any pastor or church member would like to join the effort, contact Rev. James at 910-728-6880.