Last night, I had the opportunity to attend a Baptist Revival Meeting. What's that? you say... I had the same question myself, which is why I went. Since I've been here, people from home have asked me if I have attended a "real" Southern Baptist church to experience the worship. Well, here was my chance!
The service was held at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, where a good majority of the congregation is African-American. I have to say that if this church was in my neighborhood, I would probably attend it often solely for the worship!
I learned that this was the first revival meeting to be held at FABC since Hurricane Katrina. It is always jolting to me to hear that the effects of Katrina are still reverberating throughout the community. It is HUGE. They played a slideshow of pictures of the recovery efforts, and today the church looks beautiful.
The service started up with the best worship I have ever heard. There was SO much soul and heart in it, people swaying, clapping, lifting up hands and praising God. I really hope that's what heaven is like! The choir had about 100 people in it I'd guess, and their voices were amazing! Everyone in the congregation seemed to know the words to all the songs because there were no hymnals or words posted anywhere.
When the preacher got up and did his thing (Rev. Tony Evans), people would reply back loudly with "Amens" and "Mm-hmms", stand up and wave their hands when he said something they agreed with. I can't say I got a lot out of his sermon, but I really enjoyed the experience and I'm glad I went!
I realized that since I moved away from California about 4 years ago, I have expanded my views and faith and experiences of the church a great deal. If I had stayed in California, I may very well have stayed in the Presbyterian church and never ventured out! Since then, I have attended four-square church, Assemblies of God, Lutheran, and now a Baptist Church. I have greatly enjoyed all these new experiences, and give a HUGE thumbs up to black-gospel-style worship!