A pastor says what simply started as a prayer on his porch has turned into a move of God that has seen over 1,000 people baptized since the end of December.
Pastor Robby Gallaty of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn., tells the Baptist Press that it all started after the suicides of two close friends in ministry, pastors Jarrid Wilson and Darren Patrick.
“Both of those men preached at Long Hollow within six months of their passing,” Gallaty says. “They both sat at my dining room table. It made me realize that the last person to say he’s burning out or that ministry is tough is usually the one burning out.
“The Lord allowed me to take an introspective look at my own life. I was tired. Tired of trying to keep people happy. Tired of trying to keep them from leaving. I went to my porch to pray for the Lord to fix the problems in our church and our country. God showed me that the problem… was me.”
Gallaty says that began a season of simply coming quietly to the Lord. For at least an hour each night, he would go and sit on his porch to pray and listen. “Every great movement of God begins with not moving,” he says.
On December 15, 2020, Gallaty says that God gave him an answer: "spontaneous baptism."
Just two days earlier Gallaty's church had its lowest-ever attendance. It was already planning a baptism service for December 20, and so that Sunday Gallaty announced that anyone else who wanted to be baptized but hadn't already made plans to do so could come forward. He says as he stood beside the baptistry it seemed for a second that not much would happen.
“Then, all of a sudden you could sense the Lord moving,” he says. “At the end of that first service we had baptized 99 people. I got home and was sitting alone with God when He gave me an image. It showed that these were the first heavy raindrops before the torrential downpour.”
Two days later the church began baptism-only services and had 81 people show up. They continue to hold baptisms mid-week as well as following Sunday worship gatherings. On Easter Sunday alone they had 201 people decide to be baptized, and on April 13 they surpassed 1,000 baptisms since that first Sunday in late December.
“This is a genuine move of God. He gets all the glory,” Gallaty said. “The Lord has shown me that prayer births revival, and revival births prayer. It’s like adding logs to the fire.
“The greatest hindrance to a move of the Holy Spirit is formality and structure. If God wanted to break into our services today, we’d have no time for Him. [At Long Hollow] we still have a plan, but we’re OK if God interrupts the service."