About 400 young people were baptized during the annual Winterfest event at Gatlinburg. The organizer remarked that it was the first time he had seen such an outpourting in his 36 years of doing Winterfest.
Revival At Winterfest Annual Youth Event
In a report by Religion Unplugged, youth minister David Schilling shared the outpouring he witnessed at the youth event nearby Gatlinburg, Tennessee. He served at Hardin Valley Church of Christ in Knoxville, Tennessee, and brought a team with him to join the annual youth rally. Eleven participants came from his church.
Traditionally, the annual youth gathering contained “a Smoky Mountaintop experience.” At the event, “dynamic speakers, Christian poets, even Flying Wallenda-style acrobats” share “David and Goliath stories” with the young people.
However, David noticed something different in the recent Winterfest they attended. He expected the event to be grand like before, but it wasn’t. Although he remarked that the “worship was powerful” and “sermons were great,” he did not experience a “larger-than-life wow factor.” Not until he witnessed a powerful scene during the Sunday morning service.
Hundreds Of Young People Baptized
At the Sunday morning, minister Jeff Walling held baptisms. At first, he requested people from the crowd to move forward if they wanted to give their lives to Christ and get baptized.
Soon, “one by one, two by two, in groups of three or more” came forward, according to David. And now, nearly 200 young people responded to the minister’s call.
Then David proclaimed, “what was missing actually made more room for the Holy Spirit to permeate the experience.”
One testimony from an 11-year-old participant, Abbey Roberson, shared her experience of God’s Presence.
“There was something holding me back,” she recalled. “But as Walling spoke, ‘I looked through my teary eyes, and for a minute I think Jesus was there, reaching out to me, waiting for me to stand. So I did.’”
Furthermore, according to the report, about “400 people” were baptized at Winterfest during the two Sunday services. The organizer, Dudley Chancey, attested that he’s never seen such a response from the young people before.
“This is my 36th year doing Winterfest,” he said. “And I’ve never seen that.”
Reference | Religion Unplugged
Header Image: Hurst, Terren. (Photographer). (2021). Worship, Retrieved April 4, 2023 from: https://unsplash.com/photos/KU66acygwIY