By Scott Barkley
These days at Long Hollow Baptist Church, interruptions aren’t considered bad. The plan isn’t as crucial as the response. Things flow from a position of prayer, ultimately pointing toward Christ.
Structure exists, sure. There’s still an order of worship. Trained childcare workers remain ready and available. Pastor Robby Gallaty prepares and prays over his sermons. But anyone feeling led to come to the altar can do so at any time. Gospel conversations occur throughout the week. Baptisms are conducted while worshipers sing. They also take place after Gallaty’s message and invitation, continuing as long as 45 minutes after the benediction regardless of lunch plans.
Such steps are needed to meet the response the church has witnessed since December. That marked the beginning of a wave of baptisms that exceeded 1,000 on April 11. Gallaty, who began at the church in 2015, estimates that 70-75 percent of those are from first-time confessions of faith and 83 percent are adults.
He’s quick to point out that it is all due to God. And really, it couldn’t occur until Gallaty got out of the way. That realization happened after the suicides of two of Gallaty’s close friends: ministers Jarrid Wilson and Darren Patrick.
“Both of those men preached at Long Hollow within six months of their passing,” he said. “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. [Read more…]