By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector
CLARKSVILLE — The prayer service held recently for Tim Muñoz, a pastor of Hilldale Baptist Church here, was unusual in several ways.
First, the service was a healing service for Muñoz, preschool/children’s pastor, who is ill though only 49 years old. Healing services are somewhat unusual in the Baptist tradition. Larry Robertson, senior pastor, said in his 29 years of ministry, he has never led a churchwide prayer meeting dedicated to healing before. Robertson was president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention in 2014.
The service also was unusual in that it drew about 550 people to the church on a Sunday evening for a special service. Hilldale has regular events on Sunday evenings but not weekly activities. The church draws about 1,400 to its three Sunday morning worship services.
Finally, the church streamed the service live via the Internet and amazingly had about 535 computers or devices logged in and 708 hits on the web feed.
One of those people watching the service was Muñoz, who was in the hospital in Nashville. He was there with family and friends, including two pastors of Hilldale. The two pastors anointed Muñoz with oil and prayed for him when directed by Robertson during a portion of the service. The pastors and Robertson were following the direction of James 5:14-15, explained the senior pastor.
“It was a beautiful thing,” said Robertson of the service. Especially meaningful were the “beautiful, heartfelt” prayers voiced by children who knew Muñoz, added the pastor.
The service also was unusual in that it lasted about an hour and a half.
Hilldale is not new to providing live streaming. Weekly church staff provides two of the morning worship services via live streaming. The church also has made available some funeral services for real time viewing over the Internet.
Live streaming “allows people lit-
erally around the world to participate,” explained Robertson.
He is glad for the large participation, he added because the service was important and instructional for those present, he added.
To prepare to pray for Muñoz, the crowd also looked to James 5:16, said Robertson. People were directed to confess their sins and then gather in small groups where they “prayed for one another to prepare our hearts to make a bold request of God,” he said.
“We are praying for healing that I really believe that God’s going to give him (Muñoz), but it’s not going to come without a fight for Tim,” said Robertson.
“It was a remarkable night at our church,” he noted.