BERTIE COUNTY, North Carolina -- Churchgoers from seventeen different denominations came together in a countywide evangelistic celebration. Gathering at a local high school in rural Bertie County, North Carolina, the hundreds of attendants celebrated a spirit of unity in Christ.
“I was impressed by the spirit of harmony displayed by the participating churches," and that he "felt that it was good that they could work together for a common cause," said Michael Bryant, pastor of Merry Hill Baptist Church.
Chris Howerton, principal of Bethel Christian Academy and youth minister at Bethel Assembly of God in Askewville said, "the event had a wonderful feel to it" and he believed that, "many in the community were shocked that the churches could build on their common ground and work with one another."
Evangelist Darrel Davis, the main speaker for the Bertie County Celebration said in his speech that though many thought it unlikely that churches of different denominations would work together, “God had different plans.”
According to the local planning team, the four-day total attendance was estimated to be around 2,100 people.
"About 20 people made decisions for Christ as a result of our efforts," Davis said. Davis spoke on topics such as the Christ-centered home, forgiveness, following Christ and reconciliation.
Davis had planned this event since January with a small group of church leaders in the county. Davis had previously ministered in several of the Southern Baptist churches in the area through revivals and supply work. Currently, he also serves as interim pastor of Powellsville Baptist Church in North Carolina.
"The group was excited about the possibility and immediately began to contact other churches and Christians for a vision meeting," said Davis. "Later, I met with a larger group to communicate the idea and everyone attending the meeting made a commitment to work together."
The ministry effort included two radio programs, led by Davis, on two area radio stations and nightly celebration meetings that included a youth night with free pizza and a special children's celebration. During the daytime, Davis spoke to hundreds of students in two local schools sharing a non-religious message on "Unleashing Your Leadership Potential." He also led the chapel service at Bethel Christian Academy.
On the youth night, about 100 Christian youth made a public reaffirmation of their faith. Howerton said, "I was glad to see the Christian young people demonstrate their faith publicly. It will help them see that they are not alone in their faith."
"The event was very effective for our county," said Roy Denton, Jr., senior pastor of Bethel A/G. "There was a real good spirit of cooperation among the denominations." Denton added that he would like to see even more churches involved next year as the event helped bring churches together in fellowship.
Davis said, "It was a privilege to see so many people work together to reach their community with God's love. Best of all, the churches discovered that they could work together and make a difference in their community." Local organizers are already talking about the possibility of holding another event next year. This event was a first for Davis and his ministry. "I am humbled and blessed to see things work so well," he said.