By Logan Vincent
Since the founding of Protestantism, Christians of every denomination have gathered in fields and make shift churches to engage in the worship of their faith. Sometimes gathering in such unorthodox places was a necessity due to religious disagreement or warfare with the Catholic Church, other times the action was just taken to make the faith more accessible to the people outside of the congregations. These gatherings came to be known as tent revivals, so named because of the large tent shelters used to house the worshiping masses. Many of the revivals would travel around, trying to bring the word of God to people and heal and nurture the sick and downtrodden. It is still a tradition of the Protestant faith to gather in tents and hold week long revivals, featuring singing, sermons from different pastors, and simple worship service.
In Johnson County, a new tent revival is occurring just on our doorstep. Homer Vanover is the owner of Homers Kwik Lube, located on South Shady Street beside Mountain City Pharmacy. On Sunday, September 8th, Mr. Vanover invited Christians of all denominations to join members of the congregation at Heath Union Church where he attends, as well as members of the Victory Chapel Cowboy Church for an event of praise and worship in the field next to the Kwik Lube station.
The revival will last at least two weeks, says Vanover, but were not stopping until The Lord says so. Vanover is a man of great faith and charity and says that the idea of the Crusade for Christ tent revival came to him about two years ago. I originally bought this land to build a church here, and still plan to one day, but the tent revival is a great way to bring the lost to God, states Vanover. That is our mission here, first and foremost.
Vanover has now hosted the Crusade for Christ tent revival for two years on his land and plans to continue doing so even after his dream of building a church is completed. Vanover preached his first sermon in 1970 and immediately felt a great connection with the faith. I knew then that I wanted to work for God the rest of my life, says Vanover. In the eighties Vanover grew stronger in his faith and has since worked very hard for the Christian community of Johnson County. If you tune in to WMCT 1390 from 9:30a.m to 10:00a.m Sunday mornings, you can catch Vanovers radio program.
Pastor of Victory Chapel Cowboy Church Carroll Hayworth is very proud of the work the revival has done. We are transdenominational, Hayworth muses. People of all denominations are free to join us and worship God.
Hayworth will be preaching several nights of the revival as well as Vanover himself. Pastor Donnie Cox will be delivering sermons Tuesday and Friday evening as well as some other dates that are not yet set. Every night of the revival will include singing and praise music delivered from local artists as well as more well known regional acts such as The Price Family, who are slated to perform Thursday night. Any musician who feels the urge to come and perform is encouraged to make the trip.
The Crusade for Christ Tent Revival is a strong example of how one mans faith can move mountains. Homer Vanover is proud that he can spread the word of God to our community and provide a place of worship for Johnson County residents of all denominations. Please come join us and praise God! says Vanover, a smile of faith and testament upon his face.
The revival meetings will begin every evening at 7:00p.m and continue for the next two weeks, although the dates may be extended. The tent is located in the field behind Homers Kwik Lube and parking is provided in the field itself or the parking lot.
By Logan Vincent