Over 1,000 baptisms have happened in four months at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee. The church’s senior pastor, Robby Gallaty, said in an interview with Faithwire.com that he has “never seen anything like this before in my life” after seeing 1,051 people baptized over the last 16 weeks.
There has been a steady increase in baptisms at Long Hollow over the last couple of years; 2018 saw approximately 125 baptized and in 2019 about 250. The pastor said, “This is nothing I’ve coordinated or a sermon series has brought about.”
“I’m convinced prayer births revival and revival births prayer.”
Becoming a “Praying Church”
Years ago, Gallaty read a quote from Leonard Ravenhill: “The problem with the American church today is that pastors don’t pray.” Gallaty said he took offense to that and asked, “What do you mean I don’t pray?” That is when the Lord began to convict Gallaty of his personal prayer life. He was convicted that he wasn’t pressing into God for hours at a time.
On top of this call to prayer, Gallaty’s friends Jared Wilson and Darrin Patrick both committed suicide less than a year apart. Gallaty shared that both of them had sat at his dining room table six months prior to their passing. “None of these guys set out to end the ministry that way…both of these guys I would say like some of you right now who are watching you would say, ‘I’m not burnt out..stressed…I’m fine.’ Those are the famous last words before the wheels fall off…and I realized that was me.”
It was then that the Lord told him to press into “silence and solitude.” Twenty minutes turned into forty minutes that turned into two hours a night in prayer before the Lord.
“I want to move from a church that prays to a praying church,” Gallaty said and explained how big the difference is between those types of churches. A church that prays just prays for events, but a praying church couches everything in the church from start to finish in prayer. For example, there is prayer before the sermon, during the sermon, after the sermon, and during the invitation.
Long Hollow set up a 24/7 prayer movement that God used to prepare the church for what He was about to do, Gallaty said.
Gallaty Shares How God Spoke to Him Directly
Gallaty shared the key part for every minister and every Christian. “I went to the porch every night to sit with the Lord thinking that He was going to fix the problems in my church,” he said and was really frustrated. “If this is what Christianity is: running a church, keeping people happy, keeping people from leaving, keeping people not mad, keeping deacons happy, keeping staff happy. I just said there’s got to be more to the Christian ministry than this.”
He wasn’t going to move from his porch. He told ChurchLeaders.com, “Every great movement of God begins without moving. I said God I am not going to move from this porch until You are willing to move.”
“Lord, You fix the problems in my staff…I need You to fix the problems in my church…I need You to fix the deacons…I need You to fix the country,” Gallaty shared. Revealing that two months into his front porch prayer time, he said the Lord told him, “The problem is not with your church…it’s not with your staff…the problem is you.”
It wasn’t until Gallaty started to deal with his own sin that the Lord began to pull back layers of pride, arrogance, and jealousy in the pastor’s life that he wasn’t even aware were present. After submitting to the Lord in prayer, Gallaty said the Lord showed him, “Jealousy in the pastoral ministry is one of the greatest we all suffer.” The Lord showed him, if you can’t pray for the church down the street to be blessed in spite of your church being blessed, I’ll never bless your church.”
The Lord Said “Spontaneous Baptism”
After 10 months of prayer on his front porch, Gallaty heard the Lord speak [in his head] and He said, “Spontaneous baptism.”
He slightly questioned what he heard, but Gallaty was obedient two days later after hearing the Lord’s instructions on a mid December’s night in Hendersonville, Tennessee. It was the lowest attended Sunday gathering since he had been pastoring at Long Hollow due to all the COVID-19 restrictions and precautions being taken at that time, but 99 people came forward and were baptized.
It was just the beginning of what the Lord had prepared to do. The next Sunday, Long Hollow had planned to go to online-only services for the next four weeks because of the COVID-19 spread in their county, and Gallaty thought the “revival” was over. But it wasn’t.
“These are the heavy raindrops, Robby, before the torrential downpour that’s coming,” he said the Lord shared with him during his porch prayer time later that Sunday night.
A Baptism-Only Service
Two days before Christmas Eve, Long Hollow Baptist Church had a baptism-only service on a Tuesday night, completely unplanned. They featured no preaching and no programming, just the opportunity for those who need to be baptized to have the opportunity to follow through with obedience to the Lord. Long Hollow baptized 81 people that night, some who weren’t even from the state of Tennessee.
“We never encouraged anyone to board a plane to come here, but they felt compelled,” Gallaty said. And he began to realize “this is a genuine move from the Lord” that was compelling them to travel to the church and be baptized. People were sharing with the pastor, “We felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to come. We had to come here to be a part of this.”
That started God bringing 20 people from 15 different states. Gallaty shared with ChurchLeaders.com about testimonies of people watching online, weeping from what they were seeing through the baptisms, and traveling from all over the country to Long Hollow Baptist Church to be baptized because of the Holy Spirit moving genuinely in their lives.
This Can Happen at Your Church Too
“Just like God poured out His spirit on us, He’s looking for people who want to get serious and press into Him and believe again that He can still do these things in their churches,” Gallaty said. He encouraged other churches who might be doubting that this can happen at their church.
Gallaty told ChurchLeaders.com that Long Hollow Baptist Church has worked for five years to develop a strong discipleship program. They did not know that God was preparing them to be ready for the revival He had in store for them.