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Summer revival helps churches refresh congregations
'Old-timey' tradition originated at harvest time, and continues today
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Jean and Vivian Conner sing along with the choir during a revival July 21 at Yellow Creek Baptist Church. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Summertime in the South is revival season, and churches across North Georgia have invited congregations out to experience it.

“It’s a time to revive, refresh and renew,” the Rev. Emerson Ross said.

Ross, minister at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Flowery Branch, said he enjoys revivals because it creates a sense of community.

“Service is about God. Worship is all about God,” he said. “So we encourage people to connect with God, and they take it back to their home and their community.”

For pastor Jason Buffington of Yellow Creek Baptist Church in Murrayville, revivals are about tradition.

“Revival is an old-timey Baptist tradition,” he said. “In the old days, they would take revival when the crops would come in. They would get revived, because they had worked so hard on the crops with their animals. So they set aside this one week to worship.”

Revivals have evolved since then, but church members come for the same reasons. Connie Copeland, a lifelong member of Yellow Creek, said she’d never miss it.

“We need it,” she said. “I need it. You can worship the Lord at home, no doubt about it. But the fellowship with my family — my church family — is just as important, and I love to come.”

Angie McClure, who’s attended the church for more than 50 years, agrees. Especially since it marked a poignant turning point in McClure’s life.

“I got saved at a revival,” said McClure, who started attending the spiritual event as a child. “When we were little children, we were drug by our parents every night and morning, too. Now it’s just part of our lives.”

Children are a big part of revivals at Yellow Creek as well. The youth choir sings and directs the music at all of the services.

Brandon Dyer, 19, used to be one of the singers. But now that he is older, he preaches during the services.

“God speaks through me,” he said. “He got me to preach his word. It’s nothing to do with me. It’s all him.”

Dyer said his favorite part about revival is feeling the Holy Spirit.

“You feel chills go out you,” he said, “and then you know there’s something bigger than you. It’s all great.”