During his years of ministry, pastor Dean Haun has experienced both ends of the “success spectrum” in regard to certain events and projects. He has seen some that fall flat and some that surpass all expectations.
So, when he was asked to serve as chairman of the Go Tell Lakeway Area Crusade, held April 28-May 1, Haun prepared himself and his team for what might lie ahead. The four-day evangelism crusade — led by evangelist Rick Gage and held at the Walters State Community College Great Smoky Mountains Expo Center in White Pine, Tenn. — ended up reporting more than 850 decisions, including 341 professions of faith.
“I told our committee, this is either going to be like we’re in a big sailboat and God is going to breathe on this and we’re going to just glide on through, or it’s going to be like an old 1935 Ford truck with the clutch going out and we’re grinding the gears,” Haun, pastor of First Baptist Church, Morristown, Tenn., said.
By the time the crusade came to a close, it was clear to Haun which way it had turned out. This was definitely not an “old truck” type of event. And the effects of the crusade are continuing, Haun said, with more salvations in the days that have followed.
The crusade drew large crowds each night, with an estimated total attendance of 17,500. The crowd on Sunday (the opening night) was estimated around 5,000, and the final night of the crusade — which featured a youth emphasis — drew an estimated crowd of 6,000, including roughly 3,000 students.
“It was really powerful,” Haun said. “It was like the hand of the Lord (was) on this crusade since Day One.”
The crusade was fortified by the efforts of four Baptist associations — Nolachucky, Grainger County, East Tennessee and Jefferson County.
“There was a lot of work and a lot of preparation that went into this, but God really rewarded that,” said Leroy Davis, associational mission strategist for the Jefferson County Baptist Association. “It (was) an awesome event.”
The crusade stretched across multiple denominations, with numerous non-Baptist churches in the Lakeway area, and well beyond, supporting the event.
“Evangelism is a work of the Holy Spirit,” Gage said. “A genuine move of God rarely occurs in our communities. I can sincerely say that the [crusade] … was a genuine work of the Holy Spirit of God. The leadership team beginning with Dean Haun and the preparation, including prayer and fasting, which involved more than 1,500 volunteers, were depending on the Holy Spirit to do a lasting work. This is what led to such a bountiful harvest of souls.”
The services included a tribute to first responders on Monday night. Veterans and current military were honored on Tuesday night, when Tim Lee served as one of the keynote speakers.
Evangelists Adrian Desires and Ken Freeman delivered messages during the week and Noah Cleveland, Charles Billingsley and At Liberty Band provided music.
How it started
The groundswell for the crusade may have started more than a dozen years ago, when another pastor walked into Haun’s office — Haun was serving as pastor in Atlanta at the time — and told him that he believed Haun was destined to lead a great revival.
Over the next few years, the sequence repeated itself two more times, with Haun being told he was going to be involved with a mighty work of the Lord. So, when a group of businessmen approached Haun about serving as the chairman for the crusade, he felt led to do so.
“I was so convicted that the Lord wanted me to do this, so I said yes,” Haun said.
Initially, the crusade’s leadership team began making preparations for a Hamblen County crusade, and began exploring options about renting out a high school gym. But soon, news of the crusade began to spread, and the plans had to be changed.
Davis, the mission strategist for Jefferson County, said, “Several of us (mission strategists) contacted Brother Dean and said that we wanted to be a part of this. This was going to be happening in my county, and I wanted to help.”
From there, the crusade took off — growing larger and larger.
“It’s almost indescribable,” said Horace Brown, associational mission strategist for East Tennessee Baptist Association. “It just goes to show you that you should never underestimate what God can do.”
Brown noted that a group from his association meets each week for prayer at a local barber shop at 5:45 a.m. The group started praying for the crusade weeks and weeks ago, and began putting in some legwork too, with Brown organizing “40 days of prayer.” He and his leadership team went to each church in the association to pray specifically for the crusade. “We felt like that would be the best way to get the churches involved,” he said.
The prayers and promotion for the event paid off, as evidenced by the encouraging attendance figures. In fact, the event created some traffic tie-ups near the Expo Center each night of the week.
“We prayed for this, and now we’re seeing it happen,” said Brown as he glanced around the arena on the second night of the crusade.
Click here to read more.
Source: Baptist Press