Friday, August 30, 2013

This Week in Texas Methodist History September 1

Rev. C. B. Cross Reports on “Old People’s” Revival at Atlanta, September 3, 1903

By the turn of the 20th century the revival culture that shaped Methodism and was shaped by Methodism was fully mature and perhaps at its height.  Rail transportation made it possible for evangelists and song leaders to make a very good living preaching at revivals, tent meetings, camp meetings, and protracted meetings. For example, the financial records of the Chappell Hill-Bellville Camp Ground Association reveal that the revival preacher received as much for two weeks work as the preacher appointed to the circuit received in a year. 

 Although most towns had church buildings, they often moved to open air venues such as tabernacles, brush arbors, and other more pastoral settings for these meetings.  Often persons who had indicated their intention to join the church were advised by the preacher to wait until the revival so that the “members received” number would be inflated when the pastor reported the revival to the Texas Christian Advocate.

Another aspect of revival culture of the era was the use of theme nights during the revivals.  There would be a Ladies’ Night when women filled the choir loft.  Sometimes there was a mission night.  In Abe Mulkey revivals, there was always one night dedicated to the Methodist Home in Waco

Rev. C. B. Cross, the Atlanta station preacher, reported that during their revival they had “Old People’s Night.” This is the way he reported it to the Advocate

We had one of the greatest meetings in years.  Bro. O. T. Hotchkiss of Texarkana preached for us for two weeks.  One delightful feature of the meeting was three services for the Old People.  Carriages were secured and every Old Person in the town was present.  We sang the old songs.  Everybody testified and shouted and praised God.  The Holy Spirit was present in wonderful power.  As a result of this meeting thirty united with the church by baptism and vows.  If not providentially hindered, I should be able to report all claims filled at Conference.


Anonymous Rob Sledge said...

An analysis of the rolls of the Potosi Methodist Church (Abilene Dist.) shows that 2/3rds of the people (81 of 122) who joined the congregation by profession of faith between 1912 and 1927 did so in the month of August - revival season. The pastor's membership classes were timed to bear fruit at precisely this time.
- see God's Field, God's Building, p. 39

12:26 PM  

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