Around the altar and in the aisles, hundreds of pastors and ministry leaders from across North Carolina concluded the 2023 N.C. Baptist Disciple-Making Conference kneeling before the Lord in an extended time of confession and repentance while pleading for God to send revival to the state, nation and world.

Around the altar and in the aisles, hundreds of pastors and ministry leaders from across North Carolina concluded the 2023 N.C. Baptist Disciple-Making Conference at Calvary Baptist Church on Monday, Feb. 20, kneeling before the Lord in an extended time of confession and repentance while pleading for God to send revival to the state, nation and world.

Tennessee pastor Robby Gallaty challenged attendees to humbly and honestly examine their hearts to determine if they are a hindrance to God sending revival to their respective churches and communities. That exercise is one that Gallaty said God took him through before sending a season of revival to Long Hollow Church outside of Nashville, Tenn., where Gallaty serves as senior pastor.

“God had to do a work on me before He could ever do a work through me,” Gallaty said. “You may be the blood clot to revival coming to your church.

“You know how I know that? Because I was.”

At the conclusion of his message, Gallaty invited attendees to spend time seeking the Lord in silence, solitude and prayer just as he had done over a 10-month period three years ago, which preceded revival at Long Hollow. Conference attendees responded to Gallaty’s invitation by kneeling at the altar, in the aisles or at their seats. Many continued praying individually or in small groups after the conference formally dismissed.

“You could almost feel the presence of the Holy Spirit moving in individuals’ hearts as those individuals came together as one to pray,” said Brent Winslow, executive pastor of Collide Church in Yadkinville. “It was so meaningful to be able to do that as we closed.”

Winslow said he joined leaders from three other churches in his county to pray for unity in Christ, to see the gospel proclaimed and revival take place in their community. 

Gallaty said during a season in which he was asking God to fix challenges in his church, the Lord showed him that the issues he was praying for weren’t with the church – they were with him.

At that time, Gallaty said God convicted him of sins of pride, arrogance, and jealousy of other pastors and ministries. Those revelations led to Gallaty spending daily time with God in silence and solitude from March to December of 2020.

After sitting with the Lord for those 10 months, Gallaty said the Lord impressed two words upon him: spontaneous baptism. Gallaty was skeptical because he’d never conducted spontaneous baptisms before, and he’d heard of abuses of the practice. Still, Gallaty trusted God and invited people to be baptized during services on Dec. 20, 2020. On that day, 99 people were baptized.

Over the next 15 weeks, the Lord brought revival to Long Hollow. During that time, Gallaty baptized more than 1,000 people from 17 different states. People came from places like Maine, Montana and New York. When Gallaty asked them why they came to Tennessee to be baptized, they replied, “The Spirit of God compelled us to come.”

“That is something only God can do,” Gallaty said.

Gallaty also shared some personal reflections from the revival taking place at Asbury University in Wilmore, Ky. Gallaty and a small group of church leaders from Long Hollow traveled to Asbury on Wednesday, Feb. 15, just five days before the Disciple-Making Conference.

Gallaty said those in attendance at Asbury worshipped in unity and with joy. He added that people expected to encounter God, they showed up hungry for God and they were present in the presence of God. Worship was also marked by prayer and praise.

“When the people of God start to pray, that is revival,” Gallaty said. “When we humble ourselves, God inhabits the praises of His people.”

Conference organizer Brian Upshaw, who serves as director of the Ministry Strategies group and associate executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, referenced Psalm 118:23 in his closing remarks and prayed that the spirit of brokenness and repentance that was on display at the event would continue.

“It’s been a beautiful day of worship and a beautiful time at the altar,” Upshaw said. “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

Approximately 1,200 pastors and church leaders turned out for the event, which also included training and equipping in various aspects of ministry through more than 30 breakout session offerings. Video recordings of Gallaty’s messages and audio recordings of the breakout sessions will be made available in the near future at ncbaptist.org.

Todd Unzicker, N.C. Baptist executive director-treasurer, said the turnout and testimonies highlight N.C. Baptists’ desire to be on mission together.

“N.C. Baptists are craving revival and a fresh move of God,” Unzicker said. “I think we saw a step in that direction that we haven’t seen in a long time. That’s my hope, and that’s my prayer.”