Two years ago, many churches in Fairmont, West Virginia, were separated. Denominations just did not work together.
For the last two years, though, they’ve come together as one for the Mountain State Celebration with Will Graham. Despite the hot temperatures, more than 4,700 came out for the three-day evangelistic outreach at Fairmont State University. In addition, thousands watched online from 45 countries.
As Will Graham looked out at the attentive crowd Sunday, he asked a question.
“How can an imperfect person be with a perfect God [in Heaven]?” he asked. Our sin keeps us separated from God, Graham shared.
And our sinful pride keeps us from asking God for help when we need it.
In Fairmont, believers put their pride behind them and joined together to prepare spiritually for the Celebration.
Two years ago when the nation was reeling from racial unrest, Pastor Mike Little went downtown and saw the anger and disunity in his own community. As a pastor’s kid, he was taught people are people.
“We need to do something,” he thought.
Little reached out to other Black pastors and organized a peace march. That was the beginning of a solid bond, he said.
But three things still divided their city: denomination, race and politics.
“If we’re divided, we can’t stand united as believers,” he emphasized.
“We have to learn to get beyond issues that separate us. … This is kingdom work.”
And they have. At Sunday’s Celebration, Little and other pastors from different denominations were hugging each other.
“We go to dinner,” he said. “Real friendships have formed.”
And though they may not agree on everything, they’re united in their faith and desire to share the Good News of Christ.
Finding Unity in Bible, Prayer
Something else that united townsfolk were six-day-a-week prayer conference calls. Kandi Nuzum, a Celebration prayer co-leader, has helped lead these for two years now.
Since then, the spiritual attacks have been “horrendous,” she said. “There’s been so much opposition.”
After a while, Nuzum felt God wanted her to be even bolder. She would fight Satan’s attacks with God’s Word.
Nuzum assigned portions of the entire Bible to more than 100 prayer warriors. On a special call she dubbed “A Declaration of Faith,” each person read their passages out loud. It took about two hours.
“It was almost like music,” she smiled.
‘God’s Touching Your Heart’
Sunday, Will Graham urged the audience to listen to God’s Holy Spirit. “God’s touching your heart,” he preached. “That pounding you hear is God knocking on your heart.”
Hank* came to Friday’s Celebration and listened to the Gospel message, but he did not surrender his life to God. The next morning, Hank felt a warm peace come over him that He knew was God. Right then, Hank prayed to receive Christ as his Savior.
Sunday night, Hank came back to the Celebration. He wanted to publicly surrender his heart to the Lord.
“It was a great moment,” said Ralph Johns, a trained volunteer who prayed with him. “A 77-year-old man getting touched directly in his heart by the [Holy] Spirit.”
‘A New Beginning for Fairmont’
Pastor Mike Little knows anything is possible with God. What once divided the city’s pastors and churches is gone.
“It’s beyond denominational walls,” he said.
Looking to the future, Little is confident that Fairmont’s pastors and congregations will continue friendships and work together to share Christ in their communities.
Some are even talking about holding a tent revival in September.
“This is the start of a conversation,” he said. “This is a new beginning for the city of Fairmont.”
*Name changed to protect privacy.
Ready for a new beginning? Pray and ask Christ into your life today.