It is the honor of my life to travel among our people and to represent the ministry of the InterChurch Holiness Convention.
From city churches to country chapels, the holiness people are the most gracious, hard-working, earnest praying, sacrificial giving people you will ever find.
Common characteristics unite us:
-A passion for souls. Most every church large or small has an outreach into the community. It may not always be “cool” and “hip” but it is genuine and true. I was with an older pastor recently who is long past his prime years, but he refuses to quit and has made himself available to a church in need. He spends a day or two each week at the county courthouse passing out tracts to prisoners arriving for hearings. I had the honor of officiating the funeral recently for my deer-hunting buddy, Pastor David Maley. Brother Maley never even had the opportunity to attend Bible college, but the Wesleyan Holiness Church outside Grafton, West Virginia was packed beyond capacity with the police force present. His impact in the community was beyond description, and he was asked to be the Sheriffs Office Chaplain. Every hardened sinner knew they had a friend in Pastor Dave. They knew he would pray for them and love them when no one else would.
-A thirst for revival. Revival is not a hobby. We believe it is the only thing that will save our nation, our communities, our homes and our churches. We are not nearly so interested in the latest worship gadget or church trend as we are the old time tested and true paths of obedience, humility, brokenness and prayer. Most of our churches have a revival on the schedule this spring, and another this fall, with a camp meeting or two this summer. Old methods? Yes, it’s old, but not wasted. Preaching, praying, fasting, inviting is never a waste of anything-not a waste of time and not a waste of money. The greatest need in the churches of America is revival. There isn’t anything wrong in our world that revival can’t fix.
-A mark of separation. We are not Amish, but we are conservative in how we think, the entertainment we choose and in the way we dress. The lines may not always be drawn at the exact place, but you can recognize our people as Christian’s immediately by modesty, simplicity and carefulness.
-An emphasis on prayer. No people have been more fervent about prayer. In the home, at the workplace, and in the church house. The memories I have are precious, of a church where the first thing you heard walking in the door were the prayers of the saints from the prayer rooms before the Sunday evening service. How grateful I am to pastor a church where the saints are still praying before those evening evangelistic services. Early morning prayer meetings in our camps; all night prayer meetings; mid-week night prayer meetings; Prayer has never been more important.
-A desire for the glory. Services where God’s presence is felt in an obvious and impactful way are necessities. If “God doesn’t move” then prayer begins by pastor and people for a breakthrough. Nothing else matters when we gather to worship, than that the one who we worship, is present. Liturgy and form is not the necessity. That can be done with or without God. What is the necessity? That the God of Heaven comes through the door.
-A intensity of purpose. We are not playing games. Eternity is forever. We have been schooled in a Heaven to gain and a hell to shun. Many of our churches are humble and small, but they are serious places. Intense places. It’s not a laugh and joke, this is eternal business. We are on a mission.
As we forge ahead in these modern times, I hope these characteristics will continue to unite us, only more so- and for the good of our people, the salvation of souls and the “Spreading of Scriptural Holiness Throughout These Lands.”