The War had not been to Faith Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL since the early 90’s. Even at that, neither of the Pastors at FBC were present at that time in Pensacola. The two men at the helm, Pastor Bailie and Pastor Wooten, however, were no less prepared and equipped for the exciting week of ministry—a week of battles, heart-searching, and victories.
The first day of recruiting was quite discouraging. Our interaction with the students was completely stonewalled at all three of the nearby schools, which nearly halved our effectiveness. We didn’t know what to do, so we turned to the Lord for guidance.
The next morning, the guys went to a school a bit further away from the church to scope it out. Things were not turning out well at first—the cold temperatures being a significant factor—but the Army captain decided to take a step of faith and approach the ROTC leader. God took over from there.
The ROTC leader told the team captain that he led seven periods of ROTC classes, and that he was welcome to present the event to each of the seven periods, a total of approximately 100 students. The guys immediately began inviting in these classrooms. In between class periods, the captain decided to take another step of faith and approach the principal about the lunch room. After some deliberation and an unreturned phone call, the principal agreed to allow the team captains to recruit the entire student body in the lunch periods as well. What a breakthrough! Though the previous day had been hindered significantly, the second day made up the difference. We ended recruiting at exactly where we wanted to be—300 names and numbers!
When the first War night rolled around, we were excited about what God was going to do. The first night, we had 50 teens in attendance and several saved. It was exciting to see the clarity of the decisions and the multiple layers of conviction God was working in hearts.
That night, as we were cleaning up, we noticed four teens walking through the parking lot. The team captains invited them to come inside and began to talk. The kitchen ladies had prepared some food for us all—four plates—and we knew what we needed to do. We gave them the food and invited them to come back for more on Sunday night. And they came! During the preaching, two of them fell under conviction, responded in the invitation, and trusted Christ in the counseling room.
On the final night, there was a young man named Ben whom the Navy captain had recruited and was praying would come out. He couldn’t come the first two night because of sickness, but when the team captain told him that he was competing with a broken toe (which he was), the young man decided to come for the final night. During the preaching Ben was very locked in and at the invitation, he immediately responded and went back to the counseling room.
In the counseling room, I had a chance to speak to Ben myself. Though he had many questions, the Holy Spirit was obviously convincing him of the truth. After his questions were answered the the decision clarified, he bowed his head and trusted Christ alone to save him. Praise the Lord for the power of the gospel!
In all, we had 66 teens in attendance and 9 saved. The church was encouraged and there were several teens who promised to return for future services. Pray for the counselors, that they would have open doors and wisdom to continue to influence these young people towards God’s ultimate purpose for their lives!