ASHLEY COUNTY BAPTIST Association held an ‘open-air camp meeting’ May 19.
“One of the most frustrating things for an associational missionary is to find a way to get pastors to attend meetings,” said Greg Pierce, associational missionary for Ashley County Baptist Association. But he said he remembered that a wise older pastor once told him, “If you want a preacher to attend a meeting, just ask him to preach.”
So, he put that theory to practice at the camp meeting. The audience heard seven sermons in the course of about two hours. The preachers were limited to 15 minutes and preached tag-team style from a 40-foot flatbed trailer with a special singer between messages.
“The messages all seemed to tie together in a common theme even though the preacher had no idea what the others were going to preach,” said Pierce. “In one way or another, every sermon was a challenge for us to have compassion for the lost and get the gospel out of our churches and to those in darkness.”
Pierce said he was accustomed to having 15-minute tag-team preaching services on fifth Sunday nights when he pastored. He said he would always ask the men or even youth in his churches to give their testimonies or a devotional or to preach a sermon on those nights. And some of those men are still preaching today.
Pierce said he was delighted to see the response from his pastors and that they adapted naturally to preaching in the open-air style. In fact, he said the pastors all seemed to have a lot of liberty in preaching, not being encumbered with the more formal setting of a typical worship service, and they didn’t seem hindered at all by the short time limit.
“It was almost like a condensed version of a week’s revival, and the preachers are already looking forward to the next meeting,” he said.