Tent revival brings the Word to the willing

By WILLIAM PAINE

william.paine@southwesttimes.com

For the past several weeks, at around 7 in the evening, the vacant lot at the corner of Washington and 5th street has come alive with the sounds of praise and worship accompanied by impassioned readings from the Good Book. This is the fifth week in a row that pastor Charlie Barbatini of the Taking it to the Streets Ministries has set up tents in the lot and hosted a revival.

“It’s just about winning souls for Jesus Christ,” said Barbatini. “It’s about winning souls and reaching lost people, heartbroken people who are sick and need healing. Of course, the greatest healing is salvation but it’s just about reaching the lost for Jesus Christ.”

Barbatini has held these tent revivals every day of the week except Sunday because he wants people to go to their home churches on the Sabbath. Pastors from North Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia have come to preach at this tent revival. “We belong to the Pentecostal Holiness Organization and whoever God says to invite, we just invite them to come.”

Barbatini’s home church, Taking it to the Streets Ministries, is located nearby at 223 North Washington Street. “We’re just down the street in a building and they say why did you leave the building to come here? Because it’s a whole different atmosphere. Young people or old people, it doesn’t matter. They all relate to each other. They worship together because there’s something about a tent that you just feel freedom. In the Bible days they’d set up tents and call them tabernacles. In a tent you just have a freedom to worship.”

Monday night’s guest pastor was Steve Willis, who brought his praise and worship team along as well as some members of the Valley Harvest Ministries Church.

“I’m here to spread the Good News and preach the Gospel,” said Willis. “We’re believing that tonight we’ll have some people finding Christ.”

Willis had preached out of doors on several occasions but admitted that he’d never before preached in a tent. Even so, the Dublin based pastor seemed pleased at the opportunity to be a part of this revival.

“We’re just believing that He’s going to bring some people here tonight that need to hear what’s going to be said and what’s going to be experienced under this tent. We’re dependent on Him for that.”

“We’re excited about brother Steve coming up here tonight,” added Barbatini. “Valley Harvest is an on-fire church.”

As no one is formally invited to these tent revivals, many, if not most who come, do so at random.

“For four weeks it’s been people healed, saved, delivered,” Barbatini explained. “We’ve had 10 salvations so far that we know of. It’s people coming and maybe walking in the alley. People walk up with dogs. People pull up in cars and listen or some just walking along the street to stop and listen.”

Saturday night is the last scheduled tent revival for this ministry but Barbatini is leaving his options open.

“We came here and God said to do a 30-day crusade. If God says to continue, we will. We don’t know if God’s going to say continue or close. Whatever God says to do, we just want to do it.”

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