At the Brownsville Assembly of God, site of a 21-month-long "Pensacola Outpouring" revival, the million-plus visits since 1995 have moved this Florida congregation to the cutting edge of evangelistic outreach.
Some worshipers arrive as early as 4 a.m. to guarantee a seat for an evening service. Some do not leave until after 3 a.m., following hours of prayer and spiritual manifestations such as jerking, moaning, and weeping.
Preceded by two years of intensive community prayer, the revival continues four nights a week in Pensacola, a Gulf Coast city of nearly 300,000 people, where religious fervor not so long ago had been a euphemism for the killing of abortionist John Bayard Britton by Paul J. Hill (CT, Sept. 12, 1994, p. 56).
"This revival has been the most remarkable, life-changing thing in my life," says the excited but exhausted pastor, John Kilpatrick, 46. He has been pastor of the once-staid congregation in the Brownsville section of Pensacola for 15 years. But since June 1995, Kilpatrick's life and his congregation have been turned topsy-turvy. His approach has been submissive and accepting. As he said during a recent service, "Holy Spirit, we don't know what you're doing, but please come."
THE TORONTO CONNECTION: Some critics have compared this to Toronto's controversial "laughing revival" (CT, Sept. 11, 1995, p. 23). Indeed, hundreds of people are at times sprawled seemingly unconscious on the church's carpeted floor.
Although some of this revival's principal players have passed through the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, Pensacola is a much more sober affair. Instead of Toronto's giddiness and proclivity for unusual signs, the mood at Brownsville Assembly is somber, even penitential. There is more emphasis on forgiveness ...1