Rural Alabama Turnaround

Rural Alabama Turnaround

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An Assemblies of God church in the rural Alabama town of Vincent that had struggled for years is now growing, while also helping to resurrect an abandoned congregation.

Vincent Revival Center drew about 80 people in 2012 when Jason Allums, who served on staff from 2004 to 2009, returned as senior pastor. Thanks to an aggressive outreach approach, the church is attracting more than 400 congregants for Sunday services. Vincent's population is 2,100.

“The church has not only seen numerical growth, but it has also seen spiritual and financial growth during this turnaround period,” says AG Alabama District Superintendent Kenneth W. Draughon.

Allums, 38, notes that church attendees come from surrounding areas, including Childersburg, Wilsonville, and Chelsea.

“We take a regional mindset when it comes to outreach, not just the city limits,” says Allums, noting that strategy involves personal evangelism, event-based outreaches, direct mail, mass advertising, and follow up on salvation decisions. “We focus on the Great Commission, outreach and missions, and discipleship aggressively with a plan.”

Vincent Revival also determined to reopen Parkway Assemblies of God, which had been closed for almost three years in Talladega, a city of 15,540 located 25 miles east of Vincent.

“When I saw this abandoned church, it grieved my spirit,” Allums says.

Vincent Revival spent $20,000 for materials, equipment, and programs for the church plant, launched in 2015 and dubbed Revive Church. Philip R. Jenkins is lead pastor.

Revive draws about 60 people for Sunday services. Jenkins, 38, says the church is meeting acute community needs, especially an addiction recovery ministry.

“We've seen prostitutes, drug addicts, alcoholics, and all sorts of hurting souls come to the freeing power of Christ,” Jenkins says.

Meanwhile, Vincent Revival has rebounded from a tragedy that happened at the church parsonage in 2005. Then-pastor Timothy Dane Tillman shot his 40-year-old wife, Janet. Tillman is serving a life sentence after being convicted of murder. The tragedy rocked the church, causing many to leave Vincent Revival.

Allums, who had been hired by Tillman as youth pastor, served as lead pastor of Vincent Revival for 3½ before becoming pastor of Elba First Assembly of God. He agreed to return to Vincent Revival six years ago.

“We have learned through the past that God does have a plan if we will only trust Him,” says Sue Garrett, 65, who along with her husband, Harold, have been part of Vincent Revival since 1996. “He has definitely given us beauty from ashes.”

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