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Exceeding Expectations

Revival services in small Tennessee town yield 63 Holy Spirit baptisms.

River of Life Assembly of God Pastor Greg Temke in Munford, Tennessee, sensed that 40 people would be filled with the Holy Spirit at a pre-Easter church revival last month. 

Yet when services featuring evangelist Terry D. Carter ended, 63 people -- 43 from River of Life -- had been filled with the Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues. Another nine people made salvation decisions. The revival occurred during three days the first week in March then three days the third week of March. Snow caused cancellation of two days of the originally scheduled services. 

When Temke became pastor at River of Life seven years ago, around 100 mostly elderly people attended. He has preached 52 funerals since his arrival. But many of the young adult and middle-aged people who have joined the church since then are from non-Pentecostal backgrounds. Thus, Temke asked Carter to preach specifically on the need for the Holy Spirit. 

"We've picked up a lot of people -- Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, even Greek Orthodox - who have been out of church for years and are trying to find their way back to God," Temke says. "God still fills people today. Their faith background doesn't matter." 

Munford is a bedroom community of 6,000 people 25 miles north of Memphis. Many of those who visit River of Life feel as though they already know Temke because the church streams services live.

Temke says the revival created a hunger for worship at the church and a desire to serve in ministry. Attendance on Easter surged to 425, compared to 325 a year ago.

Carter spent 28 years in pastoral ministry before he became a full-time evangelist based in Springfield, Missouri, two years ago. His wife Janeece sometimes accompanies him and sings at services. Carter says one of his goals is to revitalize weary pastors.

"I know the heartbreaks of ministry," Carter says. "I want to be supportive of the ministry team."

Temke, who has known Carter during his more than three decades in ministry, says the call as an evangelist has energized him.  

"He has really found his niche," Temke says. "God really used him to make a great impact on our church."


John W. Kennedy

John W. Kennedy served as news editor of AG News from its inception in 2014 until retiring in 2023. He previously spent 15 years as news editor of the Pentecostal Evangel and seven years as news editor at Christianity Today.