A Vision for the Tent Meeting
A few years ago, God burdened my heart to have a simple tent meeting, where He was to be the focus. No fancy buildings, and not about the politics that has crept into many of the fellowships. But, a place where the saints could gather to worship God together, a place where He was the main attraction. I kept this to myself for quite a while, and just took it to the Lord in prayer.
Since the beginning of my ministry, I have always been a firm believer that God will provide a way for His people to accomplish the things He asks us to do. Having a place to hold the meeting was one of the things I needed. God provided us the use of an old shooting range that had a level spot for the tent, electric for lights, and a spot for a few campers. The local congregation does not own this land but has use of it any time they need it.
When this property became available for our use, I went for a walk around the grounds. In the south east corner, up on a hill, there is an old chair under a pine tree. I sat down in that chair and started praying, asking God what it was exactly He wanted me to do. As I lifted my head and looked around at all of the briars and the old building that served as an office for the shooting range, in my mind I began to see this vision. There was green grass where the overgrown field was and a large tent in place of the old building. I began to see saints sitting all around the grounds in groups, singing and praising God! I saw campers along the boundaries of the property belonging to saints and travelers coming in. I could almost hear the songs of those saints ringing in my ears, the laughter of the children and the saints as they sent praises to the Lord.
This year we will be having our sixth meeting, and in these past six years we have seen God do some wonderful works. Although I have not seen my vision fully fulfilled yet, I must say we are gaining on it every year and in God’s time it will come to pass. This meeting is solely about getting souls saved and worshiping God, not about promoting fellowships.
- Bro. Matthew Schwartz, Pastor
Testimonies From the Congregation
My favorite memories of our past tent meetings are hearing the young people sing after the service when they gathered outside the tent with no prompting from any adult. It was encouraging and exciting to see them taking an interest and enjoying worshiping God in their own way. Our first tent meeting was a special blessing for a couple reasons. One, God bringing to pass what we felt led that He wanted our congregation to do. Two, the moving of God's spirit in the services and seeing lost soul saved, including a family restored that was on the verge of destruction due to sin.
I think I enjoy the tent meetings because its is so refreshing to sit in an open air atmosphere worshiping the Lord. It’s a beautiful setting. Listening to the singing echoing down the valley, seeing the birds flying and corn swaying in the breeze is very relaxing. The Lord has always blessed us with good, wholesome, old-fashioned preaching and down home singing that is whole-hearted worship. Come and join us. You’ll enjoy yourself.
I have several memories from the past tent meetings. To name a few, the first meeting was an exciting time as we prepared and started our first of many tent meetings. The weather was cool and I remember Bro. Seth preaching in a coat as God blessed the services. I have memories of the choir from Dover joining with the Bladensburg choir and singing praises together, and letting our singing ring through the valley.
One of my favorite memories is witnessing a sister sing a song in an afternoon service in the 2013 meeting, “God Still Answers Prayer”. That night after the message, her husband gave his heart to the Lord and God restored their home. They have become close friends to us and are still going strong for the Lord.
That following Sunday morning, Bro. Foster delivered the message and the Lord called me into the ministry. That was an experience like no other, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. I felt the burden rest on my shoulders to work for the Lord in this capacity. It has had its blessings as well as its struggles but the Lord has been faithful through it all.
In 2016, a very strong storm blew through and really tested our faith, as it had blown down the tent the year prior. The saints all went to prayer together and the storm stopped immediately. That was a miracle that many witnessed and will never be forgotten.
I am looking forward to meetings where more sinners are in the midst and God draws men and women, where souls are saved and lives are changed. I want to see healings take place and see God do the work that He wants to do in the lives of all who will let him.