Block Party Revival
If you grew up in a typical Protestant church in this country, especially in the South, the likelihood is that your church occasionally conducted a revival and some like my own in Mississippi did so annually. It was a way to call and inspire and equip the members for their mission and service.
It was a time to evangelize those who were outside the church, to be sure, but also to re-engage church members, challenging them to take more seriously their own personal discipleship.
In recent decades churches seem to have moved away from revivals to other programs designed for personal spiritual renewal and deeper discipleship. Many of us are convinced that this great old church is in need of a spiritual revival, an awakening, a time of personal renewal and commitment.
What we see in the world around us is largely reflected in our own history, experience, and records here at First Presbyterian Church. We see over recent years declining numbers attending worship, fewer members participating in classes and programs of spiritual formation and study, reduced numbers engaging in the varied and historic ministries of our church, a discouraging percentage of members supporting the church with their time, talent, and treasure.
So, yes, all of us need to be revived, renewed, and revitalized as individual disciples and as a community of faith.
God’s people have always needed times of revival and renewal. The theme we have chosen is “Revive Us Again.” Our prayer and hope is the same as that of the psalmist in Psalm 85:6: “Will you not revive us again, so that your people may rejoice in you?”
The older generation among us will remember an old gospel hymn we used to sing and will sing again this fall, “Revive Us Again!” We covet your prayers, your participation and your presence as we make plans and preparations for this weekend of revival and for a whole season of revival and commitment continuing through the fall to Advent.
-Rev. Danny Massie, interim pastor
Trey Wince is Director of New Disciples for the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey. He has helped coach, resource and church plant with more than 550 churches across the conference. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, he has served as Preaching Pastor of Princeton UMC; Lead Pastor of Kingston UMC; College Director for students at Vanderbilt, Belmont & Lipscomb universities; Director of Young Adult Ministries at First Presbyterian in Nashville; and international missions coordinator with Joshua Expeditions.
N.C.-based bluegrass band The Zinc Kings will play Saturday at 5 pm. Here's a video clip:
More About Trey
Current pastoral resident Rev. Nate Sell introduces Trey in this fall's issue of FPC News. Here's the text of Nate's column:
I met Trey Wince at just the right moment in seminary.
I had been hearing about the slow death of mainline denominations for years. As a seminary student, I began to pay closer attention. You probably know the story. A recent Washington Post article sums up our predicament: On our current trajectory, mainline denominations have only “23 Easters left.”
Attendance in mainline denominations, including the PC(USA), have been falling steadily since the 1980s. This is not exactly the type of thing a broke seminary student looks forward to hearing. Thoughts of law school flashed through my head. And then I found Kingston United Methodist Church and Trey Wince.
By all accounts, Kingston UMC should have been dead or dying. It’s a small, old, simple white-clapboard building next to a graveyard on a side street that no one should or would pass unless they were looking for it. The roof needed repair. A picture of a hokey-looking Jesus hung in the sanctuary. The floor creaked. And 10 years ago, it was dying.
Down to a dozen or so members, things were not looking good. By the time I began my field education there in 2014, however, it frequently had 100 people filling its small sanctuary on a Sunday morning. Trey was the lead pastor.
Trey wouldn’t claim responsibility for the church’s turnaround. The previous pastor and many faithful members and a grant began to turn the tide first. But Trey should claim a great deal of responsibility for turning around my pessimistic view about the future of the church.
From Trey and Kingston, I learned that resurrection can happen in the mainline. In Kingston, I saw a church that was willing to risk, to grow, and to change. In Trey, I saw a model for a type of pastor and preacher I could aspire to be. He is a dynamic, funny, down-to-earth, passionate, and smart preacher.
Trey doesn’t just have the ability to “woo” people, he also genuinely cares about individuals and the future of the church. At Kingston and with Trey I got to see and learn from a church that was bucking the trends and truly felt like the living, breathing, Body of Christ.
Trey’s the real deal. He now spends his days working with churches throughout New Jersey who are trying to see what new thing God is calling them toward. I hope you’ll come meet and hear him, and think about what God is calling First Pres toward.