By J. Gerald Harris, editor, The Christian Index
CLEVELAND – Thursday, September 12, was a special day on the campus of Truett-McConnell College. The chapel service had the imprint of God upon it. The gymnasium is typically filled to capacity when chapel services are held at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland.
Justin Leach, the president of the Ministerial Association, observed, “Mostly the entire school attended chapel this past Thursday. Chapel is becoming one of the most enjoyable things we do as a college. More and more students look forward to worshipping together each week.”
The students are engaged and expressive during the time of praise and worship. They are attentive during the messages. They are responsive during the time of appeal and invitation.
President Emir Caner reports, “The chapel services have become electric. We want all our students to come to faith in Christ and we want those who are saved to hear the call of Christ so they can know His will for them vocationally. In order for that to happen many will have to get rid of the baggage that keeps them from responding to that divine call.”
On September 12 Evangelist Tony Nolan preached at the TMC chapel service and more than 60 students made commitments to Christ, many of them professions of faith.
Caner stated, “We had students getting saved in the dorms before the chapel service ever started. We all came into the gym for the time of worship expecting God to do something special. The gym was packed with students. When our praise team started the music portion of the service, even before Tony started to preach, students were coming to the altar to pray.”
Leach testified, “Tony Nolan’s message was so simple, yet very biblical. Using his own personal testimony he introduced some unique perspectives to the familiar verse, John 3:16. He mainly focused on two points: God’s infinite love for us and the word, ‘perish’ from the biblical text. He explained how he could no longer read the verse the same way due to his horrific past and that he couldn’t get over just how much God loved him.
“He also made sure that each and every person in the room understood that dying without knowing Jesus Christ would result in death for all of eternity. I appreciated that he made no effort to water down the message of the gospel. He spoke the truth. The message was very clear and the Lord obviously used it in a miraculous way.
“The worship was heartfelt just like it is every week, but the time during the message was special. Tony held nothing back and it was as if everyone in the room was hanging on his every word. When he occasionally stopped speaking you could have heard a pin drop and it was obvious to me that he truly had the attention of almost every single person in the room. Unknown to some, it was actually the Lord who had caught their attention.
Leach added, “The response to the message was unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of. I will never forget it. He gave the invitation and eventually asked that all those students that had made decisions to make their way down to the front and to our amazement dozens came and then dozens more and then dozens more. At this point there wasn’t a dry eye in the entire building. We haven’t finalized a count yet, but people are working on that. More than 60 students came forward in response to the invitation.”
A Rotary Club exchange student from Hungary trusted Christ and is now being discipled. Hana Caner, the president’s wife, has a weekly class for 35-40 young women students who are studying the book, Lies Young Women Believe by Nancy DeMoss and Dannah Gresh. These are just examples of the evangelism and discipleship that is taking place all across the campus.
Just hours after the chapel service scores of students gathered around the foot of the cross on the TMC campus to pray for their new brothers and sisters in Christ, to pray for revival and that there would be no lost persons left at Truett-McConnell by the end of the school year.
Leach insists that much of what God is doing is due to the godly leadership provided by the administration and the faculty. He concluded by saying, “God wants to do enormous things though this generation and students here are wholeheartedly buying in.”
One morning in 1970, without warning, all heaven broke loose during Asbury College’s 10 a. m. chapel service in Wilmore, KY. That chapel service that was scheduled for 50 minutes lasted for 185 hours, non-stop, 24 hours a day. Intermittently, it continued for weeks. Ultimately, it spread across the United States and into foreign countries. The Asbury College revival has been compared to the Great Awakenings of 1740 and 1800. Some say it is even being felt today.
Could that same kind of thing happen in 2013? Caner, many of his staff and students at TMC are beginning to think it could happen in Cleveland. Hundreds of people on the TMC campus are experiencing some sure signs of revival.