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Moving with God through prayer

 

SPLASH Bartow

Bartow Baptist Association initiated SPLASH (Show People Love and Share Him) Bartow, a local mission project for students and their adult leaders to rehab homes.

CARTERSVILLE — When God’s people fervently pray in unison, something spectacular is bound to happen that just might move the heavens.

David Franklin, Bartow Association missionary, knows that to be true.

On April 27, more than 3,500 of Bartow County’s estimated 100,000 residents attended nine community prayer services that crossed denominational and racial lines. In each service, five ministers prayed five biblical prayers.

The next day in each of Bartow County’s seven municipalities and at the jail, volunteers started reading God’s Word in public.

“We read for three straight days, 24 hours a day until we finished,” Franklin said. “I have never seen anything touch a community quite like this.”

All of this happened in the midst of two tornado and hail warnings.

“Both times God just took care of it,” Franklin said. “Lost people are talking about how the weather changed.”

One of the storms went north and south of Bartow County, which did not get a drop of rain.

The public reading of God’s Word ended on May 1, the National Day of Prayer. About 200 ministers gathered at 11 a.m. at Sam Jones United Methodist Church in Cartersville and marched together to the courthouse. With more than 1,200 people present, leaders gave the mayor and each sheriff a Bible that volunteers had read in public and then signed.

“I always knew I was going to be an associational missionary,” said Franklin, whose dad also served as an associational missionary. “I always had a vision for a true movement of God through community transformation, but that is never limited to one church or one denomination. I always had a vision of everyone working together.”

"If America is going to turn around it’s going to be done at a grassroots effort."

David Franklin, missionary
Bartow Association

When he arrived in late 2007, Franklin called the Baptist ministers together and began prayer meetings with them. Those prayer meetings soon expanded.

“If America is going to turn around it’s going to be done at a grassroots effort,” Franklin said.

The groundswell of spiritual renewal through community prayer groups and ministry initiatives has brought amazing results.

► In 2013, a tornado landed in Adairsville. The churches mobilized 1,800 people for cleanup the first weekend. Within three weeks, volunteers had cleared all debris. Other nearby counties took four months.

► God used one of the churches to break into the “mountain,” the name for a region of the county with heavy meth use. “The police department said to the church, ‘What we couldn’t do, you have done,’” Franklin said. “We know God’s done it.”

► The community’s ministers prayed about the 18% unemployment during the 2009 financial crisis. “It didn’t take long before God brought 5,000 jobs to Bartow County,” Franklin said.

► SPLASH (Show People Love And Share Him) Bartow began as a local mission project for churches to engage youth in community transformation and has produced teens as leaders in their schools and even led drives to distribute Bibles there.

Georgia Baptist Convention President Don Hattaway is pastor of Tabernacle Baptist in Cartersville and confirms Franklin’s observations

“The biggest change in our community has been the unity among our pastors and churches,” he said.