INTERLOCHEN -- A local congregation is trusting God to use their small, rural church to spark a big revival.
Inland Baptist Church in Interlochen will host the Touch of God Crusade featuring the ministry of the Sutera twins, two longtime church revival leaders. It officially begins Sunday and runs through Oct. 28. The effort is long in duration, big in scope, buoyed by faith and supported with prayer.
"We are a little church. We want stuff to happen, but we want God to take it wherever he wants it," said John C. Gleason, the church's pastor. "(It) seemed like God did the orchestrating of it, not me. I wasn't the one calling the shots."
He had heard about the work of Ralph and Louis Sutera. Later, Ralph Sutera called and spoke to the pastor and then led a revival orientation earlier this year. The congregation of 75 to 100 members was united in the desire to hold the crusade and reached out to area churches alerting them to the event.
Gleason said his church struggled with declining numbers in the summer of 2008, and he had been praying for direction. The crusade is specifically intended for Christians "to spiritually wake up the people who do know God," Gleason said.
Ralph Sutera, who lives in Georgia, said he and his brother, from South Carolina, lead as many as eight revivals throughout the year in the United States, Canada and throughout the world.
"It's not just a performance. It is a desire to sharpen the life of the church so that it becomes a healthy vitality in the community," Ralph Sutera said.
The crusade features nightly services that begin with prayer. The schedule may fluctuate, but, in general, prayer begins at 5:30 p.m. with the service starting at 6 p.m. on Sundays. On Monday through Friday, prayer begins at 6:30 p.m. with the service starting at 7 p.m. There also will also be some daytime sessions.
Each night's service is a little different, Ralph Sutera said. It typically includes singing, testimonies of what God is doing in people's lives, preaching and "ministering to people's needs," he said.
Gleason said the crusade lasts for more than two weeks because it takes time for the "information to get into people's hearts and start working."
Sutera said he witnessed revivals lead to big changes, including healed marriages, youth committing to God, church leaders finding new direction and a deepened desire to reach out to the needy. The revival also can touch off "a strong desire for the word of God to be supreme in people's lives and in people's homes," he said.
At Inland Baptist, Gleason said just preparing for the revival energized the congregation. About two dozen church members met at the neat, steepled white church during a recent midweek service to pray for the revival and that people's hearts would be opened to God.
"As far as I'm concerned, we've already had our revival," Gleason said. "The atmosphere in the church is great. We are united."
Inland Baptist Church is located at 19915 Honor Highway, about three miles west of Interlochen. The church plans to list the complete schedule and more information about the crusade at the Web site www.inlandbaptist.com.