Coach, volunteers organize revival in less than a week

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

In less than a week, churches, public officials, volunteers and businesses throughout the region have been able to complete what is usually at least a year’s worth of work.

Volunteers from throughout Alabaster, Pelham, Helena and other Shelby County municipalities recently began organizing the free Awakening 2010 three-day youth revival at the Verizon Wireless Music Center in Pelham.

“Last Thursday, (Pelham football head coach) Brett Burnett called and asked to talk with me,” said First Baptist Pelham Student Minister Donnie Sisk. “He told me ‘Donnie, I’ve been disobedient to the Lord. God told me we need to have a revival for our kids, and I have been putting it off for too long.’

“He said we needed to have a revival, and we needed to have it before the Pelham-Thompson game,” Sisk added. “This was at 4:45 last Thursday (Sept. 23) afternoon. It usually takes 12 months to plan an event like this.”

Since the Sept. 23 meeting, event organizers have been able to secure three well-known speakers and a trio of bands to perform during the festival.

Local evangelist, author and musician David Nasser, Birmingham evangelist Scott Dawson and Rick Burgess, from the Rick and Bubba radio show, will join the Clanton-based Elevate worship band, Alabaster musician Kevin Derryberry and Tennessee band Saul2Paul during the event.

Despite the short notice, event organizers were able to reserve the Verizon Wireless Music Center for the event, which will be held Oct. 5-7 beginning at 6:30 p.m. each night.

All of the bands and speakers agreed to come to the event for free, which has been a blessing for the cash-strapped event organizers, Sisk said.

“It’s incredible to see what God has done during these past several days,” Sisk said. “People are just so excited about it. My e-mail has been going crazy.

“All of us recognize that this is a God-ordained event,” Sisk added. “I have been a student pastor for nearly 30 years, and I have never seen anything like this. Pastors all over the county have already called off their Wednesday night services, and are encouraging the church members to go to the revival.”

Because of the response the event organizers have received over the past several days, Sisk said he is glad the Verizon Wireless Music Center offered to host the event.

“The Civic Complex ice rink was already taken those days, and the capacity in the banquet hall just wasn’t enough,” Sisk said. “We’ve gotten such a great response that now we are hoping Verizon is big enough.

“At the beginning, we were worrying that we wouldn’t have enough volunteers,” Sisk added. “Now, we have so many volunteers that we are trying to figure out what jobs everyone is going to do.”

For more information about Awakening 2010, and for a complete event lineup, visit Awakeningbirmingham.com.