Pastor Scott Stone says his congregation at Liberty Southern Christian Fellowship PH Church was ready when revival services were held Feb. 19-22. Some members had been praying weekly for revival. Stone welcomed the Rev. Anthony Cole, pastor of a church in Alabama, as guest speaker for the services. Stone said he invited Cole because they share the same biblical view that the church should be the most in-touch, powerful force in any community. “I remember when the church had relevance,” Stone said. “But today we as Christians have become content just coping with life instead of expecting a supernatural God to handle our problems in a supernatural way. “We should be going to the altar before seeking other solutions. God should be our first resort rather than our last.” Stone believes in the power of God to transform lives and says he has seen miracles wrought firsthand. Stone recalled the story of Alexis de Tocqueville, a Frenchman in the 1800s who came to America to see for himself why the nation was so great and prosperous. “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power,” Tocqueville said. “America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Stone said that if America is going to be great again, it will be because we return to Christian values and the Word of God. Many people recall similar words by President Ronald Reagan, who said, “If America ever ceases to be a nation under God, it will be a nation gone under.” Stone said the recent revival services brought healing, answered prayers and real spiritual change in people’s lives because of prayer. A group of 20 to 30 people have gathered every week for more than a year to pray for revival and for special needs within the church. “We put our written requests in a box, and we encircle that box,” Stone said. “We pray for specific needs within our church and our community, and we’ve checked things off as God has answered our requests. “As our speaker, Rev. Cole was an obedient servant and brought great messages, but because our members had been committed to faithful, earnest prayer for real revival, the church was ready to experience God when he arrived to preach. We’ve been asking, seeking and knocking to experience more of God, and we did.” Cole said he loves preaching in South Carolina and called the revival a wonderful experience. “The spirit of the Lord was pouring out,” he said. “The desire of our hearts is to see lives changed and the Kingdom of God expanded.”

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As Stone leads the local church into the future, he sees God working in the millennials who will be taking responsibility for leadership. Stone said, “When people see a true demonstration of God’s presence and power, they will be reached. Most churches have good programs, but without the Spirit of God present and active, church gets old and boring. Church ought to be exciting, where we come with anticipation of wondering what God will do today.” Stone says that at Liberty they focus on being part of the Kingdom of God over simply being a small church in a small town. “There’s strength and power in God’s Kingdom and we want to experience it. In the Kingdom of God, his will is going to be done. In every local church, it should be the same way.” Stone cited the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 8:23 of how our earthly experience is only a foretaste of heaven with the church being an earthly expression of God’s goodness and power. Stone said, “We should be getting a foretaste in every church service of what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. In the Kingdom, all needs are met.” To pastors who long for their churches to grow and experience more, Stone gives this advice: “It’s about relationship; and prayer is how we relate to God. We must be founded on the Word of God and a strong bond of prayer. It’s good to have people who can preach well and others who can sing well, but without being committed to a time of prayer before God – you’re giving up the glue that holds everything together. With prayer, the possibilities are unlimited.” Stone added that the body won’t be any stronger than the head. As a pastor, he must maintain a deep relationship with God or his church won’t continue to grow. Liberty Southern Christian Fellowship was formed in 1983 and Stone has been serving as pastor for four years.

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Robin Lewis