Tommy Bates Ministries

One of my fondest memories growing up in a Pentecostal home is the Homecoming dinners that took place each year.  When I was a young boy, Homecoming Dinners were a regular occurrence, as common as Thanksgiving and Christmas filled with food and fellowship.  Distant relatives and friends would even travel the long route up from the mountains for the Saturday night meeting and the All Day’s Meeting on Sunday.

On Saturday night, the meeting opened up with prayer.  Kneeling at the altar, at their seats, and in every place they could find, those in attendance began every service with a “season of prayer.”  I remember the prayer would sound like melodies of Appalachian chanting as the spirit and soul connected with the Savior of the world.  Wiping their tear-filled eyes with their handkerchiefs, the men would then congregate on the right of the platform while the women went to the left around the piano.  When someone felt the “leading” to start, tambourines, cymbals, hand clapping, foot stomping, a big upright bass, fiddles, and mandolins would begin to echo outside the building.

When the wind blew just right, people living over a mile away could hear the praises of God from these “holiness” people.  As the evening went on, curious spectators would line up along the road outside the church and sit in their cars listening to the intense worship and preaching that drifted out the windows and doors on the steamy summer night.  Young men who were too fearful to come into the church sober would go out drinking and then dare each other to go into the service and see what these “Holy Rollers” were doing.  Often, one or more of those men would come staggering in, and the Holy Ghost would convict them, and they would get saved and delivered from alcohol right on the spot!

Morning came, and with it the big day…Homecoming!  Also known as the “All Day’s Meeting.”  And what a meeting it was!  Every seat in our little country church would be filled, with standing room only!  The worship service would be filled with the love and memories of those who had passed away as the saints sang, “Ain’t no Grave Gonna Hold my Body Down!”  Everyone encouraged one another to hold on for, “There’s a great Homecoming Day Coming Soon!”

That Holy Ghost Power is still alive and well at Community Family Church and I am forever grateful.  I am constantly aware and reminding our faithful members to never forget to “glean from our past, so we can provide a better future for our next generation.”

As always, we’re saving you a seat at Community Family Church!

We love y’all

Pastor Tom

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