Tent meetings were once common in the U.S. They were a product of the Second Great Awakening. A tent meeting (or “tent revival”) was usually a two-week long affair, with singing and evangelistic preaching every night. In small towns across the U.S., a tent meeting was a big deal. Many of us have heard older people tell stories about “walking the sawdust trail” in response to an evangelist’s invitation at a tent meeting.
The tent revival was pretty much long gone in the U.S. by the time we were asked to help with them in Germany, but the German churches were still holding tent meetings, with great success. (They Germans have since moved on to other methods of evangelism, but in the late 1980s the Zeltmission was still a big deal in the small towns of Germany as it had once been in our own country.)
Sarah Groves wrote and recorded a song called “Tent in the Center of Town,” which vividly recounts the excitement associated with those tent meetings long ago here in the U.S. The song is, for me, extremely evocative of our experience with the Zeltmissionen in Germany.
My good friend, Chip Colee, is Minister of Music at the First Baptist Church of Montgomery. Chip was involved in the 1988 and 1989 Zeltmissionen. He has taken Sarah Groves’ song and paired it with footage of us from the Zeltmissionen in Ingelheim and in Bebra. He did a great job. Here’s the link to the video.
Well done, Chip.