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By Rev. Keisha Patrick


I got to experience Camp Meeting 2023, “Revive and Rebuild,” with my mom. Though we are third and fourth-generation Church of God, and though we both grew up attending NIYC, it was only my second time on Zion’s Hill and my mom’s first. My grandmother, who is now deceased, had road-tripped to camp meetings on Zion’s Hill in decades past. My mom and I were glad to share in a tradition that my grandmother once enjoyed. 


During the Camp Meeting, we spent our time touring the grounds, attending the L.E.T.S. Network Luncheon, and worshipping in the Tabernacle. Min. Jeff Barnes gave my mother and me a golf cart tour of the campgrounds and stopped so that we could walk through the museum. There, we got a glimpse into NACOG’s rich history. My mom became nostalgic when she recognized a photo of Rev. Gabriel P. Dixon, her childhood pastor and wedding officiant, on the wall. She paused to take a picture to share with her family and friends back home. The tour and museum highlighted for us the history and the hope of our Movement.


At the L.E.T.S. Luncheon, Pastor Dan Turner presented re-starting churches as a solution for congregations nearing the end of their church life cycle. The luncheon was an intimate and safe space for honest dialogue about tough topics. As a youth and young adult pastor, I was encouraged to hear senior pastors discuss the necessity of balancing stakeholders’ desire to hold tight to tradition with younger generations’ need for innovation. Overall, the shared experiences and encouragement in that room warmly showed the power and potential of our fellowship and unity.


My mom and I could feel the Holy Spirit’s presence in each worship service we attended in the Tabernacle. The music ministry led us wonderfully in pursuit of worship to our God. The scripture readings selected for each service reminded me of God’s desire to see NACOG and its member churches revived and thriving. I was grateful and humbled for the opportunity to stand behind the sacred desk and minister God’s word to God’s people. I enjoyed the sincere support among the ministers on the program for the week and all of the clergy present for the meeting. Each preacher filled us up with God’s word, providing guidance on reviving and rebuilding. After service, we were filled again with tasty food from the vendors.


Because I couldn’t take the entire week off from work, my mom and I began and ended the Camp Meeting as virtual participants. The YouTube worship community was strong, and the comment section stayed lit during each service. My mom and I shouted “Amen” and “Preach” at the screen as the preachers PREACHED! The opportunity for hybrid participation made our experience complete. Still, there’s nothing like being physically present on Zion’s Hill. The presence of the Spirit and the energy of the people are incomparable. Revival is there. Rebuilding is too. 

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