The spark that ignites the flame isn’t always all that bright at first. This is true for Robby Gallaty, senior pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, TN, where more than 1,000 people have been baptized since December 2020, following nearly a year of prayer that Gallaty describes as “silence and solitude” in his own life.
The pastor told Faithwire, “I began sitting with the Lord for ten months. Then, finally, Dec. 15, 2020, I’m on the porch, and I hear as clear as day these words in my head, after a season of silence and solitude: ‘Spontaneous baptism.’”
The following Sunday, Gallaty recalls, was the lowest-attended service in his five-year tenure at Long Hollow. He says it felt as if everything was working against what he was confident God had so clearly instructed him to do.
On that Sunday in mid-December, 99 people were baptized.
“I’d never seen anything like this before in my life,” the pastor says, adding he assumed that must have been the end of the “revival” he sought after, until he returned to his porch once again that night.
“The Lord gave me this visual,” he explains, recalling sitting outside his house that Sunday evening. “He showed me, ‘These are the heavy raindrops, Robby, before the torrential downpour that’s coming.’”
Gallaty then reached out to his fellow ministry leaders at Long Hollow. The following Tuesday, just three days before Christmas, the church hosted a baptism-only service where another 81 people showed up.
Then people who had been watching Long Hollow online began traveling to the church and its two satellite campuses. People coming from out of state said they “felt compelled by the Holy Spirit” to travel to Hendersonville.
Over the course of less than four months, Long Hollow baptized 1,000 people from 15 different states. For context, Long Hollow baptized 162 people in 2018 and 222 in 2019.
“It’s a genuine pulling and tugging of the Holy Spirit,” the pastor states.
The awakening taking place at Long Hollow is only possible, Gallaty admits, because he was convicted to deal with the sin in his own life: pride, jealousy, and arrogance. He says he wasn’t even aware that sin had taken up residence in his heart. God showed him, “The problem is not with your church. It’s not with your staff. The problem is you. You’re the problem.”
Gallaty encourages his fellow pastors: “The reason you’re not seeing a mighty move of God in your church may be because you’re the blood clot,” he says. “And I say that from experience. You may be the problem to why God’s not moving.
“I’m convinced prayer births revival and revival births prayer,” Gallaty says. He describes prayer as “the wood stacking for the fire that burns on the weekend,” referring to corporate worship on Sundays.
“We need to get out of this Western reciprocity mindset of, ‘God if I do this, You do this,’” he continues. “That doesn’t work with silence and solitude.”
And it was out of that “silence and solitude” that revival came to Long Hollow.