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Church of God at Bladensburg

From The Eyes 

of the Youth

What is the tent meeting?

The tent meeting is basically a huge church meeting under a tent. But what makes it so special is that people come from everywhere to praise and worship God.

I love the tent meeting because you get to see loved ones and the atmosphere is very encouraging, knowing that we are all there in one accord. It's a good way to look back on your life and praise God for everything, to get fed spiritually, and to enjoy what God has in store for us.

- Alayna, age 15

Why do you enjoy the meeting?

I personally love the tent meeting; it's an exciting thing to look forward to in the summer. The evangelists are always good and the fact that it's outside makes it even better. 

One of my favorite parts is the singing. I guess being outside makes us sound louder, or maybe we are just that loud, but it's fun to be a part of that. Sometimes I stop singing and just listen, and smile because we sound like we mean every word.

I like it when the choir sings and everyone who knows the song joins in. I'll bet when we're at our loudest, you can hear us all the way across the valley. Over all, it is one of the best highlights of my summer.

- Kristen, age 13

What is your favorite memory from any the past meetings?

My favorite memory is when God proved that He can do anything by stopping the storm when we prayed last year. He did a true miracle. And other people would just say we were lucky and that God didn't do it. But I know it was Him, and knowing that just brightened my day. And that is my favorite memory.

- Whitney, age 10

What things are you looking forward to for this year's tent meeting?

I am looking forward to seeing a lot of people get help and all of the fellowship that will happen.

- Kurt, age 15

I enjoyed the singing and the preaching last year. This year, I'm looking forward to more and more people praising God.

- Colton, age 12

What are your hopes for future tent meetings?

I hope that there will be many new souls and that each year we gain more people than the year before.

- Rileigh, age 12

Bro. Matt Schwartz contacted me the other day to tell me that God had, thru a new sister in Christ, given him a permanent name for the site of our annual tent meeting of the Church of God. The site will no longer be referred to as the old gun club, which is how it has been known to the community of Bladensburg, Ohio for many years. From now on it will be known as Hope Valley. He requested that I design and have made a sign or banner that we could hang up at the site in the weeks leading up to and during the tent meeting. We chose a printed outdoor banner that could be easily displayed and removed for storage when when not needed. May God bless us and these meetings as we endeavor to live for him and follow his will. Thank the Lord for his help in creating this.

- Bro. Dan Sayers II

A Vision for the Tent Meeting

A few years ago, God burdened my heart to have a simple tent meeting, where He was to be the focus. No fancy buildings, and not about the politics that has crept into many of the fellowships. But, a place where the saints could gather to worship God together, a place where He was the main attraction. I kept this to myself for quite a while, and just took it to the Lord in prayer.

Since the beginning of my ministry, I have always been a firm believer that God will provide a way for His people to accomplish the things He asks us to do. Having a place to hold the meeting was one of the things I needed. God provided us the use of an old shooting range that had a level spot for the tent, electric for lights, and a spot for a few campers. The local congregation does not own this land but has use of it any time they need it.

When this property became available for our use, I went for a walk around the grounds. In the south east corner, up on a hill, there is an old chair under a pine tree. I sat down in that chair and started praying, asking God what it was exactly He wanted me to do. As I lifted my head and looked around at all of the briars and the old building that served as an office for the shooting range, in my mind I began to see this vision. There was green grass where the overgrown field was and a large tent in place of the old building. I began to see saints sitting all around the grounds in groups, singing and praising God! I saw campers along the boundaries of the property belonging to saints and travelers coming in. I could almost hear the songs of those saints ringing in my ears, the laughter of the children and the saints as they sent praises to the Lord.

This year we will be having our sixth meeting, and in these past six years we have seen God do some wonderful works. Although I have not seen my vision fully fulfilled yet, I must say we are gaining on it every year and in God’s time it will come to pass. This meeting is solely about getting souls saved and worshiping God, not about promoting fellowships.

- Bro. Matthew Schwartz, Pastor

Testimonies From the Congregation

My favorite memories of our past tent meetings are hearing the young people sing after the service when they gathered outside the tent with no prompting from any adult. It was encouraging and exciting to see them taking an interest and enjoying worshiping God in their own way. Our first tent meeting was a special blessing for a couple reasons. One, God bringing to pass what we felt led that He wanted our congregation to do. Two, the moving of God's spirit in the services and seeing lost soul saved, including a family restored that was on the verge of destruction due to sin.

Tent meeting time is always something I look forward to because of hearing the messages God sends to help me in my walk with Him. It's a time that's exciting to hear what God has done for others through the testimonies they give and how God blesses through the songs sang to praise Him. It is also a time of hard work to prepare and set up for the meeting. God always blesses us for the work we do for Him!

This year I look forward to hearing the messages God sends through Bro. Jimmy Harris. I look forward to seeing people from our community that have been invited coming to hear about God, and pray that we see souls added to his kingdom through this outreach. It is always good to see God's people gather together in true fellowship with God.

Every year we look forward to this meeting and pray and expect to see God bless, help, encourage, and save lost souls of our family's and friends. I believe if we follow what God has us to do, the way He wants things done , we will blessed.

Sis. Chris 

I am so thankful that I was able to witness God literally calming the storm last year, and that my children were able to witness it as well. They talked about it for weeks, I can't wait to see what God has for us this year.

Sis. Lynnette 

The thing I remember most about the tent meetings comes from, (I believe). the first one. It was on a Saturday afternoon. We had a service for the young people, and my son Mike spoke to them. I believe it was that same service that the Lord spoke to Mike, calling him to the ministry. There may have been better services or greater messages, but that is the one that stands out to me!

Bro. Tim

It has been exciting and rewarding to work for God and be a part of the tent meeting these past few years. One of my favorite memories was seeing a soul saved and his home put back together. Another was practicing and singing with the Dover choir in a joint effort to work for God. Also, the young people standing around outside the tent after service singing was a real blessing.

I look forward to more souls being saved, the growth of the tent meeting and, more being accomplished for God in the years to come.

Sis. Sherry

I think I enjoy the tent meetings because its is so refreshing to sit in an open air atmosphere worshiping the Lord. It’s a beautiful setting. Listening to the singing echoing down the valley, seeing the birds flying and corn swaying in the breeze is very relaxing. The Lord has always blessed us with good, wholesome, old-fashioned preaching and down home singing that is whole-hearted worship. Come and join us. You’ll enjoy yourself.

Sis. Janice

I have several memories from the past tent meetings. To name a few, the first meeting was an exciting time as we prepared and started our first of many tent meetings. The weather was cool and I remember Bro. Seth preaching in a coat as God blessed the services. I have memories of the choir from Dover joining with the Bladensburg choir and singing praises together, and letting our singing ring through the valley.

One of my favorite memories is witnessing a sister sing a song in an afternoon service in the 2013 meeting, “God Still Answers Prayer”. That night after the message, her husband gave his heart to the Lord and God restored their home. They have become close friends to us and are still going strong for the Lord.

That following Sunday morning, Bro. Foster delivered the message and the Lord called me into the ministry. That was an experience like no other, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. I felt the burden rest on my shoulders to work for the Lord in this capacity. It has had its blessings as well as its struggles but the Lord has been faithful through it all.

In 2016, a very strong storm blew through and really tested our faith, as it had blown down the tent the year prior. The saints all went to prayer together and the storm stopped immediately. That was a miracle that many witnessed and will never be forgotten.

I am looking forward to meetings where more sinners are in the midst and God draws men and women, where souls are saved and lives are changed. I want to see healings take place and see God do the work that He wants to do in the lives of all who will let him.

Bro. Mike