In our ongoing series about Faith Leaders on the Front Lines: Garry Hutchinson has given a lifetime of service to pastors, by preaching at revivals.
[00:00:08] Garry Hutchinson: You know, you’re there to help the church, but you’re also there to help the pastor and his wife to give them strength, relief, and encouragement. A lot of times I schedule during times that they have conferences. California’s may be in May, Louisiana’s may be in June. You know, sometimes preachers want to take a vacation, they get away for a week to two weeks with their family where they can go and, you know, have some R&R for themselves.
[00:00:38] Because pastors, they’ve got a stressful job, many of them. And sometimes—I know myself as I pastored—I would bring an evangelist in for two reasons. One is, I want the people to have a fresh voice. Two, I look for God’s direction and God’s Word, and God’s confirmation of what I’ve been teaching, what I’ve been preaching. You know, the Bible says, ‘Let all things be established by two or more witnesses.’
[00:01:07] But typically a revival would start like a Wednesday night and go through Sunday. I would preach Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, take Saturday off, and then preach Sunday. That’s typically what men used to do and a lot of men nowadays will bring you in and have you preach just a regular night, a Thursday night, and then stick around and preach Sunday.
[00:01:28] I’ve had it where one of the churches in Chicago preached me seven days straight. My son, one church kept him one time for almost three months. So, you know, it just depends.
[00:01:39] But there’s times where they have certain camps and they have youth camp to where they do have it specifically for the youth. And so you gear that message for that youth. And through prayer, you allow God to lead you as to where you’re going to pull your texts from and the direction you’re going to go.
[00:01:58] And most of all, most young people that are in different churches, so when they come together at a camp designated for the youth, they’re now— instead of being 10 kids in a church or seven kids or 20 kids—they’re among hundreds of kids. They’re strengthened. I’ve never seen a youth camp to where kids didn’t come back more on fire than when they went.
[00:02:23] And all of that just takes preparation and time. Years gone by, we had what we called every month we’d have a rally where churches would get together and they would have different churches. It would have different rallies, different months.
[00:02:37] And there’s a lot of home mission churches that can’t afford revivals. And a lot of evangelists won’t go some places until the church is able to meet a certain criteria. And I’ve never been that way. I go whether I get an offering or not.
[00:02:52] And I preached the prison systems for a year in Leavenworth, Kansas, the federal and the state. And then when I pastored in Texas, I went into the local jail cell—which was big as a lot of prisons—on a weekly basis. But all of us, whether you’re in the church, out of the church, we’ve got certain promises from God’s word, and certain comforts, and divine healing. There’s been times men under the sound of my voice—they were in that balance and that decision—and God blessed ’em. And I’ve heard it echo back in letters and sometimes love offerings come from the pastor, that Brother So-and-so was really moved by your message and wanted me to send you this love offering.
[00:03:36] So we have to be led by the spirit of God. And you have to give some really deep thought. You have to really feel within your inner man that you’re going to capture your audience.
[00:03:53] And the Lord gave Peter a classic example of that. He said, ‘Peter, lovest thou me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know I love you.’ He said, ‘Feed my lambs.’ Then he said again, ‘Peter, lovest thou me more than these?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know that I love thee.’ He said, ‘Feed my sheep.’ And the third time he said it, Peter got a little bit raw, and he said, ‘Feed my sheep’ again, but in the Greek and Hebrew translation, what he was saying was, ‘Feed my lambs, feed my sheep, and feed my ram.’ And the ram’s the ministry. So you have to have a ministry and then to feed to the ministry.
[00:04:28] If you read the Acts Chapter 12, you’re going to find where the Bible says that the church prayed without ceasing for the deliverance of Peter. But then when he come knocking on the door and Rhoda come and said, ‘Peter’s knocking on the door,’ they said, ‘You’re crazy. Peter’s in prison.’ They were praying for deliverance, but they weren’t believing.
[00:04:45] If I’m going to preach to that ram, that’s the message for the ram. The church is praying, but they’re not believing. But God’s going to take you to a new dimension. You feel what I’m talking about? See? And so that—I don’t want to say intellectual—that spiritual awakening, that spiritual acknowledgement, that spiritual intuitiveness comes out from someone that has dug into that word and becomes more seasoned in that word and more submissive to the spirit of God.
[00:05:19] For example, Paul, well, he was running for his life in exile. And he, in the Book of Acts Chapter 27, he was put on the boat as a prisoner to go, he petitioned to go see Caesar. Now he was told he could go free ‘cause they found no fault against him. But he petitioned to go to Caesar because the Lord told him to.
[00:05:41] But then he told him not to set sail in the boat because it would be not only much harm and damage to the ship, but also of their lives. And they come across the storm of Euroclydon, the northeast wind, ‘cause north is for judgment and affliction. So you see, there’s different facets in a message. It says after three days when there was no sun, no stars shined for many days, all hope that they should be saved was taken away.
[00:06:09] They lightened the ship. They threw things out of the ship, because they were fighting for their lives. But the Bible says that Paul, after most abstinence, came to them and said, ‘Sirs, you should have harkened unto me.’ He said, ‘But there came to me this night the angel of the Lord whose I am and whom I serve, saying: Fear not, Paul, that thou must go to Rome, and I have given thee all that sail with thee.’
[00:06:36] I think there was 276 people on that boat, and some of them were prisoners and some of them weren’t. And so that’s the first time they harkened to Paul because they took the knives out and they cut off the boats. And then the Bible says: ‘In the dawning of a new day.’ So then you have the darkness and you’ve got the dawning of a new day.
[00:07:00] And then they saw, it said, ‘an island that they knew not.’ But it was mindful that if they would pull up the anchors, they could make it to shore. And there was a stream that flowed from that. And if you read that in the Book of Acts, you’re going to find that the Bible says it’s where two seas meet.
[00:07:16] I liken the two seas as the spiritual and the natural, the spiritual man and the natural man. And they run the ship aground. And they found that that island was an island of Malita, which is a Phoenician word for ‘safety.’ So there’s so much within that passage of scripture, a guy could go down that path and minister to somebody that’s in the middle of the storm, to minister to somebody that’s in the darkest hour of the day: ‘Where there’s a dawning of a new day.’
[00:07:47] What God is showing you in a natural sense, he’s trying to reveal to you in a spiritual sense. And within one message, it may minister to one person a certain way, to another person, it reaches them another way.
[00:08:01] I’ve had sermons all laid out on a piece of paper. I typically never go to a pulpit without notes. My pastor always taught me you’re better to have them and not need ’em, than need ’em and not have ’em. But I’ve walked to those pulpits with a sermon all prepared, and God totally changed me up within minutes of walking to that pulpit. And I go off-the-cuff and go to a passage of scripture God’s given me.
[00:08:26] When that happens and the spirit of God gets begins to move, it’s time for me to just kind of step out of the way. I was preaching in Buford, Georgia, and I preached about Paul in that shipwreck, and I titled it ‘The Power of Commitment.’ They committed themselves to the master and the owner of the ship. But when they cut the boat off, that was part of them committing to Paul. And not only did they commit to Paul, they committed themselves to the ship because they cut off—(their) only source of leaving that ship was in boats.
[00:09:01] So they committed to Paul, they committed to the ship, and the Bible says after they ate, they pulled up the anchor and they committed to the sea. Powerful, isn’t it?
[00:09:11] And that’s what I’m about. You know in Acts 2 and (Acts) 1 says he’s empowered us to be a witness. Not everybody can reach everyone, but God has called certain people out to reach certain people that other people can’t reach.
[00:09:29] And so you know, I don’t limit it to a pulpit. I meet someone on the bus, I meet somebody on the El train, I meet somebody at the hospital, I meet somebody in the waiting room. It doesn’t matter. You’ve got to be a witness for God. You’ve got to be sensitive. You see people there in a cancer ward, you’re able to tell them how God healed you. And these people, now they have hope. They’ve got life.
[00:09:53] Just the simple things in life can go so far when people are on the brinks of hopelessness, you know?
[00:10:00] It’s been an amazing journey. I have been so active in the ministry throughout all of our life and building new churches and upbuilding churches, and upbuilding people, that that’s all my family know. That’s all my children know. And that’s all my grandchildren know, that Grandpa, you know, he’s a pastor. He’s a minister.
[00:10:21] John Q: Faith leaders on the front lines, with Brother Garry Hutchinson.
Brother Garry’s home ministry is New Life Tabernacle in Beloit, Wis.