Wednesday, September 6, 2023


     I grew up in a large Amish/Mennonite area just outside of Berlin, Ohio. One of the things that had a major impact on me was the revival preachers who came to the area from time to time. I especially remember the George Brunk tent revival meetings that were held annually in the Joe T. Miller farm field in the valley before Route 62 went up the hill into Berlin. In the attached picture you’ll see the Sturges Miller barn located to the left of the tent. Our house, unseen in the picture, was on Charm Road to the right. I remember being outside with Mom and brother Merv, perhaps playing ball, or just sitting peacefully on the front porch.

     The warm air was still, while people, most of them Conservative Mennonites, parked their dark-colored cars, and then marched their families to grab seats in the large tent. Vibrant acappella singing followed, filling the valley with sound. After that was a brief interlude of silence.

     Then finally we heard his distinct voice over the loudspeakers across the way. Reverend Brunk followed the pattern of many revival preachers, like Billy Graham. He started by speaking calmly with a measured pace to lay the groundwork for his message. His voice got a little louder and he ramped up the intensity as the sermon progressed. Finally, his voice was booming with Bible verses and pronouncements of the impending judgment upon those who didn’t give their hearts to Christ, accompanied by an urgent plea for them to do so.     
     Reverend Brunk’s loud voice didn’t seem threatening and mean—but it definitely was convicting. He was very firm in his commitment to the task God gave him of bringing people to Christ. I would describe his message as “power of God preaching”.
     I came to Christ several years after those annual revival meetings, and since that time, about forty-six years ago, I have seldom heard the “power of God preaching” as I heard from Reverend Brunk—perhaps only from Billy Graham. Preachers and evangelists like that seem very few and far between.
     One rare exception in my life is Pastor Bobby Duncan, former pastor of the Mansfield Church of God. I attended there under his pastorship for approximately six months before he retired for good in March 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic became very prominent. Dee and I became good friends with him and his wife Sandra. I especially appreciate his pastor’s heart and love for his people. And I missed, and still miss his “power of God preaching”.

     Pastor Duncan fills in preaching for pastors in Ohio who need some time off. He recently filled in five Sundays at the Ashland Worship Center, and I went all five times. He and Sandra were a real blessing. I told my wife and some others that I think every new pastor should sit under Pastor Duncan’s leadership and preaching for some time before they go out on their own.
     I’m going to insert three short snippets of his recent preaching on his last Sunday at Ashland Worship Center to show what I mean by “power of God preaching”. He preached on Revelation 21. Sorry about the muffled sound. Here they are:
Snippet 1: You’ll see that Pastor Duncan is very measured in the beginning to lay the groundwork for his message. (See video)

Snippet 2: Pastor Duncan’s intensity is ramping up. He’s not ramping up for the sake of ramping up, but to further get across how important is the message of the gospel. (See video)

Snippet 3: Pastor Duncan ends the sermon with a crescendo to bring people to the point of change. He powerfully exhorts his listeners to take action. (See video)
     Well, what do you think?. You can see the entire sermon and four other ones on the Ashland Worship Center Facebook page.
     I think you could strongly sense Pastor Duncan’s love for his listeners, and his desire for them to fully realize and understand how much God loves them, wants them to follow Him, and wants them to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Pastor Duncan did so by what I describe as “power of God preaching”.

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