DUMAS, Ark. – Drama in a church can cause quite a commotion. At First Baptist Church in Dumas, it resulted in more than 100 people submitting their lives to Christ.  

The church recently partnered with Reality Outreach Ministries to present “Heaven’s Gates & Hell’s Flames,” an evangelical drama presenting the Gospel in a unique way. The drama was performed four nights in a row, Feb. 25-28, drawing more than 1,200 from the community into the church. Of those, Pastor Reuel Cruce said 123 made decisions to follow Jesus.  

“It’s just been a move of God,” he said, noting numerous additional salvations in the days following the drama.  

Describing the process, Cruce said Reality Outreach Ministries sends a couple to the church to direct the production. The couple arrives the Friday before, meets with the church and participates in Bible study and prayer with the congregation. On Saturday, they begin casting church members for the production, which is 100% performed by the church. The members had about 24 hours to learn their part before the first show. 

Cruce said the congregation responded well with church members beginning to experience revival before the drama even began.  

“The Holy Spirit moved in. They were rejuvenated,” he said.  

Cruce said they have hosted many events with little response from the community. But that was not the case this time. Originally scheduled for only three nights, he said the drama drew such interest they added a fourth night which ended up being the biggest night for salvation with 56 coming to faith.  

“It was an awakening for a lot of people. Some people met Jesus for the first time, some people rededicated their lives,” he said. “Our church people, who are there every week, who are faithful to come, they are experiencing just a revival in their hearts like never before.”  

Cruce quoted one church member as saying, “I’ve been going to church here 50 years and I’ve never seen anything like this.” 

Attendance at First Baptist Church in Dumas typically runs 160 to 180 on Sunday morning. The average each night of the drama was about 320. Cruce described it as standing room only.  

“I am certain about one thing and that was God moved to get people to come. That was, that is my biggest question, why did they come? That is your hope when you do something. We all dream big. But why did they come? The only answer I had was that God just intervened somehow,” he said. “We’ve done other events to try to engage the community with very little response and they overloaded us this time. It was good.” 

On the Sunday following the production, the church held breakfast with the pastor for everybody who made a decision. Cruce said they had about 40 people come. During Sunday’s invitation, 11 people came forward during the invitation to follow in baptism.  

“We are still following up with other people, trying to get them engaged with church and talk about what baptism is and what church ministry is. Some of these people have never been to church,” he said. “It’s just been a move of God and we’re faced with a how do we keep this going? How do we keep people engaged? It’s something we haven’t experienced before. … It’s exciting. It’s been fun. Right here in the Delta. … I want people to know what God’s done. And what He is doing. It’s what we pray for.”   

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