Final Decade, 20th Century 1995
January 15—Modesto, California – Glen and Debbie Berteau
In January 1994, Glenn and Debbie Berteau, pastors of Calvary Temple Worship Centre in Modesto, California, strongly sensed that the Lord was going to give them revival there. Early in 1994, they challenged their congregation with that vision. After the “vision Sunday,” individuals committed themselves to fast on specific days as the congregation became involved in a 40-day fast and prayer.
In early January 1995, they had a three-day fast. The church building remained open for prayer, and people prayed over names on cards left on the altar. Those able to do so met together daily for prayer at noon. Many pastors in the area began meeting each week to pray for the city.
On Sunday, January 15, 1995, the church began holding performances of the play, Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames. It was scheduled for three days originally but continued for seven weeks with 28 performances. Jann Mathies, pastoral secretary of Calvary Temple, reported in April:
As of this writing, approximately 81,000 have attended the performance with 90% each night seeing it for the first time. At time of printing, 33,000 decision packets have been handed out, and of that, (confirmed) 20,000 returned with signed decision cards. Over 250 churches have been represented with hundreds of people added to the churches in our city and surrounding communities in less than one month. People come as early as 3:30 pm for a 7 pm performance. There are over 1,000 people waiting to get in at 5 pm, and by 5:30 pm the building is full. Thousands of people have been turned away; some from over 100 miles away…. Husbands and wives are reconciling through salvation; teenagers are bringing their unsaved parents; over 6,000 young people have been saved, including gang members who are laying down gang affiliation and turning in gang paraphernalia…. The revival is crossing every age, religion and socio-economic status…. We have many volunteers coming in every day, and through the evening hours to contact 500 to 600 new believers by phone; special classes have also been established so that new believers may be established in the faith (Riss 1995).
The play became a focus for revival in the area. Some churches closed their evening services so their people could take their unsaved friends there. One result is that many churches in the area began receiving new converts and finding their people catching the fire of revival in their praying and evangelizing. One church added a third Sunday morning service to accommodate the people. Another church asked their members to give up their seats to visitors. Bible bookstores sold more Bibles than usual. A local psychologist reported on deep healings in the lives of many people who attended the drama.
That play continues to be used effectively around the world. For example, churches in Australia have performed the play with hundreds converted in a local church. Hardened unbelievers with no place for church in their lives have been saved and now live for God.
© Geoff Waugh. Used by permission.