Tent revivals, also known as tent meetings, are a gathering of Christian worshipers in a tent erected specifically for revival meetings, evangelism, and healing crusades. Tent revivals have had both local and national ministries.
The tent revival is generally a large tent or tents erected for a community gathering in which people gather to hear a preacher in hopes of healing, peace, forgiveness etc. In the continental United States, from an administrative perspective tent revivals have ranged from small, locally based tents holding as few as a hundred people to large organizations with a fleet of trucks and tents able to hold thousands. From a relational perspective whether one tent or thousands the tent revival has been and is a place where all are welcome to come and meet with the God of Christians.
Most tent revivals in the U.S. have been held by Methodist Christians (inclusive of the holiness movement), as well as Pentecostal Christians. Some tent meetings are ecumenical, with the participation of Christian preachers from different denominations. As tent revivals are held outdoors, they have attracted people who after hearing the preaching undrego a conversion experience and join a local Christian church. With radio and television playing an increasingly important part in American culture, some preachers such as Oral Roberts, a very successful tent revivalist, made the transition to these media. Such pioneers were the early televangelists. Other evangelists who have been noted for their continued use of tents in crusades include David Terrell, R.W. Schambach, Reinhard Bonnke and J. A. Pérez.
Practice by denomination
In Methodism (inclusive of the holiness movement), tent revivals occur at various parts of the year, especially in the summer, for preaching the doctrines of the New Birth (first work of grace) and Entire Sanctification (second work of grace).
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- "Winstead United Methodist Church plans tent revival". The Wilson Times. 23 April 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
- Tabler, Dave (18 July 2019). "That old-time Appalachian tent revival". Appalachian History. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
- Sorensen, Karen (16 June 2010). "Faith: The rise and fall of tent revival church services". Taunton Daily Gazette. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
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- Early Texas Tent Revivals - Information on early 1900s tent revivals in West Texas.
- History Archives, Tent Revivals by J.A. Pérez