Tag Archives: Revivaltime

The Revivaltime Choir: Over 1,300 Students were “Young Evangelists” in this Radio Ministry

Revivaltime1

Revivaltime choir, circa 1960s. Cyril McLellan, director, is standing in front, far right.

This Week in AG History — April 15, 1962

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on PE-News, 13 April 2017

When people reflect on Revivaltime, the long-standing weekly radio broadcast of the Assemblies of God, they often think of the much-acclaimed speakers, C. M. Ward and Dan Betzer. But the ministry of the Revivaltime choir, made up of students from Central Bible College (CBC) who volunteered to sing on the program each week, was just as important.

The Assemblies of God released the first Revivaltime broadcast on Easter Sunday, 1950. Three years later, on Dec. 20, 1953, the program was broadcast from the Bowie Hall auditorium at CBC and began airing on the ABC Radio Network with C. M. Ward as the speaker. Through the years, it is estimated that more than 1,300 people ministered as choir members and musicians under the leadership of Cyril McLellan, Revivaltime’s longtime music director. Although McLellan trained for and expected musical excellence, the emphasis of every practice and broadcast was prayer and a desire for the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

The choir practiced during the week. Then on Sunday afternoons, beginning in January 1962, a bus would transport the students from CBC to the auditorium at the Assemblies of God national office. After rehearsing, the choir was joined by the rest of the team for prayer, and then C. M. Ward (and later Dan Betzer) would offer a few inspirational thoughts to the choir before starting the live broadcast. Two songs which became a hallmark of every program were “All Hail the Power” and “There’s Room at the Cross.”

A variety of songs and traditional hymns rounded out the musical selections for the Revivaltime program, with the choir often presenting a sermon in song which would augment the preaching. Whether it was a live radio broadcast in the Assemblies of God national office auditorium or when the choir was on tour, the choir members would often disperse into the congregation, connect with people, and pray for their needs. Ward often referred to the choir as “these young evangelists.”

Each year, two or three times as many talented CBC students auditioned for the choir than could be used. Those selected willingly gave up many hours each week to prepare for the half-hour broadcast. The students only met a small fraction of their audience, and they seldom would see the results of their ministry in music and prayer. Yet there are many testimonies of persons who have been saved, healed, encouraged, and helped by their singing.

An article in the Pentecostal Evangel from 55 years ago entitled “Why They Sing for Revivaltime” gave some background on why the students gladly sang for Revivaltime. The article includes testimonies from choir members as well as people in the audience.

Why did they sing for Revivaltime? One factor listed, in addition to their love for singing, is that the students found that “working with the talented choir director, Cyril McLellan, is a rewarding experience.” They also caught on to the vision of the ministry they could have through Revivaltime.

Gwen Hestand, a sophomore, testified, “I chose Revivaltime as an outlet for ministry because the broadcast’s very foundation is to meet human need wherever it exists and to present Christ as the answer to that need.”

“There’s no other ministry where so many people in so many places can be reached at one time,” said Carl Guiney, another sophomore.

David A. Ferrell, a student who had served as an evangelist, shared: “The Revivaltime choir is the greatest opportunity I have ever had to help so many. To read letters from those in distress and to go before the throne of God with these requests is the most rewarding work I’ve done.”

A listener in Alabama reported, “I receive a wonderful blessing from the message and beautiful music.” From Oregon came this testimony: “I enjoy the singing so much. I like to sing along with the choir.”

Revivaltime was not just a radio broadcast, it was a ministry that touched lives through the message and songs. The choir prayed often. Their focus was not on performance, but on ministering the gospel through song.

Read, “Why They Sing for Revivaltime,” on pages 16-17 of the April 15, 1962, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Cross in Christian Experience,” by Gordon D. Fee

• “The Last Supper,” by Violet Schoonmaker

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archive editions courtesy of Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Revivaltime’s Global Radio Ministry: Paul Pipkin and the Philippines

pipkin

Paul Pipkin on the air at DZAS in the Philippines, 1949

This Week in AG History — February 17, 1957

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on PE-News, 16 February 2017

Revivaltime, the weekly radio broadcast which aired from 1953 to 1995, was one of the best-known Assemblies of God ministries of its era. However, many may not be aware of its substantial global impact.

The Feb. 17, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel shared how Revivaltime came to the Philippines — one of the countless nations in which the program was rebroadcast.

Assemblies of God missionaries Paul and Violet Pipkin began ministering in the Philippines in December 1948. Soon after they arrived, the president of the Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC) approached Paul about hosting a radio ministry.  He eventually worked on staff at the FEBC for seven years and worked for more than 50 years in broadcast and evangelistic ministry.

By early 1957, Paul Pipkin was broadcasting Revivaltime at a radio station in Cebu City, Philippines.  He also had a contract with the Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC) to air Revivaltime at the FEBC station in Manila, Philippines. As one of the directors at FEBC, he oversaw the PM (Portable Missionary) and Extension Department.

In a report to FEBC, Pipkin declared, “Besides our ten broadcasts a week, we have the interesting task of assigning hundreds of portable radios to Filipino families on a loan basis.” Before the days of transistor radios, the PM and Extension Department manufactured battery-operated, pre-tuned radios known as “Portable Missionaries” or “PM’s” and loaned them out to hospitals, prisons, and people in remote villages.  Through these PM’s thousands of people were able to hear the gospel.

Pipkin sent out a questionnaire to members of the PM club he had organized, and asked what they thought about Revivaltime. One member wrote, “Revivaltime is helping us very much. The sermons of Brother [C. M.] Ward are just what we need for our day. We won’t miss it for anything.”

In addition to English messages of C. M. Ward that were broadcast on the radio, Pipkin would translate the messages into the Ilocano dialect for one group of Filipinos who lived in the mountains.

Pipkin reported that “Requests come constantly for Revivaltime to be released on more stations. Who can measure the number of actual homes reached each week as Revivaltime finds its way into the most unlikely places?”

While Revivaltime originated in the United States, its audience members spanned the globe. Creative missionaries and national church leaders adapted the radio broadcast for use in the Philippines and numerous other countries. Revivaltime was a prominent manifestation of the Assemblies of God’s commitment to take “all the gospel to all the world.”

Read “Revivaltime in the Philippines,” on page 20 of the Feb. 17, 1957, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “A Servant of the Church,” by Gayle F. Lewis

• “Hindu Priest Finds Christ,” by E. E. Shaffer

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel achieved editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Revivaltime: How Radio Helped Shape Assemblies of God Identity

Revivaltime

Revivaltime broadcast, circa 1958. Bartlet Peterson announcing for Revivaltime; C.M. Ward (seated at table on left); Cyril McLellan (directing Revivaltime choir); C.T. Beem (standing behind piano)

This Week in AG History — December 11, 1960

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 10 December 2015

Revivaltime, the Assemblies of God weekly broadcast heard on the ABC radio network from 1953 to 1995, was one of the Fellowship’s most successful national ministries. Its hosts, C. M. Ward (1953-1978) and Dan Betzer (1979-1995), became two of the best-known Assemblies of God personalities, known to millions of listeners “coast to coast and around the world,” as the program’s familiar introduction intoned.

Ward established the 30-minute program’s format. Each program began with the song, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” sung by the Revivaltime choir. The song became so ingrained into the program’s identity that some have called it the “unofficial anthem” of the Assemblies of God. The reading of a biblical text and a sermon came next, followed by an invitation to kneel at the “radio altar” while the choir sang Ira Stanphill’s “There’s Room at the Cross for You.”

The program saw almost immediate success. For decades, over 10,000 letters from listeners poured into the Revivaltime offices each month. By 1960, church officials estimated that Revivaltime’s U.S. radio audience was 12 million people — 12 times as large as the Sunday morning attendance at Assemblies of God churches in America. Add to that the numerous Revivaltime broadcasts in other countries, and the magnitude of the program’s influence quickly becomes obvious.

Ward and Betzer engaged audiences with sermons employing simple, direct language and powerful illustrations and human-interest stories. They also modeled the charismatic gifts on the air, sometimes exercising a “word of knowledge” — communicating messages under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to specific unknown listeners. Countless thousands of people wrote in and credited Revivaltime for playing a role in a relative’s salvation, a healing, or other divine interventions.

Revivaltime and other national ministries — such as Christ’s Ambassadors (the ministry to youth and young adults), Royal Rangers (the Scout-like boys ministry), and Missionettes (now National Girls Ministries) — helped to give the Assemblies of God a sense of national identity and branding. While the focus in the Assemblies of God remained on the local church, these national ministries provided generations of Assemblies of God members with a sense that they were a part of a larger community of believers.

The December 11, 1960, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel celebrated the seventh anniversary of Revivaltime, featuring C. M. Ward, D. V. Hurst (national secretary of Radio), and Bartlett Peterson (Revivaltime executive director) prominently on the cover. Together, these three men and hundreds of others labored to develop Revivaltime into a ministry that not only helped to evangelize and disciple believers, but also helped shape the identity of the Assemblies of God.

Read articles about Revivaltime’s seventh anniversary on pages 2 and 12 of the December 11, 1960, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “The Security of the Believer,” by Myer Pearlman

• “Predestination: What Does the Bible Teach about this Mysterious Subject?” by Ralph M. Riggs

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Listen to classic Revivaltime radio episodes by clicking here.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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TBN Donates C.M. Ward Library to Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

C. M. Ward, circa 1970

C. M. Ward, circa 1970

Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world’s largest Christian broadcaster and America’s most watched faith channel, announced today that it has donated the personal library of Dr. C.M. Ward (1909-1996) to the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC), the official archives and research center of the Assemblies of God fellowship.

For 25 years, from 1953 to 1978, Dr. Ward was host of Revivaltime, the flagship weekly radio broadcast of the Assemblies of God. During its heyday Revivaltime was heard on hundreds of stations via the ABC radio network, and the program received from 12,000 to 15,000 letters each month from listeners around the world, including notes of appreciation from such well-known individuals as President Lyndon Johnson and Queen Juliana of Holland.

Thousands of listeners across the earth considered C.M. Ward their pastor, and many in the radio industry of the 1950s placed Revivaltime second in popularity only to Hour of Decision, the weekly radio program of the young evangelist Billy Graham.

A meticulous researcher who read voraciously in preparation for the weekly Revivaltime broadcasts, Dr. Ward was also a close personal friend of TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch, and a regular guest on the network’s Praise the Lord show, where viewers looked forward to the warmth and practical approach to the gospel that made him such a popular radio pastor.

TBN Vice President Matthew Crouch recalled that in 1990 Dr. Ward donated a large portion of his personal library to TBN, including his collection of theology books, Bible commentaries, history volumes, biographies, and other Christian resources.

“My parents Paul and Jan Crouch realized the rich reservoir of Pentecostal history and heritage that Dr. Ward’s library represented,” explained Mr. Crouch, “and following the passing of my father in November of 2013, we decided to turn it over to the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, where it will be used and enjoyed for generations to come.”

FPHC Director Darrin Rodgers said that Dr. Ward’s library represents a significant chapter in the Assemblies of God fellowship’s evangelistic outreach through media. “For 25 years C.M. Ward took a message of salvation, hope, and healing to countless thousands of radio listeners on behalf of the Assemblies of God,” he said. “We are thankful to TBN for this generous donation that will help to honor Dr. Ward’s legacy.”

One Hundred Years of Pentecostal Heritage

It is significant that the donation from TBN comes during the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Assemblies of God. Paul and Jan Crouch were both raised in the Assemblies of God, and the roots of that fellowship’s faith and spiritual passion ran deep in their lives. Among the many connections:

– Paul Crouch’s father, Andrew Crouch, was a founding member of the Assemblies of God. As a young child Paul lived in Egypt, where his parents served as Assemblies of God missionaries.

– Jan Crouch’s father, Edgar Bethany, was one of the principal founders of what is now Southeastern University, the Assemblies of God’s university in Lakeland, Florida, and served as the Assemblies of God’s Executive Presbyter for the Southeastern United States until his passing in 1975.

– Paul Crouch graduated from the fellowship’s Central Bible Institute in 1955, and in 1961 the Assemblies of God appointed him to organize its newly formed Department of Television and Film Production in Burbank, California, a position he held until 1965.

Matthew Crouch said that his parents’ close connection with the Assemblies of God was foundational when they launched TBN in 1973. “The flame of the Holy Spirit that burned deeply in the hearts of the men and women who started this great fellowship back in 1914, was the same fire that ignited the passion of Paul and Jan Crouch to take the gospel around the world through television.”

He noted that in 1964 while serving with the Assemblies of God, his parents produced an historical documentary, entitled Like a River, for the fiftieth anniversary of the fellowship. “This year my wife Laurie and I have had the honor of working with Dr. George Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, to produce a documentary to be aired on TBN for the fellowship’s centennial celebration.”

Added Mr. Crouch: “I think there is powerful significance that my grandfather was part of the founding of the Assemblies of God, my parents were there to document its first fifty years, and now as the third generation we are present to honor the hundredth anniversary of this continuing move of God. As with so many families, it’s one generation declaring God’s power to the next.”

Tune in to TBN Friday, August 15th, at 7 p.m. (Pacific Time) as Matthew and Laurie Crouch host a very special program celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Assemblies of God.

About the Trinity Broadcasting Family of Networks

With 28 networks and growing worldwide, the Trinity Broadcasting Family of Networks is the world’s largest faith-and-family television group, airing a broad range of church and ministry programming, Christian music, family friendly movies, children’s programming, and shows for teens and young adults 24 hours a day to every inhabited continent via 87 satellites and 20,000 television and cable affiliates. In addition, TBN’s most popular global networks are available on computers, smart phones, and other mobile devices, and over 25,000 hours of entertaining and inspiring On-Demand programming is accessible via TBN’s innovative online network, iTBN.org. To find out more about the Trinity Broadcasting Family of Networks, log on to www.tbn.org.

______________

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: Archives@ag.org

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Homegoing of Cyril A. McLellan, director of the Revivaltime Choir


CYRILCyril A. McLellan, a name synonymous with the former Assemblies of God Revivaltime Choir, passed away on Tuesday, May 19th in Springfield, Missouri, after an extended battle with cancer. He was 81.

Born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, McLellan’s musical pedigree was impressive. He held a performance degree from the London Royal School of Music, bachelor of arts degrees in music from Central Bible College and Evangel University, and a masters degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in violin pedagogy, where he also excelled in choral conducting. In 1958, McLellan became an ordained AG minister. Being an accomplished violinist, he was also a member of the Springfield Symphony.

Cyril took over the Revivaltime Choir from his brother Vernon in 1952, after he moved to Missouri from Canada to teach at Central Bible Institute (now Central Bible College). He directed the Revivaltime Choir for 43 years, starting even before C. M. Ward became the Revivaltime speaker. He continued as director until the broadcast ended in 1995. According to Barbara Cavaness, a former choir member, “McLellan demanded and trained for musical excellence, but the emphasis of every practice seemed to be the prayer that each note would be anointed by the Holy Spirit.” Lee Shultz, the producer and narrator of Revivaltime for 25 years, said: “He gave his heart and soul to produce the kind of music that reached people. The quality was uncontestable; so many tried to imitate it.”

McLellan traveled with over 100 choir tours and participated in approximately 1,700 radio broadcasts. He produced 35 Revivaltime Choir albums and led more than 800 Revivaltime choir members. He completed more than 170 choir arrangements, including 75 octavos and 24 books as well as personal recording projects.

McLellan received prestigious honors over the years, including: Central Bible College Alumnus of the Year, an award for artistic ability and leadership in music from Word Records, a SESAC award for outstanding achievement in music and ministry, a commendation for music and ministry at the AG 45th General Council (1993) in Minneapolis, and in 2001 he was inducted into the Assemblies of God Music Hall of Honor.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Beth; two adult sons, Steve and Bruce; his brother, Arnold L. McLellan; and five grandchildren. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, May 25, in Greenlawn Funeral Home North, in Springfield, Missouri. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 26, in Central Assembly of God, in Springfield. Alumni of the Revivaltime Choir will be singing “Room at the Cross” and “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” at the funeral service.

Memorial music scholarship contributions may be given to Central Bible College or Evangel University.

Obituaries have been posted in the
Springfield News-Leader
, in AG-NEWS, and in CBC Alumni News.

Posted by Glenn Gohr

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Dorothy Ward (1909-2007), widow of C. M. Ward, passes away

Dorothy M. Ward, the widow of Revivaltime speaker, C. M. Ward, passed away on April 17, 2007 at the Bethel Retirement Center in Modesto, California, at the age of 98.

Born on April 3, 1909, in Kansas City, Missouri, she was the daughter of Charles and Hazel Hymes. She met C. M. Ward one summer when he was preaching at Ottawa, Kansas, where she lived. They were married in a double wedding ceremony on December 25, 1929, at Ottawa, Kansas, along with Dorothy’s sister who married Leonard Palmer.

Dorothy Ward assisted her husband as he pastored and evangelized in Canada, taught at North Central Bible College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and pastored again at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Bakersfield, California from 1945-1953. Then came the move to Springfield, Missouri, where Dr. C. M. Ward became the well-recognized voice of the Assemblies of God Revivaltime radio broadcast for 25 years.

She and Dr. Ward moved from Springfield, Missouri, to Scotts Valley, California in 1973, when he was appointed president of Bethany Bible College (Bethany University) until 1978. In 1990 they relocated to Modesto, California, where they resided at Bethel Retirement Center. Dr. Ward preceded her in death on July 12, 1996.

In 1937 one of Dorothy’s sisters-in-law died, leaving a child behind. The Wards became parents to the young girl, now Martha Jane Sherburne of Florence, Oregon. Dorothy is survived by her daughter Martha Jane; four grandchildren, five great-great-grandchildren; and a sister, Ruth Williamson. She is also survived by two sisters-in-law, Barbara and Ruth Hymes; several nieces and nephews; and her devoted friend and caregiver, Ethylene Shannon.

A memorial service was held on April 24th at Bethel Church in Modesto. A final memorial will be held in Springfield, Missouri, on May 11, at 1 p.m. in the chapel at Greenlawn Funeral Home North, with burial to follow in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens, where she will be laid to rest alongside her husband, C. M. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the C. M. Ward Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 7937, Stockton, CA 95267.

Additional information can be found at Assemblies of God News Service, the Santa Cruz (CA) Sentinel, April 22, 2007, and the Springfield News-Leader, May 8, 2007.

Posted by Glenn Gohr

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