Several months ago, a church in Seattle had a weekend revival. Then the meetings from that event carried over into the following week. And the next week after that. By the time they hit the fifth week, the church was getting bigger crowds, the event had its own hashtag (#westcoastrumble) and the nightly meetings were being broadcast online.
Similar revival meetings in San Diego were making this look like a regional phenomenon. By the eighth week, I decided this just might be news and so I started pitching a story about it. Religion News Service was interested and my story ran April 19.
This got me to thinking about revivals, mass meetings and movements, all of which are notoriously hard for a secular newspaper to cover well. Just what does constitute a large religious movement? Crowds? Miraculous healings? The fact that it’s spread to other locales?
Which is why I was interested to hear of a similar revival happening in West Virginia. The religious media, in this case CBN, were the first to arrive on the scene after a mere three weeks. CBN began with:
MINGO COUNTY, W. Va. -- There's a new sound coming forth from the hills of southern West Virginia - a sound many prophets have foretold but haven't heard until now.
For the past three weeks, the large sports complex in the small coal-mining town of Williamson, West Virginia, has been filled to the rafters with people crying out for God