Saving Appalachia From the Penalty of Sin: The Story of CT Townsend

PHOTO: Burlington Revival, CT Townsend
PHOTO: Burlington, North Carolina, Revival, CT Townsend

Article written by @JeremyTKFarley

Nearly two decades ago a student at West Virginia State University was working a part-time job for a downtown Charleston hotel.  The young man, who was raised in a preacher’s home, was at a pivotal point and was wrestling with looming questions concerning the direction he would take with his life.  One night, while driving to Yeager airport to pick up a hotel guest, the business major found a Baptist minister preaching on the radio dial.  Though long-deceased, the words of that preacher, Texan Lester Roloff, forever left a mark on this West Virginian’s life.

As the hotel-owned vehicle winded through the Mountain State’s capitol city en route to the local airport, the young student was listening to every word of the gospel preacher’s message.

“I was approaching the airport when the preacher said, “God needs a few more preachers!”

“His words struck to my core, I pulled off the side of the road, got out on the snow covered ground, and began praying, saying, ‘Lord, if you’ll have me, I’ll be that person” and surrendered to the call to be a preacher of the Gospel.”

This young man’s name is CT Townsend, and he never finished earning that business degree he was pursuing.

“I didn’t want to just live my life, make money and die — I felt like God had a different plan, a bigger plan for my life.”

Within a year’s time of praying that prayer on the property of West Virginia’s largest airport, the Kanawha County born kid- turned preacher had enrolled into a theological college in South Carolina and quickly rose to prominence in a school dedicated to turning out ministers of the cross. It was there that he met, and married the love of his life, Becky.

At the time of his graduation in 2007, the Charleston-native had become a full-time evangelist and was soon a much sought after preacher amongst Baptist Churches.

The West Virginia born preacher would spend the next nine years faithfully
fulfilling his promise; preaching anywhere people would listen, all across the nation.

“We saw God do some amazing things!” However, never in his wildest dreams could he imagine what the year 2016 would bring.

“We had a one week revival scheduled in Burlington, North Carolina, at New Hope Baptist Church and Pastor Randy Hobbs. The meeting had such an impact in the community that the decision was made to continue the meeting an extra week,” said Townsend.

The crowd doubled in size, and the atmosphere was described as being “electric with excitement for what God was doing in that little town…. God’s people were burdened for their unsaved friends and family and were literally praying around the clock for God to send revival.”

Describing the meeting, Townsend said, “The revival started in the church, but bled into the community and then after several weeks even gathered national attention. People were coming from everywhere. With multiple individuals getting help and many responding to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.”

Revival leaders made the decision to extend the meeting and in short time, the meeting had outgrown the church.

In an attempt to accommodate the large crowds they borrowed a large tent from one of Townsend’s mentors, Pastor Ralph Sexton Jr. of Asheville, NC.

“We were expecting maybe 1,500 the first night, but to our amazement saw over 2,800 people under the tent in Burlington with every chair full and folk standing all around the tent!” Throughout the following weeks, lives continued to be changed by the Gospel message, and crowd’s continued to grow, with one night nearly 5,000 in attendance.

In the end, the revival meeting lasted for three months during the heat of summer and over 1,200 people made professions of faith.

Quick to give all credit to God, Townsend stated, “That meeting gave the people of God hope! It made a lot of church people across this country stand up and take notice — people realized, ‘Hey, God can still move in this day. He can still send revival for people who get hungry, humble and pray.”

A native of Appalachia, the 36-year-old evangelist says that the problems of his native region weigh upon him constantly. “Every time I go back home and preach in West Virginia, I talk to parents whose children are on drugs and learn of even more lives that are ruined by sin.”

“Poverty has always been rampant in our area, but when the mines closed a lot of people were left with few options and running drugs became easy money for some people and the drugs were an easy way to forget their problems for many others — it’s a spiritual attack and I’m burdened by it. My, how West Virginia needs to see God move!”

Recognizing the problems plaguing the mountains of Appalachia, Townsend has set his sights on the region, planning a massive crusade / tent meeting for the spring of 2018 in Bristol, Tennessee / Virginia.

“Bristol is a central area for a lot of churches and we’re praying for God to send people who are hurting, hungry and need the Lord. We believe that the answer to the problems we are facing will not be found in the White House, but in God’s house! Jesus is the only answer! America needs to experience a fresh move of God and revival in our churches!”

The upcoming revival meeting is the work of over 75 churches in the region from several states and Townsend says it is his prayer that the meeting will leave a lasting mark upon the troubled souls of Appalachia.

“I can’t take any credit for what God has done in my life. He’s opened doors and protected us all along the way. It hasn’t been easy doing what we’ve been blessed to do. But God has been faithful every step of the way.” said the West Virginian.

Townsend’s May 2018 revival will be held in Bristol beside of Interstate 81 underneath the large white cross, the last two weeks of May.

For more information on this meeting, individuals may visit

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