His face dripped sweat and his chest heaved for breath, but evangelist Gerald Mayhan was just getting started.

Under a big white tent behind the Loudoun Valley Shopping Center in Purcellville, he rattled off Bible verse after verse, fired off story after story, ran down the stage and up again. His body pulsated, his voice boomed, and the crowd went wild.

"It's all about Jesus tonight!" he roared.

At the Loudoun Tent Revival on Tuesday night, about 300 people assembled to sing, dance and praise God. The event began Sunday and runs through tomorrow, when it will culminate in a baptismal service beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The gathering, sponsored by four Purcellville churches with participation by more than a dozen others in the county, represents a milestone in the community, said James Ray, pastor at Purcellville Assembly of God.

"It gives God pleasure to see us as one body crossing denominational lines, crossing cultural lines," Ray said. "There are Caucasians, blacks and Hispanics out there. We're crossing all of these boundaries and worshiping together."

Tent revivals began in the early 1800s as a way of bringing the Gospel to the American frontier. After World War II, they were common throughout the country but declined in popularity after the 1960s.

Jim Vaught, pastor at King of Kings Worship Center in Purcellville, hopes that the Loudoun Tent Revival will show everyone the power of unity.

"When we come together, it broadens our vision," Vaught said. "There is strength in numbers. We're accomplishing something here that we cannot do alone."

Mayhan, who preaches at First Assembly of God in Alexandria, told Tuesday night's crowd that before he found God, drugs and alcohol controlled his life for 18 years. He was in and out of prison and neglected his wife, whom he had known since seventh grade.

He said he was saved only after he accepted God 10 years ago,

"I couldn't do it; the detox programs couldn't do it," he yelled. "Jesus did it!"

Mayhan ended the night by calling the crowd to the front of the tent, where he laid his hand on each forehead. "Glory to God! Touch her from the crown of her head to her feet!" he chanted. "Glory to God! That's Holy Ghost fire!"

Some fell to the ground at Mayhan's touch. Some got tears in their eyes. Others simply shook.

"When he manifests his power to you, he just shakes you righteous," said Pat Witherspoon, 53, of Purcellville. "It fills you with incredible holy awe."