In the last ten weeks, I’ve preached nine four-day revivals. When people see my preaching calendar they often ask, “Do revivals still work?” The short answer is, “Yes!” This Fall revival season is yielding great results because workers from the local church are doing their work.
A farmer doesn’t experience a bountiful crop just because it’s harvest season. He plows, cultivates, irrigates, and fertilizes his field ahead of time. Jesus says in Matthew 9, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Revivals work best when workers spend time in the field. That’s why I ask churches to prepare by praying, prioritizing, and promoting.
Since genuine revival is the work of the Holy Spirit, prayer is the bedrock preparation. In the weeks leading up to the meetings, the pastor needs to prayerfully prepare his own heart and intercede for his congregation. Then the church should come together for a time of spiritual encouragement, personal examination, and intercession for the community.
It should also be a time of promotion, as the people inform and invite others to come. Of course, that means church members need to make attending revival services a priority by clearing their personal calendars. Great revivals often ignite in rural places, among small gatherings of people who abandon busyness for a short time.
How do you measure the success of a revival? Most often, people look to the attendance or the number of salvations during the week. While many revival meetings produce both crowds and conversions, there are times when it takes days, or even weeks, to realize the work of revival. Do I like when the meeting is well attended? Yes. But, it’s also encouraging when the meeting is attended well, (when people come expecting God to do a work in their lives.) As an evangelist, my expectations rest upon the Holy Spirit to do a fresh work in my life and in the lives of those attending. In my experience, faithful preparation produces holy expectations.
While the last nine weeks have often left me tired physically, I’ve been invigorated spiritually. I’ve prayed with pastors who are burdened for their churches and communities. I’ve watched members reconnect to the work of their local church and families reconnect with each other. But the greatest thrill has been watching over 100 people trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
So, do revivals still work? Absolutely! The harvest is still plentiful but the workers are still few. I challenge you to help prepare the field by praying for those who will hear the Gospel through BKM. Then answer the call of the Lord of the harvest. Start your own revival season. Roll up your sleeves and go to your personal mission field…and work.