Do revivals still work? I get this question all the time. The answer is an overwhelming, “Yes!” I’m not sure who started the rumor that revival meetings are antiquated and ineffective, but I’m pretty sure it started about the same time the head-scratching began in relation to declining baptisms and church attendance. Revivals don’t work when…
…they are not scheduled
I know, revival is not a scheduled event – it is a move of God. But the revival meeting is a scheduled event. It is a time intentionally set aside for the purpose of encouraging the saint and evangelizing the sinner. Pastors often tell me that people won’t attend because their schedules are too busy. Again, they won’t attend something that is not scheduled. We can become so crowd driven that we let what might happen keep us from doing what should happen.
…there is no preparation
I encourage churches to use Draw a Circle, a free resource from One Cry: A Nationwide Call for Spiritual Awakening, as part of their revival preparation (www.OneCry.com/DrawACircle.) Allow for 6-8 weeks of preparation, using that time to encourage personal examination for church members, intercession for the lost and unchurched, and promotion for the services. Then, be intentional about inviting folks to attend. I can’t stress how critical it is to prepare spiritually and promotionally.
…a bad experience keeps you away from a good experience
“I tried a revival once, but the evangelist was high-maintenance, constantly talked about money, and manipulated the invitation.” I was a pastor for over 25 years, so I’ve been there. However, I enjoyed multiple successes out of what I learned in one bad experience. Talk to the evangelist about your expectations up front and ask about his expectations.
As a pastor I didn’t like being held accountable for what a previous church failed to do in a person’s life. I tried to help those who came from a bad church experience to know the joy of being in a healthy church. As an evangelist I approach revival meetings in the same mindset. Don’t judge all evangelists and revival meetings by one previous bad experience.
So, yes – revivals still work. Now I can’t guarantee how many people will be saved, neither can I guarantee a move of God that changes the dynamic of your church and your ministry. My commitment is to be personally prepared in my relationship with Jesus, to be biblical in preaching God’s Word, and to be available to serve the pastor and the church to which I am invited.