As stated in previous blogs I have been in my church whole life. As such I have heard a lot of talk about revivals. In fact there are certain churches and denominations that will have annual revivals. They will plan a year or so ahead for these times. They will hire ministers and singers to come in for a few days or a week and declare it to be a revival.
On the other side of the coin you will have churches that have a large jump in attendance and says it a revival. They will adopt more modern music styles and have charismatic preachers. Sometimes these “revivals” are meet with very emotional responses. Jumping, hand raising and screaming may all be included during these services.
The question that I would like to ask is, “Are either of these events really revivals?” The definition of revival is “an instance of something becoming popular, active, or important again.” So if we are talking about a revival of the church, we are talking about a time period where peoples hearts and minds are being changed to see God as important. This can manifest itself in personal revival and in corporate revival.
It is safe to say that the first instance, where the revival is planned, that in almost ever case this isn’t a real revival by definition. I would back up this claim by simply asking about the fruit that comes out of the revival. Was there an obvious move of God? Where many people saved? Where there changes in the lives that attended? If not then you can plan until your blue in the face but you can’t make a revival happen.
In the second instance we have to ask the same questions. Is there really revivals happening or are these simple emotionally driven instances in time brought about by charismatic speakers and modern music? In these cases its much harder to tell because you really have to wait an amount of time for the “affects” of the possible revival to wear off. Do people stay committed? Were their hearts changed or only excited? Do they love Jesus or just the emotional high? In the same way you can’t make the revival happen. However, because of the seminally spontaneous nature of this type of services its harder to tell if its truly a revival.
My point in all of this is to be careful with trying to force a revival or misidentifying one. One can not simply plan a revival into being. In the same way one can’t simply put the right elements together and make a revival occur at will. In both situations one can attempt and even mimic the signs of a revival but only God can truly bring one into being. Many times we can only look back and say, “I remember when God did a work. It was not by our hand, but by His”
Our hope and prayer of course is that our churches would all be in a state of revival. However true revival is only known generations down the line.