Leadership and Revival
Jesus said, “…I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18b).
Revival is essential for the life and well-being of the Church. Revival is not evangelism and evangelism is not revival. Revival glorifies God, vindicates His name, exalts Jesus Christ and gives the Holy Spirit His rightful place in the Church. It also raises the high and holy standard of the body of Christ (reviving the brethren so that the subnormal Church can become normal) and saves sinners who become part of the Church.
J. Edwin Orr, twentieth century evangelist, revivalist and world renowned revival historian said, “In times of evangelism, the evangelist seeks the sinner, in times of revival the sinner comes chasing after the Lord.”
Selwyn Hughes, founder of Crusade for World Revival (CWR) wrote: ‘Evangelism is the expression of the Church; revival is an experience of the Church. Evangelism is the work we do for God; revival is the work God does for us.’
‘For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground, I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring’ (Isaiah 44:3).
‘O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for Thy name’s sake; for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against Thee’ (Jeremiah 14:7).
The way of revival is costly and humiliating. It includes dear and costly repentance, often with its exacting demands of open confession (Mark 1:4-5) and restitution (Luke 19:5-10). Leaders above all must not shrink back from paying the price. Leaders can help promote a revival, hinder one, as well as quench it. There is also the dangers of preconceptions – what God can do or cannot do, will do or will not do. Let God be God; He knows best.
‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon’ (Isaiah 55:7).
A leader can help prepare for revival by preaching the truths of God’s Word (the whole counsel of God), living what they preach and praying for God to rend the heavens and pour out His Spirit. The preaching of God’s Word may not necessarily be what the people want to hear but it is what they NEED to hear under the direction and unction of the Holy Spirit. Preaching must be focused on Jesus Christ, the cross, full surrender and total consecration to Christ; as we are called to walk in the Spirit, be led of the Spirit and obey the Spirit. We are also called to take up our cross and follow the Master; and to put away all sin. Congregations need to work with their leader, not against them. To get right with God and with one another, because where there is unity, God commands the blessing (Psalm 133).
‘Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation’ (Joel 1:3).
Leaders can also share about revivals from history, from those in the Holy Bible right up to the present. Men and women of God such as: Richard Baxter, the Wesleys, Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Howell Harris, William Grimshaw (of Haworth), William C. Burns, General Booth, Katie Booth (daughter), William Seymour, Evan Roberts, Marie Monsen (China), Mary Morrison (North Uist), Duncan Campbell, Stephen Hill and hundreds of others, all of whom had the same Holy Bible as us and preached the Word of God, prayed for the blessing and saw the fruit; and opposition, just like the apostles in the book of Acts.
Revival rocks the boat and often upsets it, but vain is the lifeboat, which is filled with the seas of worldliness. Any unworthy boat or ship that is unable to contain the precious holy cargo will sink.
Many reasons can be given for why a revival ceases, but they can be listed under three categories:
1. Sin – Members of the Church, but especially leaders committing sins of commission or sins of omission. Doing things which should not be done: lying, stealing, cheating, boasting, committing adultery etc., and neglecting things which ought to be done: Bible reading, prayer, evangelism, tithing or not assisting the poor, orphans and widows etc.
2. Breaking physical laws – Neglecting the needs of the body, especially the leadership or those on the frontline who have additional responsibilities, pressures and are under constant spiritual attack. A lack of rest, sleep deprivation, not eating a balanced diet (or eating at irregular hours), lack of exercise and fresh air can lead to a physical breakdown, a heart attack, illness or burn-out. Nobody is invincible and spiritual adrenaline in times of revival will only last so long before something gives.
3. A revival has run its course – The Church is now revived and the subnormal Church is now the normal Church.
‘O Lord, I have heard Thy speech, and was afraid, O Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy’ (Habakkuk 3:2).
The most probable reason why any revival will cease is when those involved become complacent and prideful in action and attitude and thus take the revival for granted. Leaders should never take a revival for granted and should remind their congregations of this; it is the grace and mercy of God. Never be foolish enough to boast and brag about the sparks that you have kindled, and walk in the light of your own fire (Isaiah 50:11). If you neglect the One who is a Consuming Fire then the work of God will soon fizzle out, because the Spirit will be grieved. Never trust in your own works rather than the Spirit of Grace and Supplication, the Baptiser in fire!
‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of the Lord’ (1 Peter 4:17a).
Revival is a revolt from low spirituality. New converts or revived Christians are prone to question the reality of the conversion of others and their commitment, but especially those with positions of authority when they see no life or joy. This can cause offence, but one has to wonder why they are asking such a question in the first place! It is a flippant remark to say that a new convert is full of pride or is too young to know anything when we may be too proud to accept a rebuke!
John Wesley prayed, “Lord, send us revival without defects, but if that’s not possible, send us a revival defects and all.”
Charles H. Spurgeon once prayed, “…Lord, send us a season of glorious disorder…”
In revival, in the midst of the presence of God, there can be a mixture of the flesh or the demonic and any combination working in and through those who are not fully sanctified and surrendered to the Lord. This can be the leader at the fore, assistants, elders and deacons, church members, but especially those who have come in off the street as they have heard that something is happening. As in any group of people, there will be mixed ages of maturity in the Lord, from babes in Christ to those who take solid foods (1 Corinthians 3:2) as well as the curious, seekers, fad-lovers and those who turn up for mischief!
A leader must have great discernment during revival and be sensitive as to when to address an issue and when to keep quiet and allow the Holy Spirit to point out the error; otherwise, a young convert could be crushed, rejected and lost forever. If you want to see fruit, don’t damage the blossom. Also, a new convert who has been rejected and down-trodden all their life, upon radical conversion (a passing from death to life, being born again of the Spirit of God) will be very emotional and will have uncontrollable joy. They should not be restrained with their joy in the Lord and shouts of “Hallelujah,” “Glory” or “Praise God” (See Psalm 5:11, 29:9, 47:1, Isaiah 44:23 and Romans 15:11.). It is a case of ‘joy unspeakable and full of glory’ (1 Peter 1:8).
When God touches someone’s life, we often do not know their circumstances or whether they are even converted at all. To judge hastily would be unwise as the measure we use; it will be measured back to us (Matthew 7:2). The Kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil are at conflict with each other and during moves of God there are power clashes and manifestations. A leader must have oversight but there is fine line with interference and not allowing God to do what He wants to do. Resisting, quenching and grieving the Holy Spirit (openly or in your heart) are all sin.
‘Gird yourselves and lament ye priests; howl ye ministers of the altar, come lie all night in sackcloth ye ministers of my God’ (Joel 1:13).
‘Turn ye even to Me with all your heart and with fasting and with weeping and with mourning and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God; for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil’ (Joel 2:12-13).
Christians, even those in leadership make mistakes and on occasions fall into or commit sin – even during times of revival! The objective for any fallen brother or sister in the Lord should be for their restoration (after repentance, as well as restitution and reconciliation if and where necessary); not condemnation or gloating (Galatians 6:1-5). Let us be thankful that the early Church did not condemn denying Peter, doubting Thomas and Saul the persecutor. They were rebuked for their sin, but not condemned. Could it be that there go I, bar the grace of God? If a brother or sister has erred and committed sin, then it is the Church’s duty to try and bring the offender to a place of repentance and restoration which is the spirit of Christ, going in search of the lost or straying sheep.
Leaders will have to lovingly rebuke Christians who act in the flesh (trying to imitate the things of God or who openly sin), and on occasions those who oppose the things of God. There is a big difference with a new believer who sins (who may not know any better) and one who is mature in the faith (and should know better). We can also be in the flesh by resisting what the Holy Spirit is doing; rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23). Do not quench, resist or grieve the Holy Spirit; openly, or in your heart.
Pastor John Kilpatrick, of Brownsville AOG church, Pensacola, Florida, America, during the Brownsville Revival (1995-2000) continually prayed, “Lord please give me wisdom to pastor this thing. Lord, I don’t want to be so lenient that I let anything in, but Lord I don’t want to be so hard either that I don’t let what You’re trying to do in – God please give me wisdom. Holy Spirit, help me to walk humbly before You. Holy Spirit, help me to keep my mind on the Lord and to keep my eyes on the Lord, and Holy Spirit, help me not to get distracted with things, where I begin to let the embers grow dim and cold in my life, and Lord, help me not to let the fire go out in this church; Lord, help me…”
God said, “If My people which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Thus says the Lord: “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour
out My Spirit on your descendants and My blessing on your offspring” (Isaiah 44:3).
Holy Spirit Power
Revival Answers, True and False Revivals
Heaven – A Journey to Paradise and the Heavenly City
Prophecy Now, Prophetic Words and Divine Revelations
Revival Fires and Awakenings: Thirty-Six Visitations of the Holy Spirit
Global Revival: Worldwide Outpourings - Forty-Three Visitations of the Holy Spirit
Revival Fire - 150 Years of Revivals: Spiritual Awakenings and Moves of the Holy Spirit
Understanding Revival and Addressing the Issues it Provokes
Jesus Today, Daily Devotional: 100 Days with Jesus Christ
Samuel Rees Howells: A Life of Intercession
Samuel, Son and Successor of Rees Howells
Recommended Revival DVD:
Great Christian Revivals
Overview of Revival
What is Christian revival?
Why we need Revival
The Link Between Missions and Revival
Revival – The Divine-human Partnership
Revival Scriptures - Conditions
Holiness and Revival
How can we see Revival?
Why Revival Will Always Be Controversial
The Next Big Thing
It’s Time For Revival!
Prophecies for the United Kingdom
Visions of Revival for the UK, Europe and Beyond
Great Christian Revivals
ByFaith TV Revival Clips
Revivalist Rees Howells
Talking Revival on Live TV
‘O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, do it for Your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many,
we have sinned against You’ (Jeremiah 14:7).