I was in a small gathering of folks this week when a dear lady made reference to a revival she had been a part of.
“But, of course, nobody has revivals any more,” she said with such confidence. I wanted to say, “Well, that’s not exactly right. I am beginning a revival this Sunday at Summit Baptist Church in Loganville.”
A few years ago, Steve Parr and Tom Crites reported on their research regarding evangelistic churches in Georgia. I remember very distinctly one statistic that stood out clearly. They said churches that have revivals baptize more people than churches that do not have revivals.
I wrote in my book Healthy Kingdom Churches about my doctor friend who accepted the task of getting me well from a respiratory ailment so I could preach a revival meeting at Atco Baptist Church in Cartersville. He made a statement and then asked a question: “I didn’t know churches were still having revivals. Are revivals still effective?”
I gave the most sincere and honest answer I knew: “Revivals are effective in some churches and not in others.”
“How do you explain that?” he asked.
I responded, “It’s like most other things. The success of a revival is determined largely by the amount of effort put into getting ready for revival.”
The week of revival at Atco was truly amazing. It happened because the pastor, Wayne Hamrick, had prepared the congregation through praying for revival and witnessing all across the community. That week we saw 57 people come to faith in Christ. In one service, we saw over 20 make professions of faith. There were many other decisions as well with people making rededication commitments and coming on transfer of membership. God had done an amazing thing among His people who dared to trust that if they prayed and witnessed, God would do what only God can do.
“Are revivals still effective?” Yes! They most assuredly are.
I have come to the conclusion that it is wrong to declare the death of revivals in the church when the only reason they may be dead in your church is a lack of commitment to pray for revival and reach the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the first revival service at Summit Baptist Church the pastor, Jason Rothe, made the statement that the congregation has literally been praying for months for this series of revival services. That did not surprise me because when I arrived at the church I found a vibrant congregation filled with anticipation over what the Lord will do this week. When the invitation was given, the aisles filled with people coming down front to pray and to unite with the church.
I want to encourage you to plan a revival for your church. As you do, remember that we have a good number of vocational evangelists in our Georgia Baptist family that God is using in a great way. When you contact them you will discover faithful, energetic, and effective servants of Christ ready to bless your church.
Revive us again; Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory. Hallelujah! Amen.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory. Revive us again.
~William P. Mackay