Awakening, Harvest, and Broken Nets (Part 2: A Case Study)
Years ago, I read a prophetic word by Rick Joyner about the future revival coming to the church and it sobered me as young man. It described a still coming revival that was so immense that it broke every structure that existing churches had. It compared what is coming to what we saw happening to the book of Acts where a huge influx of new believers actually put significant stress on the church and its structure. He compared revival to an ocean wave that a good surfer will catch and ride, but could also injure a surfer who was unprepared. And I’ve seen this happen over and over again in times of awakening and revival.
Yesterday I wrote that the church that is praying for revival and awakening probably isn’t ready for it. I even borrowed a story from the life of the disciples and used it as analogy for where the church is in this hour. So we need to pray AND prepare nets that can truly hold the harvest God is going to send. Today I want to share a case study* to show you why it’s so incredibly important.
When I was in Bible College I came across a surprising number of people who had been part of a significant revival in this country. This revival began as a fairly localized move of the Holy Spirit in a congregation during the visit of an itinerant minister and then went on to draw attention all over the country because of some dramatic signs and wonders and a massive wave of repentance that was attached to the meetings.
Needless to say, things changed significantly for this congregation during that season. People were driving from all across the country to take part in what God was doing. The numbers were so large nightly meetings began happening. Soon a bible college was established to equip the new believers who were wanting to join the ministry. Everything was pretty intense.
And that’s where the problems began. All of my friends that I had met who were part of this move of the Holy Spirit had been changed by their time there. Most of them had been through the bible college. But all of them told me the same story: We loved the revival. But we got burned out. We were in meetings six nights a week but we never learned how to live lives outside of the meetings. And we never learned to be the body of Christ. We never learned to be family.
I’ve met more than my fair share of people who have tasted of the work of the Spirit in a series of meetings but were never raised to maturity in Christ. Some of them have even grown bitter and disillusioned by the phrases revival and awakening because in the end, though that season was great, the end goal they were hoping for never came about. Many of them never became part of a true spiritual family. Many were just individuals in a meeting during the season of revival. And while I’m in awe of the numbers of people who came to Christ during this move of the Spirit, my heart aches for those who grew disillusioned when the meetings ended because their hopes were deferred and their hearts were sick.
This wasn’t the last revival that this has happened. Several others have happened in the time since. And to differing degrees, a similar story emerges.
Friends, Jesus has a plan for His church. He is both the one who draws us to Himself and the One who builds His church. He is the one who is fashioning His church into nets that won’t break under pressure.
We’ll talk more about what that looks like tomorrow…
*Out of honor for the place(s) described above, I’ve remained intentionally vague about details.