Awakening, Harvest, and Broken Nets (Part 3: Conclusion)
By and large, the church that is contending for revival and awakening isn’t ready for it. Yesterday, I gave at least one contemporary example of the problem. The question is, what do we do?
First, we don’t stop contending for revival and awakening among the lost. Holy messes that God sends are better than any dead answer to the problem of not being ready. Keep contending. We need more people coming to Christ! We need more of the church awake to what God is doing in the Earth!
But beyond that, we have to ask ourselves how do we prepare? I’d like to put forth at least a few suggestions for your consideration:
- We fix out eyes on Jesus and continue to cultivate our love for Him. This seems so logical, so basic that you would think it would go without saying. But in times of pressure like what revival and awakening cause, it’s easy to let our eyes get off of the Lord and on to the pressure. The only answer for this human condition is to continue to give time and attention to our relationship with Jesus. Become so rooted and grounded in Him that nothing can tear you away.
- We devote ourselves to practices that multiply, not just add. Paul tells Timothy “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also,” (2 Timothy 2:2). We have to constantly be training people and training those people to train people. Much of the church is not equipping the saints for ministry and those who are are doing it by addition. They equip one or several men to teach or care for the body. Multiplying practices are principles that allow us to not only to train a few saints, but train those saints in concepts that are easily transferable to other believers who can transfer them on even further. Neil Cole’s LTG is a great example of a transferable, multiplying discipleship plan.
- We make revival about more than the meeting(s). I know this isn’t exactly what we mean, but often we declare a revival to have started when we extend a series of meetings and we declare it over when there isn’t enough people any more to keep the meetings going. All of it revolves around a church building or meeting space. In reality revival and awakening have much more to do with what God is doing in human hearts in a particular location. Are people coming to Jesus? Is the church becoming more alive? Then it doesn’t matter how many meetings are being held or whether there’s enough people to fill them. God sent an angel to tell Phillip to leave the revival to share the gospel with an Ethiopian (Acts 8:26) and this tells me that God is more interested in His ongoing plan than continuing a series of meetings.
- We practice spiritual family. I can’t emphasize this enough. Spiritual family is the wineskin Jesus designed to carry the new wine of the gospel. God, who is a father, builds his Kingdom on the building blocks of family. So it shouldn’t surprise us that Kingdom-oriented spiritual families are the “mechanism” He uses to raise spiritual sons and daughters that are birthed through a move of the Spirit. And while spiritual family can mean many things, I find the apostolic nature of house churches lend them to being the best context for spiritual family to be expressed.
- Remember that Jesus wants the gospel to go forth to the ends of the world. The revival in Jerusalem after Pentecost was ended when God allowed Saul to persecute the church and scatter it. The goal had always been for the gospel to go from Jerusalem, to Judea, and then to the ends of the Earth. Saul’s persecution was the mechanism used to trigger that movement. Many of the great revivals of history were catalysts for missionaries going to people who had never heard about Christ, but recent church history is silent on the subject of new converts and revived souls planting churches and taking the gospel to places it has never been. We must always remember that Jesus launched a movement of the gospel that is destined to travel to the ends of the Earth, not wait for the ends of the Earth to come to it. We have to have faith that the same Holy Spirit who moves on us here and now will empower us in the same way where He is sending us.
I believe that the greatest moves of the Holy Spirit are still ahead of us. I think we should pray and ask God to move again in our day. But only a people with hearts fixed on Jesus who are multiplying ministry, not meetings, and living in spiritual family will be able to contain what the Lord wants to do. And these coming moves of the Holy Spirit must not just stay with us, but touch those who have never even heard the name of Jesus.
Friends, these are not little changes. These sort of statements can be said quickly but it can take years to unlearn old habits and learn Kingdom ways that need to replace them. The time to begin is now. Let’s continue to ask for God to awaken the lost and revive the church. But even today, let’s begin to by faith build a different kind of church–a better, sturdier net–that will be able to handle the harvest when it comes in.
The time to prepare is now.