A Step by Step Guide to Starting Spontaneous, Contagious, Lasting Revival
Many revivals have been started by men (and women) of extreme passion. Some were driven by the things that they saw in God. Smith Wigglesworth was driven by his faith and love of God after he fought for faith to prevent a loved one from dying. John G. Lake was driven by the presence of God that he carried after he had learned that he could live through the Spirit of God. Evan Roberts was driven by his relationship with God, having spent years encountering God.
Other revivalists are passionate men with charismatic type personalities. They are driven internally by a desire to see something, or to be something, or to matter; to make a difference. Regardless where the drive in a man comes from, it is a driven man that is usually the catalyst and sustainer of revival.
So how is revival started? Many have speculated that revival is a sovereign thing that God has determined and He simply brings the right people together. That maybe He is building something and requires sporadic revivals to establish His purposes. Well I don’t believe this idea is correct.
The Lord has been teaching me a lot about faith in recent days. Faith, at its core, is simply the conviction that a person is trustworthy. This conviction produces a high level of confidence in the person they trust. Confidence is another word for faith. This type of confidence in another is impossible to create without having multiple interactions with the person you trust. Additionally, faith is a substance that is produced in the spirit realm that is felt by the spiritually sensitive. Faith has a fragrance. Faith has the same language as God. Faith changes our image. We are anointed by faith. Faith is a sword in our mouth. Faith sees from God’s perspective. And finally, faith is produced naturally in those that experience God’s love and start to see God’s perspective.
Because faith has substance, is an anointing and has a fragrance; faith in the room is often what we are feeling when we sense the presence of God or the anointing. Obviously, we are feeling more then just faith, but faith is a big part of what we are experiencing. Every time God puts His anointing on something, it is because faith has been released. “He inhabits the praises of His people” -Psalms 22:3, “where two or more are gathered together in My name, there I am in the mist of them” -Mat.18:20, “whoever.. does not doubt in his heart, but believes… will have whatever he says.” -Mark 11:23. This concept that faith has substance (“now faith is the substance of things hoped for” -Heb. 11:1) explains why Jesus so often would remark on the level of faith He found in people following Him.
So how does revival start? The Lord told me many years ago that revival will start with one person who carries revival, one person who has become revival. Revival is actually easy to start, but is hard to maintain. Revival is often started in hundreds of churches each Sunday as the Spirit falls on the congregations in worship. But since it is hard to maintain, by the end of the meeting the Spirit of God has left and the people have focused on other things. Here’s what the Lord showed me:
Revival is produced and maintained when there is a corporate release of faith.
Here is the inherent difficulty, corporate experience requires unified focus, and maintenance requires continued releasing of faith. This is where a passionate leader becomes key. While it is possible for a body to be unified in a moment without leadership, it is near impossible for the unity to remain without the leader.
In the Brownsville revival, Pastor John Kilpatrick focused the church to pray for revival two years before the revival started. This prayer effort produced a longing and hope for coming revival. In 1995, when Steve Hill came, the church was primed and eager for any move of God that signaled that revival had started. Steve Hill was used to provide that signal and the congregation’s hope for revival shifted into faith and a mighty move of God began. Steve Hill and John Kilpatrick became the maintenance. Without their leadership, the revival would die. Thus, for the most part this powerful move of God remained in house with few transfers to other locations. Those transfers occurred as a result of leaders from those churches receiving a touch and becoming catalysts themselves.
So how do we sustain revival and make it transferable? Well the shift must be in what is the catalyst for revival.
A corporate understanding of the depth of God’s love for each individual is a better catalyst then passionate leadership.
When the Lord showed me that faith sees from God’s perspective, I asked Him what His perspective was. He said, “My perspective is, ‘Christ is Risen’. Read Romans Chapter eight.” Romans 8 talks about sonship, living by the Spirit, freedom from bondage and sin, bringing freedom to a bound creation, and God’s love. ‘Christ is Risen’ means that I am free, there is nothing that can hold me down, nor stop me. It means that God is for me and happy with me. It means that nothing can separate me from His love, nor stop me from experiencing it. It means that I can be a son to God, and God wants to father me.
When we discover God’s personal love for us individually and experience it regularly, we start to live from faith rather then toward it. We are being transformed into love, rather then trying to learn how to love. We take on God’s way of thinking, God’s way of talking, God’s way of loving, God’s way of living. We start to look like Christ, not because we try to live better, but because we hear God say, “I love you,” “I’m proud of you,” “I want you.” We start to live from the reality of God loving us at all times. Such people will not need a leader to remind them to focus on God, or believe on God, or remember to pray. These people will cause others to desire God without preaching. When you get a group of such people together, you will have revival, because each person has become revival itself. Now a leader’s job is only to provide vision or direction, rather then maintenance.
So what are the steps to have lasting revival?
Individuals learn to hear God everyday for themselves.
Individuals experience God’s love.
Individuals learn to walk/stay in that love.
Individuals become passionate with God.
A corporate understanding of sonship and God’s immeasurable love is gained.
The corporate body begins to release faith towards a common vision.
As you can see this process is longer then the normal process of a charismatic leader showing up to a church that is longing for revival. But the result is spontaneous, contagious and long lasting. The body that learns to experience God individually will produce converts that know God. This church will know what it means to walk in the new covenant.
11 “No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
13 All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children.
14 In righteousness you shall be established;You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;And from terror, for it shall not come near you.
15 Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.