“[T]hey are seasons in which the ordinary operations of the Holy Spirit are intensified many-fold. ‘Sleepy’ and immature believers become electrified through joyful repentance and put Christ in the center of their lives. Nominal Christians within congregations get converted and testify to the fact, which leads to more sleepy believers waking up. In turn, non-believers are drawn in to the beautified Christian community and begin embracing Christ in numbers that defy normal explanations. The ‘church growth’ can’t be accounted for by demographic-sociological shifts or efficient outreach programs in such cases. Most telling of all, the corporate worship gatherings are thick with a sense of the presence of God that is not orchestrated by the presiders.”
Look especially at that last sentence:
“corporate worship gatherings are thick with a sense of the presence of God that is not orchestrated by the presiders.“
It seems to me that, out of the genuinely good intention to see these kinds of revival dynamics affect their communities, many church leaders fall prey to the temptation to engineer these dynamics. I used to think this way when I first started leading worship. If we could just sing a little longer, we’d find that same thick presence of God that we felt a few months ago. If we play that one song that we did last week, we should see the same “results.”
But we don’t get the “results” we’re looking for. In fact what we end up manufacturing is simply hype. And the double tragedy is that hype inoculates people against real revival. If we keep crying “revival” every time someone gets a goosebump, eventually everyone will stop listening.
True revival dynamics, from a biblical and historical perspective, are the work of the Holy Spirit, and are “not orchestrated by the presiders” of meetings. So I’m with Jared Wilson, who said, in response to this post:
“I am desperate for this for my local church gathered, which is why I’m not desperate to orchestrate moments or ‘experiences.’ I want to know when it happens that it was unequivocally the work of the Spirit.”