I still remember attending revival services at Northside Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Ind. I was a 24-year-old Christian — excited about Jesus and His church. I looked for opportunities to be with God’s people and saw every gathering as a blessing.
During that week of gathering, singing and preaching, we witnessed God move the hearts of people and add to His church. I remember watching a grown man whom I had been praying for stand up and walk to the front of the church as God moved him to renew his walk with the Lord.
Lots of Kentucky Baptist churches will schedule revival services this fall or next spring. This annual practice is either part of their regular church calendar, or something they haven’t done in a while but decided to do again. In fact, I have been in revival services this past week with one of our great Kentucky Baptist churches.
What are some benefits normally experienced when a church schedules revival services? Here are five things that usually happen:
1. We fellowship with other believers: I fellowshipped this week with a 90-year-old brother in Christ who is a member of a neighbor church but wanted to support its sister church during its revival. He and his wife were married for 65 years, and she passed away just a couple of years ago. He has such a sweet spirit that I found myself prayerfully hoping I could become more like him as I age. Fellowship with other Christians is a great benefit to revival services.
2. We worship Jesus by singing hymns and spiritual songs: The church where I preached revival this week was led in worship by one of our Kentucky Baptist pastors who also serves as a worship leader. He has incredible musical and worship leadership abilities. One night he led us through older, high church hymns that focused on Jesus. Being led in worship by this dear brother would have been beneficial enough for having a scheduled revival.
3. We hear preaching from a guest preacher: A revival preacher doesn’t compete with the host pastor, but rather complements his ministry. He simply needs to preach God’s word as the Lord leads. Oftentimes revival preachers will speak on topics that may not have been addressed recently in the church. Sermons on hell, the Second Coming of Jesus, judgment, the Cross, salvation and more can be incredibly helpful in reminding believers what God has done in their own lives and stir up those believers to be concerned for the spiritual well-being of their loved ones.
4. We may sense a renewed walk with Jesus: For the past 10 years I have preached five to 10 revival services per year. They require a great deal of extra work but, more than that, they require spiritual energy. It never fails that I go into a revival meeting open to what God may do, but then I finish having been renewed personally through the time with God’s people, prayer, worship and the preaching of His word.
5. We may witness God save those we have been praying for: All over Kentucky we have seen God save people during revival services. Even in the revival I have been preaching this week we saw God save a lady who had been visiting the church. More often, however, is the call I receive from a pastor a week or two after revival where he will share that an older man or young girl came to them and said God moved on them during the revival and they know that they need to be saved.
Revivals are not a cure-all for what ails the church, but they can be one more tool in the life of a congregation to keep it fresh and vibrant as it serves Jesus faithfully until He returns or calls them home.