Sustaining revival starts with preparation of people and resources, now.
There’s an interesting lesson we can draw from the Tabernacle of Moses about revival: the fire on the altar was ignited supernaturally by God, but it was the responsibility of the priests to keep the fire burning.
In a recent session speaking on revival, Rev Yang Tuck Yoong observed, “That tells me that every revival is supernaturally ignited by God, but every revival ended because of the failure of the leaders to keep the fire burning.”
In the early church, as the leaders worked out the logistics of handling an overnight increase from 120 people to over 3,000 people, Acts 2 records that they did four things daily – they broke bread, met from house to house, prayed, they had the apostles doctrine.
“The operational word is they met daily. In other words, they kept pouring oil into the fire,” said Rev Yang.
#1 To sustain revival, prepare now
Will God send revival to an unprepared company of people? That’s not likely, because without new wineskins to contain the new wine of a fresh outpouring from God, everything will be lost.
In other words, here’s a practical question to consider: If God sends your church 100 people next week, are you ready to receive them?
“Where are the people going to sit? Who is going to nurture the new believers? Do we have materials? Are the homes, are the leaders being prepared? All these things have to be done now so that we can be prepared for the harvest to come,” Rev Yang said.
#2 Get hungry, get on fire
Preparation is, first and foremost, the posture of a pastor’s heart.
“Are we hungry enough to set aside everything to be in the presence of that fire of God?” asked Rev Naomi Dowdy. It is that hunger that creates the fire of revival burning in our hearts.
People will be drawn to fresh bread in the church, which is the the fresh Word of God delivered from the life of a pastor on fire for God.
“The church is not built on programs. People are going to come because they hear there’s fresh bread in the house,” said Rev Yang.
#3 God has to enlarge our hearts
When we ask for God to move, God has to first enlarge our hearts. Rev Yang talked about how God gave King Solomon “largeness of heart” along with the wisdom and understanding he had asked for.
“God has to enlarge our hearts because that’s the only way we can carry that kind of intensity that comes with a move of God,” said Rev Yang.
An enlarged heart carries the vision of a spiritual awakening across Singapore, not just in siloed church circles.
Rev Naomi encouraged, “I’m praying for that same kind of visible, on-fire, nation-impacting unity to happen again in Singapore that will spark a hunger in the hearts of the people to lay aside their agendas, personalities. We want to want to see him move than anything else.”
#4 Preparation involves money and resources
The practical aspect of sustaining a revival entails preparing resources. It may look different from church to church, but the essentials could mean… discipleship materials, funds to secure space for people to meet, even a functioning database to record new believer names.
In a post-pandemic world where large gatherings may not be possible, homes may need to be prepared.
Rev Naomi shared her experience many years ago when she, as Senior Pastor of Trinity Christian Centre, oversaw the run of the drama Heaven’s Gates, Hell’s flames.
The team felt that God was ready to bring in a harvest of 5,000 salvations through the play.
“We had to put money in advance because we believed that God was going to do something,” she said. That entailed borrowing enough computers to record the decisions, designing and printing new believer packs, among other logistical expenditures.
While the initial response to the first few evenings of the drama seemed discouraging, the team sensed God moving after a breakthrough on the third or fourth evening and pushed ahead.
By the time the drama wrapped up after several weeks, close to 5,000 decisions for salvation had indeed been recorded. Trinity couldn’t handle all the new believers, and they were sent to other churches near their homes to be cared for and discipled.
#5 Preparation involves people
Revival will affect everybody when it comes, and things can get messy. As an example, Acts 6 records that during the time of the early church, there weren’t enough people to take care of the needs in the church as it grew.
Leaders are going to be key in sustaining the revival. “We need to train our people to lead when revival breaks. Is there a process in place in your church where they are being trained and equipped to lead others?” asked Rev Naomi.
And it’s not just leaders who have to be prepared.
Rev Naomi drew lessons from the illustration she gave earlier. When Trinity Christian Centre ran the drama for many weeks, volunteers had to give extra time to come in, from the sound crew supporting the drama to the ministry workers walking new believers through the first steps of salvation.
In other words, revival boiled down to a personal sacrifice in that season because they recognised God was moving.
“Are our people ready to pay the price, ready to pray, ready to have a truly Christ-hearted character? Are they ‘others’ centered in their time focus?” asked Rev Naomi.