A lady once asked Billy Sunday, “Why do you keep having revivals when they don’t last?” Instead of answering her question directly, he asked her a question, “Why do you keep taking baths?”
I am a proponent of revival services and have scheduled one each year I have been a pastor. But I am not talking about just some extra services for a few days. Rather, I am a firm believer in a season of revival, which I begin with a focused time of pray and personal preparation for what the Lord wants to do in our lives and within our church. For the past few years, I have put together a 40 Day revival preparation devotional. The past two years, I have asked our staff to write some of the devotionals and the response to the devotional has been very positive- and humbling.
When we spend time preparing for revival, the actual revival services are the climax and revival continues after the services are over. As the lady told Billy Sunday, revivals do not last, so why do I keep doing them?
First, we need revival. When I speak of revival, I am not referring to the services but to the fresh awakening from the Lord upon areas of our life that have grown cold. Like Jesus’ parable of the soils in Matthew 13, the worries of life and other troubles cause us to ignore God’s Word. Sin that we once despised becomes comfortable. We quit serving. We become numb to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. We need revival.
Second, revival services cause us to focus spiritually. Attending revival services results in us attending church more than we do in a normal week. In a busy world, revival services are the few times when we attend church more than Sunday and Wednesday, although the average church member attends only Sunday morning.
I always tell my church that Satan will attack relentlessly during revival services. You will have a bad day at work. The children will be completely defiant between getting home from school and leaving for the service. You will have to rush homework and supper. Many other excuses are readily available for not attending revival, but when you are willing to push through and attend, you are able to focus spiritually more than normal.
Third, you get to hear another preacher during revival. As a pastor it is tough to admit, but I know that my church gets tired of hearing from me. Or they are least get used to hearing from me and think they know what to expect. When I prayerfully invite someone to preach a revival at the pastor where I pastor, it is always someone that I want to hear. To not beat around the bush: they are going to be good. And it is refreshing for the preacher to be in a new place and get to speak to new people.
Lastly, I have revivals because God works in revival services. Because we know the need for a fresh encounter with the Lord and we are focused spiritually, God uses the revival preacher to challenge His people. I have seen people make decisions in revival services that they have been needing to make for a long time, but for whatever reason they did not answer God’s call until attending the revival. And this is the main reason why I continue to have an annual revival service.
If you are in the Yazoo City area, I invite you to join us February 12-15. If you attend a church that has not held a revival recently, I hope you will consider its benefits.