Over the years I’ve had many congregants say, “What we need is a revival. When are you going to schedule one preacher?”
Well… truth is… no one can “schedule” a revival or renewal. It IS possible to schedule a series of meetings, but only God can send renewal and/or revival. All the work of praying, witnessing, and scheduling is futile if GOD does not choose to send a genuine renewal/revival/awakening.
By the way, Renewal and revival is what God does in the lives of His people. Awakening is what God does in the hearts of unbelievers to bring them to salvation. There IS a difference!
Congregations should pray and ask God to send renewal/revival/awakening. Keeping in mind that God is sovereign over whether or not they take place. Sadly, our evaluation of whether or not revival/awakening is taking place has been dumbed down over the last few years.
Many think if people walk an aisle… “get save”… or repent openly revival/awakening has taken place. But I beg to differ…
The truest test is conduct over time. I’ve seen people walk an aisle… weep… and get baptized… only for a few weeks or months later to fall back into their previous behavior. I’m an advocate of “conduct over time.” My question is: What is the person like a week… month… year… decade later? Are they still following Christ? Are they still seeking Him? Are they still growing in holiness and Christ likeness?
As for revival in believers, again… conduct over time. They may go down front to pray with tears, but are they reconciling with people they’ve had disagreements with? Are they making things right with those they’ve offended? Are they growing in holiness and being more like Jesus? Are they seeking peace with joy, love, and grace? Are they growing in prayer… meditation on the Scripture… in acts of compassion?
Unless there is fruit… over the course of time… for the rest of their life (!), it is doubtful that TRUE revival, renewal, or awakening has occurred.
I say: Schedule church meetings! Seek God for revival/renewal/awakening! Come together as God’s people with a special emphasis seeking God. Then… if HE so chooses… revival/renewal/awaking may be granted by Him. If not… keep on seeking Him. Then, if and when He chooses to send them, HE will get the praise… honor… and glory.