Does anyone want Revival?
This is not a trick question but it may as well be!
The question is always, how genuine are we about it?
These days I need to ask, what do people actually want? I have to conclude that most people asking for revival don't actually want it, they want something else. They want a return to a perceived "better world," where values are clear cut, people respect Christianity, the church has more influence, etc.
Only problem is that revival does not do this. Revival divides mother against daughter, just as Jesus said he would do. Revival is regarded as risky and radical. It rarely follows any nice tradition. As for "clear cut values" they were only clear cut if you ignored the other alternative values that always existed (as many do). Living in the church community you could ignore them, but that facade no longer exists.
Revival brings you in touch with sharp uncomfortable realities.
Do you want it enough to give up a few minor essentials, like our own:
preferences, insecurities, private space, availability, etc?
There has been Revival in many places of the world but nothing of note in Australia for many decades! There have been a few ripples, but they have all passed.
At the moment there are people trying to create a revival that is micro managed - and they are having some limited success. As a former theatrical stage manager, I can appreciate this method. It takes a concerted and focused effort to achieve a result like this, however, only a small percentage of westerners will fall for this controlled and stage managed spiritual arrangement. Still it shows that if you are serious and determined over a period of some years, things can be accomplished.
Does anyone want revival?
Alternatively I could ask - Are you afraid that:
· Half your church will leave?
· You will loose control of your church?
· God will promote others in front of you?
· God will ask you to do stuff you don't want to do?
· Weird and embarrassing things may start to happen?
· Your credibility and reputation will be destroyed?
I've got bad news for you - there are thousands of Christians sitting at home on Sundays because your reputation is already destroyed. "Sunday church" continues to reduce throughout the nation. The question is not how to restore "Sunday church," the question is how to restore the relationship between Christ and the people that are the church.
These are the risks you take when give God full control of your church - but then, tell me, who else should be in control of the church? Now that is a trick question, because the answer is normally religious leaders.
Why do we need to risk all this stuff?
The spiritual drought in Australia has been following a similar decline to the rainfall for the last 50 years. There are a few good years between long periods of drought. Like the water issues, we are still arguing stupid questions like "is this our doing or just a cycle?"
Do we still think we can fix the problems with another big program?
Here is a secret - Revival is not the goal, the attitudes that underpin revival are how you begin the journey, they are the "the how, and the way" we can begin the churches restoration. Revival is just a beginning.
I hear you ask, what is the goal? The goal is living in the glory of God, with the peace of God that passes all understanding. The place where we do not have to chase after God's authority, but freely choose to live in the middle of it. The place where we see God at work because we on the same wave length.
Of course, the alternative is that we could carry on doing more of the same, and if you will allow a little sarcasm - that is working oh so peachy!!
No, more of the same, will allow for even more decline (though surely the rate of decline must slow down - there's not much left!).
Or do you still think everyone else is the problem? Isn't it time we moved on from that obviously false conclusion?
As ever – I live in hope of being wrong.
But that won't happen by itself.