by J. Marcus Merritt
Springtime was revival season when I was young. Sadly, we now live in a time when many churches have given up on the revival meeting as a tool for church health and evangelism. However, research by the Georgia Baptist Convention has shown that a majority of our state’s top evangelistic churches still employ this tried-and-true evangelism tool. The key to success is in prayer and preparation. There are a number of tools to help churches prepare for revival: COSBE (Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists), NAMB, and the GBC all have manuals that are either free or very inexpensive. NAMB’s resource points out at least six reasons to have a revival meeting.
1. Revival meetings strengthen active Christians.
Revival is a time when churches break free from the ordinary. Every church should have periods when its members can isolate themselves from worldly cares and concentrate on seeking God’s will for their lives and for the church.
2. Revival meetings are a way of motivating uninvolved church members.
Revival meetings offer a change of pace that leads to serious recommitment to the Lordship of Christ. Revival meetings address special needs of the church. They can focus on special needs in areas such as stewardship, family life, or reaching out to inactive church members.
3. Revival meetings focus the church’s energy toward the unsaved.
The community will become aware of the church’s concern for those who are unsaved. Every effort is made to bring the unsaved to salvation during this special emphasis. In the process, churches can go from being inward focused to being more outward focused.
4. Revival meetings give you an opportunity to train God’s people in evangelism.
Visitation leading up to and during the revival meeting should focus on leading unsaved persons to Christ. But before this can happen, your church members will need to be equipped. Personal evangelism training was encouraged by C. E. Matthews, the first Secretary of Evangelism for the Home Mission Board (now NAMB).As a result, the churches that followed his advice saw many come to Christ.
5. Revival meetings set a spiritual atmosphere that ripens the harvest.
The intensified atmosphere of Spirit-filled proclamation establishes a receptive climate for evangelism to take place.
6. Revival Meetings are a way to reach the unchurched.
Revival meetings provide a great opportunity for believers to invite their unchurched friends to hear the gospel. Teach your members to be good inviters and gracious hosts to all your guests. Evangelism is not likely to occur if God’s people do not reach out to the lost as Christ did.
For more information on Revival Preparation, contact the Office of Evangelism Ministries at the Georgia Baptist Convention. We would be happy to provide training or resources to help you prepare for revival.