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Today Was Revival, Part 1

Today was revival.

I preached a three day children’s revival.

My first full-time ministry job was in Family Ministries, and although I spend most of my time now teaching teens and adults, kids still have a special place in my heart. I believe theology begins at birth, and that the kingdom of God is not exclusive to a certain age.

The first service began with a discussion on what revival is. In the church, we use a lot of words that aren’t used in any other context. This isn’t necessarily a problem. It just means that we must define and clarify these churchy words each time we use them. Especially in situations where education and discipleship are not necessarily both priorities. As Brene Brown says, “Clear is kind.” It’s important to me to get clear on these words as we use them, and not just assume everyone knows what they mean. 

And this is true not just of kids, but adults, too. 

Revival, literally, means to live again. Hearts are revived by doctors, nurses, and EMTs every day! In the context of church it’s bringing life to faith again. But even this can be confusing, as everyone has a slightly different definition of what faith means. 

As adults, most of us use the words “trust” or “believe” to define faith in Jesus. So why do we explain it to kids as “asking Jesus into your heart?” That sounds very confusing. And if this is the basis for our children’s spiritual formation, it’s no wonder they grow up and leave the church. 

The definition of faith that makes the most sense to me is two simple concepts: believing that God is who God says God is, and believing that we are who God says we are. There is still an action step of answering Jesus’ call to “come, follow me” after this belief in order for it to be faith. But if our focus is on learning more about God’s character, love, and relentless restoration, and we understand that we are wholly valuable because of Genesis 1 and simultaneously worthy of nothing because of Genesis 3, how can we not then choose to follow Jesus?

With a clear definition of faith, now we can think about what it means to bring life to faith again.

Revival is spending time focused on God. Our whole priority and focus is on God. We discover who he is more and more, we fall more and more in love with him, surrender to Jesus more and more, abide in Christ more and more. We allow what we’ve learned about God and how we’ve experienced his love to transform our lives. We take what we know, holding it open handed in the presence of Holy Spirit, inviting God to use this information to become spiritual formation. 

Now, we can’t use all of those words for kids, as that’s not clear and therefore, not kind. Instead, we just say revival means to spend time focusing on God and encourage each other’s faith. 

Today was revival, or at least the beginning. 

Thanks for making this a part of your day!
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