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Today Was Revival, Part 3

Today was revival. I preached a three day children’s revival. 

Someone asked me, “A children’s revival? How does that work?”

I’ll admit, I was a little confused by their question. Were they asking what the order of service was? Were they wondering if children pray at an altar like adults do? Or did they just not know that faith isn’t limited to adults? 

I’m still not sure what exactly they meant by that question. But I think this kind of a question is a symptom of the way we understand “revival” in general in the American church.

Last year a spontaneous revival began at Asbury University after a group of students continued worship after a regular chapel service. It continued overnight for nine days, and then for another week after the university added a curfew and security. This revival began as a chapel service for college students, but quickly grew to draw up to 70,000 people of all ages from across the country. 

Why would people spend time and money traveling to an unplanned college chapel service to experience revival? These people have a church they go to regularly. I presume they read Scripture and have some kind of interaction with God outside of the time they spend at church. So what’s missing in their faith that they need to go somewhere to meet with the God who comes to us?

I think the answer to this question also explains why someone would ask the first question about a children’s revival. Church, revival, and faith, are more often considered events. Even by many pastors, whose primary means of sharing the gospel is a Sunday morning service. Even by people who say “it’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.” There is a huge gap for many people in the church between what we say, teach, and do, and what we actually believe to be true about God.

So people will flock to a spontaneous revival to meet with the God they’ve been worshiping every week in their local church. They’ll ask questions wondering why we would host a children’s revival while sending their kids to a summer Vacation Bible School. 

They believe “God will show up” in these certain events but don’t realize he’s always with them. Intellectually they may know it–they’ve read the Scripture that says it and believe that God is omnipresent. But still, this knowledge doesn’t translate into their spiritual lives. Revival is something they do. It’s an event they attend rather than where they put their focus. 

Although we can schedule or plan revival services to attend, the reality is that revival–new life–in your faith is not an event. It’s an encounter with God that happens when we are focused on God. 

So yes, children can experience revival. And no, you don’t need to take off work and drive to a college campus thousands of miles away to “meet with God.” You can–and will–experience Holy Spirit transforming your life when you spend time focused on God. If you’re not sure where to start, download the guide to abide.

Today was revival. And tomorrow will be revival. And the next day, and forevermore, as we spend time focused 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. 

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