The Evangelist doesn’t bring revival in a suitcase, it takes a collective effort that is worthy of showing God you are serious about revival. The more you involve the people in your church the more likely they will experience revival.
Some Preparation Steps For A Successful Meeting
You hear preachers saying things like “Pray for a revival in America,” or “It’s not likely to happen, but America needs revival.” The truth is we can have revival anytime we want, but most church members are not willing to pay the price. Some of the things they will need are:
A serious desire to see your church succeed. If your people are not doing the job before and after the Evangelist gets there, it is unlikely his efforts will make a big difference.
Don’t be surprised if the Holy Spirit does things beyond your expectations, after all that is what you should be praying for. Try not to prejudge someone’s decision. For instance if they say they are lost don’t try to give them assurance even if you prayed with them before. Many times people put more faith in the prayer than the Saviour. They may really be lost. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fellow pastor, missionary, pastor’s wife, son, deacon, whoever it may be, and no matter how pure their Christian walk, we should not automatically assume they are confused if they come forward. Give them credit for being brave enough to come forward and admit they are lost. If you don’t let them get saved if they have doubts, no matter who it embarrasses, you may be talking a lost person into believing they are all right. You are not going to talk anyone out of their salvation. You can’t talk someone who is truly saved out of their salvation, you can only talk those out of it who were talked into it in the first place. Those who know what they trusted in the Bible way will not doubt their position in Christ whenever they hear a strong evangelistic sermon.
The church should be prepared to hold revival meetings longer than scheduled depending on the results. If God moves we should be willing to sacrifice to see genuine revival. One pastor in Florida said, “I will have any evangelist who is willing to stay until revival breaks out.” That pastor will get a good Evangelist when he gets one and he’s likely to have revival break out because he gets it.
Ask the Evangelist for suggestions on how to prepare for revival. Schedule your revival at least six months in advance, give the Evangelist time to prepare too.
Plan your revival prayerfully. Don’t just have some kid come in who’s called to preach, get a seasoned Evangelist for your meetings.
Expect that souls will be saved, don’t be surprised. J. Harold Smith preached “God’s Three Deadlines” and visiting preachers and half the congregation would come forward to be saved. He said, “Don’t be surprised by this, it happens where ever I go.” Billy Sunday said, “75% of all church members are lost.” Finney said it was 80%. Moody also believed a high percentage of church members were lost. Someone asked D.L. Moody, “Why is it that you have people saved all the time and I don’t in my church.” Dr. Moody said in reply, “You don’t expect people to get saved in every service do you?” The man answered, “No.” Then Mr. Moody said, “That’s why you don’t.”
You should prepare your people to start praying for lost loved ones, friends, coworkers they can invite to the meetings. This would be a good time to have a friend day, or promotion of some type. Most Christians today make a profession of salvation before they get saved. That means they aren’t getting it when we rush them through a plan of salvation. You may want to preach sermons that will prepare the people to prepare their hearts for revival before the meeting, sermons on a burden for the lost, etc.
You may want to schedule special events during the meetings. It depends on your finances, but they can be low budget events. For example a cookout for the teens after the main service the last night. This will depend a lot on the church and it’s resources, but a cookout could be just hot dogs and marshmallows with some preaching thrown in. These have been very effective for reaching teens and can be an incentive for getting teenagers to invite their friends to come to the meeting.
Revival is not a good time to bring in new singers you have not used before, or to learn new hymns (with the exception of chorus’). All the music should be lively, but Scriptural.
You may not be able to do all of the things we mentioned, you may even disagree with some of them. These are just suggestions based on what we have seen work successfully in other churches. The results you see from your meeting will not just be due to the Evangelist’s effort, but to your and your people’s efforts as well.
Nobody can bring revival to your church, your people must be willing to pay the price to receive it and God must send it through His Holy Spirit. If it comes any other way it won’t be the real thing. Real revival will be felt a long after the Evangelist is gone. The price of revival is people who are willing to allow the Holy Spirit to change them. It is important to be willing to pray more earnestly, invite faithfully, be organized, prepare your hearts, and let God change what He convicts you about. Revival starts with each of us individually. Prayer is the most important element of a good meeting. You can’t do too much of it.
Did you ever wonder why not many churches schedule revival meetings anymore?
Are there no Evangelists anymore? Have we given up on revivals? We don’t believe either is the case. There are fewer Evangelists today I think because of lack of support from local churches, but there are some trends that have driven us away from revivals. There are few “city-wide” Baptist revivals anymore, you can hardly get three Baptist preachers to cooperate on one mutually beneficial project anymore. Pastor’s fellowships are getting scarcer, because pastor’s don’t participate. To be sure they can site some good reasons not to, but the fact is many times it is because they don’t enjoy fellowshipping with other pastors that much. What is wrong with us Baptists?
Revivals in Baptist churches have been replaced with “Camp Meetings” in many churches today. The camp meeting movement (or Bible Conference, Jubilee, etc.) is strong for several reasons, you don’t need an Evangelist because you can have your pastor friends preach the meeting, more attention goes to gospel singers and the camp meeting atmosphere than the preachers. When all the shouting and hollering is done, what has been accomplished? While we are partying around our fundamentals and Baptist heritage our nation is going to hell and our churches are sleeping. While we are being blessed on the outside, our hearts are starving for real revival.
We need to have “revivals” again, We need to support Evangelists again. A camp meeting cannot replace a revival. A Jubilee may make a name for us, may get some money raised, may satisfy your people’s need for a special meeting, but doesn’t usually result in anything lasting. Maybe pastors are afraid an Evangelist would stir things up too much, cause them trouble. If that be the case have one that won’t cause you trouble. Paul went around and encouraged the churches he planted. There were Evangelists in the Bible, but there were no camp meetings or jubilees. Let Pastors pastor, and Evangelists preach special meetings. This seems to be the way God intended it. The Evangelist is a gift to the church from God, Ephesians. 4:11-12.