When we think of spiritual revival, we need to understand what revival means. Revival is an experience that produces adjustments and changes in people’s lives and in the life of the church. In the following quotation, Ellen G. White defined revival in a simple manner:
“Revival and Reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits, and practices.”1
If revival generates reorganization in ideas, habits, and practices, are you, as a leader in your local church, interested in a revival experience? Revival requires prayer, Bible study, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Members of the church and people in the community around the church are waiting for this experience. Why?
1. Because secularism has not been the answer. Many who have academic degrees, good professional jobs, and elevated social positions nevertheless feel emptiness in their lives. Material possessions have not satisfied all of their needs.
2. Because people are spiritually thirsty and wish to have answers for their spiritual questions. This is not the time for entertaining programs on spiritual and religious issues; it is time for solid bread—the Word of God. People are looking for a church where they can find God.
3. Because people’s spiritual interest is not in Christianity as a religion or in any particular church or its mission. Their spiritual interest lies in their desire to know God and get answers to their questions—Who is God? Who am I? Why am I here?—questions related to a sense of identity and a meaningful relationship with God.
Here is an easy and strategic five-step process for revival:
1. Know what is your role as a church officer.
2. Identify the spiritual needs and priorities of your church.
3. Choose strategies to meet those needs.
4. Define action plans for your annual church program, keeping revival and mission as the top priorities.
5. Go through a quarterly process of implementation and evaluation. This process should include a week of spiritual revival to explore the following: Who is God? (the Creator); the problem that arose in God’s kingdom (the Fall and sin); God’s solution to sin (redemption); and the invitation of God (restoration).
This will be a new spiritual experience that will help you to recognize God’s principles, values, instructions, plan, and methods. Sometimes these are different than human principles, values, plans, or methods.
When we walk in this world doing what we think is God’s will and using what we believe to be God’s criteria, using values that we think are God’s values and using methods that we think are God’s methods, we are on the wrong path. Let’s explore God’s Word to hear His voice saying, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (Isa. 30:21).
If you allow God to be your God, you will have gained a greater knowledge of Him and developed a new interest in the study of His Word and in your prayer life. Your participation in evangelism will reflect your personal relationship with God because, in the end, stewardship is a relationship. Your faithfulness in tithes and offerings will not be questionable because God comes first, and you do as He said.
1 Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, 1:128.
Mario Niño is associate director of the General Conference Stewardship Ministries Department.