The Essence of Revival

Back to the Basics


Across the pages of Christian history, "revival" has taken many forms and carried numerous meanings. Even if we only consider American history, the understanding of revival shifted greatly between the First and Second Great Awakenings leaving many disillusioned by the term. Should the church today make revival a central focus of its efforts? 

Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, poses this topic to  Richard Phillips, Senior Minister of the Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville, South Carolina and Bryan Chapell, Senior Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Illinois. Together, they explain the foundation of revival and consider what it means for Christians to pursue it today.


Rick described revival as the normal effects of believing in the gospel, but played out on a more urgent and widespread level. Does your perspective on revival align with his description? If not, where do you differ? In light of this discussion, are there any ways your perspective needs to be adjusted?
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Bryan noted a misunderstanding of revival (a work of the Holy Spirit) as opposed to revivalism (a human effort to manufacture the desired results). What is your attitude towards revival? Do you have skepticism? If so, why? Did Bryan's explanation help you with your view?
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Kevin said that no one authentically desires revival until they are fine with it starting in a congregation other than their own. How did his statement strike you? Do you desire revival deeply enough to celebrate God accomplishing it through someone other than yourself? If not, what stands in the way?
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Two common areas that can choke the fruits are revival are trying to manufacture it and resigning to the point of giving up on it. Where would you place yourself on the spectrum between these two extremes? What changes do you need to make to faithfully pursue revival? Who could you reach out to this week to help you in that process?
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As Christians, we should not neglect God's continued work of revival. We ought to pray consistently for Him to create new life in a dying world trusting Him to bring about this change without manufacturing it ourselves. Ask God to shape your heart in such a way that your desire for revival reflects His heart for the world. Give thanks for the ways He continues to save and expect Him to honor the prayers of His people.


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