I started following the Lord toward the end of the Jesus movement
In the mid-1970s, I cut my teeth on the stories of hundreds being baptized every weekend in Southern California. One close friend of mine said a "bad night" of witnessing in San Francisco was 10 souls coming to Christ. It's been almost 50 years since that amazing period of revival, and I believe we are on the verge another great harvest that will make the former Jesus movement look small. In fact, some are prophesying that we are entering into season where up to 1 billion souls could come to Christ. That is roughly 15% of the world's population.
Although it's easy to get excited about such an amazing forecast, The biggest question running through my mind is this: Will the church be ready? If you look throughout the history of revival, most of them are fairly short-lived. Because of this, many historians believe that revivals can only last a short period of time, but what if that is not true? What if God always wanted revivals to be sustainable from generation to generation? What if the temporary nature of revival isn't God's plan but our failure to lead correctly?
Sustained revival requires a set of key leadership elements including strategic leadership development, great succession plans, healthy systems and structures. In other words, we need a great wineskin for the wine, or if you will, a great fireplace for the fire. This is the relationship between revival and reformation.
A great example of this kind can be found in the first Great Awakening. Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield walked in tremendous revival anointing, but they left little long-term fruit. On the other hand, John Wesley, who is perhaps the least anointed of the three, dedicated Himself to creating a process of discipleship and leadership development that launched the Methodist movement that continues in some streams even through today, more than a 200 years later. Wesley was not merely interested in revival but in the reformation of the church for the following generations.
I believe we are on the verge of a new great awakening that has every possibility of sustaining until the return of the Lord Jesus to the earth. How can we position ourselves for this great move of God?
Three Keys to Sustained Revival
— Leadership character. Wesley brought a great emphasis on holiness and Christ-like character through the power of the Holy Spirit. He discipled his leaders personally, in an intimate environment, to ensure that they were equipped and empowered to represent Jesus fully. We must remember to honor character above gifting as we raise up the next generation of leaders.
— Leadership structure. Wesley created a system of leadership training and development that empowered thousands of new ministers. This was why his movement was called the "Methodists." We need healthy structures that provide the developmental pathways for emerging leaders to become everything that Jesus created them to be.
— Leadership succession. Wesley raised up many leaders throughout his ministry years and sent them throughout the world. His primary successor was John Fletcher, who was a disciple of Wesley for many years. Although some branches of Methodism have fallen into liberal theology, many have stayed true to Wesley's priorities primarily due to careful succession. It's time for aging leaders to pass the baton to the next generation, so we can continue to enjoy the blessing of sustained revival into the future.
As we prepare our hearts and our churches for the next Great Awakening, I encourage us to follow Wesley's example and raise up kingdom leaders who will catalyze revival and reformation in our generation. If you want more on this subject, the book I wrote with Banning Liebscher, Revival Culture: Prepare for the Next Great Awakening is available on Amazon. Or you can check out our online training at pastorscoach.com/tryforfree.
Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.
The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.