Are you ready to experience spiritual revival?

“We need to experience in deeper ways how Jesus’ love is so unconditional he accepts us just the way we are, so transforming he is unwilling to leave us the way we are and so powerful he gives us what we absolutely need but can never get on our own—reconciliation with God, healing and a new way of living that is eternal in every sense of the word. This revival is foundational for everything we do, because we can only passionately share Jesus’ love that brings healing, hope, justice and transformation in lives, communities and the world when we first have been transformed ourselves.” (Bishop’s Mission Plan: ‘Next Steps’ Trajectory)
 
Why are we talking about spiritual revival?
 
We’re not talking about spiritual revival because it’s “Next Step #1” of my Mission Plan, yet another attempt to address the sad reality that the United Methodist Church is growing smaller, becoming older and struggling with financial sustainability, or because it’s what we do when we don’t know what else to do.   
 
We’re talking about it because we believe God wants the people called United Methodists to become a movement so filled with the Holy Spirit that we become passionate about reaching out to a hurting and broken world to share the good news of Jesus’ love that changes everything about everything—including us!
 
What is spiritual revival?
 
Spiritual revival is not a three-night hellfire and brimstone event every summer, an attempt to replicate a powerful experience we had years ago or a way to hide from real life pain and injustice.
 
Rather, revival is experiencing a deeper relationship with Jesus as Savior and Lord, being empowered by the Holy Spirit to see and do things in brand new ways and making a commitment to be involved in God’s mission in the world. 
 
Revival may begin with individuals, but it always grows to involve more and more people: Sunday school classes, Bible studies, discipleship groups, congregations, annual conferences and our denomination.
 
How do we experience spiritual revival?
 
We can never bring about spiritual revival on our own, because revival is always the work of the Holy Spirit. 
 
We can, however, prepare ourselves for it as we talk about it, long for it, and seek it through prayer, confession, repentance, waiting, watching and paying close attention to what God’s up to.  
 
We don’t have to be great theologians, preachers or evangelists to be part of revival. We just have to desire it deeply, talk about it with others, begin praying for it and, most of all, discern how God is making it a reality.  
 
What happens when spiritual revival comes?
 
Spiritual revival changes us as the Holy Spirit re-awakens us, re-news us, re-fills us, re-forms us, re-directs us and re-energizes us for carrying out the church’s mission just as the Holy Spirit did 2,000 years ago on the day of Pentecost.
 
So what will the outcome of revival be? People will come to know God’s love in Jesus Christ—maybe for the first time and maybe in deeper ways than ever before. Congregations will become more vital as they are inspired, energized and equipped to carry out their mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ—who make disciples—who are equipped to transform lives, communities and the world. 
 
And God’s healing, hope, joy, justice and new life will become a reality that people actually begin to experience.