Revival Culture Questions
1. How many programs do we have in our church? List them all on a whiteboard, and ask your team which of these are really contributing to your mission. (I once did this with a church leadership team I was consulting. In this church of 400, they had 65 active programs, and most of them had lost their effectiveness years before! There was no room or time for God, and the same handful of dog-tired core people were manning these programs.) What needs to go so your church can make room for God?
2. Is there anything structurally in our church that is preventing God’s activity? What in our environment detracts from God’s agenda rather than advancing it? Is there anything that may be aborting God’s movement?
3. Have we put time limits on the Spirit in any of our environments? If God wanted to interrupt our agenda, have we given Him and our people the freedom to listen to His Spirit and cooperate with Him?
4. Are we working prayerfully and aggressively in planning our worship gatherings? Are we making room for God? (Planning can be as spiritual as spontaneity!) Do we work hard and long at thinking through what God wants to say to His people each week? Does every element support that thought? Do we allow silly things—things that interrupt the flow of God’s Spirit, things that have become needless traditions—to take precedence over God’s plan for those moments?
5. If God manifests Himself in a song, a prayer, a sermon, or a prayer time, do we know how to shepherd that moment well? Do we know how to listen to the Lord and “sit” on that moment until He has done all He desires? Do we quickly recognize where God is at work and join Him there, as Henry Blackaby has so beautiful said?
6. Are we willing to let the body express itself in testimony? Some of the greatest moments in revival have been when a simple, humble testimony was shared from a broken believer, or when a desperate cry for prayer was expressed, and the body gathered around the needy one to pray. (To learn how to handle these opportunities well, use the tool “Releasing and Shepherding the Microphone in Revival”). Are you willing to allow for the messiness of revival in order to discover the mightiness of revival?
7. Are we willing to preach shorter, when God directs? Do we have the humility to say only what we hear Him saying and do only what we see Him doing? (See how Jesus did this in John 8:28; 12:49.)
8. Does our small group structure lend itself to God’s movement? Are we training our small group leaders to cooperate with God? Are we doing this in all our small group environments, from children to adults?
9. Are we using all the “means of grace” God has ordained to usher in His presence? The Lord’s Table, baptism, preaching, singing, silence, confession, testimony, community, solemn assemblies, prayer, celebration—are we maximizing these moments?
10. Is the content we are feeding our people in every setting helping us develop a revival culture?
Finally, the hardest question: Are we willing to do what is necessary with these questions to change in ways that invite God’s presence? Or will we as spiritual leaders bow to a man-fearing, man-pleasing spirit? Are we willing to make the tough choices gracefully in order to make room for our King?