Almost every fall and/or spring, churches will have what is called, a revival, where they bring in a preacher and a singing group or duo to lead the congregation in worship. The singers will lead in some form of congregational singing and then sing a few of their favorite songs whether it is a hymn or song they wrote. The preacher would come up and preach a "sermon" that might spark a revival within the church.
Truth of the matter is that most of these "revivals" are not revival. They are just times of worship for the church to come together to be encouraged rather than be fired up for Jesus. The sermons are nothing but someone preaching their "ideas" about what wants to say to the church and use the scriptures to serve the sermon.
Our church is currently going through a series of revival services. For the past couple of days, I begin to think about what makes these revival service not a true revival. Here is what I have come up with:
1. When revival services is set to serve one generation of people in your congregation. If a church has a revival service geared toward the older generation, the younger generation will be left out because they feel the church is only meeting the needs of those who have been with the church longer they have.
2. When they is more singing from the worship team than the congregation. Since when did corporate worship turn into a concert for those who can sing to display their talent? These services should have the congregation engage in worship to declare the glory of God, but in reality they are just there so some of the congregation can hear good singing, which may not be good singing.
3. When Christ is not exalted in the preaching of the Bible. Most of the preachers of these revival services are evangelists who go across the country proclaiming the gospel, but when they preach the gospel, they are preaching something other than Jesus or they take important scriptures (all scriptures are important to set the record straight), for example Matthew 16:13-20, and instead of preaching on the church, the preacher preaches how to live in victory as if he is taking a page out of Joel Osteen's sermons.
4. When preaching in itself is ridiculous. Have you ever heard a preacher preaching from when Peter denied Jesus in Luke 22 and instead of talking about what Peter through and preaching how Jesus gave grace to Peter for denying him, the preacher decides (please how back the laughter) on the rooster the crowed. Really!?! A preacher decides to preach on the rooster saying he was set apart for God to crow at that moment, that he did his job well (he is a rooster!!!), and he was not ashamed of crowing for Jesus. I would love hear what Albert Mohler or Mark Dever would say about this kind of preaching.
5. When "revival" does not stir affections for Jesus but only religious duties. I am glad when a church want to evangelize more and be in the Word more, but if it is only for the sake to perform so God will love you more, then that "revival" only makes you more religious than loving Jesus.
Revival happens when Christ is exalted, the Bible is preached faithfully, the church fulfills its calling to be faithful witnesses for Jesus, and loving Jesus more than the desire to perform.