Ministry Café panel cites precursors to revival

FORT WORTH – While revival is a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit, there are things pastors can do to position their churches for a movement of God, panelists said during a Ministry Café during the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Bible Conference, Nov. 10.

“When revival comes, there’s always a focus on preaching and teaching the Word of God,” Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, said.

Uniting a church in prayer, focus and expectancy are important, panelists said, and obstacles to revival must be removed.

When a church “exalts something as a priority that is not a priority to God according to His Word, that is an idol that must be torn down,” Eric Thomas, pastor of First Baptist Church in Norfolk, Va., said.

Kie Bowman, pastor of Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, said God can use hardships to bring revival.

“Everybody we preach to hurts. Everybody on this platform has experienced intense pain just being obedient, just serving God,” Bowman said. “… God is going to do something through a hurting people.”

Romans 8 makes clear that believers must suffer, Bowman said.

“If we’re not ready to suffer with Him, we will not be raised with Him,” he said. “Revival will come out of our hurt and out of our pain and out of our discouragement.”

Graham cited Acts 20:19 and how the Apostle Paul served the Lord with “all humility and with tears through trials.”

“God uses us when we’re most broken,” Graham said. “… What I need the most are more tears. We’re pretty good at righteous anger and pounding our fists on the pulpit or on the table—and there are some things that we should shout about and get good and angry about—but we’re not so good at anguish.

“If we’re going to bring people to Christ, if we’re going to see our churches revived, we need to try tears. I’m not talking about working something up. I think those of us who are pastors ought to cry privately more than we cry publicly. But if I’m not putting some tears on my carpet on the floor of my house or my office, then I’m not doing it right.”

Thomas pointed to Luke 18:1, which says believers “always ought to pray and not give up hope.”

“The longer I live in the lap of my Heavenly Father and immerse myself in His love for me and for the church, the more strength, comfort, courage, patience and perseverance I have to press forward in the extravagant things that He calls us to do and to be,” Thomas said.

Once a church experiences revival or even a short season of refreshing, Graham said, pastors must be ready to help people grow in their renewed faith.

“We’ve got to put them in the game,” he said. “We’ve got to give people an opportunity to serve in meaningful ways.”

TEXAN Correspondent
Erin Roach
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