The final breakout session is with Tim Keller. He’s pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. This feller is the best theologian, pastor, and church planter here. Folks were all excited that Rick Warren and Andy Stanley is here, but this guy is the heavy weight. He loves that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again. His book The Reason For God is a book you need to read. So go get it…now. Hear this young pastors and those who want to be leaders in the church. We need to sit at the feet of godly, gospel loving, experienced, mature, Calvinist, evangelistic leaders and learn. I don’t have any in my city and so I’m dependent on the books and podcast of people like Keller and Piper.
We begin now. He points out that this conference is really about methodology. He’s not going to do that. He wants to talk about what really makes a church grow and plant churches. He said it’s really about revival not methodology. Did I tell you this guy is great or what?! The reason our churches don’t grow and our community doesn’t experience God is because we are spiritually and biblically dead. So the reason churches aren’t reproducing themselves isn’t because they’re not smart or don’t know how, but because they are dead spiritually. This doesn’t mean you aren’t skillful. It means that the methods are slick enough that non believers could do the steps and build a church to 10,000, but who gives a rip. That’s not good. That’s not revival.
So here are 16, yes, 16 things, for true revival in churches. Get revival and you’ll get reproduction of churches. Revival/Reproduction is a theological issue. This all comes out of his experience in New York City and study of church history (Birth of the Church, Reformation, Great Awakening).
3 Instruments for Revival (Things the Spirit Uses to Bring About Revival). We have control over this.
1. A recovery of a difference b/w gospel and religion. Religion says, I obey God therefore I’m accepted. The gospel says I don’t obey God, but Jesus died and rose for me. I trust that so I’m accepted. Religious people live scared, inferior, and condemning of others. Gospel people are free and confident, secure in God, and gracious. So preach the gospel, not religion. That’s why when you show a hard core pagan that you love the gospel not religion they are open to the message of Jesus.
2. A recovery of great prayer. Not ordinary prayer in worship gatherings, small groups, and devotional prayer. This is united over the top impacting zealous prayer. Every revival in church history is accompanied by this.
3. A recovery of creativity. The worst thing we can do is to say this is how revival happened there and then, so we’ll do that here and now. So we have to be creative in our prayer and revival. You never get back into Narnia the same way twice (C.S. Lewis)
3 Aspects of Revival (We have no control over this)
1. Nominal believers get converted. They believe theology intellectually, but haven’t owned it. They don’t really get it. You sometimes find that these folks realize that they weren’t Christians.
2. Sleepy Christians wake up. They believe theologically the gospel, but they look to something else (Family, job, approval, comfort, power) as their practical gospel. Romans 8:16-17, deals with how the Spirit gives us assurance not just our own personal assurance that we’re believers. Revival moves these Christians from personal assurance, but Spirit assurance.
3. Outsiders are drawn in. Christians are experiencing the depth of their relationship with God. This is felt in worship services. It cannot be produced. It has nothing to do with timing or pacing or style. As unbelievers come in they don’t feel manipulated by slick methods, but they enter a dynamic community of Jesus lovers and they want it.
6 Balances to Revival (Can partially control them)
1. Dynamic Worship. It’s worship that is fun and exciting, but deep and meaningful. It can be thin and shallow, but it can be to deep and clogged either.
2. Great Teaching/Preaching. It has to be biblical and gospel centered. It has to be clear and relevant. So theologically rich, yet practically relevant (that’s my phrasing, not his if that’s too cheesy).
3. Life changing Community. All revival happens in community.
4. Outward focused. Very evangelistic. Revival are able to be bold, yet it’s done in humility and respected by unbelievers.
5. Passion for Justice/Poor. Didn’t develop
6. Cultural Engagement. The church ask how it can make an impact in their culture. Revival doesn’t allow Christians to separate life into spiritual and secular. It’s all gospel
4 Results of Revival (Have no Control Over)
1. There’s always a crazy fringe. There will be some folks that come out of the revival very proud. This happens because of premature leadership. You have to put people in leadership because everything is happening so overwhelmingly.
2. There’s always a backlash. There will be resistance within the church and the culture. It scares folks.
3. There’s a lot of new churches started. There has never been revival without this. It isn’t turf conscious because you’re coming out of the ears with people.
4. There is real social healing. Abolishing of slavery, child labor laws, etc have come on the heels of revival.
Last comment few comments: God regularly brings revivals and will finally bring the Great Revival with a new heaven and new earth. (Here comes the gospel…). There will be a final spring after the winner. Jesus will return and then we will stay revived!
The role of the pastor is to do the same thing whether revivals are happening are not. We’re happier when we see the results, but it doesn’t change our job.
Oh my gosh, I have tears in my eyes with the beauty of that session. The gospel is so high and lifted up. I want this. I beg for this Jesus in our church and in our city.