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Breakout - Holy Spirit and Revival

In this last post on the book 'Breakout', I want to reflect on two other themes of the book.  Throughout the book it is clear that the Holy Spirit played a central role in prophetically guiding St Andrews - both the staff and the lay leaders of mission shaped communities.  Here are memorable phrases:

  • Spiritual Leadership is letting the Holy Spirit lead
  • (At St Andrews:) There isn't a manual, but there is Immanuel
But the other thing that was important was an understanding that there is more than one model of revival.  At a conference Meic Pearse presented a paper on revival and his thesis was that:

The traditional kind of revival - which he called 'meetings-driven' - was unlikely to happen in the future in the UK.  Our society is simply too post-Christian now.  He pointed to the phenomenal growth of Christianity in China - a revival without church buildings, public meetings and great evangelists.  He ended his session by saying that the UK was now so 'post-Christian' that the China model of revival was the one most likely to happen in the west.  As in China, a western-nation revival is more likely to be a grass-roots movement of Christians taking the Gospel out to the many people who have absolutely no Christian memory, spending time gradually bringing them to faith.  Pearse concluded taht 'revivals in minimal-Christian-presence societies such as ours tend to come from the hard work, prayer and witnessing of the many, rather than from the high-profile pulpit declamations of the few'. (p20)

The book refers to two models of revival and suggests both are valid ways of God moving:
  • The Suddenly or flash flood model, and
  • The Gradual or rising tide model
In the gradual or rising tide model, Ezekiel's vision of the river in 47:1-12 is helpful and four observations are made:
  • The direction of the river: the river flows OUT of not into God's house
  • The increase of the river: as it flows it gradually increases in depth and width
  • The impact of the river: it  transforms the landscape not just individuals
  • The fruit of the river: both feeding and healing (ie social justice AND supernatural healing - not either or)
You may notice a new blog link on the right - it is for David Lawton who came and spoke at our church in June 09.  An interesting post has a link to a Lateline interview with a secular journalist who has researched the resurgence of religion

David Wanstall, 12/08/2009