by Warren Heckman.
All my life I have heard sermons about revival, listened to testimonies, read articles and books about the awesome working of God in sovereign ways. Growing up, I longed for the moving of the Holy Spirit in the same way these accounts described.
Preparing for the ministry, I determined to adopt the mottos “Win the lost at any cost” as well as “Pentecost at any cost.” These would be foundational to my pastoral calling. However, it often seemed like those who pursued “revival” often did little to reach out to their communities to win the unconverted. They mainly concentrated on prayer and fasting, intercession, spiritual warfare, and waiting on the Holy Spirit to come and bring revival.
Then about 40 years ago, FCA pioneer E. C. Erickson preached a sermon that clarified it for me. In essence he said, “We have a measure of revival as Spirit-filled people. Let’s rejoice in what we have and seek to win the lost, all the while praying for that ‘big revival’ that will shake our cities!”
Is it possible that, in seeking for revival, we have put all our eggs in one basket, so to speak, waiting for a revival while doing little on our own in our local areas to reach the lost?
In more recent years, Jack Whitesell has sometimes put it like this: There are two mind-sets regarding church growth. One is to seek God for “revival” and expect hundreds, even thousands, to be swept into the kingdom when revival comes. The other is a “harvest” mentality, in which we faithfully sow the seed of God’s Word, day after day witnessing, knowing that a harvest always comes in due season. With this mind-set, we rejoice as people in our community respond to our ministries of outreach.
It seems to me that marrying these two together is a good plan to follow. It is my prayer that my community, local church, our nation, and our world will experience a genuine revival, with hundreds of thousands being saved, the church purified, and God glorified. It is also my prayer that day after day as we sow the seed, we will experience people coming to Christ and connecting with the local church.
Warren Heckman is the U.S. National Coordinator for FCA.