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Andy Stanley Explains Controversial Tweets About Revival

Megachurch pastor Andy Stanley stirred up a controversy early last week when he made comments on Twitter regarding spiritual revival in the church. The pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., tweeted the following on Tuesday, June 10: “Instead of praying for revival leaders of the SBC should go spend three weeks with @perrynoble Why pray for one when you can go watch one.” “Praying for revival equates to blaming God for the condition of your local church.” “Why not call the Church to pray for the things Jesus & New Testament writers prayed for? Why add Revival to the list?” “Churches that need reviving most are the very churches that resist it most.” After much discussion online and personally with other leaders, Stanley explained to the Christian Post that he was referring to revival in the local church, not particularly in the Southern Baptist Convention or in America at large.

“I realized about halfway into what became an almost four-hour discussion that many, maybe most, of the response was coming from people who were thinking more in terms of an awakening like America has experienced in the past,” Stanley told the CP. “I can understand the confusion and I definitely contributed to it.”

Later in the interview, Stanley explained he gets a little “stirred up” when he sees church leaders refuse to make changes necessary to reach people and instead pray for revival. “When a church says, ‘We want to see our church do something. We want to baptize more people. We want to reach our city,’ and then church consultants or smart people go in and say ‘You need to fire these people, you need to quit spending this money, you need to do this and that’ and the church goes, ‘We can’t do any of that,’ well, my reaction to the whole revival terminology is that, you know what, instead of praying for that whole revival, there are some very practical things churches could do to reach their communities.”

“The apostle Paul gives us a model for how the church is to function,” he continued. “He says the local church is a body and when every single member functions like they are supposed to function, it paves the way for great things to happen. Paul used the phrase, ‘Gifts of the spirit.’ When believers leverage their spiritual gifts for the sake of the gospel that is a spirit-led endeavor. I have a hunch that if every believer leveraged their gifts along with the other believers in their community there would in fact be a revival of epic proportion.”

“The organizational side of church is absolutely key to getting things done and I don’t think that’s unspiritual. Applying what Paul taught can look a bit corporate. But what happens as a result goes way beyond what an organization can accomplish. People’s hearts are changed. Only the Spirit of God can do that. But for reasons known only to Him, God chooses to work through us as we work together. That’s why there’s nothing like the local church.”