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How the Church Can Experience Revival Today

But just as they begin to reminisce about the way things used to be, he interrupts their thoughts.

But forget all that! (v. 19)

Forget all that? But we need that kind of deliverance again! Forget all that? We want a repeat of those miracles. We desire a duplication of the great things previous generations experienced.

But really, forget all of that. Why? The prophecy continues.

But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-19 NLT)

Or, in a sense, God is doing an old thing (reviving his people) in a way we’ve not witnessed before. And rather than embrace it, we keep searching for the kind of revival we want to experience.

What Revival Might Look Like Today

In 1980, Pastor Rick Warren and his wife, Kay, started a little church in their small apartment in Orange County, California, with a small handful of people. On Easter Sunday that year, a couple hundred people gathered for their big launch. Now, nearly thirty thousand gather as Saddleback Church.

And Saddleback has planted tons of churches, seen thousands of small groups form, thousands of people sent on mission trips to literally every nation on earth, and has started over a dozen campuses in neighboring communities.

I’d say that’s revival.

Around the same time, Bill Hybels assumed the leadership reins of a struggling church in Chicagoland, and today, tens of thousands call Willow Creek home.

In the year 2000, eight pastors—Greg Surratt, Rick Bezet, John Siebeling, Stovall Weems, Chris Hodges, Billy Hornsby, Scott Hornsby and Dino Rizzo—began to pray for a church planting movement to be birthed. Greg was asking God to allow Seacoast Church to plant 2,000 churches while Chris Hodges and Rick Bezet were heading out to start the first two.

Now, the Association of Related Churches is hundreds of multiplying churches strong, representing tens of thousands of believers whose eternities have been secured by a massive gospel-sharing, life-giving movement of God.

But…most ARC churches have drums. And stage lighting. And the feel is both casual and electric. And this scares us.

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Brandon Cox is Lead Pastor of Grace Hills Church, a new church plant in northwest Arkansas. He also serves as Editor and Community Facilitator for Pastors.com and Rick Warren's Pastor's Toolbox and was formerly a Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. In his spare time, he offers consultation to church leaders about communication, branding, and social media. He and his wife, Angie, live with their two awesome kids in Bentonville, Arkansas.