From Revival to Awakening
By Eric Neale Moore
It's time to shift from "waiting for a revival" to "become the awakening"!
A revival is when the church rises out of passionless, rote, sleepy religion to become motivated by its first love - Jesus. It causes people's hearts to be stirred to bold love for Jesus and each other. A local congregation is changed by a real revival. Revivals don't last very long, generally from a couple months to 3-4 years.
Awakenings are different! An awakening transforms the culture. An awakening occurs when a revived church engages, challenges and ultimately reforms the ungodliness and injustices of its society. An awakening comes when a revived people empowered by a holy God change the mindsets and structures of an ungodly nation.
Awakenings have a long life.
Here's a couple questions we need to answer, "Are we revived and ready to move toward awakening? How do we shift to awakening?"
Is the Church Revived?
Yes and No! Part of the Church in America is vibrantly alive! Part is still stuck in lifeless rituals. The awakened Church does not have to wait any more. Even inside many dead local churches a firebrand group is awake and chomping at the bit.
In many places I see an alive, revived Church. My personal sample may be small but I can tell you about dozens of churches where the worship is passionate and real. And its not about the music, its about Jesus.
In Detroit, over 25,000 people gathered at Ford Field on 11-11-11 for intense, earnest exaltation of Jesus Christ. The following spring 20,000 Christians gathered to worship Jesus in the parking lot of Comerica Park to kick off the EACH campaign in which we boldly and lovingly sought to tell our region about Jesus.
I have been to many conferences recently where the people are alive spiritually. When I compare these expressions of current Christianity to the sleepy church I grew up in and the highly organized, efficient professional churches of my past, I can declare unequivocally to you - The Church is Revived!!
But the evidence is deeper than just the passionate corporate worship and exaltation of Jesus. A deeper look reveals a multitude of people who reflect the very nature of Christ. They are holy, selfless, sacrificial and singularly devoted to King Jesus. They have been tried and tested by fire and they are tough, mature warriors for the cause of Christ.
I believe we are ready to become the Awakening.
A Historical Example - Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect
Around 1790 in England a small band of passionate Christians rose up to contend with the decadence of their day. The most prominent figure was William Wilberforce but his supporting cast was an amazing collection of politicians, a former slave, wealthy businessmen, educators, pastors, lawyers and authors.
They became the forerunners of the powerful Puritan Movement.
What they accomplished in a 30-40 year period can only be described as a spiritual awakening. Clifford Hill in his book, The Wilberforce Connection, writes,
"William Wilberforce and the Clapham Group were born into a godless, repressive, cynical and violent world. Annual consumption of gin in the mid-18th century averaged three gallons per person. Stealing a handkerchief could send a child to the gallows. Members of Parliament purchased their seats, and ignored the arguments about slavery and child labour...
"Wilberforce and his friends set about transforming society. By personal example, dedicated argument, generous giving and careful research they changed the character of Britain. In Wilberforce's phrase, they 'made goodness fashionable".
An in-depth look at Wilberforce and gang give us practical examples of shifting from revival to awakening.
Changing a Revival Mindset to an Awakening Mindset
The Gospel had transformed Wilberforce and his friends. Wilberforce actually considered leaving public service and becoming a pastor. Wise counsel from John Newton (who wrote Amazing Grace) kept Wilberforce in the place where he could affect reformation - the Marketplace!
The most fundamental operational shift the church needs to make in this hour is to redesign our structures so we send people rather than gather them.
About half of 1% of the Church is employed by the Church to oversee the Church. The rest of the Church is employed in the marketplace. They are strategically positioned by God, who placed gifts and dreams within them to display the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. The overseers of the Church create a potent force for transformation when they operate as equippers and trainers rather than lecturers and nursemaids.
The Clapham Group saw themselves as change agents. About 30 Members of Parliament who identified themselves with Wilberforce became known as "The Saints" whose primary allegiance was to biblical principles not party affiliations. They met regularly to discuss political objectives. These meetings were not like political caucuses, instead they "centered around worship and prayer seeking to know the mind of God on the issues that confronted them".
Hannah More prodigiously produced tracts and books and a monthly newspaper, The Christian Observer. These writings began to turn the tide in the nation. People of all ranks in society began to be open to the message of "vital religion"
One of the Clapham Groups efforts that grew into long-term change agents was the formation of charitable societies. The societies were an important part of the strategy for social change. They spread the influence of Kingdom into a wide variety of institutions and interests. The list of societies operating in London alone ran into the hundreds. Look at this partial list...
- The Society for Promoting Charity Schools in Ireland
- The asylum for the Support and Encouragement of the Deaf and Dumb Children of the Poor
- The London Missionary Society
- The Society for Bettering the Conditions and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor
- Institution for the Relief of the Poor of the City of London and Parts Adjacent
- The Religious Tract Society
- The Society for Promoting the Religious Instruction of Youth
- The Society for the Relief of the Industrious Poor
- The British National Endeavor for the Orphans of Soldiers and Sailors
- The Asylum house of Refuge for the Reception of the Orphaned Girls the Settlement of whose Parents Cannot be Found
- The Institution for the Protection of Young Girls
- The Society for the Suppression of Vice
- The Friendly Female Society for the Relief of Poor, Infirm, Aged Widows, and Single Women of Good Character Who Have Seen Better Days
- The Sunday School Union
- The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- The British and Foreign Bible Society
As we shift into "becoming the Awakening", we will stop waiting for somebody else to do something. Now's the time to get involved!!!
That's why I started The Society for the Promotion of a Culture of Honor. I saw a problem and I knew we could solve it. Government needs the wisdom and prayers of God's people. Join with me - www.cultureofhonor.org
Or start something! Become part of a group that's trying to accomplish something noble!
How about this? Did you know that Detroit has basically one struggling Crisis Pregnancy Center? Ironically Detroit has several Planned Parenthood Centers for easy access abortions. Instead of waiting for Roe v Wade to overturn, why don't you invest time and money actually reduce the number of abortions?
The Detroit Pregnancy Center is relocating in early 2013. I bet they could use your help and money. http://detroitpregnancy.org/
So let's not wait any longer. What are you passionate about? Fatherlessness. Sex trafficking. Literacy. Blight. Racism. Movies. Writing. Children. Elderly. Poverty. Jobs.
Find a way to make a difference.
Become the Awakening!