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Revival Without Reformation Will Never Last

Revival Without Reformation Will Never Last

In the midst of a powerful outpouring of the Spirit, it feels as if all your dreams have come true. You are experiencing what you have longed for and prayed for, and the Lord Himself is so near. Lives are being dramatically changed, the crowds keep pouring in, and the worship is powerful. This is it! Revival is here! At last! For good reason, you are grateful beyond words. The Lord has answered your prayers. The Lord has seen your tears. The Lord has heard your cries.

But how would you feel ten or twenty or thirty years later if there was little or nothing to show for the revival, no lasting fruit from the outpouring? How would you feel if most of the converts had fallen back into their old ways, if very few new churches and ministries had been birthed, if there was no lasting effect on your community, if your own congregation had not grown and deepened, if all that remained were stories of the revival? How would you feel then?

Certainly, in the midst of a genuine revival, it seems as if long-term results are virtually guaranteed. After all, the Spirit is moving so deeply and people are being changed so radically that substantial, lasting fruit seems like a given. And in some ways it is a given, since many of those who were powerfully touched during real seasons of revival are changed for life. You can count on it. That is the very nature of revival.

On the other hand, without intentionality and long-term vision, it is very possible that much of the fruit of the revival will be short-lived. The fires will die out, the passion will wane, the enthusiasm will dissipate, and the consecration will erode. Those who became hot will turn lukewarm (or even cold) again. Those who became radical will become ordinary. Those who talked about changing the world will become like the world. How tragic that would be!

The bad news is that, in too many instances, the lasting fruit of a season of revival is much less than it could have been. The good news is that this does not have to be the case with the current (or next) wave of revival, since God’s will is that revival results in long-term, glorious, world-impacting fruit.

During the Brownsville Revival (1995–2000), all of us in leadership wanted to see fruit that would last. That’s one reason we raised up a school of ministry, which in turn birthed a missions organization to cover and support the graduates. Today, as I write these words roughly twenty-eight years after the revival began, I can point you to significant Christian works taking place around the world that are a direct result of the revival, ones with which I am personally familiar. I’m talking about ministries that are feeding the hungry, caring for orphans, rescuing victims of human trafficking, educating impoverished children, and reaching Muslims and Hindus, with these ministry leaders now sending their spiritual (and even natural) sons and daughters into the mission field.

The fact is that as surely as revivals come, revivals go, since it is humanly impossible to sustain the intensity of a real revival over a period of many years. Not only so, but God’s goal for His people is to maintain a steady walk over the decades, to live as disciples in the grind of everyday life, to be like the Word-loving person described in Psalm 1:3, who is “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” Put another way, within the church the goal is to go from visitation to habitation and from a short-term revival experience to a long-term revival culture. Outside the church the goal is to go from outpouring to awakening, from God’s people being changed to the world being changed. A true revival, be it in its local or national or international expression, should make a generational impact.

To learn more about Michael Brown’s ‘Turn the Tide,’ visit

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