Years ago I saw a vision of a revival coming. No, I didn’t see football stadiums filled to capacity with cheering crowds of worshippers swaying to the beat of the latest Christian pop band. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It’s just not what I saw. I saw a revival coming to the gravel roads and cornfields of back roads America. I saw such an outpouring of God’s Spirit and truth, that people were actually going out from the cities, to these outpourings in the “wilderness”, rather than vice versa. Much as in the days of John the Baptist, and the open field meetings of Wesley and Whitfield.
For years now we have created seeker friendly, cushy, air conditioned, color coordinated sanctuaries called “seeker friendly churches” where the lost can come and not be offended. Again, I don’t have a problem with this approach. Different fish are caught with different bait at different times of the day. We ought to use every approach, non offensive to God, that we can to present the Gospel. I’m not afraid of an approach where ” the lost can come and not be offended”. I’m afraid of an approach where the lost can come and not be changed! We don’t use silk to clean a surface, because it is so smooth, it doesn’t scrub. We don’t use nice safe butter knifes to cut up a chicken for baking, because the loss of the razor edge means safety, but it also means ineffectiveness.
We are entering a time when the church is looking back to it’s rough roots, because it is desperate for reality and authenticity. Face it, we come from a rugged people that chose to live in caves, rather then to compromise. That would lose it’s head over delivering a Bible in the common language, not over spilt grape juice on their favorite dress. We serve a God that chose to announce His birth to dirty shepherds, and start His years in a stinky barn, in back roads Israel.
Which brings me to the next part of the vision. Barn meetings, and campfire revivals. For years I have not been able to shake the picture of incredibly powerful meetings with God, in the setting of old rustic American barns. The overhead costs would be wonderfully low, and the past moneys spent on plush carpeting would be spent on further evangelism. The draw would have to be genuine God moving, or nothing at all. There is something wonderfully refreshing about the thought of Americans once again being willing to sit on rough wooden benches or hay bales, straining to catch every word from a fiery man sent by God to a dry and parched land. People are sick to ad nauseam with sugar coated religious games and performances. We must realize this, or risk losing our generation!
The rich were invited, but did not come.
It may very well be the time and call for the “highways and hedges” evangelism.