- Revival!?! What About the Family?
By Barrington H. Brennen, February 25, 2003
Everybody is talking about revival. However, I am not sure
if everyone knows what revival is all about. For the past five decades
countless books have been written on the topic, mostly emphasizing a spiritual
or church revival. In fact, when the word "revival" is used, it is
most often used in the context of church members becoming "filled with
the spirit" so that the church can be more effective in the community. Is
this whatís needed in our country today? Isnít it funny that even
businesses are talking about revival. There is revival in the music, clothing,
kitchen cabinet, and DVD industry. Even health and beauty aids, and tools and
hardware are having revivals. What else is not in need of a rejuvenation
today? Revival is now an "in word" meaning letís do something
different to make an impression.
- MEANING OF REVIVAL
The word revival can have several shades of meaning. It can mean an
evangelistic meeting or mass rally. Revival can also mean rehabilitation,
renewal, recovery and adjustment. The important factor about all true
spiritual revivals is that it is not just an event, it is a process.
Therefore, revival takes time and energy and a willingness to change. I
asked the question in the first paragraph "Is it a spiritual revival
thatís needed in our country today, or is it a family or social revival?
Some may ask can we separate the two? It is my opinion that the real
revival that needed is in our families. A pastor can preach and preach
until his neck turns blue, but until families learn how to adjust,
forgive, love, and cherish each other, church spiritual revivals are just
events, not a process
True revival is not in a gigantic, mass rally event,
although this is needed. It is not in a one-week of "Holy Ghost,
feet-stumping, hand-clapping, fiery preaching--although that might be good.
True revival is first in the privacy of a personís heart. For total
rehabilitation (from drugs, alcohol, or prostitution) to take place someone
has to personally internalize all the knowledge taught during the time in
For centuries Scotland has been known for its many revivals
and outstanding preachers. Duncan Campbell (1898-1972), one of the great
Scottish Evangelists, wrote some inspiring words about the meaning of revival.
"An evangelistic campaign or special meeting is not revival. In a
successful evangelistic campaign or crusade, there will be hundreds or even
thousands of people making decisions for Jesus Christ, but the community
remains untouched, and the churches continue much the same as before the
outreach. In revival, God moves in the district. Suddenly, the community
becomes God conscious. The Spirit of God grips men and women in such a way
that even work is given up as people give themselves to waiting upon
- REVIVAL IS A HEART MESSAGE
- During one of Scotlandís great revivals in the early eighteen
hundreds, a tourist visited to see what the revival was all about. The
news about what was happening in Scotland spread far and wide. Upon
arriving off the boat, the tourist started looking for the gigantic
revival meetings. He went to the churches, but they were closed.
"Where is the great revival," he asked someone while passing?
With a sincere look in his eye, and pointing with his finger to his
heart, the man responding to the question said "Itís in
here." The tourist could not find the revival at street meetings,
or large rallies. Instead, the revival could be only be seen in the
daily lives of the people. Their attitudes, habits, and lifestyles.
Personal (not church) revival is what is needed to take to place to
change the world. The personal revival will then influence the most
important ministry on earthĖthe family. When revival is in the family,
changes are transforming and permanent. Harrold Richards writes about
the subject with these words: "The family is the first unit that
God created, right after He created Adam, and well before government or
even church. It is logical that revival must move from the personal to
the family level. The ones we live with on a daily basis know us best
and will sense what is happening in our lives. What a natural
environment for further development of revival! I must assume that by
now you have begun the process of personal revival that must precede
anything done with the family. Remember, in revival far more is caught
than is taught. In other words, your family will learn more from your
example than from your exhortations."
We need our religious ministers to preach more about family
revival from their pulpits. To curtail the level of crime in the community,
church leaders must shake off the shackles of traditionalism, which has held
us back for decades, and begin renewing their minds with healthy,
life-changing and rejuvenating principles. What are these principles?
God made everyone unique, complete, and with a
purpose. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. Both men and women
are made in Godís image and they work together to create one of the most
powerful forces of earthĖlove. Too many preachers are missing this most
profound principle. Instead, their teachings are encouraging competition
between the sexes and not harmony and cooperation. When we teach all
family members to treat each other as they would treat themselvesĖcompassionatelyĖfamilies
and the society will be different. True revival will occur when we
teach equality of the genders; where everyone has equal voice, voice and
Christ is the center of the home. Much too much
emphasis is being placed on the man being in charge of the home. Far too
little is being preached about Christ as the head or center of the family.
If preachers of the gospel would focus more on Christ-centered homes, we
would have a healthier society. The headship concept in family life is
inherently corrupting. It engenders power struggles and diminishes healthy
self-worth. For true revival to take pastors need to preach that in
marriage, there is partnership, mutuality, oneness, and harmony instead
Love is the power of discipline. Too many
preachers misunderstand the meaning of discipline. The emphasis in on
punishment rather than redemptive discipline. Redemptive discipline is
correcting a childís bad behavior in such a way that it produces
positive healing results. Preachers must let it ring out form their
pulpits that "Rules without relationship breeds chaos."
Time is a friend to families. Unfortunately, too
many preachers are making their members feel that if they do not come out
to all church services or activities, then they would be neglecting their
spiritual needs. The church is encroaching on family time. If preachers
can remember that family TIME together is far more important than church
meetings and parades, we will have healthier families and society.
If these four principles are carried out, I am certain our society will be
different. There will be a revival in our families first and our communities
will feel the heat. Letís have a family revival, thatís when nations are