In 1901, when Australia took the Federation census, 96.1% of Australians said that they were Christian. Fast forward to 1916, and in this most recent census, 52.2% of the nation declared they were Christian. During the last census period, we lost 10% and if that decline rate only steadied (didn’t increase as it has been doing) then within 7 years (2 census periods) we would be at 32%. These figures don’t represent the percentage of our population that has a living vibrant relationship with Jesus, but they certainly represent how open we are, as a nation, to the gospel. About 7-9% of the population attend a church regularly which would be a closer representation of those who have a relationship with God.
But there is hope…
Despite it looking like a dark day for Christianity in Australia, there have been times when God has moved in a way that changed major cities. Today, there are towns across this nation that are seeing the same glimmer of hope – a greatly reduced attrition rate in Christianity in opposition to the national average and other towns around them. If we can learn the lessons from these historical moves of God and the regional towns where God is still moving, and if we can harness it in other parts of our nation, then we believe there is great potential to not only slow down the attrition rate of Christianity but to turn it around.
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. (Isaiah 60:1-2)
The two major historical moves in our history occurred in 1902 & 1959.
First, we look at the 1902 Great Melbourne Revival and the impact it had on Melbourne and Australia. In the next section, we look at the national revival and city transformation that happened through Billy Graham’s ministry in 1959. Then if we couple these lessons with modern data we can form the foundation for a strategy to see our nation come back to Jesus. A strategy that is God-inspired, biblical, proven and contemporary with what God is doing across the globe in our day.
1902 – The Great Melbourne Revival
In 1902, the Great Melbourne Revival  changed the landscape of Christianity in this corner of the world. In the 1890s’ many of the Melbourne churches united and invited Dwight L Moody to come and hold an evangelistic campaign. DL Moody had been a significant evangelist and leader in the 1857-1859 Second Great Awakening.
Over 200 churches (about 80%) of the churches gathered and prayed for the upcoming campaign. The prayer meetings started years in advance and by the time the campaign began the local churches had held over 16000 prayer meetings. Also, the churches had door knocked the entire city of Melbourne at least twice, with a personal invitation to the meetings. DL Moody couldn’t come as he passed away in 1899, but his spiritual protégé, RA Torrey came. On the weekend of the first meeting over 8000 gathered in the Great Exhibition Hall. The campaign ran over a few months on each Sunday. The population of Melbourne at the time was 500k. By the last Sunday, they had 250k people turn out to hear the word of God preached. That is 50% of the city. By the end, 50 evangelists led simultaneous meetings in 42 halls and sports fields all across Melbourne.
The fruit of the revival
The revival started in Melbourne and then travelled up the coast and ended up seeing major percentages of the Pacific Islands converted, even to this day most of the islands are Christian and some have attributed it to the 1902 revival.
Directly after the campaign, crime dropped to zero per cent and even 12 months later the police were still bored as there was no crime in the city. Pubs closed, and picture theatres were emptied. That campaign changed the social and cultural landscape of Melbourne.
Keys to revival
When looking back at the event, three things have been attributed to the transformation to three things
Missional unity in churches. The churches not only organised the event together, but they worked together to door knock the entire city at least twice
An immense amount of prayer. In lead up to the event, 16000 prayer meetings were held.
The Gospel. At the centre of the activity was a gospel event. It wasn’t about the event, it was about Jesus, but God used the event to mobilise the Body with prayer and outreach.
1959 – A time of national revival
In 1959, Billy Graham came to Australia and New Zealand to spend 4 months touring and preaching the gospel. He did 114 meetings in 106 days . This tour became known as the greatest moment of revival history in our nation. To this day, I often meet men and women who were saved in that campaign and are still serving the Lord.
Billy Graham was invited out by Anglican Archbishop Howard Mowell, who rallied churches and believers for 6 years in the lead up to the gospel campaign. During the campaign over 146k across Australia made a commitment for Jesus.
Preparing the way
In lead up to this rally, over 40 000 individuals signed up to pray for the event. In Sydney, 600 of the 650 churches worked together to door knock around 400 000 homes with a spiritual survey. Over 8000 counselors (45k nationally) were trained to disciple the new believers. In Sydney, 150k people turned out on the last night and over 56k decisions for Jesus were made. Some churches reported 75% and 94% retention of the new believers.
These numbers are great for Sydney, however across Australia and New Zealand over 3 million (out of a total population of 10 million) turned out to hear the gospel, face to face, and even many more heard it across radio and TV. Almost 2% of the nation publicly admitted to deciding to follow Jesus.
God moved and on top of the multitude of decisions, judges, mayors and politicians are reported to have said that Sydney was a different place. On top of these reports, there was actual city-transformation that had measurable results.
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those whowill believe in Me through their word;that they all may be one, asYou, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.And theglory which You gave Me I have given them,that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me;that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me (John 17:20-23)
The fruit of the revival
Directly after the campaign, the crime increase rate dropped to half. This remained that way for 3 years. Alcohol sales dropped by 10% the following year. Pubs closed down, ex-nuptial births decreased and businesses reported an unusual amount of bad debts being paid off. That gospel campaign changed the social and cultural landscape of our nation, but in particular, Sydney.
The 1959 “Southern Cross Crusade” truly was a momentous occasion for Jesus, in our nation. There has not been a move like it in the last 70 years, but there were keys we could learn from the 1959 revival.
Keys to revival
When looking back at the event, three things have been attributed to the transformation
Missional unity in churches. The churches not only organized the event together, but they worked together to door knock around 400k homes with a spiritual survey
An immense amount of prayer. In lead up to the event, 40000 individuals committed to pray.
The Gospel. At the centre of the activity was a gospel event. It wasn’t about the event, it was about Jesus and His gospel, but God used the event to mobilize the Body with prayer and outreach.
1 – Renshaw, W. F., 2014. Torrey-Alexander: Revival comes to Melbourne. In: Marvellous Melbourne and Spiritual Power. Acorn Press, pp. 42-49.
2 – Faase, K., n.d. Lessons from the 1959 Billy Graham crusade. [Online] Available at: https://www.crossover.org.au/revitalised-in-witness-the-lessons-from-the-billy-graham-crusades-of-1959-pt-3/ [Accessed 2019]
Iris Global, based in Mozambique, currently feeds well over 10,000 children a day, including 4,000 families in Malawi. Its network of churches also numbers more than 10,000, including some 2,000 churches among the Makua people of northern Mozambique. Iris operates five Bible schools, in addition to its three primary schools and its school of missions in Pemba.
Heidi Baker became a Christian after hearing a Navajo preacher’s message while volunteering on a Choctaw reservation. She has a Ph.D. in systematic theology from King’s College London (1995).
She met Rolland Baker (now with D.Min.), the grandson of missionary H. A. Baker, in 1979. They married six months later in 1980; they left for the mission field two weeks after that. They were ordained as ministers in 1985.
In 1980 the Bakers founded Iris Global, a non-profit Christian ministry dedicated to charitable service and evangelism, particularly in developing nations. They served God together in Indonesia, Hong Kong, and London, then in Africa. Iris – rainbow – living in the promises of God.
In 1995 the Bakers moved to Mozambique in order to begin a new ministry focused on the care of orphaned and abandoned children. A year later, Heidi Baker became sick with tuberculosis and pneumonia, but despite her doctor’s recommendation, she went to a healing meeting in Toronto, Canada. There, she had a vision where Jesus showed her thousands of children to feed; when she exclaimed that it was impossible to help them all, he said “There will always be enough, because I died.” After which, she was healed.
Iris Global negotiated with the Mozambican government to assume financial and administrative responsibility for a former government orphanage in Chihango, near the capital city of Maputo. There were roughly 80 children present. Since that time Iris Global’s operations have expanded to include well-drilling, free health clinics, village feeding programs, the operation of primary and secondary schools, cottage industries and the founding more than 5000 churches in Mozambique, with a total of over 10,000 Iris-affiliated churches in more than 20 nations. Their ministry is known for its reports of miracles, and in September 2010 the Southern Medical Journal published an article presenting evidence of “significant improvements” in auditory and visual function among subjects exhibiting impairment before receiving prayer from the ministry.
Beyond their administrative duties the Bakers are authors and frequent conference speakers, traveling worldwide to speak on Christian ministry and spirituality. Candy Gunther Brown, professor of religious studies at Indiana University, has called the Bakers “among the most influential leaders in world Pentecostalism.” [Wikipedia]
Roland Baker tells their story:
For years we longed to get to Africa in fulfilment of our calling to prove the Gospel in the most challenging situation we could find. We wanted to see a continuation of “Visions Beyond the Veil,” and believed with my grandfather that the most likely place to see such revival again was among the most unlikely! So we were drawn to Mozambique, officially listed at the time as the poorest country in the world.
A few days into my initial visit to Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, I was offered an orphanage that no one could or would support, not even large churches in South Africa or European donor nations. It was horribly neglected and dilapidated, with eighty miserable, demon-afflicted orphans in rags. I thought it was a perfect test of the Sermon on the Mount. Our Father in heaven knows what we need. Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness, and these things will be ours as well … Take no thought for tomorrow. Why worry? Jesus is enough for us, for anyone.
Alone and without support, Heidi and I offered to take over the center and provide for the children in return for the opportunity to bring the Gospel to them. Within months the children were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, weeping while still in rags with gratitude for their salvation. Jesus provided miraculously, more all the time as our children prayed night and day for their daily food. We brought in teams, improved the center, and took our children to the streets to testify to more orphaned and abandoned children. Some were lost in visions, taken to heaven and dancing around the throne of God on the shoulders of angels.
But abruptly, after we got up to 320 children, the government evicted us and denied our children permission to pray and worship on our property. Totally without a back-up plan, our children marched off the property barefoot without a home. We lost everything. We also lost tremendous amounts of support because we welcomed the increasing Presence of the Holy Spirit in our meetings.
But we were only beginning to taste the power of God in Mozambique. Land was donated by a nearby city. We got tents and food from South Africa. Provision came in from supernaturally touched hearts all over the world. Soon we could actually build our own dorms. Bush pastors longed for a Bible school, and to receive what our children had received from the Holy Spirit. Graduates went out and began healing the sick and raising the dead. Church growth in the bush exploded.
Then revival was fuelled exponentially by the desperation caused by catastrophic flooding in 2000 when three cyclones came together and brought torrential rain for forty days and nights. More damage was caused by that flood than Mozambique’s many years of civil war. A cry for God rose up like we had never experienced or imagined, and our churches across the country multiplied into thousands. God provided a bush airplane, which we used constantly to spread the Gospel through remote “bush conferences” at dirt airstrips in every province.
Now we have networks of churches and church-based orphan care in all ten provinces in Mozambique in addition to our bases in main cities. In recent years Heidi and I have concentrated on the Makua, a people group of four million in the north who were listed by missiologists as “unreached and unreachable.” With tremendous help from missionaries and nationals, around two thousand churches have been planted among these people in the last eight years.
Two devastating cyclones in 2019 flattened thousands of homes and villages. Iris Global, working with international efforts, brought relief along with thousands of solar Bibles in local languages, eagerly wanted by previously resistant people groups.
Iris Global currently feeds well over 10,000 children a day, as well as various members of many other communities, currently including 4,000 families in Malawi. Its network of churches also numbers more than 10,000, including some 2,000 churches among the Makua people of northern Mozambique. Iris operates five Bible schools, in addition to its three primary schools and its school of missions in Pemba. Current major projects include continuing outreaches to very remote coastal regions via Iris’s recently acquired boat, expansion of Iris’s air transport abilities, investment in a range of cottage industries, and a special well-drilling initiative. Iris, having recently acquired a drilling rig by generous funding from several U.S. churches, intends to transform life in desperately dry villages everywhere possible. One by one.
“The primary mission of Iris Global as a family is to seek the face of God with all our hearts, that we might glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. We proclaim Jesus. He is our salvation, our prize, our reward, our inheritance, our destination, our motivation, our joy, wisdom and sanctification — and absolutely everything else we need, now and forever.” – from their website.
Army Chaplain Jose Rondon believes “there is nothing more exhilarating in life than seeing people come to Christ.” In the last six months, Rondon has experienced that exhilaration with more than 1,400 professions of faith — something one could describe as a spiritual awakening — at Fort Leonard Wood, his place of ministry.
Because of his reputation for being intentional in his ministry, many have come to hear Rondon share the Gospel on Sundays.
“We have seen 1,459 soldiers come to Christ since March of this year (2018),” Rondon said. “God is doing great things at Fort Leonard Wood among the hundreds of soldiers who have come to know Christ personally.”
Retired Major General Doug Carver, executive director of chaplaincy for the North American Mission Board, says what is happening at Fort Leonard Wood is not an exception. Right now there are reportedly 1,348 military chaplains in the Southern Baptist Convention at work.
“Our troops, who are increasingly hungry for truth and relevancy in their lives, are finding a faith that works through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ,” Carver said. “The current spiritual awakening at Fort Leonard Wood is indicative of a great move of God taking place within the Armed Services today.”
Consider the following, Carver reported:
— More than 2,000 troops gathered in Doughboy Stadium at Fort Benning, Ga. this past Easter to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
— Army chaplains are currently baptizing an average of 70 soldiers every basic combat training cycle at Fort Jackson, S.C.
— The U.S. Air Force Chaplaincy recently rolled out a new program called FaithWorks, which is a collection of evidence-based programs and materials promoting spiritual resilience for airmen and their families.
— The military has built more chapels since 9/11 than any other period of American history except for World War II.
In the past two years, Southern Baptist military chaplains have reported there have been tens of thousands of professions of faith and thousands of baptisms.
“Historically, God has often used the military as a catalyst for revival,” Carver said. “Many attribute the spread of Christianity in the first century to Roman soldiers deployed throughout the Roman Empire. The Lord is answering our prayers for revival within our military communities. I’ve prayed for over 40 years for our troops and their families to experience the reality of Jesus Christ in a new and fresh way.”
Chaplain Rondon has been intentional with his words and with how he treats his fellow soldiers. So when a staff sergeant first approached Rondon and asked to speak with him, the chaplain knew the sergeant wasn’t asking for words of wisdom but for listening ears.
“To be intentional is to be faithful to Christ and obedient to His Great Commission,” Rondon said. “But we will not succeed in making disciples until the lost make the first step to follow Christ as their Savior. To be intentional not only means to preach Christ’s Word in the chapel, but to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to share His message of reconciliation if, and when, the time fits.”
So, Rondon listened to the staff sergeant, and then he prayed with him to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior. Rondon did the same thing when another senior non-commissioned officer asked for the chance to talk to him about spiritual matters. This soldier-leader also asked Jesus Christ into his heart.
“My two soldiers and friends from our current battalion at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri came to Christ because their lives were in need of the Savior,” he said. “All of us at some point need to be a listening ear, to help others to start trusting and believing in anything again, especially when our wounds are so deep that we lose respect for many around us.
“They talked to me about their lives because they respected me and noticed I really cared for our soldiers like I always do during my pastoral rounds. I invited them both to a meal. God always opens great doors like this when we listen to people without interrupting. We show them how much we care by being there for them whenever they need it most.”
In both conversations, a chaplain and a sergeant spoke about their lives.
“Instead of asking them whether or not they knew they were going to heaven if they died today, I simply said, ‘I see that you need Christ in your life. He can not only help you to deal with the challenges of daily living, but He can also save you from an eternal death because of your sins,’” Rondon said. “They both agreed they needed Christ to come into their lives forever and to have His presence to deal with life from that moment on.” — Baptist Press
USA: The Whatcom Story: how day and night prayer impacted a community.
Almost every significant move of God in history was preceded by fervent, united prayer. This inspired Christians in Whatcom county on the north-west coast of the United States to establish a ‘canopy of day and night prayer’ over their region. The results are astonishing.
“One night I was in church and I heard a prophecy that God would move by his Spirit over the native north-west tribes of the United States,” recalls Viola Riebe of the Hoh River Nation. “It would be like a tsunami, gaining in power, moving from the natives to other churches.” For Riebe this was a hopeful prophecy, as back in 1700 a giant earthquake in the area generated a tsunami that almost devastated her native tribe. She felt God wanted to turn the negative past into a positive future.
In 2008 a house of prayer was launched in Bellingham, the county’s seat, a community of 90,000 people. This Light of the World Prayer Center (LOWPC) included native American believers and Christians from other churches. Together they established a day and night prayer watch, similar to the Moravians in Herrnhut.
The Spirit of the Moravians
“What God has been doing in Whatcom county is linked to this town in Germany,” says Jason Hubbard, director of the LOWPC. “God led me to visit Herrnhut, home of Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians. I learned their amazing story of awakening into prayer and missions. The passion of these Moravian believers was ‘to win for the Lamb who was slain the due reward of his suffering’.* Inspired by their example, we wanted to be a modern-day expression of this powerful movement of united prayer and missions.”
* This quote has been attributed to missionaries Johann Leonhard Dober and David Nitschmann, two young Moravian Brethren from Herrnhut, Germany. When God called them in 1732 to minister to the African slaves on the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix in the Danish West Indies, they were willing to sell themselves to a slave owner if that was the only way to reach the slaves. As their ship pulled away from the docks, it is said that they called out to their loved ones on shore, “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!”
Whatcom county could certainly use a change in the spiritual atmosphere. “Over the last several decades we have seen tragic church splits among God’s people, an increase of witchcraft and sexual immorality, pastors who have fallen,” says Hubbard. “However, since day and night prayer has been established in a simple way, senior pastors are gathering monthly to build spiritual friendships and seek God for the county.”
“This is an unbelievable blessing,” says Grant Fishbook, pastor of Christ the King. “Trust has been built over time as the message sunk in that we’re not each other’s competition. Our competitor is the devil, but we are family and on the same team. We love each other and want to live that out. Now the pastors text and call each other for encouragement and drink coffee together, because there’s a genuine interest in what’s happening with each part of the family. They ask: How are you doing, how can I pray, how can I support you?”
“When we exalt Christ, it brings us together,” says Shawn Cunningham, pastor of Hilcrest Chapel. “We have seen a growth and increasing unity among churches in Whatcom county and that has come through the power of prayer. Prayer by nature unifies God’s people.”
Alvin Vandergriend, church prayer coordinator of the 3rd Christian Reformed Church, agrees. “A canopy of prayer is a covering of God’s providential blessing over a territory. Prayer is where we access God’s resource and heart, where he empowers us to fulfil his mission. For all the years I’ve been involved in ministry, I’ve never seen pastors come together like now in Whatcom county – in the numbers they are coming together, the prayer that happens there, and the encouragement they give each other. It is quite amazing.”
In Whatcom county 80 pastors out of a hundred are now praying consistently together. This includes the native, Hispanic and Korean churches, it’s a truly multi-cultural expression of the Body of Christ. Pastors have also been sharing their pulpits and holding joint community services with thousands of people coming together.
Phenominal church growth: 10,000 salvations, 80 church plants
The unity also led to an explosion of church plants – 80 church plants in a decade – with 10,000 first-time salvations of people who were baptized in water. This is a phenominal church growth in what has historically been one of the least churched areas in the United States.
The 15,000 member strong Hispanic community experiences a real revival. Ivan Montenegro, church planter with the Hispanic Church, reports: “Every day we see people come to Christ. We started 11 new churches and baptized at least 1,500 people, which is a 10% growth. If you ask me: ‘How come?’ all I can say is: it’s the fire of God through prayer. Every church in our area is growing.”
Churches also developed a county-wide men’s ministry. These men come from 40 different churches and see their lives transformed through the gospel and prayer. Raul Chaves, Men’s pastor at Band of Brothers, says: “Healing is taking place in these men and their families. They become the men God intended them to be. And it’s all about prayer. We pray before, during and after everything we do.”
Source: Jason Hubbard, LOWPC, edited by Joel News.
North America has hosted many great revivals over the last few centuries. Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield led the First Great Awakening in the colonial United States in the 1730s and 1740s. In the early 1800s, the Cane Ridge Revival in Kentucky kicked off the Second Great Awakening. People came from around the world to witness the Holy Spirit’s power at Azusa Street Revival of 1906. And in the 1990s, thousands flocked to the Toronto Blessing and the Brownsville Revival.
Now, mere miles from the site of the original Cane Ridge Revival, seeds are being planted for the next great move of God—and maybe even a Third Great Awakening. Earlier this year, traveling evangelist Rick Curry visited Mt. Carmel Christian Church in Paris, Kentucky. The church was founded in 1818 by a man denounced by his former church for attending the original Cane Ridge revival. Curry was invited to preach at Mt. Carmel’s 200th-anniversary celebration, which happened to fall on Pentecost Sunday. During his message, revival broke out and hasn’t subsided since.
But this Kentucky city isn’t the only one experiencing revival. In fact, it’s just one example of an insatiable hunger for God’s presence breaking out in cities and towns across America.
At New Life Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, pastor Mike Fehlauer says an incredible move of God has taken place since he and his staff decided to “get out of God’s way and give the Holy Spirit room to work.” Since June, New Life has seen more than 300 baptisms, numerous salvations, and physical and emotional healings and deliverance.
Christ Fellowship Church in Dawsonville, Georgia, has experienced revival since February under lead pastor Todd Smith. This charismatic church of 350 people has witnessed more than 865 baptisms. Smith says people have travelled hundreds—even thousands—of miles just to “walk into the baptismal waters and feel the presence of the Lord.” As a result, many have been miraculously healed and delivered from addictions and emotional scars.
Even the U.S. military base at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, is feeling the Spirit’s fire. The Baptist Press reports that chaplains have seen “an incredible hunger for God,” with nearly 2,000 soldiers giving their lives to Christ since March. In Greeneville, Tennessee, a tent revival led by evangelist D.R. Harrison has lasted over five months and led to hundreds of salvations.
Pat Schatzline, an Assemblies of God minister and travelling evangelist who has studied revivals and written books on the need for spiritual renewal, says these revivals show the church is on the cusp of breakthrough.
“It is the embryonic stages of the Third Great Awakening,” Schatzline says. “… I believe that with all my heart.”
Baptisms in Georgia
The Dawsonville revival began when God gave Schatzline a vision of a mysterious pastor. Schatzline didn’t know who the man was, but he could see he was wracked with despair, sitting alone in a dark room. Hundreds of miles away, pastor Smith was doing just that, crying out to God and looking for a sign that he should continue to lead Christ Fellowship Church.
“If You don’t move, I’m done,” Smith said.
Smith got his sign when Schatzline reached out through a mutual friend. Schatzline gave Smith a message: God is coming to Christ Fellowship Church, and He is going to restore the promise He gave you eight years ago.
Then Smith received a prophetic vision of his own. He saw the church’s baptistry—the baptism pool was full, and a strip of fire appeared on top of the water. Shortly after, Smith says, God “sat down in our building and rocked our world.” Christ Fellowship hasn’t been the same since, attracting visitors from South Carolina, Minnesota and even California.
“The presence of God and the outpouring of the Holy Ghost have just erupted here,” Smith says.
Prior to the revival, Christ Fellowship conducted only a handful of baptisms each month. But since February, more than 40 people often experience water baptism in a single service, pushing the services well past midnight. One Sunday night, 114 people were baptized. Such high numbers of baptisms didn’t start immediately. But Smith says they quickly multiplied as the power of God manifested and people hungered for healing.
“The fame of his name and what He was doing in those waters began to spread,” Smith says. “When we would give the invitation, you would see 30 or 40 people run to the front to get baptized. The power of God was violent in the water. People would thrash around. Fire confronts what is going on in their lives. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen. And it has nothing to do with us as a church or any personalities involved. It’s simply God’s presence and His power.”
Some are calling the meetings a “baptism revival,” a term Don Allen, lead pastor of The Church at War Hill, says he’s never heard before. But after preaching several times at Christ Fellowship, Allen’s seen it for himself.
In the baptismal waters, numerous individuals have been healed of longtime physical ailments. Smith says the church is careful to record and follow up on them with health-care professionals so as not to minimize God’s glory.
One example is Amanda Boan, an 11-year-old who shunned foot surgery to remove an extra bone in her foot that caused her foot to twist to the side, leaving her with great pain and a limited ability to run. Boan was baptized during a Sunday-night service and continued to believe for her healing. At a service soon afterward, Boan went up to the altar and experienced instant healing: “It was like my foot was tight and then it was loosened.”
She could place her foot flat on the floor and run around the church without pain. Doctors confirmed she no longer needed surgery.
Amy Ransom also received healing. For almost three decades, Ransom suffered debilitating migraine headaches that also affected her financially due to the out-of-pocket medication costs. During a Sunday-night service, Ransom knew after fasting and praying she had been healed.
“I have gone from having daily migraines for 28 years to none,” Ransom says.
And Donna Posey, a longtime Christ Fellowship member, says God healed her of bone loss in her mouth during the second revival service in February. The condition had lingered for years, and because she didn’t have enough bone to support her dentures, implant surgery was her only option. After fervent prayer for the affected area, Posey visited her dentist, who confirmed 30 percent bone gain in her mouth. Posey says her dentist “looked at my X-ray and asked me if I believed in miracles.”
But healings and deliverance aren’t all this move of God has produced. It has had a profound spiritual effect on other churches in the region.
“We’re watching people from all faiths come here and receive what the Holy Spirit has for them,” Allen says. “Not only are we seeing salvations and miracles, but we’re seeing reconciliation among the churches here, the body of Christ really working together. You are literally seeing the miracle of unity. Our church has seen renewed prayer exponentially. Our people are now interceding for Todd’s church and for others. It’s amazing.”
Renewal in Kentucky
After the Cane Ridge Revival sparked the Second Great Awakening, revival spread across the American frontier. Now Mt. Carmel Christian Church has become the site of a new revival.
After Curry preached at Mt. Carmel’s 200th anniversary celebration, he says, the altars were filled at the conclusion of the first service in May. The meetings became so popular they had to be moved to a bigger facility, nearby River of Life Ministries in Paris, and the house is packed three nights a week.
“As worship filled the old sanctuary, we heard a remarkable sound,” Curry says. “It sounded as if every person in the sanctuary started simultaneously stomping their feet on the old wooden floors. I felt quickened in my spirit that it was the sound of the Lord coming upon the land. The sound of jubilant breakthrough resonated from the hearts of the people in that service, and it was as though we all knew revival was being birthed.”
Ministers from throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Oklahoma and New Jersey have reportedly visited the revival in Paris.
“We have seen hundreds, a thousand come to the altar,” Curry says. “People have been saved, delivered and many are returning to the Lord, surrendering their yielding hearts. We have seen many miracles and healings that are really stunning in this stage of the revival. We have seen pastors and leaders repenting, weeping and laughing in an outpouring of the refreshing.”
Repentance in Texas
Fehlauer says Jesus has always been the focus of New Life Church’s kingdom purpose. The multi-campus church grew from 650 to nearly 3,000 members since he took over as lead pastor in 2011.
But he admits something had been missing from the South Texas church’s services.
“I believe that Jesus has always been at the centre of what we’ve done, but I think our bandwidth was too narrow as far as the anointing and the presence of God is concerned,” Fehlauer says. “We weren’t giving Him time or enough room to do what He really wants to do here. God directed me to preach about the presence of the Lord and the hunger for Him. It’s His words, not mine, and I would say unequivocally that one of the biggest reasons we’re seeing this is that these people are hungry for more than the status quo. Since we started this, the presence of the Holy Spirit has been thick, and the expectancy for God to move has been very strong.”
At the first meeting, Fehlauer says more than 100 people responded to the altar call for repentance and salvation, and 10 people were baptized. The next week, another 100-plus people came forward. Soon after, many individuals expressed to church staff their desire to be baptized.
“Most of these people who come to our church are new Christians, and they don’t have any point of reference for any of this,” Fehlauer says. “But these people are spontaneously running to the altar because they’re desperate for everything God has for them. I’m talking about real Acts 2:38 repentance, when Peter said to repent and be baptized and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. People addicted to pornography and some to drugs have come to ask for forgiveness, and they have experienced deliverance and healing. We’ve had men come clean about adulterous affairs. It’s inspiring to see them repent of the hurt they’ve caused others.”
Fehlauer recalled the testimony of one woman from another church in Corpus Christi who visited New Life this summer. After one service, she approached a wife of one of the pastors. She told the pastor’s wife she had visited a couple of Brownsville Revival meetings in Pensacola, Florida, in 1995. The woman said she hadn’t experienced the Holy Spirit’s presence like that again—until now.
New Life’s executive pastor, Dan Goodson, 59, lived through the Jesus Movement in the 1970s. He also spent 12 years as the COO at Joyce Meyer Ministries and several years as the executive pastor at Destiny Church in St. Louis. But he says he’s never seen a hunger for Christ like the one New Life is experiencing.
“It’s really incredible how authentic this is. It’s not man-made,” Goodson says. “People are coming to the altar and just laying their burdens down. We’ve had people come to the altar, and they don’t know why they’re even coming because they’re unsaved. They’re wanting to get water-baptized because they are hungry for something they’ve never had. That’s how heavy the Holy Spirit has been in our services.”
Third Great Awakening
Schatzline, who has preached multiple services at Dawsonville, says what’s happening in Georgia, Texas and Kentucky is “a sovereign move of God.”
“Unfortunately, many churches have learned structure, systems and ambience,” Schatzline says. “They remove one-third of the Trinity—the Holy Spirit—and one-third from 100 is 66.6. That is the spirit of the Antichrist. What I think these pockets of revival are proving is that God is going to do things differently than many people think. It’s happening on the backroads and not the crossroads. It may sound like an odd term, but I feel like God is kissing the faithful—the ones who are pressed in, the ones who still believe. Those are people who have stuck to the core values of fasting, prayer and preaching the cross, and the results are now visibly manifesting in these churches.”
Allen agrees with Schatzline’s assessment of revival.
“I have personally begun to study the significant movements of the Great Awakenings,” Allen says. “When prayer increases and people repent to God and each other, that’s when the Spirit moves and great things happen.”
Curry says he has little doubt that a Third Great Awakening is on the horizon.
“I truly believe this is the seedbed of awakening,” Curry says. “I believe America’s greatest awakening lies ahead of us and not behind us. I believe that transforming revival will come to this nation soon.”
Shawn A. Akers is a content development editor for Charisma Media.
“Can I take some bread home?” asked a tattooed young man at our communion service in the slums of Nairobi in Kenya, East Africa. God’s Spirit had prompted me to buy a few loaves of bread, bottles of drink and plastic glasses for the congregation.
We shared real drink and some loaves of bread together among 30 people in their corrugated iron shed where I was the guest preacher.
“It’s your bread,” I answered. “You decide.” He quickly shoved a handful of bread into his pocket. Then most of the others did the same. Two weeks later, Frank, the young pastor, emailed me: “I’ve visited the slum homes of those people and they are still eating that bread. It’s still fresh.” Apparently, God multiplied it.
Frank and his wife Linda then offered free bread and drink each Saturday for hungry, skinny slum people, usually catering for about 50 people. Sometimes many more turned up but they always had plenty. God kept multiplying it as needed.
A young pastor in Ghana in West Africa invited me to hold meetings there. So I arrived with three others from Brisbane during our college break in July, forgetting it was monsoon time in Ghana. We flew into a deluge of rain on the Monday. Our hosts planned night meetings in the market from Tuesday, with morning teaching in a local church.
“Can we hold the night rallies in the church?” I suggested.
“Oh, no,” they said. “Only church people go there. Meetings in the market attract the crowds.”
“What about the rain?” I asked.
“God sent you, so he’ll do something,” they responded, full of faith.
We drove for over an hour in pouring rain from Accra, the capital, to the town of Suhum in the hills for our first meeting on Tuesday night. The heavy rain had flooded the power station there so the whole town was in darkness. We prayed earnestly, asking God to take over.
Within 15 minutes the rain stopped, the town lit up with power, and we began. Those excited Africans sang and danced for over two hours, attracting hundreds to the service. All that week we had clear skies and large crowds. Church teams prayed for hundreds of people. Many were saved. Many were healed. One man testified, “I came to this meeting blind, but while you were singing I found I could see.”
Heavy monsoon rains began again the day after our meetings ended.
A friend of mine worked with the United Nations in Nepal. He loved to help and support pastors and leaders there. We visited him many times and I spoke at pastors and leaders meetings in Kathmandu, in West Nepal and in East Nepal. Some of those pastors walked for two or three days across the high ranges just to attend.
Their churches are saturated in prayer. I prayed in their “Power House”, the upstairs prayer rooms of their church in Kathmandu. Those small upper rooms, open 24 hours a day, had many people going there to fast and pray, sometimes for many days.
We saw God’s Spirit move beautifully and powerfully in those meetings. Many were filled with the Spirit and healed. I heard a young man from one of their church bands praying eloquently in beautiful English – but he cannot speak English. They pray for one another with strong faith, expecting God to save, heal, deliver and anoint them.
The dedication of those Christians impressed me. Most of them have been imprisoned for their faith many times. One young pastor conducted a Christian wedding which infuriated relatives so they complained to the police and he spent a month in prison for disturbing the peace. Our host had been severely beaten while in prison. Two young evangelists were shot to death when we were there. They had returned from Bible College in India and were accused of spying. God gives those Christians amazing peace and joy amid the persecution, just as in the Book of The Acts.
Our team visited Grace Bible College in New Delhi founded by Dr Paul Pilai. Paul had stayed in our home in Brisbane when he visited Australia. He was converted after a young Christian girl prayed for his healing while he was very ill in hospital and he recovered miraculously.
He told us how his students and teams started new churches in villages and towns. They often faced angry opposition. One fanatical group burned their meeting tent and attacked them, hitting them with clubs, trying to kill them. They broke Paul’s arm and burned the tent. Suddenly some handsome Indian men surrounded Paul’s team and miraculously moved them away to a safe place nearby. The team could see their burning tent in the distance. Those angels told Paul that God would send him back there. A few years later they were invited back and started a church there in a home.
Grace Bible College, the largest in India with around 600 students, trains people to evangelize and plant churches, especially among unreached peoples. Their graduates often face persecution and some have been martyrs. What a humbling privilege it was to pray with the staff there and speak to the crowded hall full of such committed students.
I taught on revival at a seminary in Manilla in the sweltering heat of the Philippines. An assignment I gave my M.Th. students was to report on revival and miracles. One pastor, who was also a police inspector, reported that a church he visited sent groups of young people to sing and speak at hospitals and nursing homes.
One of those teams held monthly meetings in a mental hospital. The staff said that their patients may not understand much, but those patients did enjoy the singing. Over 40 came to the first meeting. The team offered to pray for anyone who would like prayer. They prayed personally for 26 people. The next month when the team returned, all those 26 had been discharged and sent home.
I visited China with a student from college. His parents worked there. The woman pastor-evangelist of a house church invited us to her church in a high-rise unit. The young man who met us at the gate could speak English.
He feared that the security guard might ask awkward questions, but as we walked in around 7pm, the guard had his back to us, talking to someone else. When we left after midnight, the guard was gone, probably sleeping.
Around 30 people sat on the floor and sang softly in worship. We spoke and then found that no one would leave until we had prayed for them personally. That took a while! They were happy to slip away one-by-one, just as they had come. Most were new Christians who believed because a Christian prayed for their healing. They believed in prayer and miracles just as in the Book of The Acts. Their simple, strong faith and humility moved and challenged me deeply.
We visited Elcho Island in the north where revival broke out and spread through Aboriginal communities all across northern Australia. We invited a team from Elcho Island for a Pentecost weekend in Brisbane. Two dozen came! They told us about the revival and prayed for people after each meeting that weekend, just sitting on the carpeted platform floor, aboriginal style.
That revival began after aborigines on Elcho Island prayed desperately for revival amid increasing crime, drink and drugs. The night their pastor, Djiniyini Gondarra (photo), returned from a holiday they met for Bible Study and prayer in his home. God’s Spirit fell on them as they united for the closing prayer. That prayer and ministry went all night. People were filled with the Spirit, discovered many spiritual gifts, and saw healings and reconciliations. Everywhere their teams went they saw God moving on the people in local revivals.
South Pacific Islands
Many revival movements have swept the South Pacific islands. I saw some. God’s Spirit fell on the Law School of the University of the South Pacific just after Easter 2002. The Law School is in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Many law students were saved and transformed at their open-air rally.
Those committed students went on missions to other South Pacific nations and to Australia. Now they are lawyers and leaders. A president of their Christian Fellowship became a Member of Parliament in Fiji.
Some of those teams came with me to Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. God has been moving there in unusual ways for a hundred years. Vanuatu people first evangelized the island, one becoming a martyr. A wife of the highest-ranking chief returned to life after she died and told them that she had seen God and they should leave their heathen ways and become Christians. Many revival teams have served God there in local revivals. Large numbers repent, are filled with the Spirit, and receive many spiritual gifts including revelations, words of knowledge about hidden magic or sins, and deliverance and healings.
God poured out his Spirit on children and youth in the Western Solomon Islands from Easter 2003. They loved to sing and pray daily in the church after school. God gave them visions, revelations, words of knowledge about hidden sins and bad relationships and they received many other spiritual gifts such as healings and speaking and singing what God revealed.
God revealed to a young boy the name of a man who stole a chain saw from the timber mill. A church member had been wrongly accused of that crime and sacked. He was reinstated after the man who stole it was confronted and confessed.
A mother asked me what it meant when her young boy had a vision of Jesus with one foot in heaven and one foot on the earth. I immediately remembered Matthew 28:18 – All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
We saw God touch around 1,000 youths at a National Christian Youth Convention in 2006. One night at the convention they responded, running to the front of the open-air meeting. For half-an-hour their worship team sang “He is Lord” while we prayed for them. They fell like dominoes. Many testified to healings, visions and revelations. One young man returned to his village that night and found his mother ill, so laid hands on her and prayed for her. She was healed. His brother then asked for prayer and he too was healed. The young man had never done that before. A whole group from the Kariki Islands, further west, saw revival begin in their islands on their return. God moved powerfully in every meeting they held and in their personal prayers.
I discovered that we Westerners are often too busy to pray, too worldly to listen to God, too proud to repent, and too unbelieving to see revival. We Christians – called by the name of Christ – need to take God’s promise seriously:
If my people who are called by name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
You can do that right now – at your computer or with your phone. You could take time right now to pray and seek God, to pray and obey.
The day after some 70,000 people jammed the L.A. Coliseum to cry out for revival [Azusa Now, April 9, 2016] God sent the wind of the Holy Spirit many miles away to a humble town of 500 in West Virginia coal mining country.
“We’ve prayed for many years for this,” says Mitchell Bias, pastor of the Regional Church of God in Delbarton, West Virginia. His church had a live stream from the Azusa Now 2016 event on April 9th with their own prayer gathering, but little did he know what would happen, beginning the next day.
It seems Pastor Mitch had invited Matt Hartley, a 31-year-old evangelist from Tennessee, to preach at the church’s “spring revival.”
“I felt impressed of the Lord to connect with him,” he notes. “I knew he was a young evangelist.”
After Hartley checked his schedule, he proposed April 10-13 for their event. “He came and started that Sunday. We had tremendous services the morning and evening on the 10th,” says Pastor Mitch.
The next day Hartley spoke at a chapel service for the church’s Christian school in Williamson, the adjacent town, which Pastor Mitch describes as another “tremendous” gathering.
On the 12th, Hartley spoke at a prayer club meeting at Mingo Central High School at the invitation of the students. The club normally has 30-40 students show up, but everyone was shocked when 450 students arrived – more than half the high school.
“He (Hartley) preached the Gospel, preached against sin,” Pastor Mitch recounts. “I know it’s not popular, but he did. It wasn’t a lengthy sermon.”
At the end of the message, Hartley gave an altar call. “He gave an invitation and 150 students responded to receive Christ. There was a lot of emotion. They cried. He prayed for them. They were touched. It was a move of God,” Pastor Mitch says.
“The Lord did it. It was a sovereign move of the Lord.”
Called the Greatest Spiritual Awakening in their History
There’s a new sound coming forth from the hills of southern West Virginia – a sound many prophets have foretold but haven’t heard until now.
For the past three weeks, the large sports complex in the small coal-mining town of Williamson, West Virginia, has been filled to the rafters with people crying out for God.
It all started when Tennessee evangelist Matt Hartley visited a local church for what was supposed to be a three-day revival service but it just kept going.
“This is not man-made, charismatic, hyper-spiritual,” Hartley told CBN News. “This is the presence of God that is overwhelming us, that is being released upon hungry people that are tired of just stagnant Christianity and “safe” church.”
“They want Jesus more than anything else. That’s why they’re here,” he said.
Hartley also spoke at the local high school where revival seemed to break out among the students.
“Four-hundred to 450 students got saved at Mingo Central from Matt Hartley coming in and speaking at a voluntary prayer club,” Katie Endicott, with the Mingo Central High Prayer Club, told CBN News.
“It has just gone from school to school, from youth group to youth group,” she said. “Denominational barriers have just been cast down and we’ve just had a great spirit of unity.”
Many are calling it the greatest spiritual awakening in southern West Virginia history.
“We couldn’t have done this if we wanted to,” Endicott said. “We’ve had so many revival services, so many special services and nothing like this. This is true awakening.”
Endicott says prayer plus desperation has paved the way for this spiritual breakthrough, especially among the young people.
“Oh my gosh, it’s amazing!” 18-year-old Belfry High School student Andrew Fletcher exclaimed. “I’ve never seen something like this happen where the young people just get on fire.”
“It’s really cool to come to church and it’s really cool to worship God – nobody’s judging you or saying anything about it because they’re all with you,” he continued.
“We’re starting to have prayer circles at school and we’re reading and having Bible studies at school,” he said.
Others, like Erica Priest of Lenore, are seeing God answer very specific prayers.
“My husband just got saved this morning,” Priest said. “I’ve been praying for him for seven months and he’ll be baptized this Sunday.”
Hartley believes the sound of revival now being heard in these West Virginia mountains has the potential to spread around the world.
“I believe God has preserved this state for the end-time awakening that’s coming to America,” Hartley said.
“I believe that this is the beginning of where it happens and it’s going to spread as a wild-fire throughout the nations of this world, that Jesus is going to be exalted,” he predicted.
“And the more Jesus is exalted the more the river of God is going to flow — and we have not seen anything yet to what God is releasing,” he said.
Students who have walked the halls of Mingo Central the last couple years say the West Virginian high school has a different feel these days.
Prayer has mostly replaced profanity in the hallways. Bible studies are more frequent than fights in the cafeteria. And every morning, a group of students meets at the flagpole before the first bell to read Scripture and pray.
“The Lord has swept through this area,” said Aerianna McClanahan, a junior who is part of the Mingo Central prayer club. “People have been on fire for Him. The thirst we have here is unquenchable.”
Today, on the National Day of Prayer, many southern West Virginians plan to stoke the flames of their regional revival by standing with Franklin Graham during his Decision America Tour stop in Charleston. After all, prayer is at the core of what’s happening in their community just 90 miles southwest of the State Capitol.
“We know this [revival] was birthed in prayer so we know the only way for it to continue is to stay in prayer,” youth pastor Katie Endicott said. “We are not looking for this season to end here in southern West Virginia. We really believe that revival is going to spread all across the state. It’s going to spread all across the nation. We want to partner with all of our brothers and sisters, and we want to stand united and pray together.”
An ‘Appalachian Awakening’
Many credit a Tennessean evangelist, who has conducted several revival services during the last month in Mingo County, for triggering change. Within a month, hundreds of students have given their lives to Christ and thousands region-wide have been impacted. The Mingo Central prayer club sponsored a student-led worship event that drew almost 3,000 people and included baptisms in an inflatable pool on the school’s football field.
These events have been pivotal, Endicott said, but the native West Virginian knows the roots of this “Appalachian Awakening” go much deeper than that.
“This is an area that has really been consecrated in prayer and through prayer for generations and generations,” Endicott said. “This has been decades in the making. People have been praying for this their whole lives.”
People like her dad, a pastor, who would wake up at 4 a.m. to go to church and pray. Or her uncle, who actually quit his job so he could devote his entire day to prayer. She admits the family wasn’t too sure of that decision, but the fruit decades later speaks otherwise.
A Generation Rising Up
Lives are being touched, like that of junior Blake Hackney and senior Savannah Estep. Both Mingo Central students accepted Christ during this time of revival.
“It took all this for me to understand that I have a Lord and Savior,” Blake said. “I felt a huge boulder was off my shoulders.
“What motivates me is I think about God. I think about what He did. He died for us so us wretched sinners could have eternal life. He died for me so I’m going to live for Him.”
Blake, Aerianna and Savannah are among the hundreds that are now involved in the school’s prayer club, which is planning another football stadium gathering in mid-May. They’re diving into God’s Word and quickly dismissing the thought that this might be just a trend for the area.
“We’re praying that we’re a generation that just wakes up and uses what God has given us to break all the generational chains and curses,” Aerianna said.
These students have seen hardship as family members and friends have lost jobs in the coal mining business and elsewhere. Economic depression is real in this county, where more than 28 percent of people live in poverty. Drug use is rampant, and at least one report ranks southern West Virginia in the top five for fatal overdoses.
“Our area has been devastated by the economy and by drugs, and like I said, people have prayed and they have prayed and they have prayed, but it has been such a place that has been gripped by all this stuff,” Endicott said. “It was overwhelming, and people were really losing hope.
“This [revival] moment has really turned everything around. People are excited. People are passionate. People have joy. People have hope. You can’t go anywhere without hearing what God is doing.”
A Region-Wide Movement
The movement of God hasn’t been limited to Mingo County, though. In nearby Logan County, junior Skyler Miller felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to just start preaching one day. A two-time leukemia survivor, Skyler always leaned on God, but he actually began a personal relationship with Jesus after his second diagnosis.
On March 24, 2016, three years to the day of his initial diagnosis, Skyler preached to a group of his friends during his lunch period. He gave an altar call at the end and many, including some curious passers-by, accepted Christ.
Watching God move in the region has been a blessing for Endicott.
“This is what we have believed. We did not give up hope. We always knew that the Lord was going to send true revival and true awakening to southern West Virginia. We’ve had many revival services. We’ve had great moves of God. But there has been nothing like this.”
After a few weeks of rest, the young evangelist at the center of the revival in West Virginia that brought 4,000 to Christ, says God is not done pouring out his Spirit in coal country and beyond.
“Hear me, West Virginia. I know that God has moved in the last eight weeks where over 4000 people have come to Jesus, but there has been warfare ever since, and the devil is trying to abort what God has started,” Matt Hartley said.
He spoke at the Williamson, West Virginia Field House on August 8th, and will be speaking at the same venue the following two nights. Next week he will preach in Huntington, West Virginia, near the Ohio border.
“Hear me tonight. Man didn’t start this thing, and man cannot control it. It was started by a sovereign God and tonight there is a sound of heaven about to be released in this room,” he declared.
Hartley preached from 2 Samuel 5 when God instructed David in his fight against the Philistines with an unconventional warfare strategy: First, God said to “circle around behind them” and wait near the Mulberry trees. “And when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the Mulberry trees, then you shall act promptly, for then the Lord will have gone out before you to strike the army of the Philistines.”
When God’s people allowed the Lord to fight the battles, victory was always assured.
“There is a sound tonight that hell is getting nervous over. I prophesy that God shall arise and His enemies will be scattered,” Hartley declared.
“God is connecting heaven with earth, and there is a sound as God begins to walk through West Virginia. I hear God walking through West Virginia tonight, setting captives free.”
Many are praying the revival will sweep the United States, including Hartley. “I hear the sound of God walking through America. I hear the remnant wailing and weeping for His presence to come. There is a sound being released. God is preparing to take this awakening further than you could have imagined it would go,” he declared.
One participant, Bo Copley has been at almost every revival meeting, and last night was no exception. “The atmosphere was still really great. The presence of the Lord was all over the building. It was very similar to the other services,” he observed.
“There is a sense of urgency around what Matt says. He doesn’t water down the Word. There should be a sense of urgency because people are either going to spend eternity in heaven or hell.
“People said after four weeks the revival would die down, but then it went even further. God started it, and He is not finished. If He’s not through, it will not end.”
As of Fall 2018, every single nation on earth is represented at Arizona State University! Over 150 nations have someone on the ASU campus, while other nations are involved online – including North Korea and Antarctica! From this one place, Spirit-led believers have the potential to impact the entire family of nations, just as the apostles did on Pentecost!
In recent months, this huge university, the largest in the United States, has been in the grip of a bona fide spiritual awakening.
By our definition, formed over twenty years of monitoring transforming revival around the world, a true awakening means the work of God is comprehensive. This stands in contrast to a human campaign or initiative where results are typically confined to a single category or location within the community.
At ASU [Arizona State University], God’s sweep is as broad as it gets.
Not surprisingly, united prayer has proven to be a major factor behind these happy developments. After several tough years where campus ministries tended to go their own way, things took a pleasant turn in the fall of 2017. Instead of the usual two to three ministries coming together before God, prayer events at the local Campus Christian Center were rocking a three-fold increase in intercessory participants.
This past spring, fully a dozen ministries united behind a forty-day prayer focus where petitions were lifted day and night from a tent erected near the main campus square. The initiative was so fruitful, the ministries decided to continue the effort over the balance of the academic semester.
This fall, the tally of participating ministries and campus churches reached seventeen, as a fresh fifty-six-day campaign drew prodigals, atheists, Muslims, New Agers, and students suffering from depression. In addition to witnessing numerous conversions, healings, and deliverances, the intercessors also watched God begin to move among the University faculty and administration.
One of the more significant breakthroughs involved the school’s Interfaith Council of Religious Advisors. For years, the woman directing the council was motivated to establish ASU as a model of the global interfaith movement. Unfortunately, this highly syncretistic vision proved to be a major hindrance to the gospel. As time went by, her attitude toward Christians hardened, and ministries found their access to campus facilities severely limited.
Faced with this opposition, students and ministry leaders began to pray that God would either change this woman’s heart, or install someone more sympathetic.
It did not take God long to act. Within a period of weeks, this woman who had so vexed campus leaders disappeared from the Interfaith Council. None of the Christians on campus seemed to know where she had gone, or why. She was simply no longer there. Her replacement, a man even more hostile to the Christian cause, was similarly prayed out. Today, the council is headed by the son of a Baptist minister!
Even more dramatic has been the departure from the university of notorious atheist Lawrence Krauss. Virulently anti-Christian, the highly-paid professor routinely packed out Gammage Auditorium on campus by bringing in atheist luminaries such as Richard Dawkins and the late Stephen Hawking.
A theoretical physicist, Krauss founded the Origins Project in 2009 with the aim of placing the university at the forefront of the New Atheist Movement. By promoting hostile, anti-religious rhetoric and policies (“teaching Creationism to youth is child abuse”), Krauss bullied Christian students and faculty into silence.
During the worst of Krauss’s campaign, God assured one late-night intercessor that the professor would be brought low, and that the backbone of the atheist movement on campus would be broken.
Given Krauss’s fame and tenure, this prospect was almost unimaginable.
And yet, on Oct. 21, 2018, Lawrence Krauss announced his resignation after being stripped of his role as an academic chair and as the Director of the Origins Project. This action came in the wake of an impending termination procedure urged by the dean of ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
According to ASU provost, Mark Searle, action was taken because the physicist “violated the school’s sexual harassment policy and code of ethics.” In a July 31 letter to Krauss, Searle told the professor his behavior was “unprofessional, reflects a failure of leadership, and is extremely disappointing.”
As for the Origins Project itself, the university newspaper notes that “sources point to a very different future for the project.” The initiative has already lost its name.
With Krauss out of the picture at ASU, Christian faculty in both the arts and sciences are again raising their flag.
A March 2019 conference on Science and Faith will allow students to engage faculty in six fields, an approach being lauded by the university president. As one professor’s official profile declares: “Through his work he intends to glorify God, from whom all good things come.”
Transforming winds have also been coursing through the university’s athletic department. Just last month, over 100 Christian student athletes attended an all-sport gathering in the men’s football facility that featured worship, prayer, and inspirational messages.
Many athletes were touched at this student-led event as the room was charged with the Spirit of God. One of them, star wide receiver N’Keal Harry — whom many analysts peg as a top-15 pick in the upcoming NFL draft — gave his heart to Christ and is devouring the Word. He is arguably the most popular personality on the ASU campus.
And Harry is but one of an estimated twenty to thirty football players who have turned their lives over to Jesus in recent months.The wrestling team has also been impacted through the open witness of Austyn Harris and All-American Josh Shields, and encouraging reports are coming in from athletes associated with hockey, lacrosse, gymnastics, track, swimming, and volleyball.
Dorm and Greek life are likewise feeling the impact of the Gospel. As one knowledgeable source told me, “Before this year, it was hard to find any Christians in the Honors dorms. Now, it seems like they are everywhere!”Better yet, they are uniting in prayer that God’s purposes will be realized in the lives of these elite students.
So much more could be said, but I’ll leave you with the observation one student athlete shared with me earlier this month: “The identity of ASU is being flipped.”
As of Fall 2018, every single nation on earth is represented at Arizona State University! Over 150 nations have someone on the ASU campus, while other nations are involved online – including North Korea and Antarctica! From this one place, Spirit-led believers have the potential to impact the entire family of nations, just as the apostles did on Pentecost!
Here is how you can be a part.
First, we need people who will partner with us to supply transformation video libraries to the dorms and athletic teams at ASU. There is great interest in these stories, and I believe they will inspire students to embrace even more of God.
Second, we believe God has called us to document this unfolding story on film so it can stir up faith on other campuses. We began this effort during a short visit to the ASU campus two weeks ago, but we want to return in late January to film a much larger set of interviews and events that are being arranged.
This story has already stirred audiences in several states. Just last week, I was able to share highlights with campus ministers from all the Ivy League schools plus Stanford University. This coming May, these leaders will join us on a revival exposure tour to see more of God’s handiwork in the Fiji Islands.
We need approximately $25,000 for these undertakings. If you can make a year-end gift to the ministry on Giving Tuesday (November 27), this will allow us to capture and transmit this glorious story to thousands.
Finally, please continue to pray for us as we complete other important research, training, and media projects. It is our heart’s desire to offer up some much-needed good news in this dark and uncivil hour.