Everyone in the church loves to talk about revival. It's a favorite topic of every prayer meeting, every church conference and every leadership retreat. Every believer with a heart for revival would love to read books about it (God's Generals by Roberts Liardon should be a compulsory textbook on the topic), or to listen to eyewitnesses of past revivals.
I was born in Indonesia, and I went to school in Canada. As soon as I arrived in Toronto, the household name for revival was Toronto Blessing (now the site where the revival happened is named Catch the Fire). Many church leaders in the city love to talk about what happened in Toronto Blessing, the countless souls that were won during those years and the echoes of the revival that are still felt today.
But if there is one common thread to all past revivals, it would be that they've all come and gone. I don't discount that there are minor revivals happening all over the world all the time, but we adore and long for the big revivals with lasting global impact.
So why don't revivals last? It's quite interesting to notice that most past revivals didn't last more than one generation and tended to revolve around certain figures. This is apparent with Welsh Revival under Evan Roberts, the Azusa Street Revival under William J. Seymour, Brownsville Revival and Toronto Blessing.
Let's imagine for a bit. What if there is one last revival, the final revival before the Lord returns? What would this last revival look like?
First, this final revival should be global in nature, with global reach just like any past revivals. We fondly recall past revivals for the fruit they produce internationally. Most modern Pentecostal churches around the world have direct or indirect links to one or several revival movements. The last revival should take advantage of the global reach that modern communication technology offers to spread the message of the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth.
Second, it should be powerful, with enough impression to attract the attention of people around the world, especially non-believers. The early church managed to spread Christianity across the known world because the sharing of the gospel was accompanied by signs and wonders. If God promises signs on the heavens, the earth, the sun, the moon and the stars before the day of the Lord, then the Spirit-filled last revival on earth should be just as powerful in execution.
Third, the last revival should not revolve around a well-known figure or a ministry, which severely limits the spread and sustainability of the movement. A person or ministry can spark the fire, but the fire should be recognized and carried by others as the Holy Spirit moves the church to an unusual season of unity. The late Billy Graham was once asked about his potential successor, and he wisely answered, "I don't need a successor, only willing hands to accept the torch for a new generation."
Finally, as Billy Graham has alluded, the last revival should be multigenerational and transgenerational in nature. This is the greatest challenge of the church in the last days, which is to have the willingness to invest in the next generation, pass down the baton of revival and walk along with them in every step of the way. There shouldn't be more youth revivals or young adult revivals, just revival without boundary.
The prophet Joel described this revival perfectly:
"And it will be that, afterwards, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions" (Joel 2:28).
For pastors and leaders, I have this humble challenge for you to prepare for revival: Are you multigenerational and transgenerational in your service to the Lord? You may have done plenty of dreaming in your ministry, but it is time for the young people in your community to prophesy, see visions and inherit your dreams. After all, it was Solomon who kept David's dream of building God's temple and made it a reality.
And for the next generation, I have another challenge: Are you ready to receive the dream of revival when it is time for you to receive it? Are you walking along with your pastors and leaders, just like how Elisha walked with Elijah until the very end? And when you do receive it from them, would you in turn invest in the next generation and prepare them to receive the baton from you when their time comes?
Aditya Nanda Kuswanto serves in an Indonesian church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and is affiliated with Gereja Bethel Indonesia, one of the largest Pentecostal church networks in Indonesia. He has been equipping the next generation to pursue God's calling in their lives and building network with churches and ministries, both locally and internationally. His lifelong dream is to witness a global revival of the church in unity and the greatest harvest of souls that the world has ever seen.
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