Some kind of Revival?

Frequently, I get asked “what kind of church is Renew?” It’s usually in the form of asking what makes Renew unique among “all those churches out there.” There’s hardly a way to respond that does not also compare and contrast, so I try to wrap up the conversation at some point to focus on what we are for, rather than harp on what we’re against. Emphasize the purpose and vision we’re passionately seeking after … who we’re eager to become.

We’ve listed our four points before. Besides, it takes all kinds of churches, because God is all kinds of creative. Plus, it’s not my responsibility to lead “those” churches. We seek unity by focusing on the main things.

One main thing is renewal (thus the name RENEW), and revival.

This time let me focus on Revival, and the common ideas about what revival is, and how revival comes to a church and to a city.

On Sunday we focused on different views of revival and how we’ll know if we’re experiencing it when it comes. Over at the Renew blog you’ll find the audio and some notes on “Come, Set Your Rule: Build Your Kingdom Here.” All month we’ll be talking about revival.

When it comes to revival I’m not a fundamentalist, a liberal, or a charismatic. (Here me out on this.) We’re talking vision here. And in categories in which church and unchurched people can relate.


While going into more detail on Sunday, and in the coming weeks, when I say I’m not fundamentalist, liberal, or charismatic as far as the church, I mean that:

  • like the charismatics, we’re going to be as excited and as hopeful and as believing God that he can make an impact on the city,
    • but we’re not going to force people and hype people’s emotions.
  • like fundamentalists, we have a high view of the authority of the Scripture,
    • but we’re not going to be legalistic,
    • nor are we going to be trying to get people to withdraw from the world and withdraw from engagement with society.
  • like the mainline liberal church, we are going to be saying we want to be socially aware, we want to be socially concerned, we want to be involved and engaged with the world,
    • but unlike what typically happens in those circles, we believe in the high authority of the Scripture and the supernatural regeneration of the heart with the rebirth of the Holy Spirit.
  • Otherwise nobody can be saved. So we’re none and we’re all.

They all come from a different view of revival.

(Can you see why I asked you to hear me out?)

Now having said that, we must say that revival is an outpouring of the Spirit so God becomes real to people. People become more than God-conscious — they become changed.

This “extraordinary” thing happens when the “ordinary” work of the Holy Spirit goes sinto effect: convicting people of selfishness and sin, converting us to responding to who Jesus is, and all He has done.