“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
If I could give my one-word answer to the question above, I think it would be No. I do not think the church—and I am speaking about myself here, too—is ready for the messiness that will come with revival. Let me explain.
I had a conversation recently with someone who is looking for a church home. And here’s the thing: this guy was a mess. He had financial issues. He had mental health issues. He had sin issues. Were he to start attending our church, he would not meaningfully contribute to the life of the church for some time, if ever. As he was talking about needing community—and I’ll hope you show me grace as I make myself a bit vulnerable here—I could feel my flesh putting up a fight. I wasn’t sure I wanted him to come. (My spirit, by the grace of God alone, triumphed, and I offered a genuine invitation.)
What does this have to do with revival? I have been urging our church to pray for revival for just shy of seven years now, and I’m sure many of you have been praying for your churches too. My very first full sermon series as a pastor at Cityview was called “Life on Mission.” We’ve equipped everyone involved in our Journey and Community Groups for relational evangelism. All that time, energy, focus—and yet, still no revival. What gives?
I’m sure there are lots more, but what if one of the reasons God hasn’t granted our request yet is because we’re just not ready for revival? Sure, we want to see the lost come to know Christ. But in our minds, we’re still picturing the perfect, put-together, stereotypical suburban family. The sort of family that could fit right in here. The sort of family you’d love to have in your Community Group because they’re just like you!
What if God has a different family, a different individual in mind? What happens when the homeless enter? Or someone with significant, all-consuming mental health issues? Or someone battling addiction? What happens when the person seeking community doesn’t smell quite right? When they don’t read social cues well and monopolize conversations with immense awkwardness? What if the people God would have us reach need a lot more from us than we’re willing to give, given our undeniable self-absorption and thirst for comfort? In other words, what if God sends us exactly the people he said he came to save? What then?
You can see why I’m wondering if we’re really ready for revival. So what do we do now? Well, I hope you’ll join me in continuing to pray for revival. But I hope you’ll join me especially in praying that God would make our hearts ready for the revival we still seek for the glory of his name.