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.
So, what is revival?
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 God.
In the midst of the Lewis Awakening, the parish minister at Barvas wrote, “The Spirit of the Lord was resting wonderfully on the different townships of the region. His presence was in the homes of the people, on meadow and moorland, and even on the public roads.”
The Presence of God
This presence of God is the supreme characteristic of a God-sent revival. Of the hundreds who found Jesus Christ during this time fully seventy-five per cent were saved before they came near a meeting or heard a sermon by myself or any other ministers in the parish. The power of God, the Spirit of God, was moving in operation, and the fear of God gripped the souls of men—this is God-sent revival as distinct from special efforts in the field of evangelism.
The Power of God
On a trip to a neighbouring island I found the people were very cold and stiff. Calling for some men to come over and pray, I particular requested that a young man named Donald accompany them. Donald, who was seventeen years old, had been recently saved and baptised in the Holy Spirit about two weeks later on a hillside. As we were in the church that night, Donald was sitting toward the front with tears falling off his face onto the floor. I knew Donald was in touch with God in a way that I was not. So I stopped preaching and asked him to pray. Donald rose to his feet and prayed, “I seem to be gazing into an open door and see the Lamb in the midst of the throne and the keys of death and hell on his waist.” Then he stopped and began to sob.
After he composed himself, he lifted his eyes toward heaven, raised his hands, and said, “God, there is power there. Let it loose!” And at that moment the power of God fell upon the congregation. On one side of the room, the people threw up their hands, put their heads back and kept them in that position for two hours. It is hard to do this for ten minutes, much less two hours. On the other side, the people were slumped over, crying out for mercy. In a village five miles away, the power of God swept through the town and there was hardly a house in that village that didn’t have someone saved in it that night…This is God at work.…
The work of God
It takes the supernatural to break the bonds of the natural. You can make a community mission-conscious. You can make a community crusade-conscious. But only God can make a community God-conscious. Just think about what would happen if God came to any community in power. I believe that day is coming. May God prepare us all for it.
Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries,
that the nations may tremble at thy presence!
The late Rev Duncan Campbell was greatly used by God during the Lewis revival. He was Principal of the Faith Mission Bible College and this article comprises extracts from a sermon he preached to his students, entitled When the Mountains Flowed Down.This article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in FIRST! magazine September/October 2009