Author: Pastor James Appiakorang
The 21st Century church needs a turning point. A turning point to the God of fire, to the God who hates His children being cold or lukewarm.
Unfortunately, we have accepted the deceit that “no man can be perfect” due to the limitations in understanding of Isaiah 64:6 which says “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
And this acceptance or limitation has gradually pulled down the righteousness pillars of members of the church to the extent that the church has become an extension of the world.
Indeed the church is the extension of the world but to what end? It is because there is usually a point of transition between the world we find ourselves and the church which is the symbol of the Kingdom of God. That is why Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 2:2 showed a community of people who would most likely be within that transit point, prescribing what can enhance their quick transformation from the world to the Kingdom.
Hence in every church that is mindful of the Great Commission, there shall be found this community of “new born babes”, who are being nurtured, being brestfed with the sincere milk of the Gospel. This shows that the church cannot be 100 percent clean because of these people in transit.
But the question which has been on my mind for sometime now is, how many weeks, months, or years should these persons be in that position of babes. It is sad to note that there are people in the church today who have been serving the church for years and have been “untagged” as new born babes, who behave even worse than the babes.
They are the very persons who fight each other, even with their pastor, and does not forgive them for weeks, months or even years. They are the very persons who pledge huge amounts during harvest or fundraising just to receive applause and be known as the financiers of the church without a love for Christ, they are the very people who commit adultery, fornication with other members and abort pregnancies. The list cannot be completed here, so shameful.
I remember many years ago, I served as a communion steward in a church but would go out after serving and drink alcohol with friends. How holy some members would consider me at the time while they watched my outward deeds. My heart was filled with worldly music and drunkenness, lusting after everyone called woman. And there I was, every Thursday sharing the body and the blood of Jesus Christ to people.
How many of my former type are in the church today? Thousands, or even millions, comfortably ‘working’ in the church without pastors either knowing or knowing but not drawing their attention to dangers associated with such deceitfulness.
Fake Revival services in the church
On several occasions we see and hear churches promote their upcoming revival services and invite the world to such. Tens, hundreds and thousands of people throng such services, enjoy themselves and go back home same way they came or even worse. We attend revival services but do not get revived. Is it because the gospel was not preached or we ourselves are stiff-necked people? The answer, in my opinion, is BOTH.
Truthfully, we can find a handful of revival services which achieve its purposes to turning the hearts of the people back to God, just a handful of them today.
But the main challenge of the church today is the numerous ones that organize such programs to make more money, or to show off how they can give ‘deep prophesies’ which adds nothing to members’ spiritual lives.
What Revival is NOT
•Revival is not a prophetic service.
•Revival is not a Praise or dancing service.
•Revival is not a time for fundraising or harvest
•Revival is not …
What then is Revival?
I came across a short video clip of the late Rev. Manley Beasley which gave a short, precise rendition of what Revival actually is, using the story of the Prodigal son.
“And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,  And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.  And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”
[Luke 15:17-20 KJV]
Revival comes when people see themselves as they are. Then there is brokenness. This brokenness comes with deep sorrow. That could be considered as the measure of brokenness.
Then there is a change of mind about God and for themselves which leads to unbelievable decisions.
Out of that comes holiness and righteousness for each other and God. Then out of this comes reproduction; lost people getting saved and saved people that are not right getting right with God. This is what REVIVAL means my friend.
The church in the 21st Century has, whether deliberately or ignorantly abused this very important point of turning to God. We have become more committed to Church Growth Startegies instead of Spiritual Growth of our members.
So we claim to go out on Evangelism and we only go to invite people to ‘come to our church’, or ‘please come and visit us’. Inasmuch as some people who attend the church upon invitation like myself end up confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior, I dare say that the real intentions of many of these invitations are mainly for the church to be filled.
I remember many years ago when a young lady was inviting me to a popular Nigerian pastor’s church, she said ‘come and visit our church on Sunday, there are a lot of beautiful girls. You’ll be so happy.’
She knew I was a lustful young man and decided to hook me with the sin I enjoyed into visiting their church. How miserable! Few years later, she was still active member of that same church yet got pregnant without being married…I guess she was still hooking people up with beautiful girls till she herself was hooked up.
The church needs to return to the days of fire, and let me at this juncture commend the Church of Pentecost which has intensified its evangelism and crusades this year, 2023.
The people out there need to hear the word, they’re dying of thirst and here we are, with rivers of living water flowing out of our belly…but to where? Into the gutters? The church needs to let the world feel our presence again as of old and reconcile the world to God, but we ourselves need to be awake, we need to be revived.
So dear Pastor, Presiding Elder, church leader and members, next time we’re marking the success of our revival program, please let’s not count the monies and pledges quickly, let’s count the souls that were saved first, take note of those members who were broken and rededicated themselves to Christ, then we shall proudly say this revival was a great success.
The writer, Pst James Appiakorang is President of Mercy Train Missions Ministry, an international Missionary organization. He is pastor in charge of Outreach and follow up at House of Faith Ministries (Jesus Haus branch) and is now in the Missions field somewhere in the Gulf regions.