The Next Great Awakening: Coming to a Cubicle Near You

Picture the hustle and bustle of New York City in the middle of the workday. It’s noon. Thousands of people are walking from their places of work to a church or to a coffee house, storefront, or bar. There, they gather for prayer. All across the city, tens of thousands of people are praying, crying out to the Lord for healing, for cleansing…for revival. Can you imagine this scene taking place in New York City today?

It happened in the past. From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, a huge awakening swept the country. Millions heard the gospel. Evangelists proclaimed truth to vast crowds. America flourished into a missionary-sending nation. God’s Spirit was at work.

Is that kind of awakening going to happen again?  Ever? When is the next great awakening going to explode?

Another Great Awakening?

For generations, Christians have been praying for revival and awakening. Gratefully, God is at work. All across the world, there are victories being won and souls being saved. Huge church growth has taken place in many African  and Asian nations. However, many have lamented that God has neglected America and other western nations. They fear that our sin and rejection has signaled the end of Christianity in this region of the world. Others, however, pray fervently for an awakening — for the next great awakening.

When will these prayers be answered? When will a fresh flood of souls come into the kingdom? Will there be another missions movement?

Evangelism:  Past and Present

In past generations, evangelism took place on a massive scale. In the early American revivals, people would construct large pole barns and tents for throngs of people to hear the revivalist preachers. Evangelists such as Whitefield and later D.L. Moody would speak to crowds of thousands of people, hosting multi-day revival services. God used these evangelistic movements to bring many to himself.

No one can argue that we live in a world vastly different from Whitefield and Moody. Advances in technology have shaped our culture. Information transfer occurs within different thought paradigms, and often through different means. Mass meetings, while not entirely to be disregarded, are probably not the ideal form of evangelism. Also disadvantageous is the time-honored tradition of door-to-door evangelism, by which Christians would systematically enter neighborhoods to go directly to people’s homes with the gospel. Though not entirely without merit, such practices are probably less than an ideal use of resources in most American subcultures and settings.

One strategic location of evangelism is the workplace. Evangelism is conducted best in areas where Christians live and have personal interaction with nonbelievers. Evangelism through technology and broadcasting has its place, but will probably never totally replace in-person conversations. Relationships formed in the workplace and communities provide the best and most helpful place for gospel encounters to take place.

Obviously, Christians should never be guilty of stealing from their employers by neglecting their work in order to give the gospel from cubicle to cubicle. Decorum and honesty are important in evangelism, just as in any other sphere of life. Christians should live their faith out loud, never neglecting opportunities to speak of their faith, to prove their committment to God, and to point to Jesus Christ.

The Recipe for Revival:  Prayer and Evangelism

Every Christian has a responsibility to pray and evangelize. No, we cannot fabricate revival on our own. That is why we pray. That is why we obey Jesus’ command to spread his teachings to others. If another great awakening is to take place, it is going to happen in the context of personal relationships. Are there unsaved and unreached people near you? Wherever you are today, you can begin to light a small fire to launch a great  awakening.

Dr. J. D. Greear, pastor and church planter said,

If you study what’s going on around the world, it seems that the next wave of missions is not gonna happen through a lot of professional church planters. It’s going to happen by people who use their business and leverage their business to get in to places where they can just share Christ with people – through the normal business relationships.

A cursory reading of the book of Acts demonstrates that the Holy Spirit grew the early church by means of fervent prayer and passionate abandon. Church history displays this same pattern. We cannot manipulate the Spirit into creating a revival, nor can we manufacture revival on our own. What we can and should do is obey.

Christ promised, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). Then, he later commanded us, his followers, “Go therefore and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). Let us live out the gospel in our cities, suburbs, workplaces, shopping centers, and schools. Let us not shrink from declaring the life-giving gospel of Jesus. Let us be obedient, prayerful, and hopeful. God can launch the next great awakening.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Justin September 6, 2012 at 8:56 am

    While I enjoyed this artice, the idea of losing large gatherings and door-to-door evangelism is foolish. The modern growth of mega-churches and the anecdotal evidence of anyone who has ever evangelized door to door (myself included), repudiate both of these. The gospel is spread by ‘the foolishness of preaching’! Though it seems to us like this should not work in the present time, truly it has always seemed that way. Though preaching appears futile, it is God’s annointed vessel for the spread of His good news. On door-to-door evangelism, a friendly person handing a flyer and asking your name will always have better results than a mass mailing or e-mail campaign.

    But, in another way, this article is spot on. Moody did not preach in a vacuum. What relationships started came to fruition there.

    The model has been broken by the mechanical nature of modern American Christians (so procedural that we miss God for His program), but it runs like this: people, in relationships, saturate their friends, family and acquantinces with the gospel. This is the slow process of gathering kindling and the first few sparks. More people go door-to-door, expressing an interest in the lost and sharing the gospel again, in different terms. This launches a few more sparks. Then, a preaching evangelistic event kicks it into gear. The Spirit who chose preaching as His instrument breaths on the sparks and they burst aflame. This fire is then carefully tended under the auspices of God’s local churches (his chosen vessels, again) and it spreads to the whole world, if we do not hinder it.

    So this article is right. We need relationships, and those have been neglected in the recent past in favor of a churchwide formula and artificial small groups. But when the Bible and all of history up to this point show the power of preaching to large groups and evangelizing from door to door, it is foolish to think we can do without them.

    May God send revival to the whole world, and may we have the honor of being His instruments in it.

    In Christ,

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