After the Covid lockdown and with services resuming, some church congregations have shown signs of repentance and revival. Is this just a spark that will die down, or will it be fanned into flame?
Much of it depends on the leadership team. From my perspective, reflecting on a previous revival in the late 80s, most church leaders are unprepared to handle the manifestations, both human and demonic, that can occur during a move of the Spirit.
The main issue is lack of discernment and because of that, lack of confidence. Humans can act in a very out of the ordinary way when the Spirit is on them; sometimes, it’s an unholy spirit that’s on them and leaders struggling with both fear of “quenching the Spirit” and fear of man, fail to act and inadvertently cause the work of the Holy Spirit to be questioned; humans who have been struggling with low self-esteem can suddenly find a new sense of purpose when the Spirit comes upon them, and wielding their gifts as a way of achieving some recognition for themselves can overwhelm others not only with their gifts but also with their brazenness. So leaders are challenged.
Charismatic churches which have some kind of healing and deliverance ministry have a slight edge over traditional ones — I say “slight”, because too many of the healing and deliverance people I have met lack self-awareness. Most healing and deliverance ministries that have any calibre make it mandatory that all volunteers should go for their own healing once issues are surfaced. Sometimes, they can’t discern that there is an issue.
I recall a volunteer who would repeatedly go into bouts of near-hysterical weeping during team prayer– clearly it wasn’t the Holy Spirit, and that she was using the prayer time as an outlet for her own unresolved hurts. I spoke to her privately about getting some ministry for herself. She declared that she was being used by another deliverance ministry as an intercessor and offended, immediately resigned. All of us heaved a sigh of relief.
Most traditional churches sideline the prayer ministry; the “team” would consist of a handful of dedicated volunteers who are tolerated rather than welcomed. I was fortunate to have a Pastor-In-Charge who was spiritually aware enough to sense that oppression over the church increased exponentially without regular intercession, and backed me in my efforts to recruit volunteers.
All this is to say that without a team of spiritually mature leaders, those who not only know the Word but have experience working with the Spirit, a revival is very challenging to steward.