Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The imminent revival -- part 2

Those of you in my hometown of Pittsburgh will be pleased to learn that I believe that this metro area will likely become a haven of true spiritual revival that could sweep the world. I base that opinion on conditions in the church in general being right.

For those of you who don't live here, the religious culture of our city is such that you can hear a true Gospel message in even many of the "mainline" churches, whether Presbyterian (the largest Protestant denomination), Methodist, Anglican, Campbellite, Lutheran or Baptist; in fact, the "charismatic" movement started on a retreat of students from Duquesne University, the largest local Catholic college.

Renewal movements in those denominations actually started or are based here -- the local Presbyterian seminary is the PCUSA's most conservative, and the local Episcopal diocese left the national church two years ago, taking with it the majority of churches, over what it considered to be intolerable liberalism. Cults don't thrive here; during my days at the University of Pittsburgh in the mid-1990s I fought one which was struggling to get a foothold on campus. (And it still hasn't done so, from what I understand.) On top of that, "funky junky" theology doesn't go over too well either; the "prosperity gospel," "hyperfaith" and the so-called Toronto blessing and the Pensacola "revival" don't have that many adherents.

That said, however, I have an idea of three places where it might start:

1) My own church. In the 12 years I've attended there it has always sought to be proactive in ministry, looking for opportunities rather than excuses, and its leadership from my vantage point has always sought to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Thanks to its extensive ministry it has a great reputation in the city and has even entertained leadership visiting from other churches across the country interested in similarly reaching people. But it would be willing to throw that reputation away to be faithful to Christ and His Kingdom.

2) My home area of Wilkinsburg, an eastern suburb which began falling on hard times when crack cocaine hit in the late 1980s -- drive-bys were a weekly occurrence and those who could afford to move did. Things have been so bad for so long that it has nowhere to go but up -- which is hopefully when folks there turn wholeheartedly to God. Also, a large number of good churches have always been there, so ... well, watch out!

3) Butler County, north of the city. I have a contact up there whose ministry consists of meeting with pastors to unify them spiritually to do work in that area, specifically because it has such a problem with heroin use especially among the youth that it doesn't even bother to hide it anymore.

Basically, God works primarily when folks trust Him to do the work and then obey Him. We in Pittsburgh might be at that point.

1 comment:

Mark said...

HiRick,you are exactly right;it was prophecied at a major Christian Business Convention that the next Azusa Street size revival would break out in western Pennsylvania,spread to New England and the Southwest. This revival will be the one that stays.It may not draw the fanfare and coverage that so-called revivals (like Toronto Vineyard).People will throng to seek the Biblical Jesus, and will not accept "another Jesus or another gospel that is no Gospel" as Paul phrased it.There will be signs and wonders, but,that is not what people will be pouring into this revival to see.It will be to know for themselves with sureness that they know the Jesus that bought their eternal life, and not a jesus that will bring them to anathema destruction.God bless the revival in Pittsburgh.We are already seeing this among the young people of New Bethlehem and Venango County.