WILMORE, Kentucky — The last commandment that Christ gave to His disciples was to bring others to His table. The Gospel of John records Him as saying, “as the Father has sent me, so I send you (20:22).” Mark 16:15 adds the imperative to “go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
Many faithful Christians and church leaders have despaired over the rapidly falling number of Christians in society and the half-empty pews they see in their parishes — as well they should. The destruction of faith and morals, bad in and of itself, is rapidly leading to a society that cannot function. Crime is skyrocketing, hard drugs are endemic and the population is actually declining in some Western countries, with many young people unable to find serious partners.
Pastors and priests have spent decades promoting cheap gimmicks to fill the pews, running the gamut from fast-food, have-it-your-way versions of the Gospel to Sister Act-style rock bands performing during services. It hasn’t worked.
And yet, as we enter Lent and approach Easter (the holiest time in the Christian calendar), something has begun working. It’s not what you’d expect — unless you’ve read the Bible.
It began as a simple service in the Chapel of Asbury University in Kentucky. After the service, about 30 students decided to stay and continue worshiping. Seven days later, they were still there. However, they’d been joined by 1,400 others, all worshiping, singing and hearing from ministers.
As reported by Anthony Scott at The Gateway Pundit, “revival services have [since] broken out at universities all across the United States. The latest revival services that have led young adults to repent and worship Jesus are at Texas A&M University in Galveston, Texas,” where it appears that hundreds of students have come together in a fashion similar to those at Asbury University.
I’m sure that these spontaneous mass-conversion and renewal events will have their critics. In fairness, the students involved probably aren’t learning a lot of in-depth theology during the gatherings, something they will need to explore later on. But the truth is that a sudden call to God is par for the course in Christian history, and often heralds great moments in God’s Church.
We’re told in Acts 2:41 that, following Peter’s speech at Pentecost, “about 3,000 persons were added” to the faith. Acts 8:26–39 tells the story of a court official who became a Christian after a chance encounter on the road. And although Christ’s apostles may have had a longer connection with Him than the Bible lets on, many of them seem to have followed Him after a simple request or call — despite likely being young men who were, by joining Jesus, entrusting their fortunes to a young leader. The young and the foolish chose faith, while the old and wise Pharisees shook their heads.
Anyone can participate in what is going on at these universities because anyone can go out and start talking about the Gospel. Work God into conversations at school, in the office, on the job site and with nonbelieving family members. It doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating. Start by mentioning that you enjoyed Church services last Sunday or that you’re looking forward to attending Church this week. Be conscientious and watch your language. Wear a cross. Put a Bible on your desk. People will notice, and it will start conversations for you.
If you don’t think these little interactions matter, you’re wrong. I just had a friend tell me that he became a conservative and deepened his understanding of Christianity 15 years ago after watching me confront a deacon over what Christian doctrine really had to say about homosexuality. I had no idea at the time that I’d changed anyone’s mind, and had even assumed that this particular friend had found the confrontation cringeworthy. I’d never thought that it had affected his beliefs so deeply. Similarly, I was part of a prayer meeting at a Christian summer camp about 17 years ago that changed my view of myself and my role in God’s kingdom. After a whole room full of high schoolers (myself included) broke down after hearing an especially moving speaker detail his past struggles with alcoholism, I realized that I needed to be far less obsessed with my own role in the world and far more concerned about God’s glory. My life has been genuinely different since.
God isn’t dead. His spirit moves.