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More on the Brownsville Revival:

Part One

Part Two

What Happened to Brownsville's Fire?

More Church History

More Spiritual Life

 
revival

Brownsville Revival: Part 3

By Steve Rabey
Guest Columnist

Christianity.com -- What will future historians say about the revival at Brownsville Assembly of God, which started on Father's Day 1995 and is still going strong?

Will it be seen as a small blip on America's sociocultural radar screen? Or will it — and related awakenings during the last quarter of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st — be remembered as America's Third Great Awakening, a time when impressive numbers of Americans turned to God and stirred renewal throughout the world?

It's at least a century too early to tell. But some of the men at the center of the revival have thought about what its long-term impact might be.

Pastor John Kilpatrick, who has been as surprised as anyone about the revival that started at his church, has made a habit of scanning the crowds that fill his church's pews, and he regularly asks those who are making their first visit to the revival to raise their hands. It's one of the ways he tries to determine whether the revival is still fresh and vital or whether it's dead or dying.

"We ask constantly how many people are here for the first time," said Kilpatrick in 1998. "That's an indication to us that this thing is not stalemated. If we see that sinners are not coming here, or that souls are not being saved, Steve and I will be gone, and I will shut this thing down. We'll go home."

But Lindell Cooley, the church's worship leader, believes true revival could have ended long before crowds of visitors quit coming. "This revival won't be over just when the crowds are gone," he said. "This thing could be over a good six months to two years before the crowds quit coming. We need to look hard at ourselves and make sure we aren't perpetuating something God's finished with."

In fact, Cooley had already written a mock obituary of the revival by 1998. It read as follows: "In memory of the Brownsville revival, which was a small piece of what God was doing with his church in the late 20th century, particularly the Pentecostal church in southern America."

The Brownsville Revival School of Ministry has trained hundreds of people, and school founder Michael Brown believes its contributions may be the most long-lasting impact of the revival.

But for evangelist Steve Hill it's not the revival that's the point anyway. As he says: "This revival isn't the most important thing to me. Jesus is the most important thing to me. And all that matters to me is whether this thing made a significant mark in the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Anyone would be pleased to be recorded in the history books, but what matters to me is whether this matters to God."

More on the Brownsville Revival:

Part One

Part Two

More Church History

More Spiritual Life

 

Adapted from Revival in Brownsville by Steve Rabey (Thomas Nelson, 1998)

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