Brownsville Revival: Part 3
By Steve Rabey
What will future historians say
about the revival at Brownsville Assembly of God,
which started on Father's Day 1995 and is still going
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.
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.
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."
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."
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."
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
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
More Spiritual Life
Adapted from Revival in Brownsville by
Steve Rabey (Thomas Nelson, 1998)
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