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What makes you an expert on revival?

by David Crowe

For more information about the FWB Home Missions Department (now North American Ministries), please visit

RECENTLY, I FLEW FROM ATLANTA, GA, to San Jose, CA. After I boarded the plane and settled in for the flight, a gentleman sat down in the seat beside me. He looked like a typical businessman in suit and tie, with his briefcase and laptop and the Wall Street Journal. Shortly after take-off he asked, “Are you traveling for business or pleasure?” I always wait for that question because it opens the door for me to share the gospel. I usually respond, “Both. My business is a pleasure.” This almost always generates more questions. He asked me what was such a pleasure, and I spent the next four hours explaining.

Think about it. First, I explained how a Free Will Baptist is different than other kinds of Baptists. Then I explained why I no longer pastor a church but work for a denominational department. Then, I explained what we do at the National Home Missions Department of the National Association of Free Will Baptists. Can you just imagine the conversation?

This gentleman was very polite and seemed genuinely interested. He asked many questions and maintained a very professional attitude. When he asked what I did for National Home Missions, I told him that I was director of church growth. His next question was, “What does a director of church growth do?”

I began to explain that I worked with many of our established churches to promote church growth, provide encouragement, and preach revivals. His next question was, “What is revival and how do you promote it?” Of course, I launched into a great discourse about revival and why it is needed in America and in our churches. After I finished this wonderful thesis, his only question was “What makes you an expert on revival?”

I began to tell him about my 29 years in the ministry and my years as the pastor of growing churches. I told him about the 800 revivals and camp meetings I have preached across North America and around the world. I told him about 10 years of traveling across our denomination for Home Missions, and I told him I had read several hundred books and hundreds of sermons on the subject. I mentioned the many sermons I personally had preached about revival. The more I tried to explain why I was an expert on revival, the more it began to occur to me how little I really knew about revival. God began to stir my heart and my mind about this thing called revival.

Revival is more than just reading books or listening to or preaching sermons on the subject. Revival is more than just meetings and services. Revival is more than just years of experience or numbers of meetings conducted. For years I have told people and churches that what they need is revival, as if I were some sort of expert. I do believe there are some things that are vital for revival to come. I’m just not sure they are the things we hear or we are told to do. Too many so-called, self-proclaimed “experts” on revival think that they have received a “word from the Lord,” and if we just do what they tell us, we will have revival. Well, the only “Word” that I have from the Lord is what is already revealed in the Bible.

My conversation on the plane led me to read the passages in the Bible when revival was needed and if, when, and how it came. So, from a self-proclaimed NON-expert on revival, let me share with you five simple areas I believe we must address if we want to learn anything about revival.

1. Attitude—Our attitude affects everything and leads to Actions.

2. Actions—Holiness and purity must be upheld.

3. Atmosphere—Attitude and actions determine atmosphere.

4. Appreciation—We have an Atmosphere that takes God’s blessings for granted.

5. Attention—Appreciation centers our Attention back on God!

These days I feel more and more like Habakkuk. He prayed “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).

My prayer lately is not, “Lord help me know how to tell others how to have revival.” I pray, “Lord help me to experience a personal revival in my own heart, soul, mind, and life that will overflow into the lives of others! Let revival begin with me.”

David Crowe is the director of church growth for the National Home Missions Department and a NON-Expert on Revival.







©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists