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Holy Spirit Activate! What We Can Learn from Past Revivals in US History

Over the history of the United States, dozens of revivals have taken place that changed the hearts of many. As a parachurch, we desire to spread the gospel to as many. We need the Holy Spirit's power to help us accomplish this goal for this to happen. Thankfully, Revivals are times when the Lord outpours the Holy Spirit on many souls and restores them from spiritual death and slumber. In this article, I will identify three revivals from US history and discuss what we can utilize that made these revivals successful for our mission.

The Jesus Movement (1960s-1970s): The Jesus Movement was a revival that sought to reach young people, especially those in the prominent hippie and anti-war movements at that time. One of the key leaders and orchestrators was the founder of Calvary Chapel, Pastor Chuck Smith. According to Calvary Chapel Magazine, Smith desired to find ways to engage with the young people of his time by going to where they congregated. Many of the people he encountered were messy from head to toe and did not appear like they would be receptive to the gospel message. Many churches discriminate against people like this, although this was not true with Smith. Chuck famously said, "We will love these kids and teach them God's Word." Chuck clarified that he did not want to discriminate against the hippies and sought to love them as they were. This revival resulted in Hundreds of souls coming to Christ between the 1960s and 70s. It resembled more like a scene from the New Testament than your average Sunday morning service. We can glean from this revival that we should target groups of people concerned about the mistreatment of people within our society and those concerned about our planet's welfare. Many groups and factions have sprung up in the past ten years due to horrific events in our country, such as Black Lives Matter. Many young people want to do something about our society's injustices but are unaware of God's history. We should reach out to groups of young people by preaching the word of God and seeking to understand their perspective. We should also not time judging on their appearance, as God is more concerned about the state of a person's heart.

The First Great Awakening (1735-1743) The First Great Awakening was a revival that took place in the 18th century that had a profound effect on the colonies. According to, the two most prominent leaders of the revival, Johnathan Edwards, and George Whitefield, thought the church should separate from the New England governments. They preached that man could not contribute to their salvation and stressed a personal relationship with Christ. Similarly, we should not align ourselves with the agendas of the world and remind those we evangelize to that righteousness is as filthy rags, as it says in Isaiah 64:6. There is an increasing trend in our society that focuses more on our righteousness through political correctness and "living your truth." In this age of pride and arrogance, we should focus on preaching our need for Christ while emphasizing that he is the only way, the only truth, and the only life, as John 14:6 clarifies.

The 2023 Asbury Revival

Despite the speculation regarding the authenticity of the revival, many of the students, teachers, and volunteers at Asbury University ensured that the 2023 Asbury revival was free from distraction. The revival began when the assistant soccer coach of Asbury University, Zach Meerkreebs, gave a heartfelt and graceful message about God's love. He emphasized how God's love is not manipulative and selfish like the world's love. As we evangelize and shepherd students, we should not forget to show them what the true love of God looks like after we teach his word. During the 2023 Asbury revival, organizers did not endorse or allow celebrities or famous preachers to teach or take over the services. We can learn from this that as we lead people to Christ, we should not draw attention to ourselves. We should always point people to Christ. Even as we do mission works, If God does a miracle through us, we should help students understand by whose authority we have been given the authority to do such exploits as are seen in Mark 16:17-18.

Revivals are special times when God restores his people and strengthens them to do many great works for his Kingdom. Even now, God desires to revive the hearts of his chosen people across this country. As we seek to strengthen our mission here in North America and Canada, let us have the heart to meet those that desire to renew their faith in the Lord. The time is short, so let's do our best to reach the lost sheep before going home.

(written by Derrick Watson Jr.)


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