What is happening in East London?
What is this thing called REVIVAL?
By Dr. Rodney M. Howard-Browne
The happenings in East London, the past 32 days, have created quite a stir - not only in East London, but also across South Africa. Initially televised across the African continent and watched around the world over the internet, it generated so much interest that it is now being televised across Africa, Europe, Scandinavia and North, Central and South America, into millions of homes. People have been flying, driving, and hitch-hiking in from all over: hotels are filled; planes are booked up. Many are calling it a Revival.
What is Revival, you may ask? Revival is what happens when Christians fall in love with Jesus all over again. Revival is a movement or a gathering of people, coming together around the basics of faith, having their faith restored, renewed and revived by the Holy Spirit.
When most people first come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, they are usually “on fire” and excited about God and the things of God. They can’t wait to share what has happened in their life with friends and family. However, as in any relationship, over time people can begin to take their loved one for granted, lose their enthusiasm and cool off. Many people start off their Christian walk with fervor and passion only to find themselves, after a few years, just going through the motions. They fall into a rut concerning their worship, devotion and their witness.
A Christian that is not fervent in his belief is a nominal Christian – a Christian in name only. They may attend church on Sundays, but only out of ritual or because their father and mother always went. In many church services, you get the distinct impression that the minister and the people would rather be somewhere else and that they are only doing their duty for the week. They call themselves believers, but you would not know it judging by their talk and their lifestyle during the rest of the week. As Dr. Billy Graham so aptly put it, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
According to the Book of Revelation, revival means coming back to your first love – Jesus; coming from a place of lukewarmness toward God and the things of God to being once again hot and on fire for God! Revived Christians begin again to pray and read their Bibles and then they begin to testify of the goodness of God. These are the basics of Christianity.
That revival is taking place in East London at this time is evident to most, but there is also a spiritual awakening taking place. A spiritual awakening is what happens when people, whether Christian or not, encounter the presence and power of God and are changed forever. It’s not about religions or denominations; it’s about an encounter with the Living God!
Here in East London, over the past 32 days, many people have given their lives to Jesus for the first time, while others are recommitting to God and renewing their faith. They are being touched by the Spirit of God and having their joy and passion ignited. During the day they are being turned loose on the streets: into hospitals, schools, retirement homes, prisons, bus stops, taxi ranks, shops, restaurants, malls, roadhouses, hotel lobbies, airports …really wherever people are gathered.
It’s time for the Church to be motivated to obey the Great Commission, given by Jesus, to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel”. (This is the Great Commission not the Great Suggestion.) It’s time to mobilize the Church to get outside the four walls of the church buildings to bring in the harvest!
Now some would say that we need to keep religion private. I agree. Religion should be private. There are many religions in the world – however there is only one Jesus! And He wants a relationship with you! We cannot be quiet; we need to shout it from the mountain tops and from the roof tops until the whole world knows how wonderful Jesus is! That is what the Gospel is all about – “joy to the world the Lord is came” – “I bring you glad tidings of great joy” – the Gospel is Good News!
In the summer of 1999, we rented Madison Square Garden, in New York City, for 6 weeks to preach the Gospel to the city. We sent hundreds of soul-winners onto the streets armed with a Gospel script that we developed especially for street witnessing. Over the course of this crusade, we saw a total of 48,459 people give their hearts to Jesus.
The script equips and enables the harvester to get straight to the point without arguing or fighting with anyone. We feel that we must be motivated by and operating in the love of God, in order to reach people, rather than having a religious attitude. Religion is judgmental of others, but love is not. Religion has to put others down in order to lift itself up, while Jesus humbled Himself, coming from heaven to earth, in order to lift us up. The Word of God says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
The script asks two questions – the first being: “Has anyone ever told you that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?” The second is: “If you were to die today where would you spend eternity?” These two questions sum it all up. At this point the individual has the opportunity to say that they are not interested and the soul-winner can move along quietly and approach the next person. Everyone must hear the Gospel at least once and have an opportunity to say Yes or No.
Unless the person says, “I know I am going to heaven if I died right now because I have Jesus in my heart”, you proceed with the script. “Let me tell you what the Holy Bible reads: it reads, ‘All have sinned and come short of the glory of God and the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.’” Then we ask, “And you are a ‘whosoever’ aren’t you?” Of course they agree and then we ask if they mind if we say a quick prayer for them. Most time people are only too glad to receive prayer – everyone has needs.
Then we say, “If you would like to receive the gift that God has for you today, say this after me with your heart and lips out loud. ‘Dear Lord Jesus, come into my heart. Forgive me of my sin. Wash me and cleanse me. Set me free. Jesus, thank You that You died for me. I believe that You are risen from the dead and that You’re coming back again for me. Fill me with the Holy Spirit. Give me a passion for the lost, a hunger for the things of God and a holy boldness to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m saved, I’m born again, I’m forgiven and I’m on my way to Heaven, because I have Jesus in my heart.’”
You would be surprised how many people freely open up their hearts to the love of Jesus, receive His forgiveness and are instantly transformed by the power of God! This is exactly what is happening in East London! As of Wednesday, Day 32, on the streets of East London, South Africa, 2,578 harvesters (soul-winners) have been trained to go outside the four walls of the church and we have seen a total of 45,646 decisions for Christ. If you include areas outside East London, across Southern Africa, we have a total of 84,449 decisions for Christ (that we know of). There are at least 53 churches and locations hooked up with us through giant screens. 118 cities across Southern Africa are winning souls and bringing in the harvest of souls.
In the U.S.A., over the last 28 months, we have been in 53 cities, trained up over 30,000 harvesters and seen 100,033,346 decisions for Christ. We also have an extensive follow up plan that can be implemented by the local church. All these tools can be downloaded from www.revival.com
where we have the script in many languages - click on “Soul Winning Tools”. The training videos are available to view for free. We also have the script in English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu, Siswati and French on www.rivercorp.co.za
under “Days of Glory Downloads”. The script is downloadable for free – it is copyright so copy it right! There is also a training manual for pastors and leaders.
Rodney Howard-Browne was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and grew up in the Eastern Cape and Transkei. His wife, Adonica, was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and grew up in Johannesburg. They met and married in October of 1981. Rodney started out in ministry in 1980, traveling with Youth for Christ, and now he and Adonica have travelled to 50 countries of the world! They head up Revival Ministries International, whose world headquarters are in Tampa, Florida. They pastor a church there and have two schools: a Bible School and a School of Worship.