FIRST-PERSON: More baptisms, humility among 10 reasons to hold revivals

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (BP)--Permit me to state 10 reasons why a church should have revival meetings and use evangelists:

1. It does every church some good once in a while to set aside a few nights for people to come together to seek the Lord for spiritual refreshing and for the souls of the lost.

2. It is good for the congregation to hear a different voice every so often. The evangelist complements what the pastor preaches and confirms it in the ears of the listeners. The laypeople say, "He is preaching the same thing our pastor does; there must be something to it." It gives the evangelist an opportunity to use his God-given gifts to help edify God's churches.

3. It also does the pastor good to occasionally get a break from preaching and the preparation that goes with it. The pastor also is encouraged and challenged by the messages from the evangelist. The fellowship and sharing between the pastor and evangelist is helpful to the pastor. The evangelist can serve as a sounding board for the pastor. He is a truly interested outsider that the pastor can talk to about many things.

4. Churches that have revival meetings baptize more people than churches that do not have revival meetings. If you think a church is doing well without revival meetings, it would do even better with them.

5. People will come to revival meetings. Some say folks won't attend revivals anymore. Use an evangelist and you'll be surprised at how many will come out.

6. By abandoning revivals we are catering to the laziness and mixed up priorities of those church members who don't want to come. If they have time for cable TV, the Internet and the newspaper, they have time to come to church for a few nights. They need to know we don't buy their excuses and that we refuse to accommodate them.

7. Revival meetings are another hook in the water. Trotline fishing is the most productive way to fish for souls. Churches need to be putting more hooks in the water, not fewer. Revivals are not the only method to win the lost and invigorate the saved, but they are still a highly effective, method.

8. Revival meetings are biblical. The people of God periodically had multi-day meetings to seek the Lord afresh.

9. Every Christian and every church needs a check-up occasionally. It is easy to get off course or to develop blind spots and need a correction. The revival meeting has historically been used of God to help get both Christians and churches back on course and back to being about the main things God has put us here to do.

10. Revival meetings provide opportunities for an altar call. A trip to the altar when the Holy Spirit leads does a person good. Kneeling before the Lord helps keep one humble; we are too proud as it is. If the altar call is removed, what method is left for people to humble themselves before the Lord in a public way? Humbling oneself before the Lord in a public way has a strong biblical precedent. We dare not throw out what God considers important. In our attempts to not offend people, we have wound up offending God. He desires us to follow his commands and examples, not our opinions. God's Word, not contemporary culture, is to be our guide.

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Glisson, of Memphis, Tenn., has been a Southern Baptist evangelist since 1971. He is a member of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists and was president of the Fellowship of Tennessee Baptist Evangelists in 1988 and 1997.

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