As stated in a previous blog, one of the concerns pastors have in scheduling a revival is whether or not people will come. My advice then was to trust God and schedule one anyway. That being said, this is a legitimate concern for many churches. The church today is in competition with almost everything. Like it or not, the church is no longer the center of the community. Regardless of the time of year, there will be something that will prevent some from coming. And, let’s face the facts, far too many put the church and its activities on the back burner. All the more, this should confirm the need for revival and should not allow this to keep us from scheduling a revival.
If attendance and participation is a concern for you and your church, then start thinking outside the box. Many years ago, most revivals went on for weeks. Apart from a move of God, those days are gone. When I first started preaching revivals, it was common to schedule a revival from Sunday through Friday. Even those are a rarity today. Most revivals today are scheduled from Sunday through Wednesday.
Though I will discuss other schedules for revival meetings to be considered, don’t discount the Sunday through Wednesday schedule. One of the great advantages of having a Sunday through Wednesday revival is that they seem to produce the most momentum. Each day of the revival, the pastor and evangelist encourage church members to invite others to come, and when the members see God moving, they generally do. Because of this, I have often seen the greatest number of decisions made on Wednesday evenings. Wednesday evening is also the night the majority of youth come and is a very effective time for reaching them. The youth are also the most likely to invite others to come, especially when they are encouraged to do so.
But know, the Sunday through Wednesday schedule isn’t your only option. Over the years, I have preached many revivals that were scheduled for Friday through Sunday. These seem to be very effective in bringing in lost and unchurched people. Some of my greatest revivals, with the most attendance, and the most decisions, have been Friday through Sunday revivals. This schedule seems to be the most effective among younger families that are usually tied up with daily activities throughout the week. They will often struggle to get home from work, get the kids fed and ready, then rush off to church. This is often a great deterrent in their participation in a revival. So, strongly consider providing a meal on Friday evening and offer a nursery throughout the revival and you will likely see more younger families attend.
Another fun and effective way to draw people in is to have a weekend Harvest Festival. In a harvest festival, the church would plan a block party with plenty of activities for all ages on a Saturday. The block party will then end with an evangelistic service. The block party will also be used to invite folks to church the following day for another evangelistic service. This can be a very effective evangelistic strategy whether its schedule is limited to Saturday and Sunday, or amid a Friday through Saturday revival, or used as a kickoff for a Sunday through Wednesday revival. This strategy can be costly and will need many workers but has proven to be very effective. It can also be done with a cluster of churches working together.
Many churches today have Harvest Sundays. A harvest Sunday is basically a one-day revival where the members work hard at getting as many lost folks to their Sunday morning service as possible where the evangelist will preach the gospel and will often see many saved. The Sunday School and/or discipleship training hour can also be used as a time where the evangelist can teach witness training. This strategy has been used by many churches and has been proven to be effective in seeing many saved. Be warned, though. Because it is only one day don’t think of it as being a means of putting forth the least amount of effort. The same amount of effort, planning, and preparation as a weeklong revival should be put into a Harvest Sunday. If the church members don’t get on board and invite the lost, it won’t be a very effective strategy.
No doubt, there are many ways we can have and schedule a revival service in our churches so strongly consider having one. Think outside the box. Though no schedule will ever suit everyone, talk to your church members, and ask them what they think would work. Most importantly, pray and seek God for when and how you should have a revival. He may greatly surprise you. God’s way will be the only effective way.