We talk a lot about the concept of revival. It sounds wonderful. Often, churches petition the Lord and pray for Him to give them revival. But what does that actually look like? What is a Christian revival?
As Christians, it is exciting for us to hear that revival broke out in the Cape York Peninsula this year! In the town of Aurukun, there were scenes of reconciliation and a dramatic fall in violence. It started when 1000 people out of the town’s 1300 strong population crowded into the local Uniting Church.
The people were earnestly and intensely seeking after God. Craig Mischewski is the minister at St. Luke’s Uniting and Anglican Church in Weipa, and visits the town of Aurukun regularly. He joined this 20Twenty conversation to share his experience of being in the midst of revival, and what it looks like in practice.
Revival meets people at their base needs, and for Aurukun what was needed was a lot of reconciliation. The situation was complex among the town’s seven clan groups, and there were some long-held tensions. There was a lot of peace-making required between those different clan groups.
The community still holds to a largely indigenous and traditional culture. Understanding how that culture works really comes into contrast with what happens when there is a Christian revival. People resolve their differences and tensions in different ways when there’s an encounter with God.
“A really good example of that was after a murder that occurred last year,” says Craig. “Under the old traditional law, there would have been payback. But the two families involved reconciled instead, which was a completely unique thing. There were scenes of joy and hope for the people. That is what revival looked like in Aurukun.”
Revival broke out
At the beginning of last year there were 70 baptisms. From there it just kept growing, and more and more people started attending church. It was slow at first, but then the flood gates opened. The church is not big, but there were suddenly over 1000 people coming in every Sunday. There were fellowship meetings very night of the week. It was a spontaneous response to the move of God.
A lot of these remote communities are very Christianized, whether or not the individuals themselves take the focus seriously. They knew the Christian story. That’s what is really important. Because they knew the story, it wasn’t a big step for them to then go into this personal, loving relationship with Jesus Christ. The basis for it really was the continual telling of the story.
Prayer but no set formula
“We’ve got to remember there was a hundred years of prayer and faithful dedication to God before this,” says Craig. “A group of elders in that church prayed continuously to have fellowship and witnessed their faith consistently for a very long time. There was a history there.”
“But there’s no set formula to it (revival),” continues Craig. “It’s really hard to put your finger on any single event. It’s a combination of things, but certainly there was a lot of tension in the community. It was primarily the younger people who were involved in the violence, and the older people were very much sickened by the whole thing. It’s a situation where you’ve got nowhere to look but up.”
Peace that surpasses understanding
But revival brought a sense of joy and hope to the community. People were dancing in the streets and praising God. They were full of the joy of the Lord, and the tension slowly dropped away. People were enjoying the fact that they didn’t have to constantly look over their shoulder.
“We read in the scriptures about the peace that surpasses understanding”, says Craig. “That’s what the people of Aurukun were experiencing.”
“We’ve gone through the euphoria of revival. Now it’s about making disciples. We need to continue teaching people the word of God and equipping them for them ministry. That’s the next step.”
Reflect & Respond
- Have you witnessed revival in your community or in your personal walk with Jesus? What was similar in the situations and what was different that caused the revival? What were the aftereffects of the revival?
- Would you like to see a revival? Will you petition God for one? How can you draw near to God to experience a personal revival?
To listen to the rest of this Vision Media podcast on revival in Aurukun below.