SUGGESTIONS FOR REVIVAL
PREPARATION AND ENLISTMENT
My stated goals in coming to your church can be listed as follows:
1. Be a blessing to the pastor, his family, and the staff and their families.
2. Be a blessing to the church. If I meet my goal as stated above, I will be a blessing to the church, and thus meet this goal.
3. Be a blessing to the community. If I have met my goals above, I will be a blessing to the community, and meet this goal.
4. And, through all of this, help the church to carry out the great commission in their community and throughout the world.
In addition to any decisions we have during the time I am there, I pray that the church will have a harvest in the days, weeks, and months following the revival. I am coming to help your church in its ministry in your community. Therefore, I will do nothing for the sake of numbers to hurt your continual ministry after I am gone.
I am submitting these suggestions with this encouraging word: You know your church and community better than I. If you can use these suggestions, that is great. If not, don’t hesitate to place them in a convenient file known as “File Thirteen.”
Prayer: Prayer is the most important thing we can do to prepare for the revival. As someone has said, “We can do more than pray after we’ve prayed. But we can’t do more than pray until we’ve prayed.” Again, you know your church, community, and schedule. For some churches, cottage prayer meetings work well. For others, announcements within the Sunday School classes and prepared prayer lists work best. Still for another, having prayer for the revival during the worship services leading up to the revival is best. Which ever method you choose, join Wanda and me as we pray for the revival and let us make that be preparation number one.
Publicity: Publicity concerning the revival is important. I believe you can find everything you will need concerning me for any publicity efforts you want to do here in my web site. I believe your local paper will be glad to run an article if you get the information to them in plenty of time for them to work it into their schedule. Things such as flyers and other printed materials will be up to you and your knowledge of their effectiveness in your community.
Hospitality: Wanda by all probabilities will be coming with me. However, we consider her as my guest and not as the church’s. In other words, she comes because I want her to be with me. Therefore, any extra expenses involved with her coming are our responsibility and not the church’s. We have discovered that Baptist women will make you fat if you let them. Therefore, most of the time the motel or hotel will have a continental breakfast that meets our needs very well. In addition, we have found that one meal a day is all we need. The time of the meal is totally up to the church. It can be a noon meal, mid-afternoon meal, or a couple of hours before church, or after church. It makes no difference to us. We have no special food restrictions. The other meal we will do in our room.
Lodging: In 2010 (I haven’t checked other years), Wanda and I slept in another bed other than our own, five out of every eight nights. In other words we are on the road a great deal. It does not matter how wonderful the hosts are, we can never totally relax in another person’s home as well as we can in our own private facilities. Therefore, we ask for private facilities if at all possible (motel, unused parsonage, etc.). If we are within a reasonable distance (fifty miles or so), we will probably commute during the revival depending on the church’s schedule for us.
Ministries that we offer for the church’s consideration during the revival are as follows:
Youth: I like to meet with the teen-agers for a get acquainted time. I prefer doing this early in the revival, either during the Sunday School time, or on Sunday night after church. I like to play some old games with the youth, and then take a few moments to challenge them towards becoming involved in the revival.
Senior Adults: I love senior adults and if they have a program during the week, I would love to lead a conference with them entitled “Pathway to Wisdom.” It is humorously done and challenges the older adult to keep learning and keep growing.
Noon Day Services: If the church wishes to have noon day services, the motto for the week could be “Come when you can, leave when you must,” emphasizing that if they are late, or have to leave early, it will be no problem.
Children: Wanda is a ventriloquist and is available to do a brief skit with “Wally” each evening or during any special times with the children (Sunday School, Children Church, local schools, etc.).
Sunday School, Church Training: I am available to lead conferences during the Sunday School, or Church Training hours.
Outside speaking opportunities: If the local association has a pastor’s conference scheduled during the week of our revival, it might be good to invite them to meet at the church and, if possible, schedule me as the speaker. See if there are any civic clubs that have a meeting during the week, and investigate the possibility of my being their program.
Any other ministries that the pastor feels need to be By done: During the time that we are with the church, I feel that we are staff members of the church, under the direction of the pastor. Thus, he is my boss for the duration of the revival and any other ministries that he feels we can accomplish while we are there, we are willing to do (visitation, nursing home ministries, etc.).
The above are just a few suggestions of what we can do while we are with you. You know what would work best for your church and community and if you can use us in any of these, that would be great, if not, please don’t feel obligated to try to work them in. They are for your consideration.
How to get people there: Revivals are no longer a community social event as they have been in generations past. Therefore, we must work to get people in attendance. There are five ways to get people to revivals:
1. A great event: “I break telephones poles in two with my teeth; come and see me break telephone poles.”
2. A great testimony: “I am Elvis’ brother; come and hear my testimony.”
3. A great personality: “Roy Rogers will be here; come and see Roy do rope tricks.”
4. A great give away: “We are going to give away a new car; come and maybe you will be the blessed one to get it.”
5. Get the people involved: Since I don’t fall into either of the top four (and there is nothing wrong with using these), I must rely on this one. Therefore, the following is for your consideration:
Pack-the-Pew: Of all the methods for getting people involved in inviting others to come to a revival, I have found nothing that beats the time-proven “Pack-the-Pew” emphasis. There is one major short coming with this, however, and I believe we can overcome that one negative thing.
Most people have a particular area where they like to sit during the services. In the “Pack-the-Pew” program, they agree to sit on someone’s pew, but if it is not where they feel they get the most from the services, we will let them move where they like. So, my idea is this:
Assign the pews to the various persons with the understanding that their guests will be required to sit there only for the first song. Then, we will acknowledge the pew captains and their guests. After which we will have “fruit basket turnover” as we move about the auditorium shaking hands and greeting one another at “Welcome Time.” As people take their seats, they can go to any place in the auditorium that they prefer, taking their regular seats.
If “Pack-the-Pew” is used, don’t neglect the children. Children can get people to come and sit in their pews when no one else can.
Whether we want to do something special for the pew captain with the most in his/her pew each night, or not, is your decision and I will leave that up to you, but some type of special recognition should be given.
I mention this only because many churches do ask. You will worry more about the love offering/honorarium than I will. Whatever method your church uses is totally acceptable by me. I do make only two suggestions: one, be honest, and, two, be focused. One, if your church has a definite amount in the church budget and then take an offering, be honest in taking it. Do not say, “We are taking an offering for Bro. Ernie and the revival team unless that offering is in addition to that which will be given from the budget. If it is used to cover the expenses of the revival, just say so. There is nothing wrong with the people having an opportunity to give to the expenses of the revival, which will include our honorarium. But, it is wrong to make people think that they are giving to the revival team when in reality they are giving to the church’s budget. Two, during the week, do not mention any other offerings. For example, if the revival is during the time of the Lottie Moon Focus, please do not mention that offering during the revival. Focus on one offering at a time.
One last word, never feel that you must apologize to me for the amount of the offering. It will anyways be just what we need.