To some, the idea of “Bible Teaching” may almost seem absolutely contrary to how we define revival. To imagine this is to have an incorrect perception of revival. Revival is thought to be energetic, exciting and an outpouring of adrenaline – and it is.
Perhaps the imagining of teaching to be dry, dusty and insignificant in the equation of Revival in a Plain Brown Wrapper is part of the challenge. No assessment could be more inaccurate. Great churches, strong churches, and revival churches through all of history have all had a strong element of capable, relevant and intentionally focused Bible teaching.
The few paragraphs in this chapter can do no more than validate a concept and perhaps point the way to other resources. As a general rule, Pentecostals enjoy exciting church. There is nothing wrong with that unless it is over-done. Please don’t misunderstand my intent. I do not like nor am I advocating boring, uninteresting church. Stay with me!
Why Teaching will affect Your Revival?
Focused teaching gives people the Bible knowledge and wisdom of God found in the scriptures to correctly order their life. As a young pastor, I tended to preach a call to action without having taught the Biblical principles I wanted the people to respond to. Because I had not taught the Biblical principles, I also had not shown them “how” to actually do the specific behavior. If you are a pastor, or lead a significant ministry in a church, think back over your past three months of church. Have there been occasions when you asked for action without preparing the people to take the action? Our calls (or demands) for action seem so simple:
- Win the lost.
- Every saint should have a ministry.
- Pray effectually and fervently each day.
- Train your children in the way they should go.
- Bring your tithes into the storehouse.
We assume people “get” these simple statements and that no instruction is needed. We not only imagine our audience “get it,” we assume they can then “do it.” Well . . . they don’t get it, nor can they do it based on those simple statements. Actually, they won’t “get it” and in most instances won’t “do it” unless you slow down and teach them how.
It sounds odd to talk of teaching as an essential part of Revival in a Plain Brown Wrapper. Yet, think of Jesus’ teaching regarding prayer, fasting, evangelism and lifestyle. Jesus’ teaching was one of the things that prepared the way for Pentecost and the book of Acts revival. We connect revival to exuberance, celebration, power evangelism, and ingathering; while in reality revival is founded on renewal, repentance, prayer meetings, and fasting – in essence commitment. People are brought to a high level of commitment through the teaching they absorb. Teaching obtains, retains, and sustains saints.
When I was being brought up in a rural church in central Louisiana, that church’s strength continued as a result of the teaching and pastoral ministry of the late A.L. Clanton. His teaching had developed people with such solidness and stability that decades later the church retained much of the strength A.L. Clanton had led them into. He left that church to spend the rest of his life as the Editor-in-Chief for all aspects of Pentecostal publishing in the United Pentecostal Church. The lasting impact of effective teaching cannot be overstated.
The examples of the significance of teaching are many. The New Testament has far more references to teaching than to preaching. Jesus was a master teacher. His disciples did not ask him to preach about prayer, but to “teach us to pray.” Paul’s communication of the Gospel can be called “evangelistic teaching.”
Get close to the committed people of any thriving church and you will discover a church where the pastor unabashedly takes time to teach the Word of God and/or has developed a system where in small groups or other settings, people are effectively being taught the Word of God.
Now let’s talk . . .
- I’m interested in the Bible studies and Bible study teachers you remember? Why was it memorable? How did you apply what you were taught?
- Does anybody recall Henry Ivie? He was an itinerant teacher. His typed notes are in the archives of the Louisiana district. I’d love to have them scanned and in my computer! We have few such teachers these days. Arlo Mohlenpah comes to mind. Is there room or need for such a ministry.
- I’m also interested in your best doctrinal Bible studies. As God sends revival and revelation to the unique setting I’m in, such information will be needed and used. You can post any of this as a comment, or better yet email them to me @ firstname.lastname@example.org
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