Revive is a flagship event for our Baptist Churches and a great opportunity each year for our movement to celebrate all that God is doing in our midst. Last year’s Revive demonstrated something of how powerful such an event can be for us together.
Yet Revive is more than an event, so much more than just another Conference. In the words, of our Director of Ministries Ken Clendinning… ‘Revive is our annual event where we can recognise and affirm our wider Baptist movement throughout NSW, ACT and beyond of which we are all an integral part. It is an occasion where we can celebrate together what God is doing among us.’
A huge amount of time, energy and resource are invested each year to see Revive happen. If Revive were just another conference, we’d need to be asking the question… What’s the point? Who needs more conferences? There seems no end to the growth of the conference circuit both locally and globally, each one with a history and a particular reason for being, but for what purpose. For some it’s their focus on in-depth Bible teaching, for others it’s a focus on inspiration and worship, or mission & practical ministry skilling, still for others it’s a focus on some specific theological expression or application.
Sure… Revive could be just another Conference. So what makes it different? What makes it more?
Revive birthed as a grass roots movement of pastors who feared for the future of our Baptist Movement, which was seemingly in danger of becoming bogged down in bureaucracy, stalled missionally and insecure in its identity. You couldn’t equip, envision and empower a local church if you only met together for business and debate, nor could you if you were only meeting with essentially one demographic from a diverse whole… So why would we ever think that might work for our movement? It couldn’t and it didn’t! Words such as apathy, irrelevancy and despondency were being sounded out by an increasing number about our movement, especially by the under 40’s. This perception developed, in spite of the fact that there was no lack of missional heart, or students in college, or passion for the gospel amongst so many or even churches doing great ministry into local communities. It was into that challenging context and with a passion for our movement’s future, new initiatives such as Directions 2012, Core 5, and REVIVE were dreamed of, and birthed.
So first and foremost… Revive is OUR CONFERENCE as Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT.
We may not yet all embrace REVIVE as such, but in its short history, Revive already brings together the largest group of serving pastors and the largest attendances in our denominational calendar, by a long way! Over the years we have a good track record of attending everybody else’s events of one flavour or another, and yet deny ourselves the same privilege. At its heart REVIVE is an expression of the life, hope and vitality that faith in Jesus brings to our contemporary world through His Church. Coming together as one body, and standing in unity in the midst of our diversity, is an essential step for any movement that envisages a long term future in the so-called post-denominational era. So is engaging new generations with the vision and values, heritage and hopes, and amazing kingdom opportunities for our movement.
We need each other standing together arm in arm, men and women, young and old, shoulder to shoulder, unity in our diversity, to impact our local communities with the Gospel. More than that, we need Jesus at work in our midst! That’s when we truly become communities of Hope… sharing Jesus in practical, life-giving and holistic mission to our nation. From the outset Revive is committed to the engagement of the HEAD, HEART and HANDS nature of the good news so essential to healthy faith and life, and therefore for effective local church life, ministry and mission. Thus workshop sessions are wherever possible interactive and practical, as well as being topical and inspirational and at times intergenerational.
Revive is therefore Intentionally KINGDOM in FOCUS and HOLISTIC in PRACTICE. We are called to be communities of hope where God is honoured, Jesus is King and together we live actively as his Kingdom people, empowered by His Holy Spirit to proclaim & demonstrate the Good News. As followers of Jesus, we are to be more committed to the mission of the church than its maintenance, more focused on personal evangelism and discipleship, than we are on our personal comfort and preference. We are TO BE Kingdom Communities…Together, as His light in the darkness!
REVIVE exists for just that purpose… to inspire the Church in Building Kingdom Communities.
REVIVE is also an INVESTMENT in our future as a movement. It does this by sowing into the local church, affirming that we are autonomous yet interdependent, diverse yet in partnership together for the sake of the Gospel. We have lost much over the years as we have subtly allowed the world’s independent spirit to shape the way we see ourselves as churches. Without the sense of collective whole, our movement fragments and suffers from loss of identity. We lose any real sense of shared vision and calling, and become vulnerable to discouragement, disinterest and even division. BUT TOGETHER… there is greater strength, greater spiritual power and more powerful public witness. It’s time to invest in our movement collectively.
Each year Revive is a unique OPPORTUNITY to come together from across our churches, pastors and leaders, members and attendees, young and old. It’s also an opportunity for our Baptist Agencies to actively engage with the churches in fresh ways, and to champion our partnerships together. Revive is always an opportunity to simply hear, and celebrate stories of God at work in our sister churches across NSW & the ACT. Collective celebration has not always been our strength, or even a value, but it should be, and it can be through opportunities like Revive. Who can forget the impact of Parramatta’s Cardboard testimonies last year… profound, life-giving, and encouraging yet also very challenging. Again in Ken’s words… ‘It is very easy at times to feel isolated and alone, even as local churches, but I have found Revive to be a time of great inspiration and encouragement to meet with those who share a similar heart for proclaiming the Gospel. Although there is a variety of local expressions of ministry and mission we gather with those who share a common set of beliefs and core values to listen to each other and others who have to contribute into each of our ministry contexts.’
Each year Revive also provides an opportunity to hear and learn from an inspirational practitioner, a renowned pastor and leader, who speaks to the wider church from their own personal love for the church, and from a life invested in building kingdom community.
The real FRUIT of REVIVE will be seen in the weeks, months and years after, as we see our movement blossom, with a stronger sense of who we are in Christ, and what He’s called us to be and to do as local churches committed to Building Kingdom Communities! Revive will be measured by the mission heartedness & wholistic outreach of a growing number of local churches investing in their own ‘Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria & to the ends of the earth’ contexts! Revive’s long term fruitfulness will be demonstrated by the nurture and empowerment of a new generation of pastors, leaders and young people across our churches with an ache for renewal, and love for the local church and a passion to lead God’s people into His future!
REVIVE… so, so much more than a Conference!