Look how far we have come!!!
It might seem a strange reflection, but as I left Dural at the end of 2 very encouraging days at Revive16, that was my gut reaction. As always, it was great to gather & worship together, and as a movement to centre our hearts afresh on God and His call on our lives. Love that about Revive!
For as long as I can remember, the goal of Revive has been to be a GATHERING OF THE FAMILY, taking the time to CENTER OUR HEARTS on God and his Word, and to CELEBRATE HIS LIFE & WORK in UNITY across our DIVERSE MOVEMENT. If this year’s Revive was any indication, we’re travelling well towards that goal.
With a rich diversity and reflecting something of the breadth of our movement, this year’s home grown speakers were as challenging as they were stimulating and encouraging. With God’s heart for Justice and Righteousness front and centre, the main-stage messages and various workshops resonated with the call for us to “live like Jesus”. Each one gave clear & practical gospel imperatives for us to wrestle with and apply in our lives and ministry contexts.
From Steve Frost’s opening reflections on God’s Kingdom from Matt 13, to Ross Clifford’s exhortation from Acts 17 that we might be truly “distressed” for the spiritual need all around us, God was powerfully confronting us! As Ross challenged, it is imperative for our health and future that we learn to weep again for our nation and our world. Karina brought into focus our mission as Jesus disciples into our neighbourhoods, while Scott Higgins, left us no “wriggle room” in hearing & responding afresh to Jesus’ heart for justice and mercy to our broken world. The Youth Night was a huge blessing and as always young people responded to the invitation to live wildly and boldly for Jesus, and not let the world conform us into its patterns and values. Revive16 finished with another powerful word from Steve Frost again from Matt 13, drawing together the huge potential realised when we are truly Living Like Jesus, under the catalysing work of the Spirit.
While it has always been present, this year it was great to experience the strong sense of connectedness and kindred spirit that was so evident over the weekend. What a blessing to see our denominational leaders, agencies and their various teams, actively working together for the sake of the kingdom and the life of our movement. Revive was very much a gathering of the Family and these times are rare and precious. That heightened community spirit was nowhere better expressed than down in the lounge & exhibition space as our denominational family enjoyed “hanging out together” and cheering one another along in celebration of our partnership together in the gospel, locally and globally. I love watching Baptist Family actively come together in common heart and purpose to advance the Kingdom. Sure, there’s still more to do as we grow and unite together, and again I say, look how far we have come!
This year saw the addition of several live stream Revive sites for some of our Regional centres, and this was a great initiative for both mainstage and Youth night rallies. We’ll be seeking to expand this opportunity to some other key regional centres for next year, but are committed to maintaining that sense of gathered community which is a core value for Revive.
As we press into the GEN1K future vision of our movement, we are planning for a great Revive17 with its theme of “SEE: local and global”. Jesus’ words in John 4:35 ring out… “Wake up and look around, the fields are ripe for harvest!” Plan now to join us next May (19-20) at Dural, and link arms with others sharing in this exciting future vision for our movement.