Pastoral Perspectives

Children – Key to lasting Revival

   Recently, I visited a missionary family in Wales, Swansea and was brought on a tour to the Moriah Chapel, the birthplace of the 1904 Welsh Revival. I struggled trying to rationalize with my finite mind as to what happened 100 years later after God visited the Welsh community. Back then the whole nation was aflame for God. In just 2 to 3 generations later, most of what is left of the revival is Church buildings filled with just a handful of believers, remnants of the revival.  As I was shown what happened to some of the church buildings, bought over by restaurants and centre of other faith, tears just stream down our eyes. Where are the Christians once alive, zealous and active?

            We must never forget how easy it is to lose it all – in the space of just one generation, which is exactly what happened to Wales. Wales missed her “next window of Revival”, and it was all over. It is very hard to recover after that, because the generation that “remembers the Revival” passes on, and the momentum is lost. Why did the 1904 revival come so quickly to an end? In my years of involvement in children ministry, I believe Christians were only focusing on what happened in their own lifetime and did not train and teach the next generation how to be men and women after God’s heart after they were gone.

            Today, there are many godly churches and Christian parents who are making the very same mistake. The focus is to just get their own children saved and then they view their job as over. Many churches are focusing on church growth and getting people to make a decision for Christ, but many in the next generation are not serving the Lord. In my struggle to seek an answer, I found an article in the website confirming and resounding my concerns. The author assumes that each descendant has five children. In each Christian family only two of the children end up being non-Christians and three continue the spiritual “revival”and that all non-Christians do not become Christians and none of their descendants become Christians. Many Christians today live with a shortsighted focus assuming that Christ will return in our lifetime. Many churches would view a 60% success rate with their young people as a good success rate. However, if Jesus does not return for another 200 years the following is what the statistics would look like:

1st GenerationMy Wife and I 
2nd Generation32
3rd Generation916
4th Generation2798
5th Generation81544
6th Generation2432882
7th Generation72914,896
8th Generation2,18775,938
Total Descendants3,27994,376
 3% Christian97% Non-Christian

For him, the cost of 97% of his descendants going to hell is much greater than he is willing to pay. It would sadden his heart to lose two of his precious children in hell, but it is even worse to consider that 94,376 or 97% of his descendants would spend eternity in hell. A 60% success rate actually results in a 97% failure rate!

            What insight! The true cost of losing less than half of the children in each generation into a lake of fire applies not only to the family but also to the church. The actual cost in the lives of those in future generations is too great. Brothers and sisters, keeping most of the children in our family or in our church in Christ’s kingdom is not enough. We need to aim for a 100% success rate. We need to keep all the children in Christ’s Kingdom and lose none of them to Satan’s kingdom. We need to focus on bringing all new believers to maturity in Christ and help them so that all their descendants become men and women after God’s heart.

            Children are the key for lasting revival. Do not let our failures as parents, grandparents or as pastors stifle us from moving on. The Bible in Malachi 4:6 reminds us: He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”Many fathers feel inadequate in knowing how to turn the hearts of their children to them. They need tools to enable them to do so, and to know how to train their children in the ways of the Lord. Today, there are many resources available to help fathers learn how to leave a legacy of faith. A father’s heart being turned to his children means that he has a deep heart desire to see each child grow up to be a man or a woman after Jesus’ heart. He will make personal and financial sacrifices to make sure that each child and grandchild will remain faithful to following what Jesus has told us to do, the rest of their life.

            Matthew 18:6 & 7 warns the seriousness of offending a child and causing them to stray from Christ is very great in God’s sight. The church can help turn the hearts of the fathers to their children by putting a higher value on the souls of children. We need to go after a “lost” young person and bring them back to Christ. Children must not be separated from the rest of the church service because they are young. Children have a much greater capacity for spiritual understanding than what many adults realize.

            One of the most important lessons we need to learn from the 1904 Revival is that good as we are at arranging new strategies and structures for our churches, we cannot arrange a revival. We can and should be prepared for it. Only God know how many more days we have on this earth and may our prayers be like the Psalmist in Psalms 71:18 Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.”

Pastor Cheng Huat

October 2, 2011