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What Is Revivial? Is It Happening In Australia?

Mal Fletcher
Added 29 June 2000
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This is a transcript of a brief interview with Mal Fletcher conducted by Paul Gallagher for Charisma Magazine.

Q: I'm asked by Charisma to detail the level of revival in Australia. Now, I think we could already be seeing it-or at least on the cusp of it-but such moves of God are just not like you'd define as 'revival' in the historical sense. Would you agree Australia is doing church its own way, and therefore seeing revival in a completely local context? Explain...

A: The Australian church, over the past 20 years, has seen some dramatic church growth. It has also witnessed outbreaks of what has historically been called 'revival'.

However, the most exciting development in Australia at present is that the church is beginning to focus, as I believe it should, more on influence in society than simply on revival in the narrow 'phenomenal' sense of the word.

That is not to say that Australia has not benefitted greatly from specific manifestations of the Holy Spirit in different parts of the world. We thank God for those.

The focus of church leadership is, however, more on reforming the world through long-term strategies for evangelism, church planting and equipping people for influence, than on short-term revival thinking. In the end, God will not do for me what he has called and equipped me to do for him - to impact the nations.

Church leaders are seeing that revival is an awakening of the church more than an awakening in the world. The church is awakened to influence.

Q: Where are you seeing revival in Australia? Can you quantify it? Why is it happening?

A: Based as I now am in Europe, I am able to see my homeland through new eyes. One of the biggest areas where Australia has seen great results in church growth is in youth ministry.

We were involved throughout the 80s and early 90s in the pioneering of a movement known as Youth Alive which is firmly based in the local church, and today brings together up to 10,000 young people several times a year in every major capital city. This movement continues to grow rapidly under what is now a third generation of national leadership, and its voice is being heard in schools, universities and even political centres.

It is especially exciting to witness a growing participation by the so-called Generation X in leadership of movements like this one. Australia is very progressive in releasing younger generations to real positions of leadership.

Q: Where is the church headed?

A: Charles Finney, the so-called 'father of modern revival' made the statement that, 'the church of Jesus Christ was first instituted to be a body of reformers.'

Across Australia, the pentecostal and charismatic church has generally grasped hold of that concept. In the coming years, I believe we will see an even greater focus on targetting spheres of influence in the society: for example, the arts, the media, the internet, education and so on.

This is exactly what happened when Paul first penetrated into western culture in Acts 16 and 17. His first converts were business people, civil servants, educators and philosophers.

We will see church leaders who are increasingly committed to building great churches, not as an end in itself, but in order to spread the Kingdom - the rule of Christ in men's hearts and institutions.

Q: How does the formation of *Australian Christian Churches (ACC) represent revival-or at least the foundations for it-in Australia?[*ED: ACC is a national umbrella network for pentecostal and other charismatic church denominations]

A: Revival is and never has been an end in itself - it is merely a means to an end. Revival is God's wake up call to the church. What we do after revival is what really counts!

The ACC represents a powerful expression of the fact that real national influence can only occur when the Body of Christ begins to act and speak as one, especially on major social needs and issues. Without alliances and partnerships like this, the church would become more marginalized and less relevant to a society where change is occurring so fast that people hardly have pause to think about where it is leading us.

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