During a meeting of several Free Methodist pastors in the United Kingdom, John Townley brought a prophetic word: “Open up old wells. Do not delay; time is short. I will help you, and I will uphold you.”
“Open up old wells” infers that the wells are presently closed. “Do not delay; time is short” infers the time is now.
“I will help you, and I will uphold you.” God will support us, and He has the strategy. Isaac dug again the wells of his father Abraham (Genesis 26:12–22). Faith and truth remain the same regardless of time and circumstance.
The benefits of a new well should be obvious to all, yet there are many who do not wish to drink from wells established by anointed people. As Isaac reopened his father’s old wells and fresh living water again started to flow, quarrels erupted, and strife and conflict were stirred up. Isaac tried twice to maintain the opening process, yet the conflict and lack of understanding necessitated a new strategy. So he moved away to Rehoboth (which means “room”) and found that the well there was appreciated, and there was room to be fruitful in the land.
God’s Holy Spirit can move in different styles within Free Methodism as long as we are all drinking the same living water from the wells of holiness, righteousness and sanctification. For Free Methodists to be fruitful in the land, we need a Rehoboth. We need to rediscover the living water that flowed in the times of the founders of Methodism and Free Methodism.
B.T. Roberts, under the power of the Holy Spirit, saw revival on the scale of 50–100 being saved every night for 8–10 weeks under his preaching. John Wesley used to ask two questions of potential preachers to test their calling:
1. Had anyone been saved under their preaching? If the answer was no, Wesley concluded that they were not called to preach.
2. What responses were evident at the meetings they held? Wesley expected not only hearers to experience conviction of sin and the converted to be filled with the Spirit, but demons to be cast out and the sick to be healed.
According to Billy Graham, we should be expecting two things to be evident when revival comes:
1. a new sense of holiness of God
2. a new sense of the sinfulness of sin.
Another closely related indication of revival would be a new working of the Holy Spirit.
I believe the following wells needed to be opened:
Worship is both a lifestyle and a living praise unto the Lord. Worship means to “bow and kiss.” Every revival has Holy Spirit music. Where there is liberty in the Word, there is a spontaneous outbreak of worship.
The need is to preach a powerful message. Preach the Word with passion and fire. People need to be brought to a point of challenge, decision and destiny.
The Wesley walk is a righteous, holy, Word-keeping, daily lifestyle. This is only achieved by the active daily relationship with the Almighty. True holiness cannot be achieved without the power of the Holy Spirit.
The call by Christ is to be a witness when the Holy Spirit comes upon us (Acts 1:8). People who are witnesses draw others by their life-changing experiences.
Matthew 25 teaches us that we should be a reforming society serving the needs of the disadvantaged, feeding the poor and visiting the sick. Our churches should be recognized by our communities’ city halls not only for powerful preaching but for the fruit of that preaching – that we live out our faith and practice what we preach.
We are the only faith that has a God who heals. Part of the promise of the filling of the Holy Spirit was that we would see signs and wonders.
We need a movement of radical prayer; confronting the powers of this dark age with fervent prayer that avails much — the type of prayer that changes people, churches and communities.
Will our values change? No. Will our ethos? Not necessarily. Will our methods and structures change? They will have to! New wine demands new wine skins — Jesus said so (Matthew 9:17, Mark 2:22, Luke 5:37-39). We must be careful not to lose the wine because of disagreements concerning the skin. The skin must be flexible so that the growth of the wine is not inhibited. If the skin is not ready, the impact of the new wine/open wells/fresh water will bring split and ruin.
DAVID CARR is the senior pastor of Renewal Christian Centre in Solihull, England, and the overseer of the Free Methodist Church in Bulgaria. This article is condensed with Carr’s permission from an article (fmchr.ch/carrwwr) on the website of the Free Methodist Church – UK.
1. Do you expect to see revival in the modern church?
2. How would new revival differ from the revivals experienced by past church leaders such as John Wesley and B.T. Roberts?