The Burlington Revival
The Burlington Revival was the largest spontaneous move of God in America in the last twenty-five years (that we have seen or of which we have heard).
It began in a local church as an annual revival meeting scheduled to go for one week. That one week was not a spectacular success. The only notable fact about it was that some people were getting right with God and each other. That obedience to the Spirit of God and the humility that was required for it brought about, perhaps, the most important decision of the meeting: at the end of the week, the pastor said he felt God was not done working and that they should consider going another week. He could not have known that his church that had been running three hundred and fifty in attendance would be filled above capacity the first day of the second week of the meeting! As people heard about what God was doing, the attendance grew, and people started getting saved. A well-known drunk got saved. A business man got saved. Lives were being changed. God was being given the glory. The meeting was growing.
By the time we heard about it, the meeting was already finishing its fourth week! The attendance was often over nine hundred, and the church could not seat everyone. The pastor met with a group of other Independent Baptist pastors in the area to see about working together with them to expand the meeting to an area-wide meeting under a Gospel tent. As they recognized what God was doing, needed funds were immediately raised, a tent was secured, and land was made available! (This spirit of cooperation continued throughout the duration of the meeting and was itself nothing short of a miracle - especially among Independent Baptist pastors!)
The tent seating capacity was around 3,000, and the very first night under it, the attendance was well over 2,500! The weekend of the first week that we were there was scheduled to be a youth emphasis night. The attendance that night alone exceeded 5,000, with chairs set up well outside of the tent! Each night souls were being saved! Each person was dealt with by an alter worker and decision cards were filled out to be distributed to the churches for follow up!
Several notable observations that we took away from the meeting included:
1. The meeting began in answer to prayer and continued in fervent prayer!
Some of the men of the church had been meeting on a regular basis for well over ten years simply to pray for revival! When the meeting moved to the tent, there was a daily meeting of pastors and others each morning for prayer.
2. The meeting began and continued in obedience to and reliance upon the Holy Spirit!
Those that got right with God and each other during the first week could not have known how much effect their simple obedience to the Spirit's promptings would have. The pastor's sensitivity to and obedience to the Spirit's guidance to press on another week made all the difference! In the weeks following, as God was glorified for what He had done, He was relied upon for anything that would continue to be done, and this fostered an environment where the Spirit of God had free course to work and conviction was commonly said to be "heavy!"
3. God was given all the glory for what was taking place!
Everyone involved was careful to make it clear that only God could get the glory for what He was doing at the meeting. No one had planned for it to happen as it had, and no one could or would take the glory for it!
The Burlington Revival went for twelve weeks. In that time over twelve hundred people walked an aisle to receive Christ. Grandparents, teenagers, parents, children, church members, and at least one Muslim were dealt with by altar workers and filled out decision cards professing decisions for salvation by faith alone in Christ alone! Though the meeting ended, the revival lives on in the hearts of many that were there and has spread to many that were not! Testimonies of what God can still do are spreading across America and around the world!