Big spiritual revival could follow pandemic

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could result in America’s next spiritual revival, says a megachurch pastor.

Despite the lockdowns aimed at preventing the often deadly virus’s spread, “the doors for the church have never been more open”, Pastor Greg Laurie says.

His first online service when the lockdown started was watched by 250,000 people.

Since then, attendance has continued to grow, Laurie says.

Millennials’ participation in Laurie’s online services has been particularly noticeable, with a 235 per cent increase in attendance since the first Sunday of the lockdown.

By last Sunday, over a million people watched Laurie’s online Sunday service.

“These are people literally from all around the world, from every age and background, who are missing church. So, to the best of our ability, we are bringing church to them,” he says.

The “most surprising thing” about the online congregation is those coming to faith, he says.

As an example, he says at the close of every sermon, he’s been offering an opportunity for people to pray and ask Jesus to come into their lives.

Over 31,000 people have responded to that invitation since the lockdown started.

“For decades, the church has been trying, seemingly in vain, to reach America’s youngest generations—millennials and Generation Z—with the Gospel.

“All the while, we’ve seen headline after headline and poll after poll reminding us that church attendance has been falling, and rapidly.

“Enter a global pandemic. Could it be that simply by responding as best and as quickly as we could to something no one saw coming, we’ve unwittingly stumbled into part of God’s answer to a generational riddle?”

While a virtual church could never replace physical church, Laurie says God might be using online technology to reach millions of young people in a way that they are “very comfortable with”.

“Maybe it’s a new piece to an ever-evolving puzzle: how to say something old to a new audience.

“Just as Paul wrote letters, as Gutenberg used the printing press and as Billy Graham used film and television, the church is called to engage the un-churched and under-churched, using whatever useful tools we have at our disposal.

“Don’t misunderstand me. Nothing takes the place of the local church and gathering and worshipping in person.

I am also alarmed by some of the overreach on the part of some government authorities who are not letting Christians gather even for a drive-in service on Easter morning.”

Laurie says although he’s looking forward to preaching to congregations in church buildings when they reopen, “we are seeing something take place that look an awful lot to me like a spiritual awakening.”

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News category: World.

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