The dictionary definition of revival suggests “an improvement in the strength or condition of something.” Synonyms include words like “resurgence, rallying, upturn,” and more. Revivalism has a long and beautiful history in the church, generally viewed as an “increased spiritual interest or renewal in the life of a church congregation or society, with a local, national or global effect.” The Mission Arlington® family of congregations also has a long history of encouraging spiritual renewal through revival services historically held in June, but now spread across the summer.
A Tent in the Center of Town
Through much of our history, these services were called “tent revivals,” because the bulk of those services were held outside and under a tent. A large, carnival-like red & white tent had been donated along the way, and that tent was moved around the city for multiple day services each June. Putting up the tent included sledge hammers and large metal stakes, plus a large set of stackpoles upon which the tent rested, including one huge one which held up the center. Taking down the tent, folding it in just the right way, and getting it back onto the truck in one piece was also a part of the fun. Everyone was allowed the privilege of tent duty. As the years passed, and as some staff teams grew a little older, this rite of passage was passed along to the younger generations. We knew revival season was underway each June when we began our collective Sunday afternoon worship with Sara Groves’ classic appropriately titled “Tent in the Center of Town.”
Growth and Change
For various reasons, most (but not all) of our revival services are held indoors these days. For many years, our revival services were centralized into sections of town – North, South, East, West, etc. As the number of Bible studies and congregations grew, however, and as each individual Bible study reached more people, we moved away from the more centralized geographic approach. Revival services are still held in various geographic locations across the city, so that multiple congregations can attend in one location. However, many of our congregations are hosting their own services now. These tend to be more localized, smaller, and inside, but they also make the service more accessible to those living
near the event itself. This year, from late May through mid-July, our congregations will sponsor and support 18 different sets of revival services. Generally each event lasts two to three days. We provide food and a place to gather people, then a special worship service and separate age appropriate experiences designed for the children.
Prayer for Renewal
With each revival service this year, as with every year, we are seeing positive responses. Some find Christ for the very first time, and begin a new faith journey with him. Others respond to the messages by renewing their commitment to Christ, a spiritual homecoming of sorts. For many believers who attend, it becomes a time of refreshment, encouragement, and renewal in their already strong walk with the Lord. We are a little more than half-way through a beautiful revival season.
Would you pray with us as these services continue? Should you want to join a service, check out our schedule, so that you can find one near you. Or, just give us a call at 817-277-6620, and we’ll get you connected. We are so honored to serve our community alongside each of you. Thank you so much for your prayers, your time, and your gifts. You encourage and bless us every day, all along the way. Thank you!