In my short life as a Christian I have been a part of White Non-Denominational Independent Churches. In addition, I have been a part of Baptist Full Gospel Black Churches, White Baptist Churches, White Assemblies of God Churches, Multi-Cultural Assemblies of God Churches, Mostly Hispanic Pentecostal Churches and Multi-Cultural Churches in general. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but all of them have something in common, after a while, they continued doing the same thing Sunday after Sunday.
I asked the Lord about the purpose for the Sunday gatherings and the Lord did answer that question for me. I was a former Kickboxer, so I suppose that was the reason why the Lord spoke to me in those terms as He answered to me that the church was like Spiritual Gym. That did it for me, as I clearly understood. As a fighter, we cannot survive in the ring without training in the gym. However, as time went by, I also understood that the training must prepare us for the kind of sport we are involved with. Baseball players train differently compared to football players; basketball players different than boxers, runners, etc. So the question for me was: Am I receiving the proper training? The Apostle Paul actually speaks about “fighting the good fight and about finishing the race.” Paul made reference to two sports to help us understand the spiritual principle behind it; fighting and running!
I believe that The Azusa Street Revival, through its leader Bishop William J. Seymour, gives us the most recent example of what can happen when we let God have His Way. The Azusa Street Revival lasted three and a half years; great miracles took place there as whole arms and legs grew out of people; the smoke of the glory of God was literally visible to the point that the Fire Department was called. As firefighters walked into the building they quickly discovered that the only fire there was indeed the Fire of God. Now, I have heard about other revivals; yet, what make this one so special?
- The Azusa Revival was conceived out of the heart of a man that was at the end of the road as a minister. After graduating from seminary he was hired and fired from a church for his views on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Unemployed and with no place to go, this man started using that extra time to pray and read the Word. Soon, others joined in and it grew so much that they needed to move to a larger building.
- A black man led the Azusa Revival. Bishop William J. Seymour was a black man and the son of slaves. The revival started in 1906 during a time where blacks did not have the freedom they have now.
- The Azusa Street Revival was multicultural; it brought Whites, Blacks, Hispanic and many other nationalities together. These people expressed love for one another; they were truly a family that fellowshipped together.
- When they finally moved to a building, it was not the nicest building; as a matter fact, it was an ugly building at 312 Azusa Street, contrary to the emphasis on building structures we see today.
- There was not a lot of emphasis on the name of the ministry. Even as the ministry was called Apostolic Faith, to this day, the revival is known for the name of the street where the revival meetings were held.
- Even as brother Seymour was the obvious leader, the services were not known for the one-man show we see today. People had the freedom to speak, testify, etc. It seemed out of control, but brother Seymour knew how to confront, in a loving manner, those that wanted to do things in the flesh. Many said of Bishop Seymour “he was the most humble man they ever saw.”
- “They had meetings three times a day; seven days a week for three and a half years and the services never looked the same.” God, the Creator, was allowed to move freely. Not the common Sunday Service Routines we see today!
- There was no advertisement, but people came. Tithes and offerings were not collected, but people gave.
- Brother Seymour acted like the facilitator and learned more than many of us are wiling to admit today, to flow with the Holy Spirit and stay out of the way of the Divine.
- Bishop Seymour stayed in prayer during the services; he would place his head inside two shoeboxes and pray. He acted as if he did not know what to do and he really did not, but he knew where to go for guidance.
- There were no handouts of sermon outlines; nobody knew what God was going to speak or through whom the message was going to come. Nevertheless, they knew God was going to speak.
- Lives were radically transformed.
There is so much more I can say about this revival; so much that excites me. It’s as if what I always dreamed about concerning what the church should look like is found in this revival.
To know more about this revival please check the following resources:
To be Continued…