4 powerful reasons why revival often starts with young people
Over the past month, we have watched as the fires of prayer and revival have swept across colleges and universities nationwide. Some of those, like Asbury, Lee, Samford, Cedarville, and Belmont are private Christian universities. LSU, Western Kentucky University, and Texas A&M are public institutions. This most recent outpouring is not selective.
Denominational affiliations, campus size, public, private … none of these descriptors seem to matter. As of today, media outlets report over 20 campuses that have experienced something very special taking place. Add that number to the list of middle schools, high schools, and churches experiencing similar outpourings of the Holy Spirit. Some describe what is happening as a prayer meeting or vigil. Others call it a revival or awakening. No matter what name is ascribed, one simply cannot deny that God is at work.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).
As a college professor at a Christian university, I have been touched by what has happened on our campus and across the nation. I have been inspired. I have been moved. And I have been personally changed. The past few weeks have caused me to wonder, “Why do so many revivals seem to start with young people?” Below are four reasons why I believe this often happens.
Young people are desperate. They are desperate to know their purpose in life. They are desperate for hope and a love that is real. They are desperate to know that their past does not define their future. They have tried everything, and they are longing for something that satisfies.
They are desperate for the power and presence of God.
“There is power in desperation. What would it take for you to be desperate for God?” — Jesus Revolution (2023)
2. A longing for change
We see the startling statistics. According to a study conducted by Lifeway Research (2019), 66% of young adults surveyed (ages 23-30) said they stopped attending church for at least one year between the ages of 18-22. Of those, 31% return and now attend, 39% attend infrequently, and 29% do not attend at all.
The past several weeks have been both exciting and heartbreaking. I have been excited to watch thousands upon thousands of young people across the nation worshipping God, falling on their knees in prayer, seeking His face, repenting of their sins, being baptized, sharing Christ with others, and running to the One who created them. At the same time, I have been heartbroken to watch those same young people and the universities they attend being attacked and critiqued because the power of the Holy Spirit and this mighty move of God didn’t happen the way the critics felt it should.
Young people want change, and to be quite honest … rightfully so.
“Revival is when God gets so sick and tired of being misrepresented that He shows Himself.” — Leonard Ravenhill
3. A genuine desire for what is real
Young people can spot inauthenticity and because of that, they long for what is real and true. Our world has shown them all that it has to offer … fake happiness, fake acceptance, fake identities, fake doctrines, fake people, fake, fake, fake. Because of that, they are searching for truth. And that truth can only be found in Jesus.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).
4. A childlike faith
“At that time, the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?’ And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven’” (Matthew 18:1-4).
Why do we see revivals start with young people? Because they are desperate for a mighty move of God. They long for change. They have a genuine desire for what is real. And they represent the humble, childlike faith that Jesus described in Matthew 18. That is why revival often begins with young people.
“Every move of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.” — D.L. Moody
No matter what age you are, this is the time to seek revival for yourself. Revival is not about a building or a place. Revival is about the heart. May the fire now fall in our homes, churches, schools, communities, nation, and around the world.
Originally published at thinke.
Jason Robinson is an Associate Professor of Education at Lee University in southeast Tennessee. Jason is a local, state, and national award-winning educator who has a passion for teaching and equipping the next generation of leaders. He and his family reside in Cleveland, Tennessee.