Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ radio ministry Revive Our Hearts recently aired Sammy Tippit’s “Vision Gathering” meeting about God’s power to bring people to Christ through revival in the church. In his message, Tippit recounts several amazing testimonies of God’s faithfulness and ability to make His name known in hostile places around the world.
Christian author and women’s minister Nancy Leigh DeMoss has a burden for revival, especially for that within the church - “Ever since I was a young girl, probably twelve or thirteen years of age, I have had deep in my heart a longing to see God send revival and spiritual awakening to our world,” she said, citing Psalm 85. International revivalist and evangelist Sammy Tippit has also prayed for revival among God’s people for many years, and has learned that resurgence in the church often overflows into abundant evangelism.
“We believe that evangelism is best done through a revived church. So we commit ourselves to reviving God’s people,” Tippit says. Early on in his ministry, he was asked to preach to the youth at a church in Louisiana, and was very discouraged by their disinterest when he shared the message of the hope of the Gospel with them. No one seemed to be moved by his message at first; one night, however, a leader among the youth received Christ and then asked forgiveness from the entire church. After that evening, revival broke out among the youth in that town - the seats were soon filled in the church, and they eventually had to relocate Tippit’s evangelism meetings to a university campus. As more and more youth came to Christ, the city’s mayor donated the Civic Center to them for their assemblies.
Thousands of youths came to know Christ through these gatherings, including a drug dealer who was facing 30 years in prison; when the judge saw that her life had been radically changed by the Gospel, he released her. “There was something that was happening. God was moving. People were coming to Christ,” said Tippit -“all our hearts were aflame for Jesus.”
Tippit believes that revival often begins when the church sees a lack of holiness in their lives and cries out to God to help them walk away from sin. Revival also often begins when saints hear the testimony of what God has done historically in and through the church, and yearn for Him to do more. Finally, Tippit says that a third predecessor to revival is often a burden for the hopeless and the lost in this world, when God breaks the church’s heart to love them the way that He does. When God is gracious to bring revival to His church, men and women are compelled to lead people to Christ - “the greatest harvest always comes during seasons of revival,” he says.
The evangelist had ministered in Romania for eight years - a country that had immense intolerance toward Christians at the time. A revival broke out in the northwestern part of the country, and the church was growing strong in spite of intense government persecution; other mountainous parts of the country, however, had sparse churches and were not easily accessible. Tippit, who had a vehicle at the time, was asked by Romanian church leaders to help them reach other parts of the country. Though it was dangerous, Tippit acquiesced.
Before hosting evangelistic gatherings in these areas, Tippit felt lead to set the churches to pray for people to come to Christ there. One year later, his team would come back to the churches they had visited, and were amazed to see God move when they began evangelism assemblies. The churches were packed with people, even in sub-zero temperatures, and once the local pastor couldn’t get in because he arrived late to a meeting.
The revivalist was in Romania for eight years before being arrested in 1988 and asked to leave the country. He was told that he could never return to Romania; however, a new revival started in unreached parts of the country a year later, and Tippit was able to return. He was given extraordinary opportunities to share the Gospel in what was once heavily persecuted country, and saw hundreds of people come to Christ.
In light of his experiences and Biblical reasoning, Tippit encourages believers to pray for what is on God’s heart most – that the glory of Jesus Christ would be reveled in throughout the entire world. “I am convinced that if we can see what’s on God’s heart, there is no limit to what God can do. But we have to get the heart of God on our heart. That’s why we pray for revival,” he said.
He wrote “Fire in Your Heart,” a book that Nancy Leigh DeMoss has highly recommended.