John Kilpatrick, pastor
of Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Fla., recently sat down
with Hal Donaldson, editor in chief, to discuss the status of the "Brownsville
Revival," which has seen more than 150,000 people respond to altar
calls for salvation.
Evangel: Because some of the
media attention has waned, people are wondering if the revival is continuing.
We continue to experience a powerful move of the Spirit. And we continue
to see large crowds. In fact, this week we had one of the most powerful
services of the revival.
Evangel: How has the revival
affected the church body?
Kilpatrick: Over the last
six years, many of our people have been called to the mission field
or to work in other churches. I also think evangelism is more on the
minds of our people. They want to be used by God.
Evangel: What is the weekly service
Kilpatrick: Wednesday night
is family night with Royal Rangers, Missionettes and youth. We also
have a main service, leadership training for workers, and a gathering
for men. Thursday nights service is led by Brownsville Revival
School of Ministry. Friday nights service features guest speakers
from around the world. Sunday morning is geared toward the church body.
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights are reserved for home cell groups
that attract about 6,000 people each week. And we have evangelism outreaches
that take place throughout the week.
Evangel: When Evangelist Steve
Hill felt called to take his meetings to other cities and leave Brownsville,
what effect did that have on the revival?
Kilpatrick: It certainly
changed it, because youre not going to find too many people as
passionate about souls as Steve Hill. But the crowds have remained strong,
and the Spirit is moving. People still come from around the world. Steve
was wonderful to work with. But neither of us wanted the revival to
stop. God is still at work, so we cant close the doors. Too many
people still need to be reached.
Evangel: Youve experienced
Kilpatrick: Yes, we have.
But I think that goes with revival. I remember saying to the Lord before
revival broke out, "I am desperate for revival." And I remember
the Lord saying, "If I send revival its going to cost you
everything." If youre going after God there will be challenges,
but you have to stand firm. There will be hardship and suffering, but
you cant draw back. You just have to stay with God, seeking Him,
regardless of what obstacles you face.
Evangel: In the early years of
the revival, many responded to the presence of the Holy Spirit with
shaking or falling down. Is that still prevalent?
Kilpatrick: It still happens
some. I think in some cases people have been cold spiritually for so
long that when God touches them they sometimes respond in unusual ways.
But when you become more acclimated to the glory of God, those responses
sometimes begin to subside. Ive said before that people put an
emphasis on the shaking because it was so new to them. Now their minds
tend to be on the deeper things of God like seeing someone saved, seeing
someone delivered or a home being put back together. Personally I have
shaken and fallen to the floor, but that alone didnt change me.
It was wonderful, but it isnt eternal. Unfortunately, some people
try to make a doctrine out of an experience.
Evangel: Have you had to deal
with excesses in behavior?
and some people have been offended when weve had to bring correction.
As pastor you have to be hands-off for God to move, but you also have
to be hands-on to pastor the revival. You cant control everything
and you cant condone everything.
There are some people who have come
to this revival and then gone home to their church and tried to straighten
everybody out and begun to criticize their pastor. Thats so wrong
and unfortunate, and yet the revival here is blamed for their actions.
If youre going to have revival,
youd better have a deposit of prayer in the bank to write those
checks off of; otherwise things are going to bounce. Im not saying
we deserved revival, but for 2 1/2 years there was a deposit of prayer
in this church by an intercessory prayer group. Some people went home
and started to copy Brownsville, as if they would experience revival
if they had the same color carpet, banners and jackets for their ushers.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Its an issue of prayer
and seeking God. Revival should be different in every church. For people
to go home and try to force something to happen is a prescription for
Evangel: As your crowds increased,
your offerings surely increased as well. What effect has the influx
of money had on the church?
Kilpatrick: Well, when the
revival started we had 23 on staff. Today we have 125. Thats a
lot of salary. We also had to build another building to accommodate
the crowds. But the emphasis has never been on money. Gods blessing
can certainly bring expansion and prosperity. But your gaze better be
on the right things and your motives better be right, or it too will
lead to disaster.
Evangel: How has your understanding
of revival changed after six years?
Kilpatrick: You begin to
see phases of revival in the lives of people. You see how God touches
them powerfully for a time and then sends them out for ministry. And
you also see people touched by God who refuse to come under His authority
and their effectiveness diminishes. Its what happens inside of
us over the long haul that really matters.
Ive also learned its
not Gods will for us to criticize revival to death, committee
it to death, or attempt to dilute it. If people simply hunger after
God, whether its a denomination or a local church, they will see
God move in a great way.
Evangel: Is there anything you
would have done differently?
Kilpatrick: Yes, I wouldnt
have responded to criticism. A few times I did, and I regret it because
it may have misrepresented my heart and done a disservice to the revival.
There are probably other mistakes that people could point out, but I
think any pastor would have felt the revival was much greater than [his
ability and wisdom].
Evangel: Where do you believe
the Holy Spirit is leading the church now?
Kilpatrick: I believe Brownsville
Assembly will always be a place where there is a moving of the Holy
Spirit. When revival broke out, we got into a pace that was unrealistic.
Many nights we didnt leave the church until 6 a.m. It was unrealistic
for the worship team, television-audio departments, ushers, altar workers
and many others. Now we have a pace that people can still maintain a
family life and be a part of a revival spirit. I pray that will continue
for a long time to come.