The Power of a Campaign for Revival and Spiritual Awakening

The Power of a Campaign for Revival and Spiritual Awakening

By Rick Warren

If God allowed you to baptize hundreds of new believers, add hundreds of new members, and increase your average attendance by thousands in just 40 days, would you call that a revival?

If, during those same 40 days, God prompted people in your church who were previously uninvolved to start serving in ministry, and caused others to commit to a world missions project, what would you call that? An awakening?

What term would you use if God led your members to become so concerned for their spiritually lost friends that they convinced their neighbors to study the Bible for six weeks in one of thousands of small groups meeting in homes around your city? A miracle?

Well, whatever you call it, all this has actually happened at Saddleback Church during the various campaigns we’ve conducted over the years, and we stand in awe at what God has done. And God has repeatedly worked through campaigns hosted by thousands of churches around the world in similar ways.

Untold thousands have come to Christ and have been baptized, welcomed into church membership, connected to a small group or Sunday School class, taught the meaning of real worship and fellowship, equipped for ministry, and then sent out for their mission in the world. Troubled marriages have been healed, broken relationships between church members have been restored, and a new spirit of unity, vision, and purpose has swept through many congregations.

What is behind this wonderful movement of God?

The Bible says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1 NIV). Days—and even months—of prayer, seeking, and fasting prepared these churches for what God wanted to do in their midst.

But it takes more than prayer to reach, equip, and send out disciples into the harvest.

It takes a biblical strategy.

I’d like to share four reasons campaigns have been so effective at Saddleback and beyond:

The Principle of Concentrated Focus

During our campaigns, the entire church—every age group, every ministry, every small group, and every service—focuses on a particular spiritual emphasis. All extraneous meetings and emphases are eliminated for six weeks while we concentrate on this one thing. In the introduction of my book The Purpose Driven Life, I explain the biblical and strategic significance of a 40-day emphasis.

The Principle of Multiple Reinforcements

During a campaign, we communicate truth repeatedly in various ways:

  1. A weekly message by the pastor,
  2. A personal daily devotional reading,
  3. A weekly Scripture memory verse that everyone memorizes,
  4. A weekly small group or Sunday School lesson,
  5. A weekly email of encouragement, and
  6. Various social media posts.

The same truths are taught in different formats. This allows the truths to sink deeper into hearts, which is essential for any permanent life change.

The Principle of Behavioral Teaching

Biblical preaching—the kind that changes lives and families and churches—teaches people to be “doers of the Word, not hearers only.” Interpretation without application simply creates an audience with overdeveloped ears and heads, but no hearts, hands, or feet to act like Jesus. Each of the messages during a campaign is designed to call people to specific commitments.

The Principle of Exponential Thinking

This is thinking so big that it demands that you depend on God to see it happen. It’s what I call “the faith factor.” You attempt to do something so big that it can’t be accomplished by human effort alone. It requires a miracle. Jesus said, “According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29 NIV).

In exponential thinking, you add a zero to your goal. For instance, if you have five Sunday school classes or small groups, you ask, “What if we prayed and worked to start 50 classes or groups? What would that require?”

Exponential thinking stretches your faith, your creativity, and your dependence on God. We haven’t always reached every goal we’ve set, but we always end up with far more growth than we would have otherwise.

For years, we’ve watched God use these principles to grow people, groups, and Saddleback Church. Kingdom principles produce Kingdom growth. When we align ourselves with God’s Kingdom agenda—the five purposes we were created and placed on this earth to fulfill—God does marvelous things.

Walk Thru the Bible SA stands ready to partner with you, just as we have with thousands of other congregations of all sizes and locations.

Pointers in running an effective Church Campaign

Pointers in running an effective Church Campaign

Pointers in running an effective Church Campaign

Many local churches in southern Africa have run highly successful Walk Thru the Bible-facilitated Church Campaigns. Here are some helpful pointers to help you as you consider your next Church Campaign.

Remember that Church Campaigns are not an end in themselves. Instead, church campaigns should ideally form part of a wider strategy, thus allowing you to capture and channel the energy generated by the church campaign.

Follow the Church Campaign ‘recipe’. Localise and adapt the structure of the Church Campaign for your community only where absolutely necessary. Don’t adapt the ‘recipe’ simply for the sake of it. There is a reason why it works!

While it is highly recommended to follow the general ‘recipe’, each Church Campaign has much in-built flexibility in order to make it your own.

Church Campaigns tend to reward the faith of the pastor – you get what you aim for. Therefore, expect and work towards much!

Plan an appropriate ‘down-time’ for your whole church at the conclusion of the Church Campaign and the related follow-up project. Church cannot sustain a continued high level of energy.

Ensure your appointed Campaign Director thoroughly goes through the Church Campaign Kit – fully understanding what it has to offer.

How can a Church Campaign benefit my local church?

How can a Church Campaign benefit my local church?

How can a Church Campaign benefit my local church?


Walk Thru the Bible-facilitated Church Campaigns have a proven track record in southern Africa, based on multiple positive feedback received.

An effectively ran Church Campaign…


Provides a full-bodied learning experience for your entire congregation.

Increases church unity through a combined focus. The Church Campaign unites the adults, youth and children on one specific topic or biblical text for a focused period. There is unity of program, of thinking and of energy.

Provides a project to which everyone can contribute! Church Campaigns have a place for all giftings to serve in.

Focuses on a specific topic or biblical text, and each includes a variety of resources that can be used by church leaders every week — typically including sermon transcripts, sermon outlines, PowerPoint presentations, supplemental preaching illustrations, Bible studies, supplemental icebreakers and activities.

Is typically developed by an expert on the subject.

Allows you to stop, at least for the Church Campaign period, those activities and ministries that are not working. This valid pause may provide a time for all involved to re-evaluate the effectiveness of the ministry they are committed to.

Requires team work to achieve the Church Campaign’s potential, thereby increasing this capacity in your church for future ministry.

Increases church attendance.

Activates your membership through a deepened spiritual commitment. Members are motivated to attend services, participate in the devotionals and join small groups.

Is small group driven – thus leaving the church with a dynamic and expanded small group structure on which to build after the Church Campaign ends.

Giving typically goes up.

Leads to a changed focus from “us” to “others” and raises awareness of local and global community needs.

Building on the sermons and Bible studies, the Church Campaigns are anticipated to lead to projects of good work.

How can a Church Campaign help my community?

How can a Church Campaign help my community?

How can a Church Campaign help my community?

Walk Thru the Bible-facilitated Church Campaigns have a proven track record of changing the focus from “us” to “others” and raises awareness of local community needs.

An effectively ran Church Campaign…


Displays God’s love in a tangible way.

Builds relationships between your church and community organisations.

Reaches unchurched friends by inviting them to come serve with you.

Enhances the reputation of the church in the community.

Plants spiritual seeds through service.

Meets real needs for under-resourced people.

Pastors completing successful Church Campaigns are encouraged to motivate and mentor other pastors from within the wider community of faith – thus building the Kingdom!

The Five Renewals – the process of change

The Five Renewals – the process of change

The Five Renewals – the process of change

The Five Renewals

Personal RelationalMissional StructuralCultural

based on talks by Rick Warren

If you are being led to change the way your church serves God’s purposes, it is helpful to understand the process of renewal. Many leaders want to start by changing the structure of their church. However, this can be destructive for you, your leadership and your church. People don’t like to change unless their hearts have been warmed and prepared for change. We believe that when God wants to work in a church he takes it through five renewals.

Personal Renewal


The first renewal is personal renewal; it starts inside the heart of the leader. We cannot take people further than we have been ourselves. We cannot expect other people to be more committed to Jesus that we are. We cannot expect other people to grow or sacrifice unless we are willing to continue growing and sacrificing. We cannot expect other people to change if we are unwilling to change ourselves. We must model this in our leadership. Personal renewal is basically when I get my life right with God. It’s when my heart warms up to Jesus, and I become more aware of the presence of Christ and the filling of the Holy Spirit in my life. It’s called a lot of different things: “making Jesus Lord,” “rededicating your life,” “being filled with the Holy Spirit,” “the deeper life,” “consecration,” etc. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it just means Jesus is real to you; you are in a deep, personal relationship with Jesus. The book, The Purpose Driven Life, is about personal renewal. It starts with the sentence, “It’s not about you.” Life is all about serving God by serving others. It’s a paradigm shift in a very self-centered, narcissistic culture that says it’s all about me. Jesus said, “Lay down your life for the sheep if you want to be a good shepherd.” He said, “Whoever wants to be great must become a servant” (Mark 10:43 MSG) Here’s the problem in ministry. We often start our ministry in order to serve others. But, as time goes by, we fall for the great temptation of ministry and all of a sudden we want people to serve us instead of us serving them. Service to others gets reversed to “serve me.” We all need to renew the condition of our hearts and our relationship with God. If you are going to have renewal in your church, it has to start in the heart of the leader. It is also about the hearts of our people. If you try to change your church without personal renewal in the hearts of your people as well, it isn’t going to last.

Relational Renewal


The second renewal is relational renewal; it is renewal between us and other people. First, you get your heart right with God and then you get your heart right with other people. The first two renewals are simply the Great Commandment of Jesus. When Jesus was asked what is the most important commandment in the Bible, he said this, “First, love God with all your heart” (that’s personal renewal), “then love your neighbour as yourself” (that’s relational renewal). We must love other Christians; we must love other denominations; we must love Muslims; we must love Jews; we must love everyone. We have no right not to love someone. You can always tell when a church has experienced relational renewal—the singing gets better! When a church doesn’t like to sing it means that they don’t like each other. But when they love each other, they like to sing together. Another way you can see relational renewal is that people like to stay after the church service to talk. When you “love your neighbour as yourself” you want to talk to your neighbours! Through relational renewal, gossip goes down and love goes up. Conflict goes down and unity goes up. As a pastor and church leader, one of your first responsibilities is to help your church go through these first two renewals. But understand that many churches go through these renewals. They have retreats or a revival meeting or an annual Bible conference. People get right with God and with each other; people are happy and the church starts growing. But then it hits a ceiling and it goes back down, and they go through another renewal and they hit a ceiling again and then go back down. Why is it that so many churches never get beyond 100–300 people? It’s because they never move on to the next stages of renewal.

Missional Renewal


The third renewal is missional renewal or “purpose renewal.” This stage of renewal has to do with “purpose.” In missional renewal our church realizes that we are not here for ourselves; we’re here for a purpose. God has a job for us to do. We have a mission, an objective; we have some work to accomplish. We’re not just a little “bless me” clique where we get together in church, have a good time, love God and one another, and then go home. No, God has a purpose for us. He has a kingdom to be built. Understanding this and making God’s purposes our leadership responsibility will inevitably cause our church to grow. The book, The Purpose Driven Church, is all about purpose renewal and how to structure and organize around God’s purposes for his church.

Structural Renewal


The fourth renewal is structural renewal or “organizational renewal.” As your church begins to grow, the way it is organized—the way it makes decisions—has to change. This is the principle Jesus taught when he said, “You cannot put new wine in old wineskins” (Luke 5:37 LB). Many of us are trying to put the new wine of God’s spirit into an organization our churches used over fifty years ago. When you will see a good pastor but the church is not growing, what is the problem? Many times it is not structured in a way that will allow the church to grow healthy. If you insist on keeping the old wineskin it’s going to stifle growth. No animal can grow above nine inches without a skeleton. A small animal can exist without bones, but a big animal has to have bones to support the structure. The bigger the animal, the bigger the bones need to be. This is what is meant about changing structure. The structure, or organization, is the bones that hold the body of Christ together. When we were children our bones were very small. As an adult, we’d look quite funny if we had the same bones. Did you know that you get new bones every seven years? Your body is continually eliminating old cells from your bones and creating new bone from your marrow. Similarly, this must happen in our churches as they grow. How do you create a structure that can keep growing and never stop? The organization that keeps a church growing is small groups. A small group is six to ten people who meet together regularly. When you get more than ten people in a small group, then someone stops talking and all they do is listen. In a small group, small is better. A great example of this principle is in Korea where one of the largest churches in the world has over half a million members and over 50,000 small groups. This is how a church can grow and still be personal. If you have more than thirty people in your church you need small groups. There are many more examples all over South America and Africa that have small groups in the tens of thousands. This is the principle: if you have small groups there is no limit to your growth. Your body is not one big giant cell, it is thousands and thousands of little cells put together. This is true of the body of Christ. So, in structural renewal, it is important to understand the need to change as the church gets larger. When a church grows from 50 to 150 there will be changes needed; when it grows from 150 to 300 additional changes will be needed.

Cultural Renewal


The gospel is about renewal—renewal in our own personal life, renewal in our relationships, and renewal in our churches. The result of these renewals can be to make a difference in our communities. This is the fifth renewal—cultural renewal. The Bible tells us we are to be salt and light in the world. A lot of people take “salt and light” to suggest we need to be actively involved in the political system. It is important to vote and take a stand on values. But, you don’t change culture through politics. If you want to change the culture you start upstream with music, entertainment, and sports. You start with the influences on the way people think. This is the task of the church; a renewed church affects society. Cultural renewal is when the attitudes of the people in the entire nation begin to change, even those who are not Christians. The Bible calls this change in culture, “the kingdom of God.” This is our ultimate goal, the kingdom of God. It has nothing to do with politics and it has nothing to do with government. Jesus said, “My Kingdom is not of this world,” and so government cannot bring in the kingdom, and businesses cannot bring in the kingdom, and even individuals cannot bring in the kingdom, only the church can bring in the kingdom. What is the kingdom of God? It is wherever Jesus is King. When Jesus is King in my heart, then the kingdom of God is within me. When Jesus is in charge of heaven, the kingdom of God is in heaven. When Jesus is King in our community, the kingdom of God is on Earth. In the Bible, Jesus said all three of these things. Our ultimate goal in all that we’re doing is not to be “purpose-driven,” our ultimate purpose is the kingdom of God, it is to the glory of God—it is the global glory of God.

How can you as a leader help people in churches move through these five renewals? Several tools are available, among them the 40-Day campaigns developed at Saddleback Church and used by tens of thousands of churches worldwide.

The Power of Alignment

The Power of Alignment

The Power of Alignment

The Big Picture

Through weekend services, small group studies, and regular reading assignments from the optional companion book to these Church Campaigns, your entire church family will focus on the same spiritual themes for a concentrated period of time. Imagine for a moment the impact on your church when each person lives out the principles they read about. This impact grows as those individuals live in powerful community with their small group, and reaches its peak when those small groups come together to experience the power of the principles as an entire congregation! We call this the Power of Alignment. This concentrated time of alignment will bear lasting, eternal fruit in all levels of your church.

The Power of Alignment is best seen in the three major components of the campaign:

1. Individual Participation

Individuals are the heart of the campaign. Each person will complete regular reading assignments from the optional companion book for this campaign. Some campaigns come with devotionals and more. These readings will challenge them to reflect on the themes of this journey and apply truth to their lives.

2. Group Participation

A powerful element of the campaign is encouraging people to experience true biblical community through small groups. The interactive small group curriculum includes a Bible study taught on video, followed by a guided discussion time where group members dig deep and apply the truths of the study to their lives.

3. Weekend Service Participation

Each weekend of the campaign, the Pastor and the Weekend Services Team will unpack the campaign’s themes for your entire congregation through special sermons and music.