An Australian evangelist who has worked since the mid-1990s to bring revival to the Upper Midwest will complete his sixth consecutive month of revival meetings in the Minneapolis region this week.
Doug Stanton, founder of Doug Stanton Ministries International (dsmi.org), launched daily meetings in the dead of winter earlier this year at the former 750-seat Brookdale Movie Theatre—an old discount theater in Brooklyn Center, Minn., a northern suburb of Minneapolis.
“There’s a real sense of revival, and lives are changing,” Stanton told Charisma, referring to the nearly 10,000 people who have attended the meetings so far. “Our heart is to see the church revived. If the church can be revived, then the ... world can be [reached].”
Each night as many as 400 people attend the “Minneapolis Revival Center,” which has been meeting five nights a week since March. Stanton said the terminally ill are healed, tumors disappear and hundreds of Christians have been spiritually revitalized. “Revival revives Christians’ love for Jesus Christ,” he said. “A lot of people confuse revival with evangelism. But I’d say that you really can’t revive someone who hasn’t been ‘vived.’ Revival is for the church.”
Stanton said he could probably have more success in bringing revival “just about anywhere else in the world right now,” but that God placed the Minneapolis region on his heart many years ago.
“My heart was to plant the tree of revival where it has the chance to grow and produce its own fruit in the region so that it can continue and it doesn’t have a ‘use by’ date,” he said. “It takes a little more work. … The way we’re doing it now is a little slower in that it’s almost like a plant growing down before it grows up. [But] many revivals touch the world and don’t touch their local communities.”
Stanton first came to the Minneapolis area in 1995 for a series of meetings that led to a five-month breakout of revival involving 300 churches. He has continued ministering in the area for most of the last 13 years. But he said he has always been mindful to honor and appreciate local pastors and congregations.
“What happens with doing revivals at a local church is you get to that point where you can feel it’s going to do damage if you [continue],” he said. “So that’s usually when I’ll move on … though it breaks your heart sometimes.”
Overall, Stanton said Minnesota-area churches are very supportive of him and his wife, Karen, who leads worship with two of their three children. And despite being financially and logistically more difficult to sustain, the new neutral theatre venue should prove better long-term, he noted. “We [know] that as revival breaks loose it won’t come to a point where we’ve got to walk away from it because it’s going to hurt a church,” he said.
On any given evening about 45 Minneapolis churches are represented at the revival meetings. But Stanton emphasized that although he once was a pastor in Australia he has no desire to start his own church again. “We have a heart to have a place where the church gathers and can be touched and refreshed and restored—to go back to their own church,” he said. “We want a healthy intermixing of the body, which I think God loves, and that’s why the corporate anointing increases and the healings and miracles occur.”
After more than 150 meetings this year, Stanton said nothing excites him more than watching people receive faith in God because they see God functioning in power. He said when people see God, their faith stops being just about doctrine and teaching.
“I didn’t come with the wise and persuasive words of men, but I come with the demonstration of the Spirit and power,” Stanton said, paraphrasing the apostle Paul’s words to the Corinthians to express a foundational truth for him. “So that faith would not just rest in the wisdom of man’s ways or words, but in the power of God.
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