It’s Time to Take Your Place: How to Steward the Revival Inheritance in Your Generation
By Duncan & Kate Smith, Presidents of Catch The Fire
I held my grandson in my arms just hours after he was born. It was the most incredible experience. I knew at that moment, as I looked into his big blue eyes, that it was all about him now. My focus wasn’t supposed to be solely on my own life journey and ambition, not even on my children’s, but on doing everything I can to make a place for my grandchildren to thrive.
This kind of paradigm shift is so important for all of us, especially in the context of this revival. We have to take our eyes off our own moment in time and to realize that we need to do all that we can to prepare for the ones who come after us, so that they may thrive and see the purposes of God released in their generation.
Everyone has their part to play in stewarding revival. We must have a clear vision of the role of our respective generations, and the value of the generations that have gone before us and gone after us. As my wife, Kate, recently wrote in her article Why Every Generation Matters in Revival, “Each generation is going to have a different outlook or perspective on the way things should be done. ”
Where Does This Revival Lead?
Years ago, Kate and I were leading the youth and young adult network in Toronto. One day, when I was preaching on the burning bush to our leaders, I received a revelation that gave me a vision for where this revival is ultimately leading to.
The Lord showed me a parallel between the generations of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, and the revival that we are experiencing.
By the time Kate and I came to Toronto from England, there were itinerants taking the revival all around the world. As we began to learn to lay our lives down as we led the youth and young adults in Toronto, we started to discover the generations of Revival. We realized that we’re not another John and Carol, that our role in leadership wouldn’t look the same as ours.
In the same way, neither would the youth we were leading at the time grow up to be leaders that would do things the same as us. Isaac was quite different from Abraham, and Jacob was quite different from Isaac. But they all had valuable roles to play, and in the same way, so does each generation in revival.
Kate summed it up really well when she said, “We’re all about sustaining the move of God and sharing it to another generation.”
Abraham: Called to a Promise
The first generation of Revival that the Lord showed us is the Abraham generation. Abraham was a person of vision, a person of faith, and a person of promise.
The Abraham generation stewards the promise of God.
Hebrews 11:8-9 talks about Abraham moving to the land of promise, even though he didn’t know where he was going. That’s so John and Carol. They had no idea where things were going, but they just obeyed God.
God came with that promise and kaboom! Revival exploded.
By faith, Abraham dwelled in the land of promise, and that’s exactly what John and Carol have done. They’ve dwelt in this revival, they’ve lived it, breathed it, and they’ve never given up. Now in their 70s, they are just as excited about preaching the importance of forgiveness, laying hands on people, and ministering the love of God, as they ever were.
And they’re still excited for more. They’re always looking for another wave, another move of God.
Isaac: Redigging the Wells
The next generation is Isaac. Isaac was willing to lay down his life to be sacrificed. He married well, and he re-dug his father’s wells. Isaac believed God when God reiterated the promises to him. In all of these things, he obeyed his dad; he carried his dad’s heart.
This is the generation that Kate and I identify with. The Holy Spirit really spoke to my heart, “Your job is to re-dig your spiritual father’s wells, the previous generation’s wells.”
Just as Isaac was a man who married well, our role is to be people of intimacy, and of the succession of future generations. Isaac’s name means laughter, and Kate and I really believe that we are meant to be people of joy. That we’re supposed to live a life marked by joy.
When I realized I’m an Isaac and I’m not an Abraham, something settled in me. Isaac could have easily thought that he had to do the same as his father, to leave and go to a new land, but that wasn’t his purpose. In the same way, I realized that I don’t have to leave Catch The Fire and found a new movement to find meaning in the call of God for my life.
Jacob: The Generation That Wrestles
The third generation is the Jacob generation. Jacob wrestled in many areas of his life: He fought for an inheritance, he fought with his uncle Laban, and ultimately he wrestled with God Himself and gained his limp. In that place, he had a name change from Jacob, the deceiver, to Israel, prince with God.
I think that’s the millennial generation. I see many young people who love everything that happened in Toronto, who love the revival values, but most of them were only 2 or 3 years old when it was all happening at its peak. Some of them weren’t even born when it happened, but they know how incredible it was because they’ve grown up among people that say how incredible it was.
This generation must wrestle with God for their own encounters with God, and for the world around them to encounter God. To say to God, “I’m not going to let you go until you touch me,” just like Jacob did.
Abraham only had one son of promise, and Isaac had two, but Jacob and Esau really multiplied. God chose 12 tribes through Jacob’s sons. The Jacob generation is called to multiply. To put in the hard graft of raising families and spiritual sons and daughters.
Kate and I know that we’re called to multiply and raise the next generation, but it will be even more so for those that come after us. That multiplication is about growing families, and also dwelling places of the Holy Spirit around the world. That’s why we believe in church planting.
Ultimately it was Jacob who produced a Joseph. Joseph was the one who ended up in Pharoah’s courts and ruled the world.
Joseph: Ruling in a Palace
All of the first three generations were alive together. In Hebrews 11, it says they all dwelt in the same tent. But Joseph did not know his great grandfather, Abraham. My grandkids and people of their generation are barely going to know John and Carol Arnott.
God had called Joseph to rule the world. I believe that Abraham was never called to rule the world. He didn’t live in Pharaoh's palace. Nor did Isaac or Jacob. But Joseph ruled as number two to Pharoah!
This generation will be the ones to ultimately carry revival values, not on the prayer lines, not even in the churches, but in the palaces, the greater of spheres of influence.
Joseph didn’t dwell in tents anymore, he lived in a palace. There needs to come a generation that’s trained and able to rule and reign in a nation with the heart of a revivalist.
How Do We Steward the Inheritance?
For the revival to continue and flow throughout the generations, we each must steward the inheritance that we’ve been given. Each generation needs to be willing to dwell in the same promises, to be willing to be heirs of the same promises, but it will manifest differently with each generation.
I’ve asked Kate to write this next section, sharing three keys for stewarding the inheritance:
1. Expressions of Revival
When I (Kate) think about the next 25 years of revival, it’s not craving back to what happened in 1994, when the Holy Spirit came and everybody got crazily impacted. Of course, we celebrate that, but the next 25 years is about actually seeing that God is moving still and that it’ll look different through a different generation.
This creates the context for a revival that never ends. When we recognize our roles and value one another, the flow and the inheritance will only increase.
2. Establish the Kingdom
We need to understand that the Kingdom is so much bigger than the local church. God has called us to be Ekklesias, as Ed Silvoso says.
We don’t just gather a group of people to have a spiritual experience on a Sunday. Our purpose is to change cultures and bring transformation to our cities. As you learn to see yourself as a champion and partner with God in the Kingdom, you’ll also begin to raise up future generations to do the same.
3. Prepare for the Next Generation
I think the blessings of heaven increase from generation to generation. I don’t think it’s a diminishing, but rather an acceleration. As each generation becomes freer from hurts and soul wounds, that will also increase the flow.
You get to receive inheritance and blessing, but then you have a role in furthering the inheritance and blessing in your lifetime. My hope is that my grandchildren’s generation would be so inspired by their spiritual parents and grandparents that they would also see the blessings of God.
Stick close to your fathers and mothers! That has been so significant for Duncan and me. We honour John and Carol and constantly invite them to stay with us on this whole journey.
It’s Time to Take Your Place: What Are You Called to Do?
Abrahams seldom give birth to Josephs. If every generation decides “I’m going to do my own thing,” then we won’t see the fulfilment of God’s generation blessing. It’s a classic orphan response, “I can do it on my own. I can do it better than my father. I can have a bigger business. I can be more significant.”
If we do that, we short circuit the lengthy four generation plans of God. It starts and ends with ourselves, and we don’t see the generation that rules the world.
Maybe you are called by God to be an Abraham, to go and do something completely new. I’m not going to say that is always an orphan response, because you need to trust and follow the call of God on your life. The important thing is to understand where you stand, and how you can steward that.
What is God doing right now, in 2019, in your life? Are you hungry for Jesus? Are you calling forth hunger in the next generation? It’s all about Jesus. It’s all about the Holy Spirit. It’s all about the Father’s love. Press in. Dwell in the tents of promise.