I was saved in the Brownsville Revival. I was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues for the first time in the Brownsville Revival. I was called to ministry in the Brownsville Revival. All of this doesn’t really matter but it will probably make this article a little personal and probably biased as well.
People were coming from Kansas City (and of course Springfield) for months before we made the trip. It was in the summer of 1996 that we drove to Pensacola to be in the revival meetings. I was not that interested in it as I know my heart was pretty cold and I had my own issues that I was dealing with. To be blunt, I did not want to repent. I was enjoying my sin.
However, on July 15, 1996; the power of God started to fall during the worship and it seemed to go on forever. As Steve Hill preached; I didn’t really much. As Charity James started singing Mercy Seat; something changed. I got hit by the power of God.
I still remember standing there and next thing I was completely knocked out. The reason this is so important to understand is I was a boxer who was very proud of the fact that I have never been knocked off my feet. God hit me and I was out cold.
Brownsville was just as much about intimacy as it was Repentance
Lot of people knows the Brownsville Revival as Lindell Cooley sings “We will ride,” followed by Steve Hill preaching a strong message on repentance that ends with Mercy Seat. That is what the people knew. That was the core function of the revival and it is the core function of the Bride of Christ as well.
However, I saw a different movement. It was about repentance without question but it just as much about intimacy. You do have to repent but there is more to being a believer: you also need to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I would say that next to salvation emphasis in the meetings, was receiving the Acts 2:4 experience.
The following words I think was the most preached passage in all of the new Testament when I was in Pensacola.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
It was deep in the DNA of the people that lived in the Brownsville Revival to walk in intimacy with the Holy Spirit. It was not just something we talked about on the first Sunday of June (Pentecost Sunday) like many “Spirit filled” churches do now. We was talking about the Holy Spirit every single day of our lives. We lived, breathed and slept revival and living in the power of the Holy Spirit. We wanted to make the term “Holy Roller” cool again!
Brownsville Revival went from glory to glory
I know alot of people have alot of different ideas on what happened in the end. Revival just stopped one Friday night it seemed. Dr. Michael L. Brown left the school, Steve Hill moved to Dallas to plant a church, Lindell Cooley would later move to Nashville to start another church and in the end John Kilpatrick would plant a new church up the road in Mobile, Alabama. It looked like some divisive mess from the outside!
My take on the whole thing was there was a political spirit coming from Springfield to make the denomination look good. They wanted a “cleaned up revival” that was “seeker sensitive.” The pressure that was pouring down on John Kilpatrick and Steve Hill is something no will ever know.
In the end, all the leaders grabbed people and said, “Let’s go flip the world upside down.” (Acts 17:6) It is very biblical. The tower of Babel changed the way the world works. In Acts 2, they received the encounter of the Holy Spirit but in Acts 8, it says they were scattered and in that scattering, revival came to all of the known world at that time.
People spread out across the world. Friends went to plant churches in the Philippines, Mexico, Kenya, and Netherlands. One of those sitting in the glory during the revival was Daniel Kolenda that today is leading a million people to Christ on a monthly basis.
The fruit of the Brownsville Revival
I would have to say the “Bay Revival” was a direct overflow of the Brownsville and the revival is still going on in some levels at Church of His Presence in Mobile (John Kilpatrick is the pastor). Steve Hill would plant a mega-church in Dallas called Heartland Church. Lindell Cooley would start a worship ministry in Nashville and Dr. Michael L. Brown has found favor in the secular media.
However the real stories of the revival was not from the “leaders.” It is from the people who that got transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and just went to the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is people that started in Children’s home in the Philippines, planted churches in Mexico, started discipleship programs in Peru and have done miracle crusade all over the Africa. These are the real champions of the Brownsville Revival.
People are not lining up for blocks anymore in Pensacola but the revival is very much alive; it just has done as it did in the books of Acts: scattered!
I expect that will be at least one of us that is a major leader in a revival in the coming years. History shows that people touch in one revival normally leads the next one. I am sure when the fire falls, we all gather again and have a reunion to talk about how the glory of the Lord has fallen among us!
Note: I was part of the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry for some time.