The next great revival in America is not going to be in the bless me areas. It will be in the inner cities. God has spoken to me about this as early as 2000. Since then, I have met many people that God also spoke this to as well.
I remember when and where I was when God spoke this word. At the time, churches were trying to build as far into the suburbans as they could go. I was worshipping at an inner city church in Kansas City that was in the middle of building a new sanctuary. They torn down the old one to build a bigger one in the urban core. They had committed to not head to the suburbans.
It was also in 2000 that I made my first trip to the Los Angeles Dream Center. I believed that that was a special ministry than could not happen anywhere else. They had somehow got a whole hospital that converted into a ministry complex. Most cities don’t just have an empty 10 story hospital sitting downtown.
At the time, I had a focus on big crusades and becoming the second coming of T.L. Osborn. (as that was my dream!) However, God spoke to me very directly in early November 2000 that the next major revival would be in the inner city.
Dream Center: A model for revival
I been back to the Dream Center at least a half dozen times between 2002 and 2010. I have watched the ministry grow and seen the amazing things they do for people. I grew to believe that the Dream Center is a model for revival that is coming.
One thing that really impressed me is how they are the hands and feet. They are faithful in evangelism day after day. The two ministries that really rocked when I went out with them was the outreach to Skid Row. This is ten of thousand of homeless people living in a sign area. The other was the street evangelism in Hollywood and Santa Monica. They were not waiting the people to come to church; they were taking the revival fire to the streets of Los Angeles.
These are just the ones I have experience to. Most of them like Adopt-a-block; the main outreach they do every Saturday and Metro Kidz I did not take part in. The sidewalk Sunday school outreach reaches thousands of kids every week.
While I do believe the ministry focus of the Dream Center is a foretaste of the coming revival, I can not say the “populism” message that Matthew Barnett is known for will be in revival. In fact, I know it will not. The message will be one of turning to the Lord and holiness. I understand why Matthew has that message. His father, Tommy Barnett is very much similar.
In the end, it would be smart for people that are called to revival to take a hard look at what the Dream Center is doing and how it will be critical in the coming move of God.
An Open vision about cities of America
I was at the International House of Prayer in 2005 praying for revival and I was taken into an open vision. In the vision, I was shown a map that looked like Kansas City (but could have another city) and the the suburbans were blurry. However, the urban core of the city was burned on the map so bad that I could not know for sure what city it was.
The next few days, as I prayed into this experience, I felt like the Holy Spirit told me that the urban core of our cities are being burn because we have abandoned them for the suburbans. I was grieved in the Spirit because of this. Many of the great Pentecostal churches have roots in the inner city. (In fact, Azusa Street was in the urban core.)
I believe that this would turn over the next few years. However, the trends among church planters does not show this. I have seen even more church abandon the inner city since I have had this open vision. This is a grave mistake and it grieves the Holy Spirit.
As a result of this, I have made it an effort to always attend churches in the inner city, instead of the well off ones that would provide more opportunities. When I lived in Kansas City the last time, I worshipped with Christians in the Northeast district; not out at Forerunner (IHOPKC) in the more well off Grandview.
When God does move, it won’t be in the suburbans!