The Day of Revolution
Declare a holy fast; Call a sacred assembly.
Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God and cry out to the Lord.
REVOLUTION was on their hearts. On September 2, 2000, a sea of people, perhaps 300,000 came for 12 hours from dawn until dusk to fast and pray, standing in rapt attention on the grassy mall in front of the Capitol in Washington D.C. Their numbers were insignificant compared to the weight of their purpose. They were petitioning the King of Kings to bring a new wave of repentance and revival on America, that their nation might turn its heart toward Heaven once more, to see the ultimate result of a new student missions movement. They were asking the Kingdom God to come on earth as it is in heaven. Yes, this was a revolution in the making.
The Call DC began at six in the morning with loud worship music echong across the lawn. Many thousands had already found their spots on the grass. Thousands more poured in as Washington's buses and subways made their first runs. By seven the crowds had quadrupled in size. Joyous singing was complemented by the weeping of repentance. Shouts of praise were puncuated by holy silence.
One key visionary behind the The Call DC was Lou Engle. He has been calling the Church in America--especially the youth--to fast and pray for the revival of this land for many of years. Following the shootings at Colombine High School in Littleton, Colorado, while the nation grieved, the vision was birthed to call a solemn assembly of young people to Washington D.C. Beginning the segment on repentance he proclaimed, "in the darkest hour of a nation, when there is no hope and no remedy ... there is still one hope: Joel chapter 2! ... Today we've come to humble ourselves and pray."
To dispell any confusion about on the intentions of this new "Jesus Revolution" Che Ahn, president of The Call DC and pastor of Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, explained early in the day: "When I talk about revolution, I'm not talking about a revolution of violence ... like bombing abortion clinics or anything like that. We're talking about a revolution of love." He said this revolution would require humility, prayer, fasting and "a bold stand for the Gospel to preach and share good news with those who are lost."
The lineup of speakers included prominent figures like Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ, but from beginning to end there was a serious effort to keep the the focus on Jesus and not on any man.
The Call DC was not the first time Christians have gathered en masse to pray at the Capitol. The largest prayer gathering on the mall in recent time was the "Stand in the Gap" event held by Promise Keepers in 1997. The Call DC, emphasizing the need for young people to turn back to God, was seen by many as an answer to "the fathers turning their hearts to the children." Now it was time for the children to do the same, and a significant number of families had come to The Call together with this in mind. Promise Keepers founder Bill McCartney led parents and children in a symbolic foot washing. One father from Conroe, Texas, who had come with his 14-year-old daughter, was visibly moved as he explained, "We just need to be attuned to what the youth are having to go through today, and it's such a challenge. ... My heart was touched by this to [do] what I need to do as a father, and what I need to see my kids doing."
As the day progressed, the challenges for inward change through repentance, purity and racial/familial reconciliation became calls to bold, Christian action. There was a healthy emphasis on transforming the schools of America through public witness and prayer. A new challenge was given for students to take a "Thirty Second Kneeldown" in front of their lockers--and their peers--every morning before class.
The day wrapped up by focusing on the nations. By this time, the overcast skies had given way to rain, but almost everyone stayed to the finish. Ron Luce of Teen Mania, advocated that each young person at The Call take a short-term trip, shouting,"Go now!" Hopefully, many will follow the path that Brandon, a college student from Mississippi who raised his hand for long-term mission service, has taken: "I've been over to the 10/40 window on short-term missions. ... God really called me and said, 'I want you over there long term.'"
Fred Markert of YWAM developed the missions message with a skim through the Bible, revealing God's purpose at the heart of the Scripture. Then he laid out the application: "If this revolution stays right here in America, it's incomplete. If your vision is for your high school, your city or your own country, it's incomplete. Our God is a God who thinks globally. How big is your vision?"
The website http://www.livethecall.com is the main avenue for following up this one-day event. There's a place to connect with mission agencies and others who want to be involved. While The Call DC may not be the definative start of the next "student volunteer movement," it is evident that something is stirring. A revolution is breaking out.
A Call for Spiritual Parents: Revolutionaries need a shepherd.
Parents: Consider these days when kids are going to school in fear of violence. Meanwhile, many who love the Lord are taking action to turn the tide. They are praying at school, starting Bible clubs and sharing Christ. Real kingdom mentality can start young. Talk to your children about their destiny when they are 10 not 20. Do you want to bless the nations? Prepare your child to live the Kingdom life. Help them discover their part in God's plan. God called me to missions, but it was my supportive parents who suggested some of my intial steps.
Pastors and Youth Leaders: Remember Paul's charge in 2 Timothy 2:2 to train the next generation just as you were trained, that they may in turn share it with others. Do you see some bright son or daughter of God in your church? Take them under your wing so that they might grow in discipline, knowledge and faith.
Missions Committees: Do you have some high school or college-age person in your congregation fired up for missions? Get them involved, they might liven up your business-as-usual gathering with some honest questions. As they correspond with missionaries and learn about issues of financial support, you are putting them on the fast track to a life of ministry. My missions committee and a couple who had worked at the USCWM mentored me and suggested the Perspectives course.
Missionaries: Are you home on furlough? Ask God to show you a young person with whom you could spend some extra time. They could be an advocate for your ministry. Paul's letters to Timothy from the mission field overflow with the love of a spiritual father.