Brownsville Revival and the Children’s Ministry (1)

Children’s ministry is a particularly powerful force in the waves of revival that are taking place around the world today. The children’s ministry in Brownsville Church (Assembly of God Church) in Pensacola, Florida not only changed the lives of many children, but also affected tens of thousands of parents. Not only do they know God, but they also experienced the power of God. They were all well-trained, ready to undertake the revival, and engaged in that wave of revival, so that their spiritual potential can be developed and they became anointed minsters with their gifts fully expressed. One of the leaders was 11 years old and a musician on the worship team, and the prayer group consists of 75 members who are 8 to 12 years old. Lan Fanen, the children pastor of the Brownsville Church, was convinced that the relationship between children and God is the same as the relationship between adults and God and was committed to train children to actively spread the gospel and participate in ministry.

When Lan Fanen was young, he smoked and drank, and lived the life of rock and roll. In one of the meetings when he and his wife were filled with the Holy Spirit at the same time and spoke in tongues, God also called them into full-time ministry. God said to them with the audible voice: “Sell everything and follow Me.”

The revival is coming

Lan Fanen’s pastor is John Kilpatrick, who was always praying for revival and longed for God to work, eager to see God move again like he had experienced when he was young, so he continued to cry out and pray for two and a half years. As the church continued to pray like this, everyone felt something will happen soon, and everyone was preparing for the big event. The church gathered and prayed on the evening of the Lord’s Day to seek the revival. When Pastor John changed the traditional preaching on Sunday night into a prayer meeting, the participants grew. The number of church gatherings has risen from 1800 to 3500, and the attendees of the evening worship were about 2,500 to 5,000. Since June 1995, at least 300,000 people have come forward to the pulpit, and about 120,000 of them had dedicated their lives to God. Even until now, the church’s Sunday night prayer meeting is still full of the power of God. Sometimes, people will carry a deep burden from God to cry and intercede for their unbelieving loved ones.

On Father’s Day Sunday 1995, the power of God fell on the congregations when the travel evangelist Stephen Hill preached, the Sunday worship lasted for six hours, and the evening revival service lasted eight hours. With the presence of God, who will care about time? On the same evening, Steven preached again and the power of God came down again on the congregation. Many people fell down. The aisles were full of weeping and trembling bodies. From the elders to the gentle deacons, they could not walk. They appeared to be drunk in the spirit.

Through the word of mouth, the news of this revival spread quickly in the community. The meeting at night was full and the power of God came again. It was not until two o’clock in the morning before people finally left. The revival led by evangelist Steve Hill lasted for five years and the ministering team could barely sleep for three or four hours a day because they had to lay hands on many and pray with prayer teams. And every meeting had nearly three thousand people.

Shepherd the lamb

The revival also came upon the children. Some children prayed at the beginning of the meeting and continued to pray for the next three or four hours. Usually these children were brought to the back of the room, so that God can work freely on them without distraction. When the Holy Spirit prayed through them, they cried, moaned, groaned and trembled (cf. Rom. 8:26). These boys and girls prayed at the end of the meeting and the power of God flowed from them.
Pastor Lan Fanen said: “Children are ready for the revival. Children, like their parents, are tired of the religious appearance in the meeting. They want to experience the real God in their lives. I found that children were more susceptible than their parents were. They can sense God’s work easier, and will engage immediately, just like it is easier to start the fire with small wooden blocks than the big and old wood!”

A child who is completely obedient to the Holy Spirit will have great influence on adults. On the evening of the revival service of January 31st, 1997, God used the children to influence the whole service. God’s presence was particularly strong that day. Hundreds of people walked forward and established strong and healthy relationships with God. When the power of the Holy Spirit swept through the whole meeting, many people confessed of their sins and repented. At that time, the pastor asked to bring the trash cans to the podium, and asked everyone to get rid of the garbage of their lives and anything that blocks them from getting close to God. Everyone started to throw things out of their pockets, purses and backpacks; they followed the Holy Spirit and went out to their cars to take out the magazines, books and tapes that God wanted them to discard. They also threw out drugs, medication, cigarettes, lighters, and one young person took out many metal rings from his face and threw  them into the trash can. A woman gave the key to the house to one of the pastors because she had an abnormal relationship with her boss for over 13 years in that house. That could be said to be a night to clean the holy temple! God loves to live in the holy temple. After repentance, usually God’s presence will be greatly manifested. When people repent and confess their sins, the anointing of the revival meeting is usually more. When we abandon the parts of our life that are not in the heart of God, the living water of God will flow freely through us.

Obey the Holy Spirit and everyone serve others

In the first few months of the revival, the children experienced the power of God in the Sanctuary, but in the children’s gatherings, they rarely saw the manifestation of God’s power until God got a hold of the children pastor. This situation changed. Pastor Lan Fanen said: “Only when I “leapt into the wave of revival”, I saw God’s power moving on the sons of the kingdom of God, on the morning of the Lord’s Day.” There was is a seven-year-old boy, David, from a broken family. He skipped school and fought with people. His face was always filled with sorrow, gloom and anger. The children of the group prayed around David and a little girl touched his head and prayed for him softly and a little boy gently held his hand. Under the healing and comfort of the Holy Spirit, David was released from the pain and wounds of his heart. Now he is a newborn boy. A few months ago, he was a little boy who was sad, angry and seclusive, not letting anyone approach him. Now he is open to people, with the glory of God on his face. He is now engaged in various fields of service and often prays for people.

This generation of people are shouting out loud for their needs! The world is more than just the pain, emptiness, and despair that you see everywhere. But there are more and better graces that God has prepared for them. Today’s church community is too dependent on the attractive activities and marketing strategies from the world, in order to attract more people to the church. But many examples show that service has become like entertainment, formulas, and special programs. Because people no longer rely on prayer to seek the power of God, we inadvertently fall into the service of being godly and incompetent, “having a form of godliness but denying its power, have nothing to do with such people.” (2 Timothy 3:5) .

Unfortunately, many of us are guilty of the mistakes of relying on our own efforts rather than prayer. Even if we pray, it only grazed the surface. Then we will find that we live and serve according to our own abilities; not relying on the Holy Spirit, will eventually lead to spiritual decline and we will reap what we sow. “ Whoever sows to Please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:8) If we serve by our own strength, God’s help is only short-lived. Even if we can see some results from our natural gifts and talents, in the long run, the spiritual annihilation and frustration will become deeper and deeper.

Children continue to lead

The word of the Lord came to me and saying, before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;  I appointed you as a prophet to the nation. Alas, Sovereign Lord, I said, I don’t know how to speak; I am too young.” But The Lord said to me, “Do not say that I am too young, you must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. (Jer. 1:4-7) The call of God can still be revealed to the children today. It is time to let the children shoulder the spiritual responsibility. Don’t wait until “a certain day” to let them do what God calls them to.

Prayer team

During the revival of the Brownsville, under the leadership of Pastor Lan Fanen, the children formed a prayer team consisting of eight to twelve-year-old children. They wore little purple name tags, just like the adult prayer team of the General Assembly Hall. Now the team has seventy-five children and everyone takes turns to serve. Each week, seven children form a squad to serve, two people a team to support each other as comrades-in-army, they are divided into three groups, and the seventh child acts as a “caregiver”. He will hold piles of cloth to gently cover the children who were slain by the Holy Spirit after prayer. This makes the children lying on the ground feel safe and good resting in the presence of God, give God time to work in their hearts, and keep them quieter. Before the service of the Sunday morning, the prayer team will gather to pray and wait on instructions.

The children of Brownsville are not like most churches who just quietly sit still in their chairs during Sunday school and listen to preaching – weeks after weeks sitting and doing nothing, but listening. As a result, truth cannot be rooted in their hearts. This is not the case for the children of Brownsville, who know God and know the joy of serving God; they also foresee the joy of being a preacher. These boys and girls will grow up in the power that God has given them, because for the first time in their lives they are used for service. They come to the church not because their parents want them to come.They know they need to come because they have a sense of purpose.

Children in Brownsville

When the revival came, the ministry of children was greatly affected, the church continued to grow, and many people flocked to Brownsville from all over the world. During the first three months of the revival, all weekday gatherings in the church were cancelled. At the beginning, they only had one day of revival service, and later they had it for the whole week, and evangelist Steven Hill kept delaying his time for returning, and finally his family moved to Pensacola. Slowly they returned to normal week operations, and the church is no longer “church as usual.” Now everything in the church is influenced by the revival of anointing and there is no longer dull, lifeless gatherings .

The church did their best to listen to the voice of God and only do what God wants them to do. Thousands of people flock to the church in Brownsville every week, and every week one hour before worship, there is Sunday school for children of all ages. The goal of the church is to provide basic Bible teaching so that children have the ability to use the scriptures by the time they graduate from elementary school. The church’s strategy is that children must learn the moral principles of these stories and be sure to have a systematic teaching strategy that allows children to understand God’s words after listening to the story. The church is determined to have plans to not just teach them Bible stories, but also to teach them Bible verses. Paul said to Timothy, “I understand the Bible from an early age” (2 Tim. 3:15). He did not say, “He knows the story of the Bible from an early age.” Children need to understand the Bible verses and need to know how to search the scriptures. You need to understand how to apply the Word of God in your daily life. After the Sunday school, the children’s worship began, and the worship service is as long as the adult, sometimes up to four hours. On Sunday morning, they started with warm and lively songs and they kept getting into a more and more exciting and stimulating atmosphere, allowing the children to experience God’s presence and truth. Only when God is with them will they be truly happy and satisfied. Although there are 14 adult volunteers to supervise in the children’s service, the actual service is almost exclusively done by the children.

Someone asked Pastor Lan Fanen: “How can you let three hundred children stay in those four hours?” He said, “I can’t, but God can.” If the parents pick up the child after three and a half hours, when the meeting is not yet over, they would see their children on the stage, or laid on the ground. Parents who had watched in awe their children with Attention Deficit Disorder lying quietly on the ground for thirty minutes under the power of the Holy Spirit.

Many visiting pastors asked Mr. Lan Fanen what kind of Sunday school textbooks to use to teach children. He said, “I have used a lot, but  most of them were a disappointment.”, “Teach children the truth, be sure to use methods that are gradual. As Isaiah 28:10 says: “Line upon lines, precepts upon precepts. “I believe in this scripture very much. The Holy Spirit also gives us a lot of creative teaching in our service.” “No matter what course or method is used, the most important thing is to let the Holy Spirit have a chance to move. First prepare, from Various resources to select teaching materials for God to help you teach what He want you to teach. First plan and prepare the textbooks, but you don’t have to use them. Let God direct you, you must be sensitive to the children, and sometimes you may need to explain more, some may need to be deleted, and you may need to add texts that you didn’t expect. Only when you are ready, will you be able to handle freely and easily. Be sure to plan ahead, don’t minister without praying or preparation before hand. Otherwise these children will ride on your head”

Is the shaking, trembling fake?

When the days of revival came, God was clearly in the midst. At that time, some people shook, trembled or fell over,  but the focus is not on the outward manifestation, but the changes on the inside. People were no longer their old selves in the past. They were hungrier the more they received the supernatural healing of God. The church saw thousands of people come to believe in the Lord, Christians rededicating their lives,  families being restored and reconciled, rebellious children turning back into on-fire Christians, and tired and weary pastors regaining their strengths and receiving new anointing.

Seeing the greatest “manifestation” of the Holy Spirit in Brownsville was at the time of intercession. Through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, sometimes the burden of praying and wailing was so strong that people had to respond to God. God is constantly looking for intercessors who can stand in the gap in every generation. “I look for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one ” (Ezek 22:30)

When the Brownsville church made the altar calls, many people cried for the lost souls and prayed for sinners. When the Spirit of God was pouring out, it was necessary to stand on the ruin and intercede for the lost souls. The reaction outside the body is often accompanied by crying. Sometimes it is like God crying because He is looking for a vessel that is willing to pour out. (Source: Christian Revival Story Collection)