Andy Stanley — Stop Praying for Revival and Get to Work

  • andy stanley

andy stanley

Several years ago, Andy Stanley, pastor of the large and influential North Point Community Church, asserted that there is nothing distinct about Christian leadership. When asked the question, “What is distinctly spiritual about the kind of leadership you do?” responded, “There is nothing distinctly spiritual. I think a big problem in the church has been the dichotomy between spirituality and leadership.” The interviewer asks, Should we stop talking about pastors as shepherds’?” Andy Stanley responded, “Absolutely. That word needs to go away.” He added, “It was culturally relevant in the time of Jesus, but it’s not culturally relevant any more.” (Leadership Journal, “Get-it-Done Leadership,” May 2006).

Recently, he took to twitter to oppose Southern Baptists focusing on praying for revival at the 2014 Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.

It seems that Andy Stanley is advocating a brand of Christianity and ministry that intentionally deemphasizes the supernatural and consequently domesticates God as an observer of the work of über-gifted CEO church leaders. He appears to be accommodating Christianity to the prevailing corporate power spirit of the age in his ecclesial circles. Revival is often understood as an extraordinarily intensive and unusually extensive work of God in powerfully applying the gospel to the lives of his people, which results in the salvation of sinners and renewed obedience of his church. God alone can bring genuine seasons of revival.

Richard F. Lovelace, in his classic Dynamics of Spiritual Life, explaining Jonathan Edwards biblical-theological understanding of revival writes,

[Revival] is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which restores the people of God to normal spiritual life after a period of corporate declension. Periods of spiritual decline occur in history because the gravity of indwelling sin keeps pulling believers first into formal religion and then into open apostasy. Periods of awakening alternate with these as God graciously breathes new life into his people. Every major advance of the kingdom of God on earth is signaled and brought about by a general outpouring on the Holy Spirit.

Tim Keller does an excellent job explaining some broad contours of a biblical theology of revival and the longing believers should have to experience it in a short article, “Why Conversion and Revival are Biblical.” You can access it here


By |June 11th, 2014|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , |

About the Author:

David E. Prince is pastor of preaching and vision at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky and assistant professor of Christian preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of In the Arena and Church with Jesus as the Hero. He blogs at Prince on Preaching and frequently writes for The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, For the Church, the BGEA and Preaching Today


  1. Sarah June 11, 2014 at 8:08 am

    I spent the entire evening last night going back and forth on twitter-reading each comment. I have never been so disgusted in the amount of immaturity of a large group of men-Men of God. Each of you who take on the challenge of leading a church take on the challenge of being the hands and feet of God. Each of you have to leadership to lead your church people by showing them this is how you act when you disagree with people. And last night each of you (and today on your blogs) showed-very clearly-that you are human and fail miserably at leadership. The SBC needs to continue to pray for revival-not just for the nation for the entire leadership. May Gods work be done by people passionate enough not to bash other believers publicly-just because they disagree on a word.

  2. David Prince June 11, 2014 at 9:28 am


    I appreciate your thoughts. Though I think public comments that are harmful demand a public response I understand your concerns.

    Blessings in Christ

  3. Kevin Cuthbertson June 11, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Does this mean that Stanley does not pray that the Spirit will work through his preaching? Doesn’t seem consistent if this is his view on revival.

  4. David Prince June 11, 2014 at 11:02 am


    Pitting praying for the work of the Spirit against getting to work in the power of the Spirit is always wrogheaded & dangerous.

  5. Pastor Jack Martin June 11, 2014 at 11:18 am

    I haven’t been privy to real all of this, but if Andy is saying we should not refer to pastors as shepherds etc then he is asking us to stop using and believing part of both the old and new testament. God gave that example on purpose.

    We are not to be seen as a fortune 500 business, or a fine tuned organization we are the living body of Christ and when He is at the head and we are learning, living, and growing we are a strong church.

    If Andys statement were correct that the one brothers church ran well because it was led well rather than any connection to prayer, he would e saying Moses was a horrible leader. Moses led well but most of the people followed poorly.

    We are in a new time or perhaps a better way is to say a time where endtime passages are being fulfilled, hearts cold, a great falling away, nations that God declared lining up in an end time senerio.

    We must pray for revival for all that God will still give us, and we must be like the 3 Hebrew children willing to stand even if God at this time doesn’t deliver us. We know the end of the book. To him or her that endureth until the end He will grant that we sit with Him in His kingdom.

  6. Neal June 11, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Context. This guy gets misquoted so much it hurts. You only showed three tweets, two of which were replies to other people. Very misleading. All he was saying is instead of simply praying for revival we should get out there and get our hands dirty. Pray for wisdom and the open hearts of the unreached, then get out there and reach them. We’re the hands and feet of Christ after all. The problem is we look at revival like you described it above. It’s OUR JOB to spark “revival”. It’s our job to recognize the spirit He gave us 2000 years ago and manifest it. He doesn’t one day decide to give the church a double dose of the spirit. People, excuse me LEADERS, occasionally get it right (thanks to the wisdom of God) and the world sees Jesus through them. That in itself is the great commission, and that’s how we’ll see “revivial” happen in the church.

  7. Wayne Roberts June 11, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    You could claim he was taken out of context, if he didn’t have a history of being very pragmatic in his view of ministry. I attended the SBC in Louisville a few years ago, and I was amazed at his man-centered pragmatic sermon. It stood in stark contrast to the other sermons preached.

  8. Neal June 11, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    You know why he talks about man? Because we’re human. How we treat others, how we live our lives in every facet should reflect the way Christ lived as one of us. Ignoring our humanity would be very foolish. I was raised a southern baptist. Until I heard Andy and others like him speak I had never heard anything else but “get saved and don’t sin, or burn in hell.”. We should look at it practically. God became one of us to do more than save us from hell. He came to show us how to live and treat others as people. Humans who are forgiven and changed. To make out world a better place. To literally bring the kingdom of God to the planet. It’s equally a part of the gospel as being saved from hell.

  9. Steve June 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    This is a stupid discussion. Stanley should never opened this ‘can of worms’. His views on homosexuality are much more controversial and disturbing!

  10. David Prince June 11, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Here is what he is saying:
    @nickcarnes: @AndyStanley Praying for revival is like praying to be forgiven and/or blessed. Already ours (Eph 1:3-4). #LiveIt

  11. Neal June 11, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Yes, that is exactly what he is saying. Why are you making it mean something else? Blessings and forgiveness are something we have as part of salvation. Why should we continuously ask for something we already have? We should use what we’ve been given, not sit around praying for the world to change. It’s our God given JOB.

    Why is that so shocking to you people? I swear. The church has a bad habit of becoming its own worst enemy. We’re never gonna reach the world bickering like a bunch of preteen girls. Stop picking fights.

  12. David Prince June 11, 2014 at 3:02 pm


    I agree wholeheartedly.

  13. David Prince June 11, 2014 at 3:09 pm


    Pitting praying for the work of the Spirit against working in the power of the Spirit is dangerous and arrogant.

    As for picking fights, I thought you were the one who posted on my blog. Glad to have you but telling everyone else they should stop talking about what you are talking about is a bit juvenile.

  14. Kofi Adu-Boahen June 11, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Gotta love a man who deals in dichotomies…

  15. Stephen June 11, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Neal. Was Andy not the one picking the fight? He is super gifted & I love a lot if his stuff, but he was wrong & immature on this one.

  16. Jack Martin June 12, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Neal, I will be the first to admit I may be reading you wrong, but you sound more like you are defending the man more than the statement. When Peter was wrong Paul rebuked him. None of us is above correction. If he stated it as the David listed above then he is saying we don’t need to pray for revival. Thus I would have to cut out multitudes of verses such as II Chron. 7:14 or even the church praying for Peters deliverance from prison, because after all according to what you sound to be saying, we don’t have to pray for that we already have it. Im looking around and I see a great need for both prayer and action. Unless the Lord build a house they that labor, labor in vain.

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