Lutheran Revival In The Virgin Islands
Stories of Faith in Action 2009
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Tent revivals are not normally associated with Lutherans, but Lutheran revivals are happening, with a focus on renewing and enhancing the spiritual life of members and spreading the gospel to local communities. They’re also a clever way for Lutherans to invite their friends to church. Pastor Themba Mkhabela, dean of an ELCA Virgin Islands conference, part of the ELCA Caribbean Synod, says, “Lutherans are not comfortable inviting other people to church, but with the revival they are.”
Using an ELCA grant, seven ELCA congregations in the Virgin Islands held a moving revival that energized not only the participating congregations, but also local communities and the church leadership. It was moving, spiritually and physically.
Taking place over seven days with six preachers and many musicians, the revival moved from church to church, island to island each day.
Mkhabela says, “Revival energizes the congregations and increases excitement for ministry. We are not concerned with numbers, but with providing and feeding the spiritual life of those around. Some people come to the revival and keep coming back to church.”
The energy of working together on the revival also brought the Virgin Islands congregations together to begin united efforts. They will be sending their youth to the ELCA Youth Gathering, looking anew at men’s ministry, and organizing stewardship workshops.