Earlier this week, the New York Times ran a fascinating article on the subject “Bad Times Draw Bigger Crowds to Churches.” It suggests that churches grow during recessions because people who are “shaken to the core” by economic distress turn to the Lord for help and encouragement. Many churches in the New York area are experiencing a surge of growth; and nationwide, churches of all sizes are presenting programs of practical advice for people in fiscal straits.
The article goes on to observe that many of the great revivals of the 19th century occurred during economic panics. The famous Fulton Street Revival (also known as the Businessman’s Revival), started in Manhattan in 1857 as businessmen began gathering for noontime prayer. It swept over the nation and is remembered as one of America’s greatest revivals, leading tens of thousands to Christ and creating a host of para-church organizations.
David Beckworth, a professor of economy at Texas State University, had done research showing that during each recession cycle between 1968 and 2004, the growth rate of evangelical churches jumped by 50 percent.
I’m not ready to pray for recession; I’m praying that we’ll get out of it. But I’m encouraged to know that God works all for good, and if it takes a recession to bring a revival it may well be worth the cost.
To read the entire article in the Times, click here: