J. I. Packer, writing in God in our Midst (Ann Arbor, 1987), pages 24-35, proposes that, among the variety of God’s ways, five constants appear in biblical revivals:
1. Awareness of God’s presence: “The first and fundamental feature in renewal is the sense that God has drawn awesomely near in his holiness, mercy and might.”
2. Responsiveness to God’s Word: “The message of Scripture which previously was making only a superficial impact, if that, now searches its hearers and readers to the depth of their being.”
3. Sensitiveness to sin: “Consciences become tender and a profound humbling takes place.”
4. Liveliness in community: “Love and generosity, unity and joy, assurance and boldness, a spirit of praise and prayer, and a passion to reach out to win others, are recurring marks of renewed communities.”
5. Fruitfulness in testimony: “Christians proclaim by word and deed the power of the new life, souls are won, and a community conscience informed by Christian values emerges.”
No church, no community, can experience these heavenly powers without earthly upheaval. Moreover, it is a pastor’s job to pray for and preach toward biblical revival. Therefore, a faithful pastor cannot do his job without accepting that the gospel he preaches will shake things up.