by Jennifer A. Miskov, Ph.D.
Confessions of a Revival Historian
For the last decade, I have heard so many beautiful people talk about how they want a to be a part of a “Nameless Faceless” revival generation. While I love the heart behind this in that everyone gets to do “the stuff” (signs, wonders, and miracles) and that we are all seeking to make the name of Jesus famous, when I read the Bible, I don’t see a nameless faceless revival generation. I read about Moses, Joshua, Caleb, David, Ruth, Naomi, Elijah, Paul, Peter, Mary, and others who have both a name and a face who have answered the call on their lives.
In every move of God I’ve studied from the Reformation to the Great Awakening to the Healing Movement to the Welsh Revival to the Azusa Street Revival, I discover leaders like Martin Luther, John Wesley, Carrie Judd Montgomery, Evan Roberts, William J. Seymour, Aimee Semple McPherson and other heroes of the faith. These are the names of those who were appointed by God to lead their generation into its prophetic destiny. In each revival throughout history I have studied, there are people God raises up and anoints to lead, steward, and inspire a generation to step into their destiny. These leaders have a name and a face.
Each one of these leaders who partnered with seeing revival in their day had to at first say yes to answering His call. Even though they were imperfect, felt unworthy, and many times were afraid to lead, they stepped through their fears to be obedient. Their devotion to God was greater than their fear; they overcame their insecurities to walk in obedience. The fact that we know their stories of both triumphs and failures gives us hope that we too can step into all that God has for us.
In each generation, there are some (though not all) who have a special anointing upon their life for leadership and spiritual mothering and fathering. These are ones that God is entrusting with influencing their generations as they partner with the Holy Spirit to steward the move of God in their day. We need to know these people by name. We need to see their faces and understand their rhythms of life. We need to pray for them. Paul said to imitate him as he imitated Christ. In the same way, we need leaders in our lives that we can learn from (1 Corinthians 11:1; Hebrews 13:7).
One of the reasons I believe the terminology around a Nameless Faceless revival generation can be damaging if not understood in the proper context is because it can hold back born leaders from stepping into the leadership influence they are destined for. This thinking if misunderstood can cripple set apart ones from arising and shining and becoming the people God has intended them to be. If we embrace a nameless and faceless generation terminology without understanding the heart behind it in that everyone gets to do the stuff, it can potentially contribute to absolving the need of leaders to take responsibility. Even though it’s all about Jesus and everyone is carrying the revival together, even in this it’s important for each one to take their place and for some to step into their God ordained leadership influence rather than partner with fear of step on each other’s toes. If there’s hesitation or reluctance of leaders stepping up and being the gift they were born to be we run the risk of losing momentum.
We can’t afford to let fear or false humility hold us back from stepping into what we are born for and our God given assignments. We are called to prepare, position ourselves, partner together, and steward what God pours out in our lives and in our generation for the purpose of making Jesus famous. And some are called by God to lead. Leading is all about laying our lives down in service for the people God has entrusted us to influence. We lead, not to make a name for ourselves, but to partner with Heaven to see God’s kingdom come. I want to see a JESUS REVOLUTION take place in our day where everyone plays their parts all for the glory of King Jesus.
Personally, I used to struggle to realize that I was a leader because I wanted it to all be about Jesus, not about me. It took years and some friends to speak into my life to help open my eyes to the fact that I was being used by God to help influence many into greater depths of God’s heart.
I didn’t want there to be any attention on myself, only Jesus, so I thought maybe it would be better if I just hid back in some corner and tried to disappear. I worked so hard to be invisible and to not step into the leadership influence entrusted to me. Then I realized that trying to be like Moses by “putting a veil over my face” and hiding the glory upon my life takes a lot of work. Hiding a bright light doesn’t really work and it just gets really awkward to all present. I came to the point in my life where even though I felt insecure, not worthy, and for sure did not feel like the most anointed one to lead, I realized that God had entrusted me with something special that He was appointing me to steward. I realized that whether I felt adequate or not, I needed to trust and obey God more, even if that meant stepping out to lead what I felt so unworthy of.
Sometimes I think that in extreme self-sacrifice where we surrender everything for the sake of trying not to make a name for ourselves, we can sometimes sabotage the influence God’s called us to steward for the sake of His glory. Or at least that’s a struggle I’ve had to face time and time again.
A few years ago, I remember the time I was with a friend in Texas doing a pre-meeting for a small stadium event. During this meeting, several pastors from the region were on the stage preaching their hearts out, very loudly and with great charisma. I was in the back of the room, bombarded with so many lies of the enemy and insecurities. I was questioning what I was doing there and was feeling so small and insignificant. One of the pastors was speaking about how we need to “kill the goliaths” in front of us. I was ready to respond to the call because I felt the “giants” were taking me down and I needed victory. When I went up toward the front for that altar call, the pastor saw that I was there and directed me to pray for those who had come up. Then something immediately shifted. I was awakened to remember who I was and why I was there in the first place. I started praying for people and was reminded that I was a leader who God had entrusted to come on this ministry trip to support what He was doing there.
Then after several of the leaders had spoken, some even marching around the church waving a flag and “stomping out the devil,” I remember thinking, I really don’t want to speak, I have nothing to say, I am nothing like these crazy Texans (but oh how I love them!). Then one of the leaders invited me to the stage to share. I knew at that moment that I had a decision to make. Would I believe the lies of insignificance or would I say yes to the invitation to speak? I realized in that moment that regardless of how inadequate I felt, it was God who was making space for me and giving me the microphone. So I said yes.
Then I had another decision to make. Would I try to be like all of the other vibrant preachers who stepped on the stage full of excitement with great charisma, or would I just be the unique gift that I am which I know would look different. I chose in that moment to trust that if they had invited me to the stage, I would just be me. So I took the microphone and walked to the middle of the platform. I got down on my knees and in a gentle way welcomed the Holy Spirit to come. I waited on the Lord and asked for a fresh baptism of the Father’s love to descend upon the people. Then the whole atmosphere shifted. It became silent in the room and people began to weep. There was a beautiful outpouring of God’s deep healing and purifying fire released in the room. God moved in a special and unique way. Even though all of our styles of ministry were so different, because we were unified as the body of Christ, everything flowed and fit together so beautifully.
So to my friends and pioneers alike who feel insecure, unworthy, unseen, inadequate, ill-equipped, and afraid to stand out from the crowd to lead, I have a word of encouragement for you. It’s not about you or whether you are good enough or not. It’s about simple obedience to answer the call of God and to trust Him to be your Protector.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV)
You are born to shine. And some of you are born to shine by a being a leader.
God is commissioning some of you reading this right now to be generals and spiritual mothers and fathers in this new wave of revival, not for your own glory but for the glory of King Jesus. If you feel you have an anointing upon your life to lead, don’t be afraid to arise and shine. This generation needs you to be fully consecrated and set apart for every assignment God has commissioned you to step into (Ephesians 2:10). By leading your generation into more of God’s presence and power, many will be inspired to fall more in love with Jesus. By fully being the leader you are destined to be, God gets greater glory.
As you step through fear and focus on His face, I pray you come to realize that you too have a face and a name which are both so significant to God (Exodus 33:7, 1 Samuel 3, Isaiah 43:1, 49:1; John 10:3). The incoming harvest is great and each person needs to take their rightful place to steward what’s coming and already upon us. Life is too short and the price Jesus paid is too costly to not become all that He has created you to be today. You are a unique gift to this world. It’s time to come out of hiding. Now is your time. Shine on!
“Rise up and shine, for your light has come. The shining-greatness of the Lord has risen upon you. For see, darkness will cover the earth. Much darkness will cover the people. But the Lord will rise upon you, and His shining-greatness will be seen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1-2 (NLV)
Hello, my name is Jen.
I have a face and I am born for revival.
It’s nice to meet you.
What’s your name? and what are you born for?
*To get equipped, receive impartation, be released into even more of your calling, and partner with stewarding the incoming harvest, check out our School of Pioneering Revival.