Christian Renewal Ministries is led by its founder, Rev. James Tharp.
The eminent British evangelical Martin Lloyd-Jones declared just before his death, “I am profoundly convinced that the greatest need in the world today is revival in the Church of God.” A growing number of Christian leaders agree, yet not all. But those who resent the idea of spiritual awakenings reveal their tragic ignorance of both the history of the Church and of God’s purpose for His people.
In 1985, after thirty-six years of pastoral ministry, most of which would have to be described as mediocre, I sensed an urgent direction from the Holy Spirit to curtail much of my professional routine and simply spend time with the Lord. I soon realized this hunger for God was of God Himself and not just religious fantasy. During the first few weeks of attempted obedience to this new call, I was awarded more than once with unusual manifestations of Christ’s Presence. Every special visit deepened the conviction that He was making me a promise: “If you will major in just walking with Me, I will do three things for you: first, I will fill you anew with the Holy Spirit; second, I will teach you to pray; and finally, I will give you a vision of My Church in these last days as I plan to revive it.”
For three decades now, by the grace of God (and this includes the prayers of many of God’s dear children) I have sought earnestly to meet the condition of His promise by giving Him prime time each day. And He has kept His word, of course.
First, the Lord gave me a new fullness of His Spirit, but not before showing me a cold heart and a slumbering spirit. Following days of Spirit-wrought repentance and brokenness before Him, I received a new cleansing and a new filling and a new freedom.
The new anointing of the Holy Spirit brought a new passion and a new empowerment for prayer. What had previously been humanly powered mental exercise now became Spirit-inspired communion and intercession. Little did I realize in early 1986, when all this started to unfold, how far-reaching this prayer ministry would be. Such prayer would of course, impact my own congregation, the First Church of the Nazarene in Bozeman, Montana, as key laymen and others desired to attend the prayer seminars to learn the biblical principles of prayer that their pastor was now practicing. And now more doors are opening for the School of Prayer in various denominations and in many cities.
Finally, the Lord has given me a life-changing vision of revival in His Church. In obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit, Christian Renewal was launched, and it is now in its thirty-first year. In 1986, I started publishing the quarterly Christian Renewal Journal, which heralds the kind of coming revival that the present generation of Americans has only heard and read about. It sounds the call to Christians in all churches to return to the Upper Room to prepare their hearts and homes and congregations for another full-scale historic spiritual awakening in our land.
I tremble when I think of the only other alternative to revival. But as far gone from righteousness and as ripe for divine judgment as our nation is at this late hour, I share the hope that within the next few years we shall witness the greatest visitation of the Spirit of revival in the history of our country.
Such is the message of this ministry. Revival must come!
About Rev. Tharp
James W. Tharp was born October 16, 1929, and graduated from Gillette High School, Gillette, Arkansas in 1948. He married Maxine McClain in 1950 and graduated from Union Bible Institute, Westfield, Indiana in 1952. Tharp was ordained in the Church of the Nazarene in 1957. He has pastored churches in Westfield, Indiana; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Rushville, Indiana; Indianapolis, Indiana; Pasadena, California; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Seattle, Washington, and Bozeman, Montana. He and his first wife of 56 years, Maxine, had four children and eight grandchildren. Maxine died of heart failure in March 2006, following knee surgery. In October 2009, Rev. Tharp and Shirley (Bortner) Kuhn were married in Bozeman, Montana, where they reside. Shirley has four children, twelve grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren, and serves as Rev. Tharp’s book editor.
In 1979, he began working with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, assisting the evangelist in his telephone counseling ministry, and was the personal guest of Billy Graham for the 10 days of “Amsterdam ’86”. He and Mr. Graham remained friends until the evangelist’s death in the spring of 2018.
For the years of 1979-1981, Tharp lectured on the Holy Spirit for California Graduate School of Theology in their doctorate program. He has studied at Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, Illinois and at Seattle Pacific University. His first book, Revival Must Come!, was published in 1991 and his second book, The Spirit of Prayer, was published in 2000. In 2012, his third book, Estelle, was published. In Estelle, Rev. Tharp tells about his mother’s prayer life and the ensuing revival. His fourth book, Our Holy Guest: The Believer’s Secret to Spiritual Power, was published in 2015.
Tharp is the founder and president of Christian Renewal Ministries based in Bozeman, Montana (formerly based in Dothan, Alabama). Since 1994 he has been devoted to speaking in camp meetings, revivals, pastoral institutes, and conducting the School of Prayer, helping thousands to improve their prayer life. Tharp is the editor of the Christian Renewal Journal published quarterly. He also has a radio broadcast, A Call to Prayer, which can be heard every Sunday at 9am Mountain time on Bozeman’s 99.1 FM, The One. The current broadcasts, as well as a number of previous broadcasts under the name, A Word on Revival, are available on this site and via podcast subscription.
Tharp is dedicated to preparing the Church through prayer for another great spiritual awakening. He intercedes daily for revival and an unprecedented spiritual awakening in Southwest Montana, as well as in all of North America. He meets with prayer groups throughout the week and leads a group every Saturday morning (for more information on this group, please see the Events page).