Gift ideas – free PDF books by Geoff

Gift Ideas – free PDF books by Geoff

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Revival Books (more on the Main Page)

A Flashpoints Koorong1

Flashpoints of Revival – Blog
Flashpoints of Revival – PDF updated 2020
Updated stories of recent revivals
Chapter 7: Twenty-first Century Revivals

Amazon – free gift note available

* I know of no other book like this one that provides rapid-fire, easy-to-read, factual literary snapshots of virtually every well-known revival since Pentecost. … I felt like I had grasped the overall picture of revival for the first time” ~ C Peter Wagner

Same 2020 text now as Revival Fires with Chapter 7: Twenty-first Century Revivals 


Revival Fires – updated
Revival Fires – PDF
Stories of over 50 powerful revivals
Now the same text as Flashpoints of Revival (2020)
Amazon edition

 


Great Revival StoriesBlog
Great Revival Stories – PDF
Amazon Edition

* Amazing by Jo Swan: Full of true accounts of what happens to whole towns and cities when God’s people humble themselves, pray, and the Holy Spirit rushed through with his transforming power. Loved every minute of these stories. ~ Jo Swan
* Great compilation of Revival Happenings bGreat book. A compilation of reports from revivals from around the world. Really helpful in preparing for a sermon series on Revival!

 

 

Community and Ecological Transformation
South Pacific Revivals – Blog
South Pacific Revivals– PDF
Community & Ecological Transformation
* Dr Geoff Waugh shares the message of revival clearly through the simplicity of the Word and his own personal experiences, being part of God’s big revival story in the Pacific. His book is a must-read for all who follow Pacific Revivals and world movements of the Holy Spirit.  ~  Romulo Nayacalevu, Fiji

 

Renewal Books (more on the Main Page)

Living in the Spirit study book
Living in the Spirit – Blog
Living in the Spirit  PDF
Amazon Edition

* I find the study material to be balanced in theological emphasis and exceptionally well organized and presented. ~ Bishop Owen Dowling

* This book is not only good for personal use but also GREAT for group study. Even good for a Sunday School class. ~ SW

* If you are a Christian you need to read this book, it helps to understand the Holy Spirit and how he works in your life.  ~ Allen R Lancaster

 

A Your Spiritual Gifts2
Your Spiritual Gifts – Blog
Your Spiritual Gifts – PDF
Amazon Edition

* Good basic biblical material.  ~ Vanessa Hart
* Good home group study. It’s down to the homegroup to work as a team to put the theory into practice fitting in with existing church structures. ~ G Sinclair

 


New Christian’s Guide – Blog
New Christian’s Guide – PDF
Amazon Gift Edition
New Christian’s Guide is an introductory guide for new Christians starting out in their life in Christ. It covers basic essentials including Jesus’ instructions on loving God and loving others.

 


Body Ministry – Blog
Body Ministry – PDF
Amazon edition
* This resource will be of benefit to all ministry leaders and teachers. I recommend it for positive change and for allowing the Holy Spirit, the Great Teacher, to have full reign. ~ Valerie Caraotta

 

Devotional Books (more on the MainPage)


100 Bible Quotes: Bible Verses to Memorize – Blog
100 Bible Quotes– PDF
Amazon Gift Edition
100 Bible Quotes gives you the most popular and well known Bible verses grouped in themes for easy memorization. Additional sections add other Bible passages. These quotations are from the world’s most famous book, now translated into 700 languages and additional New Testament translations into another 1500 languages.

 


Bible Story Pictures & Models
Bible Story Pictures & Models – PDF
Amazon edition
An activity book with 58 pictures and models for children and parents or teachers to enjoy.
Bible Story Pictures & Models stands out above the rest, looks and sounds original, fun and very inspirational … Your illustrations and models are all terrific for them to color and create. It is all very well done and inviting for your targeted young readers.  ~ Ellery Alouette.

 


The Queen’s Christmas and Easter Messages – Blog
The Queen’s Christmas & Easter Messages – PDF 2020
Amazon edition

* The Queen’s Christmas & Easter Messages is an appealing, highly unusual and very creative anthology. ~ Alison Sherrington

* I haven’t seen anyone else draw the events of these years together in this way before. Using the Queen’s speeches not only ties in the unfolding events of our time but reveals a deep spiritual glue that provides a fascinating and intimate insight into the personal life of our Queen. A fascinating read.  ~ Rev Philip Waugh

* A new and innovative approach to the Christmas Story and its clear message of peace and goodwill to all. It is a rewarding experience to read it from cover to cover.  ~ Don Hill

* What an amazing collection! This has so many wonderful Christmas messages and is a great addition to any family during the holiday season.  ~ Jenny & Benny

 

Discovering Aslan
Discovering Aslan – Blog
Discovering Aslan PDF
Exploring the Story within the Narnia stories
Amazon edition – 7 books in 1 edition

* This is a remarkable work and something quite unique that I’ve not come across before (and believe me I’ve seen most ideas). There is a huge appetite for devotional type books and I’m sure that this one will appeal to many people.  ~ Russ Burg

* One of the most interesting devotionals ever! As a huge fan of all things Narnia, I am so grateful for this deeper aspect of the truths in C.S. Lewis’ stories. Geoff Waugh did a great job in crafting such a book as this. What a wonderful addition to any collection, and an inspiration to know Jesus more deeply.  ~ Belinda S.

* You can read the Narnia tales as just good stories, but CS Lewis wanted people to see more. This book will help you see the many links with Jesus, the Lion of Judah. Use this to enhance your wonder and love of Christ.  ~ Rev Dr John Olley

* Best companion work I know of. … Either for a young person who is interested in exploring more, or as a resource on a pastor’s desk, it is an invaluable companion to the original series.  ~ Amazon Customer

* This is a great companion when you read, and is a stand-alone teaching on the depths of teaching that C.S. Lewis weaves into Aslan’s character. Definitely worth your time.  ~ Steve Loopstra

 

 

A The Lion of Judah Gift2
The Lion of Judah
– Blog
The Lion of Judah – PDF
6 books about Jesus in one volume
Amazon edition

* Looking for a great book to help you meditate on the wonder of Jesus in all his richness and grandeur and love? Geoff Waugh has helpfully and thoughtfully brought together wide-ranging biblical passages (not just a string of references for you to look up!), arranged in clearly titled sections (this book is a combination of his smaller books, The Lion of Judah nos. 1-6). Read this book prayerfully and you will not be the same! Then share it with others.  ~ Dr John Olley.

* This book is full of information, biblical information. I have learned so much from it and what I wasn’t able to keep in my head, I had my handy highlighter, so I could go back to it and find it. It is a book of multiple books and it’s not that big, but it’s filled with so many facts and details. If you want to learn more from the Bible, this is the book to read.  ~ A. Aldridge.

 

 


EnCOURAGE: Love One Another – Blog
EnCOURAGE: Love One Another – PDF
Amazon edition

Hundreds of ideas for Christian groups with a wealth of activities, studies, prayers, and resources for groups of all ages. Contents are: Ideas for integrated Bible studies; Ideas for Bible studies and prayers; Ideas for church activities – devotional, educational, creative, serving, social, sporting; Ideas for all ages together; Ideas for building relationships.

This book offers a huge range of activities, arranged according to group activities. It provides a wide range of activities for many different kinds of groups. The first section, Ideas for Integrated Bible Studies, gives you four group studies on each of the themes or topics.

 

 

A Inspiration (Colour) All Mod
Inspiration – Blog
Inspiration – PDF
Amazon edition
Short stories to touch your heart.

* Five Stars:  I really enjoyed this book. It helped me to understand more about what I have been going through.  ~ James Bird

 


Jesus on Dying Regrets – Blog
Jesus on Dying Regrets – PDF

Advice about the top 5 regrets of the dying
Gift Edition in colour
This small book explores Jesus’ advice about the top 5 regrets of dying patients. Those regrets are transformed into these positives: 1 Be true – “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” 2 Work wise – “I wish I didn’t work so hard.” 3 Express feelings – “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.” 4 Stay connected – ” I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.” 5 Be happier – “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

 

A Christian Journal & Planner
Christian Journal and Planner – Blog
Christian Journal and Planner– PDF
Perpetual – a month to an opening
Amazon edition
A month to a double-page opening with inspiring devotional illustrations on every page.

Same content – a month to a double-page – different titles and covers:
   

Journal and Planner – Blog  and  Perpetual Diary – Blog
Journal and Planner – PDF  and  Perpetual Diary – PDF

 

Biographical Books (more on the Main Page)


God’s Surprises – Blog
God’s Surprises – PDF
Amazon edition
A brief biographical summary of God’s recent surprises in 20 different countries as he pours out his Spirit in churches, communities, and on individual people.

* “I’m reading your book ‘God’s Surprises’ and I can feel the power of God and a tremendous desire for a Revival in Italy, where I live.” Francesco Trentinella.

 

0 0 Jurney M2
Journey into Mission
Blog
Journey into Mission  PDF
Amazon edition

* I have read many similar stories, but this one exceeds them all. … Geoff has done well to not only be in so many places and seeing God at work but also writing a book about it all.  ~ Barbara Vickridge

 

 

0 0 A Journey Mission
Journey into Ministry & Mission – Blog
Journey into Ministry and Mission PDF
Amazon edition
An autobiographical description of renewal and revival condensed from two previous longer books, Journey into Renewal and Revival, and Journey into Mission.

Renewal Journals – key books (free PDFs)

More PDF books are on the Main Page

Renewal Journals

         
Renewal Journals – 20 PDF Renewal Journals
4 bound volumes each with 5 Renewal Journals

* I am enjoying these Journals a lot! Read about things that the Bible talks about, but they are happening in our day and age around the world. Some of the journal pages I skip over, but not many. The people of our day are being the army of our God and His work is advancing. Let us be encouraged and pray that God helps others bring glory to God and that we ourselves follow God’s directions in our own lives to let God shine thru us. Talk about getting a lot for your money!  ~ Deborah Mares

* Amazing moves of God!  An amazing book that will build your faith.  ~ A.B. van Leeuwen

 

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

BACK TO MAIN PAGE

 

 

 

Popular Books by Geoff Waugh – gift ideas

Popular Books by Geoff Waugh

Gift ideas: a free gift note is available with Amazon

Free worldwide airmail on The Book Depository

Choose your currency on the top line in The Book Depository

Free PDF version on this page and on the book’s Blog

Share good news  –  Share any page freely.
Copy and share this link on your media, eg Facebook, Instagram, Emails:
Geoff Waugh – Renewal Journals & Books
https://renewaljournal.com/2020/06/20/geoff-waugh-renewal-journals-books/

FREE RENEWAL JOURNAL SUBSCRIPTION: for updates, new Blogs & free offers
FREE PDF books on the Main Page

FREE airmail worldwide on The Book Depository
FREE gift note available with Amazon

Geoff Waugh – founding editor of the Renewal Journal

New – Recent Books


The Queen’s Christmas and Easter Messages – Blog
The Queen’s Christmas & Easter Messages – PDF 2020
Queen Elizabeth II describes the significance of Christmas & Easter
Amazon Gift Edition in colour – $35
Amazon Basic Edition in print – $7.44

 

 


EnCOURAGE: Love One Another – Blog
EnCOURAGE – PDF
Hundreds of ideas for Christians
Amazon – free gift note available – $7

 

 

A Flashpoints Koorong1

Flashpoints of Revival – Blog
Flashpoints of Revival – PDF updated 2020
Updated stories of recent revivals
New – Ch 7: Twenty-first century revivals

Amazon – free gift note available – $5.19

 


God’s Surprises
Blog
God’s Surprises –
PDF
Biographical stories of current revivals in over 20 countries
Amazon Gift Edition in colour – $25
Amazon Basic Edition in print – $11.56

 


100 Bible Quotes: Bible Verses to Memorize – Blog
100 Bible Quotes– PDF
Key Bible verses, chapters, and passages
Amazon Gift Edition in colour – $24
Amazon Basic Edition in print – $7

 


Bible Story Pictures & Models
Bible Story Pictures & Models – PDF
Children’s pictures activity book
Amazon Large Edition 8×11″ – $7
Amazon Small Edition 6×9″ – $7

 


New Christian’s Guide – Blog
New Christian’s Guide – PDF
A basic guide to the Christian life
Amazon Gift Edition in colour – $11
Amazon Basic Edition in print – $5.50

 

Popular Books


Inspiration
– Blog
Inspiration – PDF
24 stories to touch your heart
Amazon – Gift Edition in colour – $20
Amazon Basic Edition in print – $7

 

A 7 Lion
The Lion of Judah – Blog
The Lion of Judah – PDF
six books combined into one book
Amazon – free gift note available – $18.81
The Book Depository – free airmail

 


Discovering Aslan
– Blog
Discovering Aslan– PDF
Devotional commentary about Jesus
from The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
Amazon Gift Edition in colour – $35
Amazon Basic Edition in print – $15.86

 

Living in the Spirit study book
Living in the Spirit – Blog
Living in the Spirit  PDF
The Holy Spirit and The Christian Life
Amazon  – free gift note available – $10

 


Your Spiritual Gifts – Blog
Your Spiritual Gifts – PDF
To serve in love
Amazon  – free gift note available – $7

 


Great Revival Stories – Blog
Great Revival Stories – PDF
Revival accounts from world leaders
Amazon – free gift note available – $11.40

 

Body Ministry
Body Ministry – Blog
Body Ministry – PDF
The Body of Christ Alive in His Spirit
Amazon – free gift note available – $10

 

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 4: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS & VIDEOS)

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Renewal Journal – a chronicle of renewal and revival:
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Short Words Shed Light

Short Words Shed Light

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Short Words Shed Light:
https://renewaljournal.com/2020/07/01/short-words-shed-light/

Many great texts in Scripture use short, sharp words

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good … (Genesis 1:3-4).

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son … (John 3:16)

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mark 12:29-30)

Many mottos and proverbs have short words

In God we trust

If it is to be, it is up to me (William Johnson).

You are what you think about all day long (Robert Schuller)

Do no harm (Hippocratic Oath)

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

A stitch in time saves nine.

Spare the rod and spoil the child.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Rome was not built in a day.

One thing at a time.

Eyes on the prize.

Seize the day. (Carpe Diem)

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can. (John Wesley)

 

The Case for Short Words

When you speak and write, no law says you have to use big words.  Short words are as good as long ones, and short, old words – like sun and grass and home – are best of all.  A lot of small words, more than you might think, can meet your needs with a strength, grace and charm that large words do not have.

Big words can make the way dark for those who read what you write and hear what you say.  Small words cast their clear light on big things – night and day, love and hate, war and peace, and life and death.  Big words at times seem strange to the eye and the ear and the mind and the heart.  They add fat to your prose.  Small words are the ones we seem to have known from the time we were born.  They are like the hearth fire that warms the home.

Short words are bright, like sparks that glow in the night, prompt like the dawn that greets the day, sharp like the blade of a knife, hot like salt tears that scald the cheek, quick like moths that flit from flame to flame, and terse like the dart and sting of a bee.

Here is a sound rule:  Use small, old words where you can.  If a long word says just what you want, do not fear to use it.  But know that our tongue is rich in crisp, brisk, swift, short words.  Make them the spine and the heart of what you speak and write.  Short words are like fast friends.  They will not let you down. 

From: Richard Lederer, 1991, The Miracle of Language. New York: Pocket Books, pp 30-31.
I used this quote often in my work as a teacher to help students be more clear in their work!

 

 

Added to  BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL

Revivals Index

Renewal Journal – main page

FREE SUBSCRIPTION: for new Blogs & free offers

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THANREVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

BACK TO MAIN PAGE

FREE SUBSCRIPTION: for new Blogs & free offers

Free PDF Books on the Main Page

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Short Words Shed Light:
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Renewal Journal:
https://renewaljournal.com

Geoff Waugh – Renewal Journals & Books

Geoff Waugh – Renewal Journals & Books

An Index of Geoff Waugh’s articles in the Renewal Journals and his books.
More details are on the Main Page.

Share good news  –  Share any page freely.
Copy and share this link on your media, eg Facebook, Instagram, Emails:
Geoff Waugh – Renewal Journals & Books
https://renewaljournal.com/2020/06/20/geoff-waugh-renewal-journals-books/

FREE RENEWAL JOURNAL SUBSCRIPTION: for updates, new Blogs & free offers
FREE PDF books on the Main Page

FREE airmail worldwide on The Book Depository
FREE gift note available with Amazon

Geoff Waugh – founding editor of the Renewal Journal

NEW IN 2020 – REVIVALS INDEX UPDATED AND EXPANDED

Renewal Journal Articles

See contents of all 20 Renewal Journals

Renewal Journal Vol1, Nos 1-5         RJ 11-15 1    Renewal Journals Vol 4, Nos 16-20
4 book volumes of the 20 Renewal Journals

Renewal Journal Vol 1 (1-5) – PDF
Renewal Journal Vol 2 (6-10) – PDF
Renewal Journal Vol 3 (11-15) – PDF
Renewal Journal Vol 4 (16-20) – PDF

Geoff’s articles in the Renewal Journals

Revival Fire  –  An article in Renewal Journal 1: Revival

Astounding Church Growth  –  An article in Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth

Revival Worship  –  An article in Renewal Journal 6: Worship

Renewal Ministry  –  An article in Renewal Journal 7: Blessing

Spirit Impacts in Revival  –  An article in Renewal Journal 13: Ministry

New Wineskins to Develop Ministry  –  An article in Renewal Journal 15: Wineskins

Vision for Ministry  –  An article in Renewal Journal 16: Vision

Unity not Uniformity  –  An article in Renewal Journal 17: Unity

Community Transformation  –  An article in Renewal Journal 20: Life.

 

Books by Geoff

Freely available in PDF – build your free PDF Library anytime.
Gift idea – Amazon can mail a gift book with a gift note
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Revival Books

Click image or title to see Blog


Revival Fires – Blog

Revival Fires – PDF

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Revival Fires – updated
Revival Fires – PDF
READ SAMPLE

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Flashpoints of Revival – Blog

Flashpoints of Revival – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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Revivals Awaken Generations – Blog

Flashpoints of Revival in Korean

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a-gods-surprises-all

 Blog: God’s Surprises – Blog

God’s Surprises – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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Great Revival Stories – Blog

Great Revival Stories – PDF

READ SAMPLE

 

A Best Revival Stories2


Best Revival Stories – Blog

Best Revival Stories – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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Transforming Revivals


Transforming Revivals – Blog

Transforming Revivals – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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A Renewal and Revival2
Renewal and Revival – Blog

Renewal & Revival – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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A Renewal2


Renewal: I make all things new – Blog

Renewal – PDF

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A Revival2
Revival: I will pour out my Spirit – Blog

Revival – PDF

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South Pacific Revivals – Blog

South Pacific Revivals – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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A Pentecost on Pentecost B
Pentecost on Pentecost

& in the South Pacific – Blog

Pentecost on Pentecost – PDF 

READ SAMPLE

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Anointed for Revival
Anointed for Revival – Blog

Anointed for Revival PDF

READ SAMPLE

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Renewal Books

Click image to see Blog

 

Study Guide Series

Signs & Wonders


1. Signs and Wonders – Blog
Signs and Wonders Study Guide – PDF
READ SAMPLE
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A SG Holy Spirit in Ministry


2. The Holy Spirit in Ministry  – Blog

The Holy Spirit in Ministry – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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A SG Revival History

 

3. Revival History – Blog

Revival History Study Guide – PDF

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A SG Spirit Movements

 

4. Holy Spirit Movements through History – Blog

Holy Spirit Movements through History – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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A Renewal Theology 1

 

5. Renewal Theology 1 – Blog

Renewal Theology 1 – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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A SG Renewal Theology 2

 

6. Renewal Theology 2 – Blog

Renewal Theology 2 – PDF

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A SG Practicum


7. Ministry Practicum – Blog

Ministry Practicum Study Guide – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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More Renewal Books


New Christian’s Guide – Blog
New Christian’s Guide – PDF

 


100 Bible Quotes: Bible Verses to Memorize – Blog
100 Bible Quotes – PDF

 

 

A Great Commission Mission


Great Commission Mission – Blog

Great Commission Mission – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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A Teaching Them to Obey in Love
Teaching Them to Obey in Love – Blog

Teaching Them to Obey in Love – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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A Jesus the Model Globe
Jesus the Model for Short Term 
Supernatural Mission – Blog

Jesus the Model for Short-Term Supernatural Mission – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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Body Ministry: The Body of Christ alive in His Spirit – Blog

Body Ministry – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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A Learning Together in Ministry
Learning Together in Ministry – Blog
Chapter 15 of Body Ministry: Mutual Eduction

Learning Together in Ministry – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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The Body of Christ:
Part 1 of Body Ministry

1 Body Ministry – Blog

The Body of Christ, Part 1, Body Ministry – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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The Body of Christ 2: Ministry Education


2 Ministry Education – Blog
Part 2 of Body Ministry

The Body of Christ, Part 2, Ministry Education – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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Church on Fire Blog – Blog

Church on Fire – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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Keeping Faith Alive Today – Blog

Keeping Faith Alive Today – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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Living in the Spirit – Blog

Living in the Spirit  PDF

READ SAMPLE

 

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Your Spiritual Gifts – Blog

Your Spiritual Gifts – PDF

READ SAMPLE

 

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Fruit & Gifts of the Spirit – Blog

Fruit & Gifts of the Spirit – PDF

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The Leader’s Goldmine – Blog

The Leaders Goldmine – PDF

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EnCOURAGE: Love One Another – Blog
EnCOURAGE: Love One Another – PDF
Amazon edition
READ SAMPLE

 

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Devotional Books

Click image to see Blog

A Inspiration (Colour) All Mod
Inspiration – Blog

Inspiration – PDF

 READ SAMPLE

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New Christian’s Guide – Blog
New Christian’s GuidePDF

 

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A Christian Journal & Planner

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Christian Journal & Planner – Blog

Christian Journal and Planner – PDF

A month to a double-page – Amazon link

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A Annual Journal & Planner2
Annual Journal & Planner – Blog

Annual Journal and Planner – PDF

A week to a double-page – Amazon link

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The Queen’s Christmas and Easter Messages – Blog
The Queen’s Christmas & Easter Messages
PDF 2020
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Bible Story Pictures & Models – Blog
Children’s pictures to colour
Bible Story Pictures & Models – PDF

 

The Lion of Judah

A 1 Titles

(1) The Titles of Jesus – Blog

The Titles of Jesus – PDF

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A 2 Reign of Jesus
(2) The Reign of Jesus – Blog

The Reign of Jesus – PDF

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A 3 Life
(3) The Life of Jesus – Blog

The Life of Jesus – PDF

READ SAMPLE

 

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A 4 Death of Jesus
(4) The Death of Jesus – Blog

The Death of Jesus – PDF

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A 5 Resurrection
(5) The Resurrection of Jesus – Blog

The Resurrection of Jesus – PDF

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A 6 Spirit of Jesus(6) The Spirit of Jesus – Blog

The Spirit of Jesus – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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A 7 Lion(7) The Lion of Judah – Blog

6 books in one volume

The Lion of Judah – PDF

READ SAMPLE

 

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Discovering Aslan
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Astounding Church Growth, by Geoff Waugh

Astounding Church Growth

Geoff Waugh

Geoff Waugh

Dr Geoff Waugh is editor of the Renewal Journal.

Article in Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth
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An article in Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth

_____________________________
more people are praying and
more people are being reached for
Jesus Christ than ever before
_____________________________

The last decade of the twentieth century was seen as a decade of evangelism and harvest.  It capped a century of astounding church growth.

We can thank the Lord for it, and pray all the more earnestly for over two-thirds of the world yet to be won to Christ.  Praying makes a huge difference.  We co‑operate with God in prayer as the Spirit of the Lord moves in mighty power in the earth.

More people are praying now for revival than ever before.  You can be one.  So can your prayer group and your church.

Mission statistician David Barrett, researched the magnitude of the prayer movement, noted that be the end of the twentieth century more than 170 million Christians were committed to praying every day for spiritual awakening and world evangelization.  In addition, more than 10 million prayer groups focus on those priorities.  Over 20 million Christians worldwide believe their primary ministry calling is to pray daily for revival and for fulfilment of the Great Commission.

Such massive praying, including yours, is linked with incredible church growth around the world.

Peter Wagner’s research described Latin American Evangelicals growing from 50,000 in 1900 to over 5 million in the 1950s, over 10 million in the 1960s, over 20 million in the 1970s, around 50 million by the end of the eighties and 137 million by 2000.  Over 100 new churches begin every week.  Now the church in Latin America grows at over 10,000 every day, or 3.5 million a year.

Africa saw church growth from 10 million in 1900 to over 200 million by the early eighties, with 400 by 2000.  Christians grew from 9% to 50% of Africa in the twentieth century.  Around 25,000 to 30,000 are added to the church daily in Africa, an estimated 10 million a year.

China, with 1 million evangelicals in 1950, has seen growth to an estimated 100 million.  In 1992 the State Statistical Bureau of China indicated that there were 75 million Christians in China (Asian Report 197, Oct/Nov 1992, p. 9).  David Yonggi Cho now estimates 100 million Christians in China’s 960 million population amid incredible persecution.  Current growth rates are estimated at 35,000 a day or over 12 million a year.

South Korea, a Buddhist country in 1900, had 20% Christian by 1980 and 30% by 1990 with estimates of 50% by 2000.  David Yonggi Cho heads a church of over 800,000 members with over 25,000 home groups and over 12,000 new members every month.  They have sent out 10,000 missionaries and commenced many other huge churches.

An official report of the former Soviet Union in 1990 acknowledged that 90 million of its 290 million inhabitants confessed allegiance to a church or religious community (Worldwide Photos Limited, Renewing Australia, June 1990, p. 38). Christians estimate that over 97 million are converted in Russia, that is one third of the population (Pratney 1984:273).

One quarter of Indonesia is now reported to be Christian. These islands have seen many revivals and people movements such as in 1965 amid political turmoil when over 100,000 animistic Muslims became Christian on the island of Java alone. Revival continues there.

Reports indicate that more Muslims have come to Christ in the past decade than in the previous thousand years. ‘New believers are immediately tested to a degree incomprehensible to us. Many are imprisoned and some have been martyred by governments or relatives. Yet the persecution seems only to strengthen their determination and boldness. In one country, where all Christian meetings are illegal, believers rented a soccer stadium and 5,000 people gathered. Police came to disperse the meeting and left in confusion when the Christians refused to leave’ (United Prayer Track News, No. 1, Brisbane, 1993).

1700 unevangelized people groups worldwide in the mid-seventies had been reduced to 1200 by 1990, and further reduced to 5,500 in 1993. David Wang of Asian Outreach estimates that these unreached people groups can all be reached by 1997.

The ‘Jesus’ Film, based on Luke’s gospel, has been seen by an estimated 503 million people in 197 countries, and 33 million or more have indicated decisions for Christ as a result. It has more than 6,300 prints in circulation and around 356,000 video copies. The world’s most widely translated film, Jesus, has been dubbed into more than 240 languages, with 100 more in progress (National & International Religion Report, May 3, 1993, p.1).

The CBNTV (Christian Broadcasting Network) 700 Club with Pat Robertson reported 6 million conversions in their work worldwide in 1990, which was more than the previous 30 years of results combined.

John Naisbitt, secular sociologist and author of ‘Megatrends’ (1982), has coauthored ‘Megatrends 2000’ (1990) in which one chapter forecasts religious revivals in the nineties including widespread charismatic renewal. He notes that one fifth, or 10 million, of America’s 53.5 million Catholics then called themselves charismatics, emphasizing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

David Barrett research has uncovered the massive growth of the number of Pentecostal/charismatic Christians.  His figures indicate growth from its beginnings in 1900 to 550 million by 2000.   Pentecostal/charismatic Christians are now more than one third of all practicing Christians in the world today, just one indication of how the Spirit of God is moving.

The Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal group in the world, grew from 4.5 million in 1975 to over 13 million by 1985 and 16 million by 1990.  By the decade of the nineties it was the largest or second largest Protestant denomination in 30 countries.

Much of the amazing church growth results from visitations or outpourings of the Spirit of God. Leaders, pastors or evangelists are surprised and often overwhelmed. Rapid church growth has happened before, but never on such a large scale as now.

Such amazing growth is accompanied by fervent prayer, and usually grows out of earnest praying. People repent and turn to God. Lives are changed in large numbers. It makes a significant impact on society. Signs and wonders are common, as in the New Testament.

Revival and church growth

Church history and current revivals include times when God moves in great power. Revivals often result in rapid church growth.

* The early church saw it. Read Acts! At Pentecost 3,000 were won in one day. Soon after that there were 5,000 more. Then great multitudes of men and women. They had the reputation of turning their world upside down (Acts 17:6).

* Missionary expansion continued to see it. For example, Patrick in Ireland and Augustine in England saw strong moves of God and thousands converted with many signs and wonders reported.

* The Moravians saw it. On Wednesday 13 August 1727 the Moravian colony in Germany was filled with the Spirit at their communion service. Their leader, 27 year old Count Nicholas Zinzendorf, said it was like being in heaven. Within 25 years they sent out 100 missionaries, more than all the Protestants had done in two centuries.

* The American colonies saw it. 50,000 were converted in 17345. Jonathan Edwards described the characteristics of that move as, first, an extraordinary sense of the awful majesty, greatness and holiness of God, and second, a great longing for humility before God and adoration of God.

* 1739 saw astonishing moves of God in England. On 1st January the Wesleys and Whitefield and 60 others, Methodists and Moravians, met in London for prayer and a love feast. The Spirit of God moved powerfully on them all. Many fell to the ground, resting in the Spirit. In February 1739 Whitefield started preaching to the Kingswood coal miners in the open fields with about 200 attending. By March 20,000 attended. Whitefield invited Wesley to take over then and so in April Wesley began his famous open air preaching (which continued for 50 years).

* John Hunt, a pioneering Methodist missionary in Fiji, wrote in his journal about revival there in October 1845. The Spirit fell on the people in meetings and in their homes. There were loud cries of repentance, confession, long meetings, simultaneous praying aloud, and some being overwhelmed. ‘Many cases of conversion were as remarkable as any we have heard or read of: many of the penitents had no command whatever of themselves for hours together, but were completely under the influence of their feelings. … During the first week of the revival nearly 100 persons professed to obtain the forgiveness of sins, through faith in Jesus Christ. Some were exceedingly clear, others not so clear’ (Birtwhistle 1954:133).

* Jeremiah Lanphier, a city missioner, began a weekly noon prayer meeting in New York in September 1857. By October it grew into a daily prayer meeting attended by many businessmen. By March 1858 newspapers carried front page reports of over 6,000 attending daily prayer meetings in New York and Pittsburgh, and daily prayer meetings were held in Washington at five different times to accommodate the crowds. By May 1859, 50,000 of New York’s 800,000 people were new converts. New England was profoundly changed by the revival and in several towns no unconverted adults could be found! Charles Finney preached in those days.

* During September 1857, the same month the prayer meetings began in New York, four young Irishmen commenced a weekly prayer meeting in a village school near Kells. That is generally seen as the start of the Ulster revival of 1859 which brought 100,000 converts into the churches of Ireland.

* Throughout 1859 the same deep conviction and lasting conversions revived thousands of people in Wales, England and Scotland. One tenth of Wales became new converts. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the Baptist prince of preachers, saw 1859 as the high water mark although he had already been preaching in London for five years with great blessing and huge crowds in a church where people prayed continually and had seen continual growth.

Twentieth Century Awakenings

* From October 1904 Evan Roberts in his twenties, formerly a miner and blacksmith, saw God move powerfully in answer to his and others’ persistent prayers. 100,000 were converted in Wales during 19045. Churches filled from 10 am till after midnight every day for two years, bringing profound social change to Wales.

* William Seymour began a Mission at Azusa Street in Los Angeles on Easter Saturday, 14 April 1906 with about 100 attending, both blacks and whites. It grew out of a cottage prayer meeting. Revival there drew people from around the nation and overseas and launched Pentecostalism as a world wide movement.

* Revival in Korea swept the nation in 1907. Presbyterian missionaries, hearing of revival in Wales, prayed earnestly for the same in Korea. 1500 representatives gathered for the annual New Year Bible studies in which a spirit of prayer broke out. The leaders allowed everyone to pray aloud simultaneously as so many were wanting to pray. That became a characteristic of Korean prayer meetings. Revival continues there now.

* The famous cricketer and missionary, C T Studd reported on revival in the Belgian Congo in 1914: ‘The whole place was charged as if with an electric current. Men were falling, jumping, laughing, crying, singing, confessing and some shaking terribly. … This particular one can best be described as a spiritual tornado. People were literally flung to the floor or over the forms, yet no one was hurt. … As I led in prayer the Spirit came down in mighty power sweeping the congregation. My whole body trembled with the power. We saw a marvellous sight, people literally filled and drunk with the Spirit’ (W.E.C. 1954:1215; Pratney 1984:267).

* The famous East African revival began in Rwanda in June 1936 and rapidly spread to the neighbouring countries of Burundi, Uganda and the Congo (now Zaire), then further around. The Holy Spirit moved upon mission schools, spread to churches and to whole communities, producing deep repentance and changed lives. Anglican Archdeacon Arthur Pitt-Pitts wrote in September, ‘I have been to all the stations where this Revival is going on, and they all have the same story to tell. The fire was alight in all of them before the middle of June, but during the last week in June, it burst into a wild flame which, like the African grass fire before the wind, cannot be put out’ (Osborn 1991:21).

* God moved upon the mountain town of Soe in Timor on Sunday 26 September 1965. That night people heard the sound of a tornado wind and flames above the Reformed Church building prompted police to set off the fire alarm. Healings and evangelism increased dramatically. Hundreds of thousands were converted. About 90 evangelistic teams were formed which functioned powerfully with spiritual gifts. The first team saw 9,000 people converted in two weeks in one town alone. In the first three years of this revival 200,000 became Christians in Timor, and on another small island where few had been Christians 20,000 became believers.

* God’s power visited Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, on Tuesday 3 February 1970 at the regular morning chapel commencing at 10 o’clock. The auditorium filled with over 1,000 people. Few left for meals. By midnight over 500 still remained praying and worshipping. Several hundred committed their lives to Christ that day. Teams of students visited 16 states and saw several thousand conversions through their witnessing in one week. Over 1,000 teams went out in the first six weeks.

* The Jesus Movement exploded in 1971 among hippie and counter culture youth in America in the early seventies. Thousands were baptized in the ocean. Vital new groups like Calvary Chapel led by Chuck Smith emerged and multiplied rapidly. Newspapers of the movement included the Hollywood Free Paper which grew from a circulation of 10,000 to over 150,000 in two years; Truth merged with Agape and printed 100,000. Right On! grew from 20,000 to 100,000 circulation (Pratney 1984:231).

* In 1971 Bill McLeod, a Canadian Baptist pastor, invited the twin evangelists Ralph and Lou Sutera to speak at his church in Saskatoon. Revival broke out with their visit which began on Wednesday 13 October. By the weekend an amazing spirit gripped the people. Many confessed their sins publicly. Meetings had to be moved to the Civic Auditorium seating 2000. This spread to other churches as well.

* In September 1973 Todd Burke arrived in Cambodia on a one week visitor’s visa, later extended. Just 23 years old, he felt a strong call from God to minister there. By the end of September he had seen hundreds healed and saved. A virile church grew rapidly, later buried after the communist coup of 1975. By 1978 a million Cambodians had been killed. Still the decimated church survives, and is growing again.

* In 1977 John Wimber began pastoring a fellowship which his wife Carol had begun in their home. Their Vineyard Fellowship grew rapidly with their prayerful worship, powerful evangelism and a growing healing ministry. On Mother’s Day in May, 1981, a young man gave his testimony at the evening service and called on the Holy Spirit to come in power. Revival broke out at that service as hundreds were dramatically filled with the Spirit. In the next four months they baptized 700 new converts. The church grew to 5,000 in a decade and commenced many other Vineyard fellowships.

* The church in China continues to see God’s strong move amid great persecution, torture and killing which still continues. David Wang tells of a pastor imprisoned for over 22 years who left behind a church of 150 people scattered through the hill villages in northern China. On his release in the 1980s he discovered the church in that area had grown to 5,000. Three years later it had trebled to 15,000. Evangelists who saw 3040 converted in each village they visited in the eighties now report 300400 or more being converted in their visits. Some villages are experiencing a visitation of God where the whole village becomes Christian.

* Nagaland, a state in the NorthEast of India, began to experience revival in the 1960s and has continued in revival. By the early 1980s 85% of the population had become Christians (Mills 1990:40).

* Missionaries were expelled from Burma in the 1960s but the church continues to grow. A baptismal service at the Kachin Baptist Centenial Convention in 1977 saw 6,000 people baptised in one day.

* During the 1980s the 200 missionaries of the Philippine Missionary Fellowship each organised daily prayer group meetings at 7.00 pm to pray for the growth of the church. They report that within a couple of years this directly resulted in the formation of 310 new churches (Robinson 1992:13).

* Revival has been spreading in the Pacific islands, especially in the Solomons since JulyAugust 1970 when God moved powerfully in the nation, especially in meetings with Muri Thompson a Maori evangelist. The Spirit came in power, producing deep and loud repentance, much confession, signs and wonders, and transformed churches. Teams have gone from the Solomons to many other countries, sparking many other revivals.

* Engas in the Baptist mission area of the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea had a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit from Sunday 16 September 1973, as the village pastors preached in their services after attending meetings during the previous week led by visitors from the Solomon Islands. Many were saved. Many were delivered from evil spirits. Many were healed. The church grew rapidly.

* The Huli speaking people of the United Church in Tari in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea also experienced revival from August 1974, with much confession, many tears, and deliverance from spirit powers. That revival spread to surrounding areas also.

* On Thurdsay afternoon 10 March, 1977 at Duranmin near the West Irian border of Papua New Guinea, Diyos Wapnok the principal of the Baptist Bible College spoke to about 50 people. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and great joy. Keith and Joan Bennet of Gateway were there. 3,000 were converted in the next three years. They had daily prayer meetings in the villages and many healings and miracles.

* Aborigines in Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island, in northern Australia, experienced revival from Wednesday 14 March 1979. Djiniyini Gondarra had returned from holidays that day and people met in his manse for prayer that night where the Spirit fell on them, as at Pentecost. They met all night and many were filled with the Spirit and many healed. The movement spread rapidly from there throughout Arnhem Land.

* In the Sepik lowlands of northern Papua New Guinea a visitation of God burst on the churches at Easter 1984, sparked again by Solomon Island pastors. There was repentance, confession, weeping and great joy. Stolen goods were returned or replaced, and wrongs made right.

* Jobson Misang, an indigenous youth worker in the United Church reported on a move of God in the North Solomons Province of Papua New Guinea in 1988. For 8 weekends straight he led camps where 3,500 took part and 2,000 were converted.

* The Evangelist Training Centre of the Lutheran church in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea had a visitation of God on Thursday night 4 August 1988. Crowds stayed up most of the night as the Spirit touched people deeply, many resting in the Spirit, others praying in tongues. Students went out on powerful mission igniting fires of the Spirit in the villages.

* On Saturday 6 May 1989 the Spirit of God fell on Waritzian village in Papua New Guinea’s Eastern Highlands. For three days the people were drunk in the Spirit. Healing and miracles occurred. On the Monday they burned their magic and witchcraft fetishes. The area had been a stronghold of spirit worship. Students from the Lutheran Training Centre were involved that weekend.

Harvest in the 1990s

* In the 1980s Christians in East Germany started to form small prayer groups of ten to twelve persons to pray for peace. By October 1989, 50,000 people were involved in Monday night prayer meetings. In 1990, when these praying people moved quietly into the streets, their numbers swelled to 300,000 and the wall came down (Robinson 1992:14).

* In the former U.S.S.R. there were 640 registered Pentecostal churches and many more unregistered. By the eighties 30,000 young people were meeting together in Poland to seek for the power of the Holy Spirit (Pratney 1984:273). Those numbers continue to expand in the nineties.

* Pastor Giedrius Saulytis of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, tells how after his conversion in 1987 he commenced a church which had 15 people in 1989. In 1993 that church has 60 home cells with 1,500 attending services, 800 being registered members. They have started three other churches, one of which now has 1,000 attending. Every week preachers from their church preach 20 times in 12 different cities in Lithuania (Church Growth, Spring 1993, p. 19).

* In a 1991 crusade in Leningrad 70,000 out of 90,000 attending made commitments to Christ. Russian delegates to the July, 1991, charismatic leaders conference in Brighton, England, reported on the amazing growth of the church in Russia (ARMA Brisbane Newsletter, Sept/Oct 1991).

* A Moscow conference with Pastor Cho of Seoul, Korea, held in June, 1992, at the Kremlin and a plaza nearby, attracted over 40,000 participants. Among them were 15,000 new converts (Church Growth, Winter 1992, p. 12).

* Chaplains in the Gulf War told of thousands of conversions and baptisms among the American troops from September 1990 to January 1991. 10,000 conversions were reported.

* Christians in Iran have recently grown in number from 2,700 to over 12,000 according to Abe Ghaffari of Iranian Christians International. An additional 12,000 Iranian Christians live in Western nations. Disillusionment with harsh Islamic law has opened Iran to the Gospel (United Prayer Track News, No. 1., Brisbane, 1993).

* Harvest has begun among the Kurds who have been hounded into refugee camps where Christians have helped and comforted them. The first Kurdish church in history has resulted. Many Kurds are open to the Gospel (United Prayer Track News, No. 1, Brisbane, 1993).

* In 1990 a bloodless revolution freed Mongolia from Russian rule. Within two years more than 500 people became Christian in that formerly resistant nation. A young girl was the first in her area to accept Christ. Now she reports that 70 others are meeting every week with her.

* The church in the Sudan is suffering under Islamic edicts. Missionaries are expelled, pastors imprisoned, and Christians persecuted. Despite the persecution there has been phenomenal church growth reported, especially in the south and the Nuba mountains region.

* A church leader wrote from Asaba, Nigeria, in 1992, telling how their church had increased from 700 to 3,200 within 6 months. A team of just over 100 went on outreach, first in Sokoto State where they started 5 churches involving 1,225 converts within 3 months. Then they went to Bomu State where 3 branches were planted with over 1,000 converts in all. Many Moslems were converted. He added,

When we reached Kano which is a Moslem state, we were able to preach for 2 weeks. Suddenly, the 3rd week, we were attacked, beaten and our property looted including our Bibles. Out of the 105 persons with me, 85 of them were killed, 17 mercilessly maimed (hands cut off). Only three escaped unharmed. I was beaten to unconsciousness, and imprisoned for 6 months without a hearing. After returning home, I was sued by some of the families of those who died in the outreach. Finally, I am particularly grateful to God that the Church of God is marvellously marching on in these three states. Praise the Lord! (Church Growth, Autumn 1992, p. 23).

* The church in previously resistant Nepal in the Himalayas is growing steadily. David Wang tells of a former Lama priest nicknamed Black Bravery, who has been an illiterate pastor for 15 years. By the nineties he led 43 fellowships with a total of 32,000 people. Another pastor in a remote area has 40,000 Christians in his region. Most conversions in Nepal involve casting out demons to set people free (Asian Report, May/June 1991).

* In October-November 1990, one small island in Indonesia saw 30,000 converted and 45,000 were baptized in another region in January-February 1991. This growth is among former animistic Muslims.

* Ruth Rongo from Vanuatu told of three months of evangelism ministry in 1991 where the power of God touched many villages and shocked the villagers with miracles just as in the New Testament. The church grew rapidly. Ruth was then involved in a prayer group which met after the Sunday night service. They began at 10.30 pm and prayed every week to 1 or 3.30 am

* John and Barbara Hutton were missionaries with the Huli people of Tari in Papua New Guinea. In April, 1993, Barbara wrote, ‘We have recently been to P.N.G. again. We were blessed to be part of a Youth Camp. I have never seen such exuberant and joyous worship among the Huli people before. There is a fresh move of the Spirit occurring. The highlight of the trip was the baptism of 100 young people in Tari when the Holy Spirit fell on the group before they even stepped into the water. A youth group of 6 there just last December was about 400 strong before we left late January. God moved through Huli university students home on holidays.’

* Eric Alexander of the Bible Society in India wrote in 1993, ‘I was in Amedabad in the month of February and was delighted to see a great revival in the Church there. I was surprised to hear that 30,000 people have accepted the Lord Jesus as their personal Saviour in the Diocese of Gujarat (Church of North India). Thousands of new converts are in the Methodist, Roman Catholic, Salvation Army and Pentecostal churches. There are thousands and thousands!’ (Sharing Australia, SOMA Newsletter, March 1993, p. 2).

* Fresh touches of God’s Spirit have been felt in Australia in 1993. It is only a beginning, but thank God for every touch of the Lord.

During May and June the Christian Outreach Centres experienced a strong move of the Spirit, with much repenting, and many resting in the Spirit or drunk in the Spirit for hours, or days. Many have received visions and prophetic insights, including young people and children in the schools. Beginning at their headquarters in Brisbane it spread to their churches. It brought a new zeal for evangelism and outreach.

Gateway Baptist Church moved into its new 1500 seat auditorium in 1993 (the former Queensland Expo Pavilion from Expo 1988), with around 1200 attending and more involved in their 4050 prayer groups, cell groups and outreach groups than ever before.

Networks of small home churches are also forming now. Perth, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane all have clusters of house churches or emerging networks which are linked for fellowship and accountability. These too are increasing in Australia.

Informal prayer groups as well as organized prayer groups of churches and Christian organisations continue to multiply as never before. This is true in Australia also. Much of this prayer involves a new commitment to repentance and revival.

Pray always

Every revival move is born in prayer personal prayer, prayer cells, prayer groups, prayer meetings, prayer in church, prayer in the car (with your eyes open!), prayer in bed, prayer with friends, prayer on the phone, prayer with people of other churches, pastors of different churches praying together, combined churches prayer meetings.

David Bryant, founder president of Concerts of Prayer International, suggests practical steps we can take in response to the phenomenal developments around the world (National & International Religion Report, May 1992, pp. 78):

1. Believe that God wants revival. Pray with faith and vision.

2. Join a small prayer group. Share the vision. Set the pace.

3. Work at integrating the prayer movement. Consider four ‘C’ areas:
closet prayer personal prayer life;
cluster prayer in small group settings;
congregational prayer when an entire church meets to pray;
concerts of prayer inter-church prayer meetings and rallies.

4. Seek out ‘pools of renewal’ in churches and organizations in your area, especially those praying for revival. Find ways to flow together and encourage one another.

5. Be equipped in your prayer life. Many resources are available (including this journal!). Share these resources together.

6. Get involved in a communication network. That will keep you informed. Note the renewal resources listed in this journal.

7. Visit places where prayer is flourishing. Talk to the leaders and bring reports to your own group.

8. Most importantly, don’t give up. We inherit the promises by faith and patience (Hebrews 6:12).

* Peter Wagner reported an example of prayer in Latin America. Arturo Arias, the pastor of an 800member church Centro Misionero El Sembrador in El Salvador, spoke at a meeting of church leaders in Guatamala. Wagner writes:

He told us how his church has received an unusual burden from God for extended prayer and that they responded by scheduling a 24 hour prayer meeting. They received such a blessing from God that they then attempted a 48hour meeting. God continued to pour out His presence and power.

Could they extend it and keep the church open for 7 days and nights of continuous prayer? They did, and the anointing increased. The day before Pastor Arturo left for our meeting his church had concluded a 10day continuous prayer meeting!

As he finished his address he said, half in jest, that his people were so enthusiastic about prayer that they were asking, ‘Can we have a month long prayer meeting?’ I immediately approached him privately and said, ‘How about challenging the Centro Misionero El Sembrador to become the first church to commit to an all month24 hour a day prayer meeting through October 1993?’

Arturo Arias replied, ‘I can easily speak for my church on this matter. Consider it done! We are committed to 31 days of continuous prayer next October!

What a challenge to the rest of us!  (Prayer Track News, Sept-Dec, 1992)

So, pray without ceasing. We live in a time when more people are praying and more people are being reached for Jesus Christ than ever before. May God find us responsive as we watch and pray.

References

Birtwhistle, A (1954) In His Armour. London: Cargate

Burke, T & D (1977) Anointed for Burial. Seattle: Frontline.

Koch, K (n.d.) The Revival in Indonesia. Evangelization Publishers.

Mills, B (1990) Preparing for Revival. Eastbourne: Kingsway.

Osborn, H H (1991) Fire in the Hills. Crowborough: Highland.

Pratney, W (1984) Revival. Springdale: Whitaker House.

Richardson, D (1981) Eternity in Their Hearts. Ventura: Regal.

Robinson, S (1992) ‘Praying the Price’. Melbourne: ABMS

Tari, M (1971) Like a Mighty Wind. Carol Springs: Creation House.

Tari, M & N (1974) The Gentle Breeze of Jesus. Carol Springs:

Wagner, C P (1983) On the Crest of the Wave. Glendale: Regal

Wagner, C P (1986) Spiritual Power and Church Growth. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Wagner, C P (1992) Prayer Shield. Ventura: Regal.

Watt, E S (n.d.) Floods on Dry Ground. Marshall, Morgan & Scott.

W.E.C. (1954) This is That. Christian Literature Crusade.

Further details of some of the revivals mentioned in this article are given in the article on ‘Revival Fire’ in the first issue of this Renewal Journal.

____________________________________________________________

(c) Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth (1993, 2011), pages 7-14.
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Renewal Journal 2: Church Growth – Editorial

Church Growth through Prayer, by Andrew Evans

Growing a Church in the Spirit’s Power, by Jack Frewen-Lord

Evangelism brings Renewal, by Cindy Pattishall-Baker

New Life for an Older Church, by Dean Brookes

Renewal Leadership, by John McElroy

Reflections on Renewal, by Ralph Wicks

Local Revivals in Australia, by Stuart Piggin

Asia’s Maturing Church, by David Wang

Astounding Church Growth, by Geoff Waugh

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_______________
We can believe for it
pray for it, and
prepare for it
__________________

God moves in awesome power at times. Signs everywhere point to that again now. Many people report a burden for and expectation of revival. We can believe for it, pray for it, and prepare for it.

Selwyn Hughes, author of the popular Every Day with Jesus writes,

In all the years that I have been a Christian I have never witnessed such a burden and expectancy for revival as I do at this moment among the true people of God. Wherever I go I meet prayerful Christians whose spirit witnesses with my own that a mighty Holy Spirit revival is on the way. The 1960’s and 1070’s were characterized by the word ‘renewal’. Then in the eighties, the word began slowly losing currency, and another appeared to take its place revival. And why? Because great and wonderful though renewal is, many are beginning to see that there are greater things in our Father’s storehouse, and slowly but surely their faith is rising to a flash point (Hughes 1990:7).

Revival may not be wanted because it involves humility, awareness of our unworthiness, confession of sin, repentance, restitution, seeking and offering forgiveness, and following Christ wholeheartedly. It then impacts society with conviction, godliness, justice, peace and righteousness. This is not always welcome.

What is revival?

As individuals and churches are renewed they prepare the way for revival in the land. A spiritual awakening touches the community when God’s Spirit moves in power. Often this awakening begins in people earnestly praying for and expecting revival.

Arthur Wallis (1956:20,23) observes:

Numerous writings … confirm that revival is Divine intervention in the normal course of spiritual things. It is God revealing Himself to man in awesome holiness and irresistible power. It is such a manifest working of God that human personalities are overshadowed and human programs abandoned. It is man retiring into the background because God has taken the field. It is the Lord … working in extraordinary power on saint and sinner. … Revival must of necessity make an impact on the community and this is one means by which we may distinguish it from the more usual operations of the Holy Spirit.

Edwin Orr’s research indicated that A spiritual awakening is a movement of the Holy Spirit bringing about a revival of New Testament Christianity in the Church of Christ and its related community. … It accomplishes the reviving of the Church, the awakening of the masses and the movements of uninstructed people toward the Christian faith; the revived church by many or few is moved to engage in evangelism, teaching and social action (1975: viiviii).

Roy Hession (1973:11,23) noted that the outward forms of revivals do, of course, differ considerably, but the inward and permanent content of them is always the same: a new experience of conviction of sin among the saints; a new vision of the Cross and of Jesus and of redemption; a new willingness on man’s part for brokenness, repentance, confession, and restitution; a joyful experience of the power of the blood of Jesus to cleanse fully from sin and restore and heal all that sin has lost and broken; a new entering into the fullness of the Holy Spirit and of His power to do His own work through His people; and a new gathering in of the lost ones to Jesus. …  Revival is just the life of the Lord Jesus poured into human hearts.

Bible Revivals

Scripture gives a constant call for individual and communal repentance issuing in righteousness and justice.

Wilbur Smith notes seven revivals in the Old Testament in addition to the one with Jonah. These revivals involved:

1. Jacob’s household (Genesis 35:115),

2. Asa (2 Chronicles 15:115),

3. Joash (2 Kings 1112; 2 Chronicles 2324),

4. Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:18; 2 Chronicles 2931),

5. Josiah (2 Kings 2223; 2 Chronicles 3435),

6. Haggai and Zechariah with Zerubbabel (Ezra 56)

7. Ezra with Nehemiah (Nehemiah 9:16; 12:4447).

He noted nine characteristics of these revivals:

1. They occurred in times of moral darkness and national depression;

2. Each began in the heart of a consecrated servant of God who became the energising power behind it;

3. Each revival rested on the Word of God, and most were the result of proclaiming God’s Word with power;

4. All resulted in a return to the worship of God;

5. Each witnessed the destruction of idols where they existed;

6. In each revival, there was a recorded separation from sin;

7. In every revival the people returned to obeying God’s laws;

8. There was a restoration of great joy and gladness;

9. Each revival was followed by a period of national prosperity.

The early church lived in continuous revival. It saw rapid growth in the power of the Holy Spirit from the initial outburst at Pentecost. Multitudes joined the church. At Pentecost 3,000 were won in one day (2:41). Soon after that there were 5,000 involved (4:4). Then great multitudes (5:14; 6:7; 9:31; 11:21, 24; 12:24 and 16:5).

Those Christians were dynamic. Not faultless, as the epistles indicate, but on fire. They were accused before the civil authorities as ‘these people who have been turning the world upside down’ (Acts 17:6).

Revival makes that kind of an impact in the community.

Various renewal and revival movements stirred the church and the community throughout history. The eighteenth century saw the first great awakening, and powerful revivals have spread world wide since then until the astounding developments now.

Eighteenth century

The Moravians

The Moravians, a refugee colony from Bohemia on the estates of Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf at the village of Herrnhut in Germany, experienced a visitation of God in 1727 which launched revival with 100 years of continuous prayer and 100 missionaries sent out within 25 years.

On May 12th, 1727, they entered into a covenant together ‘to dedicate their lives to the service of the Lord Jesus.’ …  A period of extraordinary prayer followed, which both preceded and followed the outpouring. It started in early July of that year, but already, for the best part of two years, there had been prayer and praise gatherings in the homes of the people. In July they started to meet together more frequently… Some spent whole nights in prayer. …

At about noon on Sunday August 10th, 1727, the preacher at the morning service felt himself overwhelmed by a wonderful and irresistible power of the Lord. He sank down in the dust before God, and the whole congregation joined him ‘in an ecstasy of feeling’. They continued until midnight engaged in prayer, singing, weeping and supplication.

On Wednesday August 13th the church came together for a specially called communion service. They were all dissatisfied with themselves. ‘They had quit judging each other because they had become convinced, each one, of his lack of worth in the sight of God and each felt himself at this communion to be in view of the Saviour.’

They left that communion at noon, hardly knowing whether they belonged to earth or had already gone to heaven. It was a day of outpouring of the Holy Spirit. ‘We saw the hand of God and were all baptized with his Holy Spirit … The Holy Ghost came upon us and in those days great signs and wonders took place in our midst.

Scarcely a day passed from then on when they did not witness God’s almighty workings among them. A great hunger for God’s word took hold of them. They started meeting three times daily at 5 am, 7.30 am, and 9 pm. Self-love and self-will and all disobedience disappeared, as everyone sought to let the Holy Spirit have full control.

Two weeks later, they entered into the twenty-four hour prayer covenant which was to become such a feature of their life for over 100 years… ‘The spirit of prayer and supplication at that time poured out upon the children was so powerful and efficacious that it is impossible to give an adequate description of it.’

Supernatural knowledge and power was given to them. Previously timid people became flaming evangelists (Mills 1990:2045).

See Power from on High, by John Greenfield (Renewal Journal 1: Revival).

The Great Awakening

Jonathan Edwards (17031764), the preacher and scholar who later became a President of Princeton University, was a prominent leader in a revival movement which came to be called the Great Awakening as it spread through the communities of New England and the pioneering settlements in America. Converts to Christianity reached 50,000 out of a total of 250,000 colonists. The years of 173435 saw an unusually powerful move of God’s Spirit in thousands of people. Edwards described the characteristics of the revival as, first, an extraordinary sense of the awful majesty, greatness and holiness of God, and second, a great longing for humility before God and adoration of God.

Edwards published the journal of David Brainerd, a missionary to the North American Indians from 1743 to his death at 29 in 1747. Brainerd tells of revival breaking out among Indians in October 1745 when the power of God seemed to come like a rushing mighty wind. The Indians were overwhelmed by God. The revival had greatest impact when Brainerd emphasised the compassion of the Saviour, the provisions of the gospel, and the free offer of divine grace. Idolatry was abandoned, marriages repaired, drunkenness practically disappeared, honesty and repayments of debts prevailed. Money once wasted on excessive drinking was used for family and communal needs. Their communities were filled with love.

The power of God seemed to descend on the assembly ‘like a rushing mighty wind’ and with an astonishing energy bore all down before it. I stood amazed at the influence that seized the audience almost universally and could compare it to nothing more aptly than the irresistible force of a mighty torrent… Almost all persons of all ages were bowed down with concern together and scarce was able to withstand the shock of astonishing operation (Pratney 1984: 15).

On November 20, he described the revival at Crossweeksung in his general comments about that year, which had involved horse riding over 3,000 miles to reach Indian tribes in New England:

He notes that revivals have been criticized as scaring people with hell and damnation, but this great awakening, this surprising concern, was never excited by any harangues of terror, but always appeared most remarkable when I insisted upon the compassions of a dying Saviour, the plentiful provisions of the gospel, and the free offers of divine grace to needy distressed sinners.

The effects of this work have likewise been very remarkable.  …  Their pagan notions and idolatrous practices seem to be entirely abandoned in these parts. They are regulated and appear regularly disposed in the affairs of marriage. They seem generally divorced from drunkenness … although before it was common for some or other of them to be drunk almost every day… A principle of honesty and justice appears in many of them, and they seem concerned to discharge their old debts… Their manner of living is much more decent and comfortable than formerly, having now the benefit of that money which they used to consume upon strong drink. Love seems to reign among them, especially those who have given evidence of a saving change (Howard 1949, 239251).

In 1735, when the New England revival was strongest, George Whitefield in England and Howell Harris in Wales were converted. Both were 21 and both ignited revival fires, seeing thousands converted and communities changed. By 1736 Harris began forming his converts into societies and by 1739 there were nearly thirty such societies. Whitefield travelled extensively, visiting John Wesley in Georgia in 1738, then ministering powerfully with Howell Harris in Wales 1739 and with Jonathan Edwards in New England in 1740, all in his early twenties.

Also in 1735, John Wesley went to Georgia. Whitefield sailed to Georgia at Wesley’s invitation early in 1738, but they returned to England because Wesley was frustrated in his work. Then in May that year both John and Charles Wesley were converted, Charles first, and three days later on 24th May John found his heart strangely warmed in the meeting in Aldersgate Street when he listened to a reading of the preface to Luther’s commentary on Romans.

1739 saw astonishing expansion of revival in England. On 1st January the Wesleys and Whitefield and four others from their former Holy Club at Oxford in their students days, along with 60 others of whom many were Moravians, met at Fetter Lane in London for prayer and a love feast. The Spirit of God moved powerfully on them all. Many fell to the ground, resting in the Spirit. The meeting went all night and they realized they had been empowered in a fresh visitation from God.

On 1 January 1739 a remarkable love feast was held at Fetter Lane in London. There the leaders of the Revival were welded into a fellowship of the Spirit in a way similar to what had happened at Herrnhut in 1727. The Wesleys were present, along with Whitefield and Benjamin Ingham, who was to become an outstanding evangelist among the Moravians. ‘About three in the morning, as we were continuing instant in prayer,’ John Wesley recorded in his Journal, ‘the power of God came mightily upon us insomuch that many cried out for exceeding joy and many fell to the ground. As soon as we were recovered a little from that awe and amazement at the presence of His majesty, we broke out with one voice, ‘We praise Thee, O God, we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.’ This Pentecost on New Year’s Day confirmed that the Awakening had come and launched the campaign of extensive evangelization which sprang from it (Wood 1990:449).

Revival fire spread rapidly. In February 1739 Whitefield started preaching to the Kingswood coal miners in the open fields with about 200 attending in the south west of England near the Welsh border. By March 20,000 attended. Whitefield invited Wesley to take over then and so in April Wesley began his famous open air preaching (which continued for 50 years) with those crowds at Kingswood. He returned to London in June reporting on the amazing move of God’s Spirit with many conversions and many people falling prostrate under God’s power a phenomenon which he never encouraged! Features of this revival were enthusiastic singing, powerful preaching, and the gathering of converts into small societies called weekly Class Meetings.

Revival caught fire in Scotland also. After returning from America in 1741, Whitefield visited Glasgow. Two ministers in villages nearby invited him to return in 1742 because revival had already begun in their area. Conversions and prayer groups multiplied. Whitefield preached there at Cambuslang about four miles from Glasgow.

The opening meetings on a Sunday saw the great crowds on the hill side gripped with conviction, repentance and weeping more than he had seen elsewhere. The next weekend 20,000 gathered on the Saturday and up to 50,000 on the Sunday for the quarterly communion. The visit was charged with Pentecostal power which even amazed Whitefield.

That Great Awakening in Great Britain and America, established the Methodists with 140,000 members by the end of the century, and other churches and Christians were renewed and empowered. It impacted the nation with social change and created the climate for political reform.

Toward the end of the century revival fires burst again in England through prayer groups spreading everywhere. On Christmas day 1781 in Cornwall intercessors met to sing and pray from 3 am and God’s Spirit moved on them. They prayed until 9 am and regathered that Christmas evening. Throughout January and February, the movement continued. By March 1782 they were praying until midnight. The movement spread. Churches filled and denominations doubled, tripled and quadrupled (Robinson 1992:9). By 1792, the year after John Wesley died, this second great awakening swept Great Britain and was stirring America and other countries.

In New England, Isaac Backus, a Baptist pastor, addressed an urgent plea for prayer for revival to pastors of every Christian denomination in the United States in 1794. The churches adopted the plan until America, like Britain, was interlaced with a network of prayer meetings. They met on the first Monday of each month to pray. It was not long before revival came.

James McGready, a Presbyterian minister in Kentucky, promoted the concert of prayer every first Monday of the month, and urged his people to pray for him at sunset on Saturday evening and sunrise Sunday morning. Revival swept Kentucky in the summer of 1800. Eleven thousand people came to a communion service.

That second great awakening produced the modern missionary movement and it’s societies, engendered support for Bible societies, saw the abolition of slavery, and resulted in many social reforms.

Nineteenth Century

Various revival movements influenced society in the 1800s, but 1858 in America and 1859 in Britain were outstanding.

Typically, it followed a low ebb of spiritual life. Concerned Christians began praying earnestly and anticipating a new move of God’s Spirit.

Revival broke out at evangelistic meetings in Hamilton, Ontario in Canada during October 1857 with attendances at meetings reaching 6,000, and three or four hundred converted including many civic leaders. It was widely reported.

Jeremiah Lanphier, a city missioner, began a weekly noon prayer meeting in New York in September that year. By October it grew into a daily prayer meeting attended by many businessmen. Anticipation of revival grew, especially with the financial collapse that October after a year of depression. Materialism was shaken.

At the beginning of 1858 that Fulton Street prayer meeting had grown so much they were holding three simultaneous prayer meetings in the building and other prayer groups were starting in the city. By March newspapers carried front page reports of over 6,000 attending daily prayer meetings in New York, 6,000 attending them in Pittsburgh, and daily prayer meetings were held in Washington at five different times to accommodate the crowds.

Other cities followed the pattern. Soon a common midday sign on businesses read, ‘Will reopen at the close of the prayer meeting.’

By May, 50,000 of New York’s 800,000 people were new converts. A newspaper reported that New England was profoundly changed by the revival and in several towns no unconverted adults could be found!

In 1858 a leading Methodist paper reported these features of the revival: few sermons were needed, lay people witnessed, seekers flocked to the altar, nearly all seekers were blessed, experiences remained clear, converts had holy boldness, religion became a social topic, family altars were strengthened, testimony given nightly was abundant, and conversations were marked with seriousness.

Edwin Orr’s research revealed that in 185859 a million Americans were converted in a population of thirty million and at least a million Christians were renewed, with lasting results in church attendances and moral reform in society.

Charles Finney (17921875) became one of the most famous preachers of that era. A keen sportsman and young lawyer, he had a mighty empowering by God’s Spirit on the night of his conversion including a vision of Jesus. During the height of the revival he often saw the awesome holiness of God come upon people, not only in meetings but also in the community, bringing multitudes to repentance and conversion. Wherever he travelled, instead of bringing a song leader he brought a someone to pray, especially Father Nash. Finney taught theology at Oberlin College which pioneered coeducation and enrolled both blacks and whites. His ‘Lectures on Revival’ were widely read and helped to fan revival fire in America and England.

Revival swept Great Britain also. During September 1857, the same month the Fulton Street meetings began, four young Irishmen commenced a weekly prayer meeting in a village school near Kells. That is generally seen as the start of the Ulster revival of 1859 which brought 100,000 converts into the churches of Ireland. Through 1858 innumerable prayer meetings started, and revival was a common theme of preachers. God’s Spirit moved powerfully in small and large gatherings bringing great conviction of sin, deep repentance, and lasting moral change. Prostrations were common people lying prostrate in conviction and repentance, unable to rise for some time. By 1860 crime was reduced, judges in Ulster several times had no cases to try. At one time in County Antrim no crime was reported to the police and no prisoners were held in police custody.

Edwin Orr noted that this revival made a greater impact on Ireland than anything known since Patrick brought Christianity there. By the end of 1860 the effects of the Ulster revival were listed as thronged services, unprecedented numbers of communicants, abundant prayer meetings, increased family prayers, unmatched Scripture reading, prosperous Sunday Schools, converts remaining steadfast, increased giving, vice abated, and crime reduced.

Revival fire ignites fire. Throughout 1859 the same deep conviction and lasting conversions revived thousands of people in Wales, Scotland and England.

Revival in Wales found expression in glorious praise including harmonies unique to the Welsh which involved preacher and people in turn. There too, 100,000 converts (one tenth of the total population) were added to the church and crime was greatly reduced. Scotland and England were similarly visited with revival. Again, prayer increased enormously and preaching caught fire with many anointed evangelists seeing thousands converted. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, that prince of preachers, saw 1859 as the high water mark although he had already been preaching in London for five years with great blessing and huge crowds.

Twentieth Century

The early twentieth century Evangelical Awakening was a worldwide

movement. It did not begin with the phenomenal Welsh Revival of 190405. Rather its sources were in the springs of little prayer meetings which seemed to arise spontaneously all over the world, combining into streams of expectation which became a river of blessing in which the Welsh Revival became the greatest cataract (Orr 1975:192).

Wales

The Welsh Revival was the farthest reaching of the movements of the general Awakening, for it affected the whole of the Evangelical cause in India, Korea and China, renewed revival in Japan and South Africa, and sent a wave of awakening over Africa, Latin America, and the South Seas.

The story of the Welsh Revival is astounding. Begun with prayer meetings of less than a score of intercessors, when it burst its bounds the churches of Wales were crowded for more than two years.

A hundred thousand outsiders were converted and added to the churches, the vast majority remaining true to the end. Drunkenness was immediately cut in half, and many taverns went bankrupt.

Crime was so diminished that judges were presented with white gloves signifying that there were no cases of murder, assault, rape or robbery or the like to consider. The police became ‘unemployed’ in many districts. Stoppages occurred in coal mines, not due to unpleasantness between management and workers, but because so many foulmouthed miners became converted and stopped using foul language that the horses which hauled the coal trucks in the mines could no longer understand what was being said to them, and transportation ground to a halt (Orr 1975:193).

Touches of revival had stirred New Quay, Cardiganshire, where Joseph Jenkins was minister of a church in which he led teams of revived young people in conducting testimony meetings throughout the area. The Presbyterian evangelist, Seth Joshua, arrived there in September 1904 to find remarkable moves of the Spirit in his meetings.

On Sunday 18th, he reported that he had ‘never seen the power of the Holy Spirit so powerfully manifested among the people as at this place just now.’ His meetings lasted far into the night.

19th. Revival is breaking out here in greater power… the young people receiving the greatest measure of blessing. They break out into prayer, praise, testimony and exhortation.

20th … I cannot leave the building until 12 and even 1 o’clock in the morning I closed the service several times and yet it would break out again quite beyond control of human power.

21st. Yes, several souls … they are not drunkards or open sinners, but are members of the visible church not grafted into the true Vine … the joy is intense.

22nd. We held another remarkable meeting tonight. Group after group came out to the front, seeking the ‘full assurance of faith.’

23rd. I am of the opinion that forty conversions took place this week. I also think that those seeking assurance may be fairly counted as converts, for they had never received Jesus as personal Saviour before (Orr 1975c:3).

Seth Joshua then held meetings at Newcastle Emlyn at which students from the Methodist Academy attended, among them was Sidney Evans a room mate of Evan Roberts. The students, including Evan Roberts, attended the next Joshua meetings in Blaenannerch. There Seth Joshua closed his ministry on the Thursday morning crying out in Welsh, ‘Lord … bend us’ Evan Roberts went to the front, kneeling and fervently praying ‘Lord, bend me.’

Evan Roberts in his twenties was one of God’s agents in that national and worldwide revival.

‘For ten or eleven years I have prayed for revival,’ he wrote to a friend. ‘I could sit up all night to read or talk about revivals… It was the Spirit that moved me to think about a revival’ (Orr 1975:4).

This young miner who then became a blacksmith had attended church as a teenager on Sunday, prayer meeting Monday, youth meeting Tuesday, congregational meeting Wednesday, temperance meeting Thursday, and class meeting Friday. Saturday night was free, probably as bath night in preparation for Sunday!

He offered for the ministry in 1903. Before entering the Academy he had a deep encounter with God and had a vision of all Wales being lifted up to heaven. After this he regularly slept lightly till 1 am, woke for hours of communion with God, and then returned to sleep. He was convinced revival would touch all Wales and eventually led a small band all over the country praying and preaching.

In October 1904 in his first year at the Academy, after the impact of the Spirit on him at Seth Joshua’s meetings, he took leave to return home to challenge his friends, especially the young people.

The Spirit of God convicted people as Evan Roberts insisted:

1. You must put away any unconfessed sin.

2. You must put away any doubtful habit.

3. You must obey the Spirit promptly.

4. You must confess Christ publicly.

He believed that a baptism in the Spirit was the essence of revival and that the primary condition of revival is that individuals should experience such a baptism in the Spirit.

Evan Roberts travelled the Welsh valleys, often never preaching but sitting head-in-hands earnestly praying. In Neath he spent a week in prayer without leaving his rooms. The revival packed the churches out, but no one saw him all that week. He paid a price in prayer and tears.

Churches filled. The revival spread. Meetings continued all day as well as each night, often late into the night or through to morning. Crowds were getting right with God and with one another in confession, repentance and restitution of wrongs done. People prayed fervently and worshipped God with great joy. Police had so little to do they joined the crowds in the churches, sometimes forming singing groups. Cursing and profanity diminished so much it caused slowdowns in the mines because the pit ponies could no longer understand their instructions and stood still, confused.

Oswald Smith described it this way:

It was 1904. All Wales was aflame. The nation had drifted far from God. The spiritual conditions were low indeed. Church attendance was poor and sin abounded on every side.  Suddenly, like an unexpected tornado, the Spirit of God swept over the land. The churches were crowded so that multitudes were unable to get in. Meetings lasted from ten in the morning until twelve at night. Three definite services were held each day.

Evan Roberts was the human instrument, but there was very little preaching. Singing, testimony and prayer were the chief features.  There were no hymn books, they had learned the hymns in childhood; no choir, for everybody sang; no collection, and no advertising.

Nothing had ever come over Wales with such far reaching results.  Infidels were converted; drunkards, thieves and gamblers saved; and thousands reclaimed to respectability. Confessions of awful sins were heard on every side. Old debts were paid. The theatre had to leave for want of patronage. Mules in coal mines refused to work, being unused to kindness! In five weeks, twenty thousand people joined the churches (Olford 1968:67).

News of that revival, and many people who had been involved, soon spread around the world. ‘The Welsh Revival was the farthest reaching of the movements of the general Awakening, for it affected the whole of the Evangelical cause in India, Korea and China, renewed revival in Japan and South Africa, and sent a wave of awakening over Africa, Latin America, and the South Seas’ (Orr 1975:193).

Half a century later a similar move of God, but on a smaller scale, was stirring the Hebrides.

Hebrides

Following the trauma of World War II, spiritual life was at a low ebb in the Scottish Hebrides. By 1949 Peggy and Christine Smith (84 and 82) had prayed constantly for revival in their cottage near Barvas village on the Isle of Lewis, the largest of the Hebrides Islands in the bleak north west of Scotland. God showed Peggy in a dream that revival was coming. Months later, early one winter’s morning as the sisters were praying, God give them an unshakeable conviction that revival was near.

Peggy asked her minister James Murray Mackay to call the church leaders to prayer. Three nights a week the leaders prayed together for months. One night, having begun to pray at 10 pm, a young deacon from the Free Church read Psalm 24 and challenged everyone to be clean before God. As they waited on God his awesome presence swept over them in the barn at 4 am

Mackay invited Duncan Campbell to come and lead meetings. Within two weeks he came. God had intervened and changed Duncan’s plans and commitments. At the close of his first meeting in the Presbyterian church in Barvas the travel weary preacher was invited to join an all night prayer meeting! Thirty people gathered for prayer in a nearby cottage. Duncan Campbell described it:

God was beginning to move, the heavens were opening, we were there on our faces before God. Three o’clock in the morning came, and GOD SWEPT IN. About a dozen men and women lay prostrate on the floor, speechless. Something had happened; we knew that the forces of darkness were going to be driven back, and men were going to be delivered. We left the cottage at 3 am to discover men and women seeking God. I walked along a country road, and found three men on their faces, crying to God for mercy. There was a light in every home, no one seemed to think of sleep (Whittaker 1984:159).

When Duncan and his friends arrived at the church that morning it was already crowded. People had gathered from all over the island, some coming in buses and vans. No one discovered who told them to come. God led them. Large numbers were converted as God’s Spirit convicted multitudes of sin, many lying prostrate, many weeping. After that amazing day in the church, Duncan pronounced the benediction, but then a young man began to pray aloud. He prayed for 45 minutes. Again the church filled with people repenting and the service continued till 4 am the next morning before Duncan could pronounce the benediction again.

Even then he was unable to go home to bed. As he was leaving the church a messenger told him, ‘Mr. Campbell, people are gathered at the police station, from the other end of the parish; they are in great spiritual distress.

Can anyone here come along and pray with them?’ Campbell went and what a sight met him. Under the still starlit sky he found men and women on the road, others by the side of a cottage, and some behind a peat stack all crying to God for mercy. The revival had come.

That went on for five weeks with services from early morning until late at night or into the early hours of the morning.

Then it spread to the neighbouring parishes.  What had happened in Barvas was repeated over and over again. Duncan Campbell said that a feature of the revival was the overwhelming sense of the presence of God. His sacred presence was everywhere. (Whittaker 1984:160).

That move of God in answer to prevailing prayer continued in the area into the fifties and peaked again on the previously resistant island of North Uist in 1957. Meetings were again crowded and night after night people cried out to God for salvation.

Similar revivals have catapulted the church into amazing growth throughout this century. The story is too vast to tell. A few highlights indicate something of this miraculous work of God.

North America

Many visitations of God have touched North America this century. Some, such as the following, have been widely reported.

Azusa Street, 19061913

William J. Seymour, a Negro, studied in Charles Parham’s Bible School in Topeka, Kansas where on 1 January 1901 Agnes Ozman had spoken in tongues as did half of the 34 students. Those events have been seen as the beginning of Pentecostalism in America.

Elder William Seymour began The Apostolic Faith Mission located at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles on Easter Saturday, 14 April 1906 with about 100 attending including blacks and whites. It grew out of a cottage prayer meeting.

At Azusa, services were long, and on the whole they were spontaneous. In its early days music was a cappella, although one or two instruments were included at times. There were songs, testimonies given by visitors or read from those who wrote in, prayer, altar calls for salvation or sanctification or for baptism in the Holy Spirit. And there was preaching. Sermons were generally not prepared in advance but were typically spontaneous.

W. J. Seymour was clearly in charge, but much freedom was given to visiting preachers. There was also prayer for the sick. Many shouted. Others were ‘slain in the Spirit’ or fell under the power. There were periods of extended silence and of singing in tongues.  No offerings were collected, but there was a receptacle near the door for gifts.  …

Growth was quick and substantial. Most sources indicate the presence of about 300350 worshippers inside the forty-by-sixty-foot whitewashed woodframe structure, with others mingling outside… At times it may have been double that.  …  The significance of Azusa was centrifugal as those who were touched by it took their experiences elsewhere and touched the lives of others. Coupled with the theological threads of personal salvation, holiness, divine healing, baptism in the Spirit with power for ministry, and an anticipation of the imminent return of Jesus Christ, ample motivation was provided to assure the revival a long term impact’ (Burgess & McGee 1988:3136).

Asbury College, 1970

A revival broke out in Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, on Tuesday 3 February 1970. The regular morning chapel commencing at 10 o’clock saw God move on the students in such a way that many came weeping to the front to kneel in repentance, others gave testimonies including confession of sin, and all this was mixed with spontaneous singing. Lectures were cancelled for the day as the auditorium filled with over 1,000 people. Few left for meals. By midnight over 500 still remained praying and worshipping. Several hundred committed their lives to Christ that day. By 6 am next morning 75 students were still praying in the hall, and through the Wednesday it filled again as all lectures were again cancelled for the day. The time was filled with praying, singing, confessions and testimonies.

As they continued in prayer that week many students felt called to share what was happening with other colleges and churches. Invitations were coming from around the country as news of the revival spread. So teams went out from the next weekend to tell the story and give their testimonies. Almost half the student body of 1000 was involved in the teams witnessing about the revival.

In the first week after the revival began teams of students visited 16 states by invitation and saw several thousand conversions through their witnessing. After six weeks over 1,000 teams had gone from the college to witness, some of these into Latin America with finance provided by the home churches of the students. In addition, the neighbouring Theological Seminary sent out several hundred teams of their students who had also been caught up in this revival.

Those remaining at the college prayed for the teams and heard their reports on their return. Wherever teams went the revival spread. The college remained a centre of the revival with meetings continuing at night and weekends there along with spontaneous prayer groups meeting every day. Hundreds of people kept coming to the college to see this revival and participate in it. They took reports and their own testimonies of changed lives back to their churches or colleges. So the revival spread.

The Jesus People, 1971

By June 1971 revival movements had spilled over into the society with thousands of young people gathering in halls and theatres to sing, witness and repent, quitting drugs and immorality. The pendulum had swung from the permissive hippie dropouts of the sixties to a new wave of conversion and cleansing in the seventies. Time magazine carried a cover article on the Jesus Movement.

Such national attention also attracted cultic followers of the movement, but amid the extremes a powerful revival movement kept spreading. Mass baptisms were held in the ocean with outdoor meetings and teams witnessing on the beaches and in the city streets. New church groups such as Calvary Chapel and its many offshoots emerged which did not fit traditional denominations. People turned up to these churches in bare feet and old clothes as well as more traditional attire. Witnessing and evangelism burst spontaneously from lives changed by the love and power of God.

Canada, 1971

Wilbert (Bill) McLeod, a Baptist minister in his mid-fifties, had seen many people healed in answer to prayer, often praying with a group of deacons. Bill invited the twin evangelists Ralph and Lou Sutera to speak at his church in Saskatoon. Revival broke out with their visit which began on Wednesday 13 October 1971. By the weekend an amazing spirit gripped the people. Many confessed their sins publicly. The first to do so were the twelve counsellors chosen to pray with inquirers. Numbers grew rapidly till the meetings had to be moved to a larger church building and then to the Civic Auditorium seating 2000. The movement spread to other churches.

The meetings lasted many hours. People did not want to leave. Some stayed on for a later meeting called the Afterglow. Here people received prayer and counsel from the group as they continued to worship God and pray together. Humble confession of sin and reconciliations were common. Many were converted.

Taxi drivers became amazed that people were getting cabs home from church late into the night or early into the morning. Others were calling for taxis to take them to church late into the night as they were convicted by the Lord.

Young people featured prominently. Almost half those converted were young. They gave testimonies of lives that had been cleaned up by God and how relationships with their families were restored. The atmosphere in schools and colleges changed from rebellion and cheating to cooperation with many Bible study and prayer groups forming in the schools and universities.

Criminals were also confessing their sins and giving themselves up to the police. Restitution was common. People payed long overdue bills. Some businesses opened new accounts to account for the conscience money being paid to them. Those who cheated at restaurants or hotels returned to pay their full bill. Stolen goods were returned.

In November a team went to Winnepeg and told of the revival at a meeting for ministers. The Holy Spirit moved powerfully and many broke down confessing their sins. Rivalries and jealousies were confessed and forgiven. Many went home to put things right with their families. The ministers took this fire back into their churches and the revival spread there also with meetings going late into the night as numbers grew and hundreds were converted or restored.

Sherwood Wirt (1975:46) reported on Bill McLeod preaching at Winnepeg on 15 December 1971:

I confess that what I saw amazed me. This man preached for only fifteen minutes, and he didn’t even give an invitation! He announced the closing hymn, whereupon a hundred people came out of their seats and knelt at the front of the church. All he said was, That’s right, keep coming!

Many were young. Many were in tears. All were from the Canadian Midwest, which is not known for its euphoria.

It could be said that what I was witnessing was revival.

I believe it was.

Bill McLeod and a team of six brought the revival to the eastern Canada when they were invited to speak at the Central Baptist Seminary in Toronto. The meeting there began at 10 am and went through till 1.15 am next morning. Dinner was cancelled as no one wanted to leave. They did stop for supper, then went on again.

When the Sutera brothers commenced meetings in Vancouver on the West Coast on Sunday 5 May 1972 revival broke out there also in the Ebenezer Baptist Church with 2,000 attending that first Sunday. The next Sunday 3,000 people attended in two churches. After a few weeks five churches were filled.

The revival spread in many churches across Canada and into northern U S A especially in Oregon. Everywhere the marks of the revival included honesty before God and others, with confession of sin and an outpouring of the love of God in those who repented.

The German speaking churches were also touched by the revival and by May 1972 they chartered a flight to Germany for teams to minister there.

The Afterglow meetings were common everywhere in the revival. After a meeting had finished those who wanted to stay on for prayer did so. Usually each person desiring prayer knelt at a chair and others laid hands on them and prayed for them. Many repented and were filled with the Spirit in the Afterglow meetings which often went to midnight or later.

Vineyard Fellowships

In 1977 John Wimber began pastoring the fellowship of about 40 people which had been commenced by his wife, Carol. It later became the headquarters of the Vineyard Christian Fellowships. John preached from Luke’s gospel and began to pray for healings with no visible results for nine months although the worship and evangelism attracted many people. Then healings began to happen and became a regular part of Vineyard ministry.

In 1980 the congregation had an experience of corporate renewal.  On the evening of Mothers’ Day a young man who had been attending the church gave a testimony and asked those under twenty-five to come forward. He then invoked the Holy Spirit and the young people about 400 of them fell to the floor, weeping, wailing and speaking in tongues.

Wimber and the rest of the congregation had never experienced anything like that before (Gunstone 1989:11).

A revival had begun. In the next four months they baptized 700 new converts. They began ministering in the Spirit’s power in new ways and healings became a regular part of their church’s life and their international teaching ministry. The church grew to 6,000 in a decade and commenced many other Vineyard fellowships.

Latin America

Peter Wagner’s research describes Latin American Protestants growing from 50,000 in 1900 to over 5 million in the 1950s, over 10 million in the 1960s, over 20 million in the 1970s, around 50 million by the end of the eighties and a projected 137 million by 2000. Over 100 new churches begin every week.

Pentecostals are the biggest proportion of this growth. One quarter of the Protestants were Pentecostal by the 1950s; three quarters by the 1980s. By then 90% of Protestants in Chile were Pentecostal (Wagner 1986:27).

Edward Miller tells of revival breaking out in Argentina from 1948. After he prayed earnestly for months, God told him to call his little church of 8 people to prayer every night from 8 pm to midnight. On the fourth night as they obeyed God the Holy Spirit fell on them. They heard the sound of strong wind. The church soon filled. There was much weeping, confessing and praying. By Saturday teams were going out and ministering in the Spirit’s power.

* Two teenage girls wept as they walked down the street and met two doctors who mocked, but listened to their testimonies, were convicted, and knelt asking for prayer.

* Two young people visited a lady whose mother was paralyzed and had been in bed for 5 years. They prayed for her, and she got up and drank tea with them.

* Two elderly people visited man in coma, a cripple with his liver damaged from drink. They prayed for him and he was healed.

A young rebel, Alexander and his band came to mock at one of the services aiming to disrupt it. God convicted him and he repented, so the other rebels rose to leave but fell under the Spirit’s power on the way out. All were converted. Two went to the Bible Training Institute.

Later, when Edward Miller was teaching at the Bible Training Institute in the small town of City Bell near Buenos Aires, he was led to cancel teaching there and call the school to prayer.

The move of God in that Institute began in an unusual way on 4 June 1951. Alexander, now in Bible School, was still in prayer outside in fields long after midnight when he sensed a strange feeling of something pressing down upon him, an great light surrounding him and a heavenly being enfolding him. The boy was terrified and fled back to the Institute.

The heavenly visitor entered the Institute with him, and in a few moments all the students were awake with the fear of God upon them. They began to cry out in repentance as God by his Spirit dealt with them. The next day the Spirit of God came again upon Alexander as he was given prophecies of God’s moving in far off countries. The following day Alexander again saw the Lord in the Spirit, but this time he began to speak slowly and distinctly the words he heard from the angel of God. No one could understand what he was saying, however, until another lad named Celsio (with even less education than Alexander), overcome with the Spirit of God markedly upon him, began to interpret. These communications (written because he choked up when he tried to talk) were a challenge from God to pray and indeed the Institute became a centre of prayer till the vacation time, when teams went out to preach the kingdom.  It was the beginning of new stirrings of the Spirit across the land (Pytches 1989:4951).

The Bible Institute continued in prayer for 4 months, 810 hours a day, weeping. Bricks became saturated; one young man prayed against the wall daily, weeping. After 6 hours the tear stains reached the floor, and after 8 hours had formed a puddle on floor. The Lord gave them prophecies of revival in Argentina and around the world. They were told the largest auditoriums would be filled, and this happened with the visit of Tommy Hicks to Argentina.

Tommy Hicks was involved in revival in Latin America. In 1952 he was conducting a series of meetings in California when God showed him a vision. While he was praying he saw a map of South America covered with a vast field of golden wheat ripe for harvesting. The wheat turned into human beings calling him to come and help them.

He wrote in his Bible a prophecy he received about going by air to that land before two summers passed. Three months later, after an evangelistic crusade, a pastor’s wife in California gave that same prophecy to him that he had written down. Cash began to arrive till he had enough to buy a one way air ticket to Buenos Aires. On his way there after meetings in Chile, the word Peron came to his mind. He asked the air stewardess if she knew what it meant. She told him Peron was the President of Argentina. After he made an appointment with the Minister of Religion, wanting to see the President, he prayed for the Minister’s secretary who was limping. He was healed. So the Minister made an appointment for Hicks to see the President. Through prayer the President was healed of an ugly eczema and gave Hicks the use of a stadium and free access to the state radio and press. The crusade was a spiritual breakthrough.

Brazil also had revival. Edwin Orr visited each of the 25 states and territories in Brazil in 1952 seeing powerful moves of the spirit in his meetings which were supported by all denominations. The evangelical church council declared that the year of 1952 saw the first of such a general spiritual awakening in the country’s history. Many meetings had to be moved into soccer stadiums, some churches increased in numbers by 50% in one week, and the revival movement continued in local churches in Brazil.

Many congregations in Latin America now are huge. By the eighties the Brazil for Christ Church in Sao Paulo seated 25,000 on a mile and a half of benches. The Jotabeche Methodist Pentecostal Church of Santiago in Chile has over 90,000 members. One of the largest fellowships in Argentina is the Vision of the Future church pastored by Omar and Marfa Cabrera and a committed team of leaders. They had 30,000 in 1979. That grew to over 145,000 by 1988. The Cabreras have a powerful personal and mass deliverance ministry, taking authority over demons in areas and in people.

Small rural churches spring up across the continent far outstripping the provision of trained leadership. By the 1960s the Presbyterians of Guatemala had initiated Theological Education by Extension, including weekly local seminars for onthejob leadership development. This pattern is spreading worldwide in distance education programs.

1988 saw astounding revival in Cuba. The Pentecostals, Baptists, independent evangelical churches and some Methodist and Nazarene churches experienced powerful revival. One Assemblies of God church had around 100,000 visit it in six months, many coming in bus loads. One weekend they had 8,000 visitors, and on one day the four pastors (including two youth pastors) prayed with over 300 people.

In central Cuba, a miraculous healing took place at a 150 seat chapel at the beginning of a nine-day mission. The repercussions were so astounding that at one time 5,000 people crowded into the chapel. During those nine days, 1,200 people became Christians, and there were further healings. The two pastors were put in prison, but Cuban believers commented, ‘Although the authorities stopped this crusade, they cannot stop the Holy Spirit.’ Revival spread to the rest of Cuba (Mills 1990:18).

In many Pentecostal churches the lame walked, the blind saw, the deaf heard, and people’s teeth were filled. Often 2,000 to 3,000 attended meetings. In one evangelical church over 15,000 people accepted Christ in three months. A Baptist pastor reported signs and wonders occurring continuously with many former atheists and communists testifying to God’s power. So many have been converted that churches cannot hold them so they must met in house churches.

In Cuba in 1990, an Assemblies of God pastor whose congregation never exceeded 100 people meeting once a week suddenly found himself conducting 12 services per day for 7,000 people. They started queuing at 2.00 am and even broke down doors just to get into the prayer meetings (Robinson 1992:14).

Africa

The church in Africa has grown from around 10 million in 1900 to over 200 million in the 1980s and over 300 million now. By 2000 that number is expected reach 400 million, half the population. In the early 1900s one out of every 13,000 were Christians; now one out of three are reported as being Christians.

Africa has seen many powerful revivals, such as the Belgian Congo outpouring with C T Studd in 1914. ‘The whole place was charged as if with an electric current. Men were falling, jumping, laughing, crying, singing, confessing and some shaking terribly,’ he reported. ‘As I led in prayer the Spirit came down in mighty power sweeping the congregation. My whole body trembled with the power. We saw a marvellous sight, people literally filled and drunk with the Spirit.’

Between 1946 and 1949 the Belgian Congo experienced a further visitation of God. It followed much prayer and fasting. Visions were common. Multitudes repented. Witch doctors burned their charms and became Christian.

Following independence in 1960 that country, then called Zaire, experienced a blood bath at the hands of rebels. Over 30 missionaries were martyred in Zaire in 19601965 as were hundreds of pastors and thousands of their members. Whole congregations were wiped out. In one place the Christians were driven into a church building and all burned alive. Yet the persecuted church of Zaire saw a remarkable revival. Born in agonizing prayer and fanned by supernatural visitations of God, it grew in a powerful underground movement. The people, appalled at the killings, turned to God in thousands.

As the troubles subsided there was an extraordinary revival.

More than one rebel said, ‘The more we kill these Christians the more they multiply. They have got a power we haven’t got.’

Disillusioned with politics, there was a sudden wholesale turning to God among the people. A Congolese pastor revealed, ‘During the long period when we were cut off from the missionaries we had a remarkable visitation of the Spirit of God. The pastors of our district had been fasting and praying because of the bloodshed and persecutions. As we were praying the Spirit descended on us in a wonderful way and His gifts operated among us. He told us many things in prophecy which have all come true. The Holy Spirit began to convict of sin as we went back to our churches to preach, and streams of men and women believed on the Lord Jesus and confessed their sins exactly as in Acts 19:1720, bringing their heathen charms. This revival lasted eight months.’ This was repeated throughout the great area of the Zaire Evangelical Mission; revival broke out everywhere and thousands upon thousands were converted and added to the churches (Whittaker 1984:117).

Similarly, persecution in Uganda for eight terrible years following Idi Amin’s coup in 1971, saw the church refined and aflame. In those years the Christians increased from 52% to around 70% of the twelve million population.

Many African revivals experience supernatural manifestations, visions, prophecies, and healings. For 40 years there has been continuous revival in East Africa. Revivals include a powerful move of God in Ethiopia in 1978. Revived Christians survived the Mau Mau massacres in Kenya and the church continued to grow. For example, 700 new churches began in Kenya in 1980 alone, a rate of about two a day. Nigeria experienced revivals in 19831984, accelerating church growth there (Pratney 1984:2678).

Outstanding leaders have emerged including men such as the Zulu Nicholas Bhengu. Fluent in Zulu, Xhosa, English and Afrikaans, this dynamic leader of the Back to God Crusade moved across southern Africa for 40 years and started over 1,000 churches through the mighty outpourings of the Holy Spirit.

Reinhard Bonnke, a German evangelist called to Africa, has led amazing crusades filled with the power of God in which thousands are converted, healed and delivered of evil spirits. His multiracial team in Christ For All Nations crusades ministered in a 10,000 seat tent which was often too small. In 1980 alone 100,000 people made commitments to Christ in his crusades, and those huge numbers have continued and increased each year since. In 1983 he erected a tent which seats 30,000 with which he plans to lead missions from Cape Town to Cairo.

The New Life for All movement challenges Christians to pray daily for ten people until each becomes a Christian. They tell those people of their daily prayers for them. As each is converted a new name is added to the list to keep it at ten. The new convert does the same, praying daily for ten others. That simple commitment has fuelled revival in Africa.

India

The turn of the century prepared the way for revival movements in India. From 1895 the first Saturday of each month was set aside in Bombay for prayer for revival, and other centres followed this pattern. Revival came in 1905, again linked with world wide outpourings as in Wales.

Distress caused by famine in 1904 also caused Christians to pray all over India. As news of revival in Wales reached India, and returning missionaries told of God’s move there, expectation and prayer grew across India.

Revival moved in groups across Eastern India especially among the tribal people. Revival swept through the Khasi hills and among the Garos to their west and into the Naga Hills. It turned the hills people from head hunters into predominantly Christian within a generation. Bengal was also touched by the revival as news from the north motivated Christians to pray, repent and believe.

Any Carmichael wrote of revival in Dohnavur, especially among the young people. They experienced deep repentance and conversion in large numbers.

The awakening in Kerala among Anglicans and Mar Thoma Christians produced simultaneous audible prayer, alien to their normal traditions. At one convention 17,000 broke into simultaneous audible prayer.

Pandita Ramabai heard of revivals and commenced special prayer circles with hundreds of her helpers and friends at Mukti from the beginning of 1905. This movement spread first among the girls and women, touching thousands. It spilled over into the community. It spread with teams visiting Poona 40 miles away. Churches in Bombay were revived and filled with new vigour.

Revival affected India most strongly in the South and East, but North India also saw God’s power change lives. John Hyde, known as Praying Hyde, spent days and nights in prayer with friends for revival in India. In schools, a seminary and then in conventions among the resistant Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus of North East India the revival spread. The Sialkot annual conventions grew in numbers and impact. A young Sikh named Sundar Singh had a vision of Jesus on 18 December 1904 and was converted. He became a Christian Sadhu mystic and evangelist in India and Tibet.

Orr (1975:156) notes that ‘in the 1905 Revival, independence of the national Church was stressed, for, in the aftermath of revival, new men were ready for new work in new fields, men who had formerly been agents and employees of the Missions now were carrying revival and evangelism to the villages.’

Korea

The first Protestant missionaries went to Korea in the 1880s. By the 1980s one quarter of South Koreans were Christian. In 1980 Here’s Life Korea crusade drew 2,700,000, the largest single Christian meetings in history.

Revival in Korea broke out in the nation in 1907. Presbyterian missionaries, hearing of revival in Wales, and of a similar revival among Welsh Presbyterian work in Assam, prayed earnestly for the same in Korea. 1500 representatives gathered for the annual New Year Bible studies in which a spirit of prayer broke out. The leaders allowed everyone to pray aloud simultaneously as so many were wanting to pray, and that became a characteristic of Korean prayer meetings.

The meetings carried on day after day, with confessions of sins, weeping and trembling. The heathen were astounded. The delegates of the New Year gathering returned to their churches taking with them this spirit of prayer which strongly impacted the churches of the nation with revival. Everywhere conviction of sin, confession and restitution were common.

Brutal persecution at the hands of the Japanese and then the Russian and Chinese communists saw thousands killed, but still the church grew in fervent prayer. Prior to the Russian invasion thousands of North Koreans gathered every morning at 5 am Sometimes 10,000 were gathered in one place for prayer each morning.

Early morning daily prayer meetings became common, as did nights of prayer especially on Friday nights, and this emphasis on prayer has continued as a feature of church life in Korea. Over a million gather every morning around 5 am for prayer in the churches. Prayer and fasting is normal. Churches have over 100 prayer retreats in the hills called Prayer Mountains to which thousands go to pray, often with fasting. Healings and supernatural manifestations continue.

Now the city of Seoul has 6,000 churches, many huge. Koreans have sent over 10,000 missionaries into other Asian countries.

David Yonggi Cho has amazing growth in Seoul where he is senior pastor of a Full Gospel church of 800,000 with over 25,000 home cell groups, and 12,000 conversion every month. During the week over 3,000 a day and over 5,000 at weekends pray at their prayer mountain.

China

In 1950, missionaries expelled from China left behind one million evangelical Christians, and three million Catholics. Conservative figures run from 50 to 80 million Christians in China now and some Asian researchers report 100 million Christians estimated out of 960 million population. This underground revival spread through thousands of house churches. Miracles, healings, visions and supernatural interventions of God marked this outpouring of the Spirit.

Many suffered and died in persecution. David Wang tells of a pastor imprisoned for over 22 years who left behind a church of 150 people scattered through the hill villages in northern China. On his release in the 1980s he discovered the church in that area had grown to 5,000. Three years later it had trebled to 15,000.

Mama Kwong, exiled in Japan because of her virile Christian leadership, tells how over 30 years she helped to lead one million to the Lord through preaching and home cell meetings. She was imprisoned three times. Such leaders often faced long imprisonment or martyrdom, and her own son and others were nailed alive to church walls. The blood of the martyrs is still the seed of the church in China.

Mama Kwong says that during those days [1960s], God chose three hundred dedicated Christians to start a new church. As they gathered at 3 am one morning, they saw a vision of the Lord and clearly heard His voice saying, ‘Although Communism is evil, I will open the door and no one will shut it.’ As the three hundred went out and shared the gospel, tremendous miracles began to happen. Whole towns and villages turned to Christ’ (Whittaker 1984:153).

A Hong Kong and China Report of March 1991 produced by the Revival Christian Church tells of continuing opposition and imprisonment, but also of astounding church growth.

In 1989 preachers from Henan province visited North Anhul province and found several thousand believers in care of an older pastor from Shanghai. On the first night of their meetings that winter with 1,000 present 30 people were baptized. First was a lady who had convulsions if she went into cold water. She was healed of that and other ills and found the water warm. A twelve year old boy, deaf and dumb, was baptized and spoke, ‘Mother, Father, the water is not cold the water is not cold.’ A lady nearly 90, disabled after an accident in her twenties, was completely healed in the water. By the third and fourth night over 1,000 were baptized.

A young man who has been leading teams since he was 17, reported in 1990 at the age of 20: ‘When the church first sent us out to preach the Gospel, after two to three months of ministering we usually saw 2030 converts. But now it is not 20. It is 200, 300, and often 600 or more will be converted.’

In 12 March 1991, the South China Morning Post, acknowledged there were one million Christians in central Henan province, many having made the previously unheard of decision to voluntarily withdraw from the party. ‘While political activities are cold-shouldered, religious ones are drawing large crowds.’

Asia Outreach reported that Outer Mongolia had four known Christians by the beginning of 1991. That grew to over 70 by August, and many churches and a Bible school have been established since then.

Russia

In 1990, the Soviet Union acknowledged before its demise that 90 million of its 290 million inhabitants confess allegiance to a church or religious community. Christians have estimated over 97 million were Christian (Pratney 1984:273).

Sergie Kordakov, a teenage thug leader of tough marines, worked for the KGB including breaking up house churches or Christian home groups, arresting the pastors and beating the Christians, especially any young people found there. He was eventually converted through the witness of a young girl Natasha who kept coming to home groups in spite of being bashed. He noted how a secret revival was sweeping Russia involving many young people as well as older Christians.

Another young man, Vanya saw God’s miraculous protection and intervention in his military service where he unashamedly witnessed to his faith in God, before his mysterious death..

The earnest prayers of suffering Christians through most of this century has been a significant part in more recent freedom to worship God experienced in Russia and its neighbours. Reports from Russia have included huge numbers turning to Christ recently. In 1991, for example, 70,000 out of 90,000 made commitments to Christ in an evangelism rally in Leningrad. Churches are packed. All available Bibles are sold.

Nepal (Himalayas)

Nepal has been traditionally resistant to Christianity. That is changing. David Wang (Asian Report, May/June 1991) tells of a former Lama priest, illiterate, who has been a pastor for 13 years and pastors 43 fellowships with total of 32,000 people. Another pastor oversees 40,000 people. Most conversions in Nepal involve casting out demons.

Burma

Missionaries were expelled from Burma in the 1960s but the church continues to grow. The largest known baptismal service in the world happened there at the Kachin Baptist Centenial Convention in 1977 with 6,000 baptized in one day.

Cambodia

In September 1973 Todd Burke arrived in Cambodia on a one week visitor’s visa. Just 23 years old, he felt a strong call from God to minister there, the only charismatic missionary in the country. Beginning with two English classes a day, conducted through an interpreter, he taught from the Good News Bible. Those interested in knowing more about Jesus stayed after class and he saw daily conversions and people filled with the Spirit and healed. Revival broke out in the war torn capital of Phnom Penh and rapidly spread to surrounding areas.

During that September Todd’s wife DeAnn joined him, they received permission to stay in the country, and mounted a three day crusade in a stadium where thousands attended and hundreds were saved and healed supernaturally. A powerful church spread through a network of small house churches. Todd met with the leaders of these groups at early morning prayer meetings every day at 6 am Most pastors were voluntary workers holding normal jobs. Some cycled in from the country and returned for work each morning. Healings, miracles and deliverance from demonic powers were regular events, attracting new converts who in turn were filled with the power of the Spirit and soon began witnessing and praying for others.

When the country fell to the communists in 1975 the Burkes had to leave. They left behind an amazing church anointed by the power of God before it was buried by going underground to survive. They recorded their story of those two years of revival in Anointed for Burial (1977).

Indonesia

The Spirit of God brought revival to Indonesia during the troubled and politically uncertain times there in the sixties. Much of it happened outside the established church, with a later acceptance of it in some churches. Thousands of Moslems were converted, the biggest Christian impact on Islam in history.

A Bible School in East Java experienced revival with deep repentance, confession, renunciation of occult practices, burnings of fetishes and amulets and a new humility and unity among staff and students. The Lord led individual students and teams in powerful evangelism in many islands.

A team visited Timor and saw evidences of revival beginning which burst into unprecedented power in September 1965. This revival spread in the uncertain days following the attempted army coup on 30 September, 1965 in Indonesia. Four days previously a visitation from God had begun in Timor.

A rebellious young man had received a vision of the Lord who commanded him to repent, burn his fetishes, and confess his sins in church. He did. He attended the Reformed Church in Soe, a mountain town of about 5,000 people, where the revival broke out at that service on Sunday 26 September 1965. People heard the sound of a tornado wind. Flames on the church building prompted police to set off the fire alarm to summon the volunteer fire fighters. Many people were converted that night. Many were filled with the Spirit including speaking in tongues, some in English. By midnight teams of lay people had been organized to begin spreading the gospel the next day. They gave themselves full time to visiting churches and villages and saw thousands converted with multitudes healed and delivered. In one town alone they saw 9,000 people converted in two weeks.

Another young man, Mel Tari witnessed this visitation of God and later became part of Team 42. Eventually, about 90 evangelistic teams were formed which functioned powerfully with spiritual gifts. Healings and evangelism increased dramatically. Specific directions from the Lord led the teams into powerful ministry with thousands becoming Christians. They saw many healings, miracles such as water being turned to nonalcoholic wine for communion, some instantaneous healings, deliverance from witchcraft and demonic powers, and some people raised from death through prayer.

The teams were often guided supernaturally including provision of light at night on jungle trails, angelic guides and protection, meagre supplies of food multiplied in pastors’ homes when a team ate together there during famines, and witch doctors being converted after they saw power encounters when the teams’ prayers banished demons rendering the witch doctors powerless.

The teams learned to listen to the Lord and obey him. His leadings came in many biblical ways:

1. God spoke audibly as with Samuel or Saul of Tarsus,

2. many had visions as did Mary or Cornelius,

3. there were inspired dreams such as Jacob, Joseph or Paul saw,

4. prophecies as in Israel and the early church occurred,

5. the Spirit led many as with Elijah or Paul’s missionary team,

6. the Lord often spoke through specific Bible verses,

7. circumstances proved to be God incidences not just coincidences,

8. often when leadings were checked with the group or the church the Lord gave confirmations and unity.

Mel Tari, Kurt Koch and others have told of the amazing revival in Indonesia. The Reformed Church Presbytery on Timor, for example, recorded 80,000 conversions from the first year of the revival there, half of those being former communists. They noted that some 15,000 people had been permanently healed in that year. After three years the number of converts had grown to over 200,000. On another island where there had been very few Christians 20,000 became believers in the first three years of the revival.

So often in times of great tribulation, political upheaval and bloodshed, the Spirit of the Lord moves most powerfully and the church grows most rapidly, as happens in many countries today.

Pacific Islands

Revival has been spreading in Pacific islands, especially in the Solomons. Teams have gone from there to other countries such as Papua New Guinea and helped to light revival fires around the Pacific.

Solomon Islands, 1970

Muri Thompson, a Maori evangelist from New Zealand, visited the Solomons in July and August 1970 where the church had already experienced significant renewal and was praying for revival. Many of these Christians were former warriors and cannibals gradually won to Christ in spite of initial hostility and the martyrdom of early missionaries and indigenous evangelists.

Beginning at Honiara, the capital, Muri spent two months visiting churches and centres on the islands. Initially the national leaders and missionaries experienced deep conviction and repentance, publicly acknowledging their wrong attitudes. It was very humbling. A new unity and harmony transformed their relationships, and little things which destroyed that unity were openly confessed with forgiveness sought and given.

Then in the last two weeks of these meetings the Spirit of God moved even more powerfully in the meetings with more deep repentance and weeping, sometimes even before the visiting team arrived. At one meeting the Spirit of God came upon everyone after the message in a time of silent prayer when the sound of a gale came above the gathering of 2000 people.

Multitudes were broken, melted and cleansed, including people who had been strongly opposed to the Lord. Weeping turned to joyful singing. Everywhere people were talking about what the Lord had done to them. Many received healings and deliverance from bondage to evil spirits. Marriages were restored and young rebels transformed.

Everywhere people were praying together every day. They had a new hunger for God’s Word. People were sensitive to the Spirit and wanted to be transparently honest and open with God and one another.

Normal lectures in the South Seas Evangelical Church Bible School were constantly abandoned as the Spirit took over the whole school with times of confession, prayer and praise.

Teams from these areas visited other islands, and the revival caught fire there also. Eventually pastors from the Solomons were visiting other Pacific countries and seeing similar moves of God there.

Western Highlands, Papua New Guinea, 1973

Prayer meetings began among pastors, missionaries and Bible College students in the Baptist mission area among Engas of the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea in the early 1970s owing to the low spiritual state in the churches. This prayer movement spread to the villages. In some villages people agreed to pray together everyday until God sent new life to the church.

During September 1973 pastors from the Solomon Islands and Enga students who were studying at the Christian Leaders Training College visited the Enga churches. Revival broke out in many villages on Sunday 16 September. Many hundreds of people, deeply convicted of sin, repented and were reconciled to God and others with great joy.

Pastors in one area held a retreat from Monday to Wednesday in a forest which previously had been sacred for animistic spirit worship. Others joined the pastors there. Healings reported included a lame man able to walk, a deaf mute who spoke and heard, and a mentally deranged girl restored.

Normal work stopped as people in their thousands hurried to special meetings. Prayer groups met daily, morning and evening. In the following months thousands of Christians were restored and thousands of pagans converted. The church grew in size and maturity (Vision magazine, 1973:46).

Duranmin, Papua New Guinea, 1977

Pastors from the Solomon Islands spoke about their revival at a pastors and leaders conference in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. Diyos Wapnok attended from the Baptist Mission area at Telefolmin. He heard God call his name three times in the night there and realised that the Lord was drawing his attention to some special challenge.

Later, on Thurdsay afternoon 10 March, 1977 at Duranmin in the rugged western highlands, where Diyos was the principal of the Sepik Baptist Bible College, while he spoke to about 50 people they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and great joy. Revival had begun. It spread through the area with vibrant new enthusiasm. Conversions, Bible studies, prayer and healings of many kinds were common. 3,000 were added to the church in 3 years. The church grew and was strengthened. This revival movement spread to other areas as Diyos and others told of what God was doing.

Sepik, Papua New Guinea, 1984

In the Sepik lowlands of northern Papua New Guinea a new visitation of God burst on the churches at Easter 1984, again sparked by Solomon Island pastors. It too was characterised by repentance, confession, weeping and great joy. Stolen goods were returned or replaced, and wrongs made right.

Ray Overend reports (1985:910):

I was preaching to an Easter convention at a place called Walahuta during the recent Sepik revival in Papua New Guinea. The words the Lord gave us were from Isaiah 6 …

After the last word of the message the whole church rose to its feet and clapped loudly something completely new to me! I knew they were not applauding me. They were acknowledging to God in praise the truth of his Word… Then I sat down in the only spare little space in the overcrowded church and the whole congregation began to sing one song after another…

Many faces were lifted to Heaven and many hands raised in humble adoration. The faces looked like the faces of angels. They were radiating light and joy. And then I noticed something.

Right beside me was a man who had heard the Word and now he just watched those radiant faces lost in praise. Then he hung his head and began to sob like a child. He was ministered to. Demons were cast out. And he received the Lord Jesus right into his heart.

Then he too began to clap in gentle joy.

But who was he? A pastor came over to tell me that he had been until this moment the leader of the Tambaran cult in the Walahuta area that Satanic cult of which the whole village lived in mortal fear and traditionally the whole of the Sepik

The man who was second in charge of the Tambaran cult in that area was also converted that day while he was listening to the worship from a distance as God’s love and power overcame him.

I will never forget June 14th, 1984. Revival had broken out in many churches around but Brugam itself [the headquarters], with many station staff and many Bible College and Secondary School students, was untouched. … Then early on Thursday night, the 14th, Judah Akesi, the Church Superintendent, invited some of us to his office for prayer. During that prayer time God gave him a vision. In the vision he saw many people bowed down in the front of the church building in the midst of a big light falling down from above just like rain.

So after the ministry of the Word that night Judah invited those who wanted to bring their whole heart and mind and life under the authority of Christ to come forward so that hands might be laid on them for prayer.

About 200 people surged forward. Many fell flat on their faces on the ground sobbing aloud. Some were shaking as spiritual battles raged within. There was quite some noise…

The spiritual battles and cries of contrition continued for a long time.  Then one after another in a space of about 3 minutes everybody rose to their feet, singing spontaneously as they rose.

They were free. The battle was won. Satan was bound. They had made Christ their King! Their faces looked to Heaven as they sang. They were like the faces of angels. The singing was like the singing of Heaven. Deafening, but sweet and reverent  (Overend 1986:3637).

The whole curriculum and approach at the Bible School for the area changed. Instead of traditional classes and courses, teachers would work with the school all day from prayer times early in the morning through Bible teaching followed by discussion and sharing times during the day to evening worship and ministry. The school became a community, seeking the Lord together.

Churches which have maintained a strong Biblical witness continue to stay vital and strong in evangelism and ministry, filled with the Spirit’s power. Christians learn to witness and minister in spiritual gifts, praying and responding to the leading of the Spirit.

Many received spiritual gifts they never had before. One such gift was the ‘gift of knowledge’ whereby the Lord would show Christians exactly where fetishes of ‘sanguma’ men were hidden.

Now in Papua New Guinea sanguma men (who subject themselves to indescribable ritual to be in fellowship with Satan) are able to kill by black magic… In fact the power of sanguma in the East Sepik province has been broken (Overend 1986:2324).

In 1986 a senior pastor from Manus Island came to the Sepik to attend a one year’s pastors’ course. He was filled with the Spirit.

Shortly afterwards he went to Ambunti with a team of students on outreach. There they were asked to pray for an injured child who couldn’t walk and later in the morning he saw her walking around the town. He came back to his course and said: ‘In my 35 years as a pastor on Manus I had never seen the power of God like this!’  (Overend 1986:38).

North Solomons, 1988

Jobson Misang, an indigenous youth worker in the United Church, wrote a letter reporting on a further revival movement in the North Solomons Province of Papua New Guinea in 1988:

Over the last eight weekends I have been fully booked to conduct weekend camps. So far about 3,500 have taken part in the studies of the ‘Living in the Spirit’ book. Over 2,000 have given their lives to Jesus Christ and are committed to live by the directions of the Spirit. This is living the Pentecost experience today!

These are some of the experiences taking place:

1. During small group encounters, under the directions of Spirit-filled leadership, people are for the first time identifying their spiritual gifts, and are changing the traditional ministry to body ministry.

2. Under constant prayers, visions and dreams are becoming a day to day experience which are being shared during meetings and prayed about.

3. Local congregations are meeting at 4 am and 6 am three days a week to pray, and studying the Scriptures is becoming a day to day routine. This makes Christians strong and alert.

4. Miracles and healings are taking place when believers lay hands on the sick and pray over them.

5. The financial giving of the Christians is being doubled. All pastors’ wages are supported by the tithe.

6. Rascal activities (crimes) are becoming past time events and some drinking clubs are being overgrown by bushes.

7. The worship life is being renewed tremendously. The traditional order of service is being replaced by a much more lively and participatory one. During praise and worship we celebrate by clapping, dancing, raising our hands to the King of kings, and we meditate and pray. When a word of knowledge is received we pray about the message from the Lord and encourage one another to act on it with sensitivity and love.

Problems encountered include division taking place within the church because of believers baptism, fault finding, tongues, objections to new ways of worship, resistance to testimonies, loss of local customs such as smoking or chewing beetlenut or no longer killing animals for sacrifices, believers spending so many hours in prayer and fasting and Bible studies, marriages where only one partner is involved and the other blames the church for causing divisions, pride creeping in when gifts are not used sensitively or wisely, and some worship being too unbalanced.

Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea, 1988

Johan van Bruggen, principal of a Lutheran Evangelist Training Centre near Kainantu in the Papua New Guinea highlands reported in newsletters on the beginnings of revival in their area:

There came Thursday 4 August, a miserable day weather wise,  although we had great joy during our studies. Evening devotions  not all students came, actually a rather small group. I too needed some inner encouragement to go as it was more comfortable near the fire.

We sang a few quiet worship songs. … Samson was leading the devotions. We had sung the last song and were waiting for him to start. Starting he did, but in an unusual way. He cried, trembled all over! … Then it spread. When I looked up again I saw the head prefect flat on the floor under his desk. I was praying in tongues off and on. It became quite noisy. Students were shouting! Should I stop it? Don’t hold back! It went on and one, with students praying and laughing and crying not quite following our planned program! We finally stood around the table, about twelve of us, holding hands. Some were absolutely like drunk, staggering and laughing! I heard a few students starting off in tongues and I praised the Lord. The rain had stopped, not so the noise. So more and more people came in and watched!

Not much sleeping that night! They talked and talked! And that was not the end. Of course the school has changed completely.

Lessons were always great, I thought, but have become greater still. Full of joy most of the time, but also with a tremendous burden. A burden to witness.

What were the highlights of 1988?

No doubt the actual outpouring of the Holy Spirit must come first.

It happened on August 4 when the Spirit fell on a group of students and staff, with individuals receiving the baptism of the Holy spirit on several occasions later on in the year. The school has never been the same again. As direct results we noticed a desire for holiness, a hunger for God’s Word which was insatiable right up till the end of the school year, and also a tremendous urge to go out and witness. Whenever they had a chance many of our students were in the villages with studies and to lead Sunday services. Prayer life deepened, and during worship services we really felt ourselves to be on holy ground.

[In 1989] Our 35 new students were again fascinated by the new life they discovered among the second year students. The Word of God did the rest. During the month of March real repentance took place. One week before Easter the Holy Spirit moved mightily among the students and staff. There was a lot of crying during that week. Each night the students met in small prayer groups.

The aim was to get them prepared to go out to seven small Easter camps that were planned for the Gazup area our area here around the school.

God’s Spirit really prepared them well! I have never seen and heard so much crying. Many students had listed all their sins. I must confess that some of these lists really shook me. There was witchcraft, magic, adultery, stealing, drunkenness. It once again showed me how deep and far the world has invaded the church today. There was tremendous relief as students were assured of forgiveness and were filled with the Holy Spirit.’

An example of how God used these students is the account of a young man, David, Markham Valley of the Eastern Highlands in Papua New Guinea who was studying at the Training School. He had a growing burden for his village of Waritzian which was known and feared as the centre of pagan occult practices.

During his studies he was concerned for his people who were not ready for the Lord’s return. He prayed much. As part of an outreach team he visited nearby villages and then went to his own people in May, 1989. They had already written to the Training School asking for him to come to teach them. He was concerned about the low spiritual life of the church. He spent a couple of days alone praying for them.

Then as he was teaching them they heard the sound of an approaching wind which filled the place. Many were weeping, confessing their sins. They burnt their fetishes used in sorcery. This had been a stronghold of those sanguma practices. Many people received various spiritual gifts including unusual abilities such as speaking English in tongues and being able to read the Bible. People met for prayer, worship and study every day and at night. These daily meetings continued.

Vanuatu, 196162, 199192

Paul Grant was involved in the early stirrings of revival in Vanuatu during 199612. He writes:

It is important to note the following components in the lead up to later visitation and reviving:

1. A shared concern of missionaries for revival.

2. A significantly developed interest in the quickening power of the Spirit among west Ambai church members and leaders through teaching of the Scriptures and news of revival and the power-works of the Spirit in other parts of the world, e.g. a series of talks on the East Africa revival, the Welsh revival, signs and wonders and healings as reported from the Apostolic Church in Papua New Guinea, and inspiring records in other magazines.

3. An emphasis on prayer meetings, both between missionaries and in local churches.

4. Regular and frequent prayers for a visitation of God’s Spirit by Apostolic Churches around the world. The first Monday night of each month was observed as a prayer night for worldwide missions.

5. Concentrated, sustained Scripture teaching in the classrooms of the primary school where students later would experience the power of God. …

Beginning in the Santo church on August 15th 1962 and continuing there and in churches on Ambae (commencing in Tafala village in October) over a period of about 12 weeks the power of God moved upon young people. There were many instances of glossolalia, healings, prophetic utterances, excitation, loud acclamations to God in public services, incidents of deep conviction of sin, conversions, restitutions, and other manifestations of holiness of life…  This visitation resulted in a liveliness not known before.

Initially it was mainly among young people. In later months and years it spread among all age groups and to my present knowledge was the first such visitation in the history of the Christian Church in Vanuatu.  My gratification centred upon the following particulars:

1. The Holy Spirit had animated and empowered a people who were well taught in the Scriptures. Records show a lift in spiritual vitality in all the village churches.

2. It brought the church as a whole into a more expressive, dynamic dimension and also a charismatic gift function.  They were much more able to gain victory over spirit forces so familiar to them.

3. It began to hasten the maturation processes in developing leadership.

4. The reality matched the doctrinal stand of the church.  There was now no longer a disparity.

5. It confirmed to me the very great importance of being ‘steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord forasmuch as you know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 15:58 AV).

6. It led to significant outreach in evangelism, both personal and group. …

In the following years some of the young men and women served God in evangelistic teams, school teaching, urban witness, government appointments, and as pastors and elders to their own people. One of them has with his wife been an effective missionary… in Papua New Guinea (Grant 1986:710).

More recent revival movements in Vanuatu have stirred parts of the church there, such as described in this letter from Ruth Rongo of Tongoa Island written on 28 August 1991:

I’ve just come back from an evangelism ministry. It lasted for three months. God has done many miracles. Many people were shocked by the power of the Holy Spirit. The blind received their sight, the lame walk, the sick were healed. All these were done during this evangelism ministry. We see how God’s promise came into action. The prophet Joel had said it. We people of Vanuatu say ‘The spirit of the Lord God is upon us because he has anointed us to preach the Gospel to the poor people of Vanuatu.’ Praise God for what he has done.

In where I live, my poor home, I also started a home cell prayer group. We’re aiming or our goal is that the revival must come in the church where I am. Please pray for me and also for the group.

Our prayer group usually meets on Sunday night, after the night meeting. We start at 10.30 pm and go to 1 or 3.30 am.  If we come closer to God He will also come close to us.  We spend time in listening and responding to God.

These revival movements continue to increase in the Pacific, especially as indigenous teams minister in other areas with the Spirit’s fire. The church grows stronger, even through opposition. Indigenous Christians live and minister in New Testament patterns from house to house, from village to village.

Australia

Powerful moves of God’s Spirit in Australia have included the Sunshine Revival in Melbourne from February 1925 and the aboriginal revival beginning in Galiwinku (Elcho Island) from March 1979.

Sunshine, 1925

Two young men in their twenties led the Sunshine Revival. Charles Greenwood began prayer meetings in his home in 1916 and the group completed building the Sunshine Gospel Hall in February 1925. A. C. Valdez, recently arrived from America, joined the group and became its leader that year. At first meetings were held on a Saturday and Sunday. Then they had a two week campaign. The hall was packed.

Charles Greenwood reported:

During this campaign the power of God was manifested in a mighty way sinners were converted; many believers were baptized in the Holy Spirit and healed. Soon the news spread that the Lord was pouring out His Spirit at Sunshine, and people came from near and far.  Over 200 Christians from all denominations were baptized in the Holy Spirit in this blessed outpouring of the ‘Latter Rain’  (Chant 1984:9091).

They established the Pentecostal Church of Australia following that campaign and public meetings were then held in the Prahran Town Hall because of the crowds. Later that year they moved into Richmond Theatre which became Richmond Temple. It could seat 1200 and had shops at the front which became their Bible and Tract Department. In 1926 A. C. Valdez believed his work there was completed and he returned to the States. Kelso Glover, also in his twenties, arrived from the States and led meetings for three weeks in a revival atmosphere. He was invited to stay on as pastor. Richmond Temple became the headquarters of the Pentecostal Church of Australia and from July 1926 they produced their national paper the Australian Evangel.

Galiwinku, Elcho Island, 1979

Revival among aborigines commenced in Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island in the north of Australia from 1979. Djiniyini Gondarra ministered there where half the island became involved in the church and the whole community was affected. The pattern is similar to other revivals prayer and expectation, the Spirit of God moving in new and powerful ways, repentance and confession on a wide scale, restitution of stolen goods and money, forgiveness and reconciliation between people, crime and drunkenness greatly diminished, renewed concern for justice and righteousness in the community, churches filled with Christians alive in the Spirit.

Here too, teams have travelled to other areas bringing some of the fire of revival to ignite churches and communities with a vital Christian commitment and a strong impact on society.

What is our response to these modern day accounts so similar to the Book of Acts? Will we humble ourselves, and pray, and seek God’s face, and turn from our sin, so that God will forgive us and heal the land (2 Chronicles 7:14)?

We can do that. We must. Alone. In prayer clusters. In home groups. In meetings. In constant prayer and repentance.

‘Lord, engulf us in your holy fire. Burn our dross. Refine us. Ignite us, and multitudes in the land, for your glory, setting your church on fire.’

References

Burke, T & D (1977) Anointed for Burial. Seattle: Frontline.

Burgess, S M & McGee, G B eds. (1988) Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Chant, B (1984) Heart of Fire. Adelaide: Tabor.

Grant, P E (1986) ‘Visitation and Vivifying in Vanuatu’, unpublished article.

Greenfield, J (1927) Power from on High. London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott.

Gunstone, J (1989) Signs & Wonders. London: Daybreak.

Hession, R (1973) The Calvary Road. London: Christian Literature Crusade.

Howard, P E (1949) The Life and Diary of David Brainerd. Baker (1989).

Hughes, S (1990) Revival: Times of Refreshing. London: CWR.

Koch, K (n.d.) The Revival in Indonesia. Evangelization Publishers.

Koch, K (1973) Revival Fires in Canada. Grand Rapids: Kregel

Mills, B (1990) Preparing for Revival. Eastbourne: Kingsway.

Olford, S F (1968) Heartcry for Revival. Westwood: Revell

Orr, J E (1975) The Flaming Tongue (1900). Chicago: Moody.

Overend, R (1986) The Truth will Set you Free. Laurieton: SSEM.

Pratney, W (1984, 1994) Revival. Lafayette: Huntington House.

Pytches, D (1989) Does God Speak Today? London: Hodder & Stoughton

Robinson, S (1992) ‘Praying the Price’. Melbourne: ABMS

Tari, M (1971) Like a Mighty Wind. Carol Springs: Creation House.

Tari, M & N (1974) The Gentle Breeze of Jesus. Carol Springs: Creation House.

Wagner, C P (1983) On the Crest of the Wave. Glendale: Regal

Wagner, C P (1986) Spiritual Power and Church Growth. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Wallis, A (1965) In the Day of Thy Power. London: Christian Literature Crusade.

Whittaker, C (1984) Great Revivals. Basingstoke: Marshalls.

Wirt, S (1975) KneeDeep in Love. London: Coverdale

Vision Magazine, Australian Baptist Missionary Society, Dec. 1973.

_______________________________________________________________

This article was first written in 1993.  See updates and more details at Revival Index pages.

Renewal Journal 1: Revival(c) Renewal Journal 1: Revival (1993, 2011), pages 51-98.
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Community Transformation, by Geoff Waugh

Community Transformation

by Geoff Waugh

Geoff Waugh (D.Miss.) is the founding editor of the Renewal Journal and author of books on renewal and revival.

 


Renewal Journal 20: Life
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Whole communities transformed by God now give witness to his power to heal the land and the people when we repent and unite in obedience to his requirements.

Fiji now has significant examples of effective community transformation, based on honouring God.

The 2005 documentary report titled Let the Seas Resound, produced by the Sentinel Group (www.sentinel.com), identifies examples of transformed communities in Fiji, featuring reconciliation and renewed ecosystems. The President of Fiji, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, and the Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, include their personal comments in this video and DVD report, now distributed worldwide.

Essential components of this community transformation include these elements.

1. Honouring God. Community leaders acknowledge that God creates and sustains life. They rededicate their land and their people to Him. This approach transcends doctrinal divisions, emphasizing the universal laws of God that apply to all people of all nations.

2. Honouring people. Community leaders acknowledge the importance of respecting all people. This results in personal and public reconciliation. It is both compassionate and inclusive, transcending division through mutual respect and unity.

3. Honouring justice. Community leaders consult widely with diverse groups to identify and address injustice. Issues are complex, and solutions not simple, but a common commitment to God’s justice with mutual respect can open the way for community transformation. God’s inclusive justice transcends sectarian divisions and conflict with reconciliation and unity.

Many examples illustrate these global principles. The following brief examples provide powerful case studies of community transformation. Often a crisis, such as escalating crime, ethic conflict or a political coup, becomes the motivating catalyst for change. For example, community and church leaders may be motivated by the crisis to act. However, communities can be transformed without waiting for a crisis to motivate change.

Fiji, South Pacific  

In September 2004, 10, 000 people gathered to worship together in Suva, Fiji, drawn by reconciliation initiatives of both government and church leaders. Only four years previously such unity among government and church leaders was unimaginable. Ethnic tensions flared in the attempted coup of May 2000, when the government was held hostage for 56 days, and violence erupted in the streets of Suva.

The President of Fiji, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, called the churches to unite in repentance and prayer for the nation. At a united rally in 2001, Laisenia Qarase, later elected as Prime Minister, confessed: “Our efforts in building the country will come to nothing if they are not rooted firmly in the love and fear of God. I ask Him to forgive me for the times I have been neglectful and cold in my relationship with Him. With Your guidance Lord, this sinner will renew himself; will find new purpose in the pursuit of Your will. Lord, I entreat You, again, to forgive me, to save me, to capture my heart and hold my hand. I honour You as the King of Kings.”[1]

The Association of Christian Churches in Fiji (ACCF) emerged as one structural response to this desire for reconciliation and unity among Christians and in the community.

As people of Fiji unite in commitment to reconciliation and repentance in various locations, many testify to miraculous changes in their community and in the land.

Three days after the people of Nuku made a united covenant with God, the water in the local stream, which for the previous 42 years had been known as the cause of barrenness and illness, mysteriously became clean and life giving. Then food grew plentifully in the area.

Fish are now caught in abundance around the village of Nataleria, where previously they could catch only a few fish. This change followed united repentance and reconciliation.

Many people of Fiji acknowledge that these changes in reconciliation, unity, and in the eco-systems confirm God’s promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.”

Almolonga, Guatemala

The town of Almolonga in Guatemala in South America, typical of many Mayan highland communities, suffered from economic depression, inebriation, and crime. The four gaols were full this town of 19,000. Many criminals had to be transported to gaols in the capital city.

Guatemala City pastor Harold Caballeros reported that, “the town suffered from poverty, violence and ignorance. In the mornings you would encounter many men just lying on the streets, totally drunk from the night before. And of course this drinking brought along other serious problems like domestic violence and poverty. It was a vicious cycle.”[2]

Donato Santiago, the town’s chief of police, said, “People were always fighting. We never had any rest.” Now with crime dramatically diminished and the gaols no longer needed, police chief Santiago, says with a grin, “It’s pretty uneventful around here.”

A few Christian leaders began regularly praying together from 7 pm to midnight in the 1970s. As they continued to pray in unity, increasing numbers of people were being healed and set free from strong demonic powers or witchcraft. Churches began to grow, and the community began to change. Crime and alcoholism decreased.

Within twenty years the four gaols emptied and are now used for community functions. The last of Almolonga’s gaols closed in 1994, and is now a remodeled building called the ‘Hall of Honour’ used for municipal ceremonies and weddings.

The town’s agricultural base was transformed. Their fields have become so fertile they yield three large harvests a year. Previously, the area exported four truckloads of produce a month. Now they are exporting as many as 40 truckloads a day. Farmers buy big Mercedes trucks with cash, and then attach their testimony to the shiny vehicles with huge metallic stickers and mud flaps declaring, ‘The Gift of God,’ ‘God is my Stronghold’ and ‘Go Forward in Faith.’

Some farmers provide work for others by renting out land and developing fields in other towns. They help people get out of debt by providing employment for them.

On Halloween day in 1998, an estimated 12, 000 to 15, 000 people gathered in the market square to worship and honour God in a fiesta of praise. Led by the mayor and many pastors, the people prayed for God to take authority over their lives and their economy.

University researchers from the United States and other countries regularly visit Almolonga to investigate the astounding 1, 000 percent increase in agricultural productivity. Local inhabitants explain that the land is fertilized by prayer and rained upon with God’s blessings.

Cali, Columbia

Columbia in South America has been the world’s biggest exporter of cocaine, sending between 700 to 1, 000 tons a year to the United States and Europe alone. The Cali cartel controlled up to 70 percent of this trade. It has been called the largest, richest, and most well organized criminal organization in history.[3]

The drug lords in cartels ruled the city through fear. At times 15 people a day were killed, shot from the black Mercedes cars owned by the cartels. Car bombs exploded regularly. Journalists who denounced the Mafia were killed. Drug money controlled the politicians.

By the early 1990s the cartels controlled every major institution in Cali including banks, business, politicians and police.

The churches were in disarray and ineffective. “In those days,” a pastor recalls, “the pastors’ association consisted of an old box of files that nobody wanted. Every pastor was working on his own; no one wanted to join together.”

A few discouraged but determined pastors began praying together regularly, asking God to intervene. Gradually others joined them.

A small group of pastors planned a combined service in the civic auditorium in May 1995 for a night of prayer and repentance. They expected a few thousand people, but were amazed when 25, 000 attended, nearly half of the city’s evangelical population. The crowd remained until 6 o’clock the next morning at this the first of the city’s now famous united all-night prayer vigils held four times a year.

Two days after that event in May 1995, the daily newspaper, El Pais, headlined, “No Homicides!” For the first time in anyone’s memory, 24 hours had passed without a single person being killed. Then, during the next four months 900 cartel-linked officers were fired from the metropolitan police force.

By August 1995, the authorities had captured all seven of the targeted cartel leaders. Previously the combined efforts of the Columbian authorities, and the American FBI and CIA had been unable to do that.

In December 1995, a hit man killed Pastor Julio Ruibal, one of the key leaders of the combined pastors’ meetings and the united prayer gatherings. 1, 500 people gathered at his funeral, including many pastors who had not spoken to each other in months. At the end of the memorial service, the pastors said, “Brothers, let us covenant to walk together in unity from this day forward. Let Julio’s blood be the glue that binds us together in the Holy Spirit.”

Now over 200 pastors have signed the covenant that is the backbone of the city’s united prayer vigils. What made the partnership of these leaders so effective are the same things that always bring God’s blessings: clean hearts, right relationships, and united prayer.

As the kingdom of God became more real in Cali, it affected all levels of society including the wealthy and educated. A wealthy businessman and former mayor said, “It is easy to speak to upper-class people about Jesus. They are respectful and interested.” Another successful businessman adds that the gospel is now seen as practical rather than religious.

Churches grow fast. One church that meets in a huge former warehouse holds seven services on a Sunday to accommodate its 35, 000 people. Asked, “What is your secret?” they point to the 24-hour prayer room behind the platform.

A former drug dealer says, “There is a hunger for God everywhere. You can see it on the buses, on the streets and in the cafes. Anywhere you go people are ready to talk.”

Cali police deactivated a large 174-kilo car bomb in November 1996. The newspaper El Pais carried the headline: “Thanks to God, It Didn’t Explode.” Many people noted that this happened just 24 hours after 55, 000 Christians held their third vigilia – the all night prayer vigil that includes praise, worship, dances and celebration mixed with the prayers and statements from civic and church leaders.

City authorities have given the churches free use of large stadium venues for their united gatherings because of their impact on the whole community, saving the city millions of dollars through reduced crime and terrorism.

Teen Challenge, America

Illicit drug abuse and addiction create social and personal devastation internationally. Federal dollars in USA allocated for drug treatment climbed from $120 million in 1969, to $1.1 billion in 1974, to $3 billion in 1996, even though the number of illicit drug users by 1998 was half the number of the same group in 1979.[4] However in spite of massive government spending on drug rehabilitation, concern remains about the low cure rate of programs funded by public dollars.

Research published in 1999 included comprehensive statistical analysis comparing drug rehabilitation success rates for Teen Challenge (130 centres and 2885 beds) with public funded and insurers’ funded programs, particularly the popular Short-Term Inpatient (STI) drug treatment programs of one to two months. The study surveyed key areas of rehabilitation including freedom from addictive substances, employment rates, productive social relationships and better quality of life.

Evaluation of the Teen Challenge program conducted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 1975 found that 87% of former abusers were abstaining from Marijuana seven years after completing the program, and 95% of former heroin abusers were abstaining from abuse seven years later. Similarly, the 1999 research found that 86% of former abusers were abstaining from drugs after their Teen Challenge rehabilitation. No public funded program showed such success rates. Most research showed that less than 10% still abstained from drug abuse five years after treatment.

Research identified the following factors as the most positive, helpful and effective dimensions of the Teen Challenge rehabilitation program, in this order of importance:

  1. Jesus Christ or God (the NIDA report called this the “Jesus factor”).
  2. Schooling, teaching or the Bible
  3. Advisor, staff, love, encouragement.
  4. Fellowship, unity, friends, living with others.
  5. Discipline, structure, work.

Graduates of the program identified other helpful factors as seeing lives changes, self-motivation, prayer, outings, helping others, forgiving self, changed thinking, hope and good food.

A powerful dimension of the Teen Challenge program, particularly relevant to this article on community transformation, is the significance of the inter-cultural, inter-faith and inter-racial communities in Teen Challenge. These communities transcend racial barriers, such as noted in these comments: “I loved to be around these people from different places, I wished I could have got their numbers; it was a beautiful thing, living with them with no prejudice or racism. We loved one another. It was a beautiful thing. We all learn something from each other; I still learn from them today.”

These brief sample case studies of community transformation provide hope for change and a way ahead. It is possible. It is happening.

The conclusion may be stated in words from the timeless biblical record, spanning many millennia and diverse national and cultural communities:

Then that honour me, I will honour (I Samuel 2:30).

If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked way, then I will hear from heaven my dwelling place, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God (Hosea 6:8).

Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you (Mathew 6:33).

© Renewal Journal, (renewaljournal.com). This article may be reproduced as long as the copyright information is included with the text.


[1] Information from the Sentinel Group 2005 video/DVD, Let the Seas Resound (www.sentinel.com).

[2] George Otis, 2000, “Snapshots of Glory” in Renewal Journal, Issue 17 (renewaljournal.com) and the Sentinel Group 2000 video/DVD report Transformation.

[3] Information from George Otis, 2000, “Snapshots of Glory” in Renewal Journal, Issue 17, reproduced in renewaljournal.com.

[4] Information for this section on Teen Challenge is from the article “Teen Challenge’s Proven Answer to the Drug Problem” in a review of a study by Dr A T Bicknese titled “The Teen Challenge Drug Treatment Program in Comparative Perspective” on www.teenchallenge.com/tcreview.html.

All Renewal Journal Topics

1 Revival,   2 Church Growth,   3 Community,   4 Healing,   5 Signs & Wonders,
6  Worship,   7  Blessing,   8  Awakening,   9  Mission,   10  Evangelism,
11  Discipleship,
   12  Harvest,   13  Ministry,   14  Anointing,   15  Wineskins,
16  Vision,
   17  Unity,   18  Servant Leadership,   19  Church,   20 Life
Also: 24/7 Worship & Prayer

Contents:  Renewal Journal 20: Life

Life, death and choice, by Ann Crawford

The God who dies: Exploring themes of life and death, by Irene Alexander

Primordial events in theology and science support a life/death ethic, by Martin Rice

Community Transformation, by Geoff Waugh

Book Reviews:
Body Ministry
and Looking to Jesus: Journey into Renewal and Revival, by Geoff Waugh

Renewal Journal 20: Life – PDF

Revival Blogs Links:

See also Revivals Index

See also Revival Blogs

See also Blogs Index 1: Revivals

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX 

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Unity not Uniformity, by Geoff Waugh

Unity not Uniformity

by Geoff Waugh


Dr Geoff Waugh published Body Ministry, a popular version of his Doctor of Missiology degree dissertation from Fuller Seminary.  This article is reproduced and adapted from Chapter 4 of Body Ministry: “Spiritual Gifts – From limited to unlimited”.

Renewal Journal 17: Unity PDF

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An article in Renewal Journal 17: Unity

Jesus insists on unity, not uniformity.  We are one in Christ and will be forever.  That unity is incredibly and eternally diverse.  We are all created different and unique.  We have many different gifts and abilities.  These are meant to flow together in powerful unity.

Miracles in Ghana, West Africa

God honours and blesses unity.  I saw that vividly in my first trip to Africa.   Pastors from the mountain town of Suhum, about 50 miles north of Accra the capital of Ghana, invited me to speak at crusade meetings at night and teach pastors and leaders each morning.

Four of us flew from Australia to West Africa in June 1995 during the mid-year vacation at the college where I taught.  I did not realise that heavy monsoon rains fell in Africa in June!  So we arrived on a Monday amid pouring rain.  The meetings were planned for Tuesday night through to Friday night, with various independent and charismatic churches co-operating.  Their leadersd and youth groups shared leading the extended worship each night.

When we arrived at Suhum on Tuesday evening the whole town was in a black-out because heavy rain had affected the town’s electrical supply.  Our team of Africans and Australians prayed in the mud at the market place which the team had prepared for the night meetings: “God, we are here serving you and we ask you to take over and do what only you can do.”

Within 10 minutes the rain had ceased and the town power was on again.  Our excited Africans began exclaiming, “This is a miracle.  We will be talking about this for years!”  Those monsoon rains held off till Saturday, and then the next week the deluges made international news on TV.  But we hadover three days of clear, cloudless skies and tropical sun.

Every night we saw hundreds respond for prayer, and many gave salvation and healing testimonies.

The pastors and leaders had asked me to teach about spiritual warfare in the morning sessions in a local church.  As I prayed the Spirit impressed me to teach about unity.  So I did.  Prayers become powerful against evil when we are united, as Jesus demanded.

During the second morning as pastors and leaders prayed specifically for one another and confessed any resentments or hostilities, I had an open vision.  I clearly saw the church fill with a bright, golden light which swallowed up the blackest black I had even seen.  The Africans became more excited.  Men and women shouted prophecies.  Youths danced vigorously.  I looked on perplexed, perspiring under the hot iron roof dressed in the mandatory suit of pastors and speakers!

That night miracles began in the long worship.  An old man now blind discovered he could see as they worshipped and danced.  Even the offering was a long process of dancing in lines, waving coloured cloths as they filed passed the offering box at the front, led by the pastors.

Their co-operating and unity had opened the way for powerful spiritual warfare.  Everyone knew that a powerful ruling spirit dominated that area, but now it was gone.  People felt the4 difference and enjoyed the freedom.

Later on teams went out in power evangelism, praying for people to be set free.  The town market became unusually profitable and people could sell their vegetables and goods.  Churches found new vitality.  Previously isolated independent church, often competing, discovered united strength, love and unity.  God blessed their unity.

The ascended, victorious, all powerful Christ, having conquered sin and death and hell now reigns supreme.  He is the head of his body, the church.  He gives gifts to his church, specifically those called under his authority to exercise authority in the church as leaders so that all God’s people may be equipped for ministry.  That is a powerful body, the body of the risen Christ.

Our Lord’s intention for his church is for us to grow till we reach the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ who is all and in all (Colossians 3:11).

Body ministry requires spiritual gifts.  The body of Christ ministers charismatically.  There is no other way it can minister as the living body of the living Christ.  He ministers in and through his body, by the gifts of his Spirit.

Spiritual gifts differ from natural talents

Charismatic gifts of the Spirit are different from natural talents.  We can do much through dedicated human talent, but that is not body ministry through spiritual gifts.  Natural talents do need to be committed to God and used for his glory.  They can be channels of spiritual gifts.

Someone may sing beautifully or speak eloquently.  That natural gift becomes a spiritual gift when it is anointed by God for ministry.

Spiritual gifts constantly surprise us.  They often show up with great power in unlikely people and in unlikely ways.

A common misunderstanding, for instance, is that those with an effective healing ministry must be especially holy people.  However, many are not.  They may not be faultless ‘saints’.  Gifts of the Spirit are given by grace, not earned by consecration.

Young, immature Christians may have powerful spiritual ministries, as they discover and use their spiritual gifts.  Many do.  That is no proof of consecration or maturity, even though to please God we need to offer ourselves to him in full commitment.

Romans Chapter 12 explains this.  The well known first two verses challenge us to offer ourselves fully to God and so discover his will for our lives.  Paul then explains that knowing God’s will involves being realistic about ourselves and our gifts.  If we know and use our God-given gifts, we fulfil God’s will for our lives.

Body ministry, then, depends on the use of spiritual gifts, not just the use of natural talents dedicated to God.  Both are vital for committed Christian living, and both will be present in the church.  However, the church is not built on committed natural talent, even though churches sometimes operate that way.

Spiritual gifts differ from Christian roles

Similarly, spiritual gifts are not Christian roles or tasks.  All Christians witness, but only some are gifted in evangelism.  Every Christian has faith, but some have a gift of faith as well.  All must exercise hospitality, but some are gifted in hospitality.  Prayer is for all of us, but some are gifted in intercession.

We all have Christian roles such as leaders, helpers, servers, prayers, and supporting one another.  Gifts of the Spirit can flow through these tasks.  Our spiritual gifts add a deeper dimension to our roles or tasks – they add the depth dimension to those ministries.

Spiritual gifts flow strongest in unity with incredible diversity.

1.  Unity

Each passage on the gifts of the Spirit stresses the importance of being one body (1 Corinthians 12:12‑13; Romans 12:4‑5; Ephesians 4:4).  The whole context of Paul’s teaching on the gifts of the Spirit is one of unity with diversity; one body with many parts functioning in harmony.  Paul repeats many themes in the three key passages in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4:

  • One body:  The church is the one body of Christ on earth

(1 Corinthians 12:12‑27; Romans 12:4‑5; Ephesians 4:4‑6).

  • Gracious gifts:  They are given, not earned and not achieved

(1 Corinthians 12:1, 4, 6, 8‑11; Romans 12:6; Ephesians 4:7‑8, 11).

  • All Christians have gifts:  There are no exceptions; and each gift is important

(l Corinthians 12:7; Romans 12:6; Ephesians 4:7).

  • Gifts differ:  Value our differences; we need each other

(1 Corinthians 12:4‑7; Romans 12:4‑6; Ephesians 4:7 8).

  • Unity:  They function in unity and promote unity

(1 Corinthians 12:12‑13, 25; Romans 12:4‑5; Ephesians 4:3, 13, 16).

  • Maturity:  Spiritual gifts build up the body in maturity

(1 Corinthians 12:7; Romans 12:9‑21; Ephesians 4:12‑15).

  • Love:  Love is the top priority; gifts must be used in love

(1 Corinthians 13; Romans 12:9‑10; Ephesians 4:4, 15‑16).

Without unity expressed in love, diversity destroys the body’s ministry causing chaos, division, sectarianism, and impotence.  This is Paul’s theme in 1 Corinthians 12-14.

Paul had to correct the divisions in Corinth by emphasizing the unity of the body, bound together in love.  Gifts are not to be a source of division and strife, but an expression of unity and love.  Unless rooted and grounded in love, the gifts are counter-productive.

Unity in the body of Christ allows that body to function well, not be crippled.  No one has all the gifts.  We all need one another.  No one should be conceited about any gift that God has given.  No one claim that their is gift the most important, and magnify and exalt it at the expense of others.  Gifts are to be used in humility and service.  We do not compete.  We minister in harmony and co-operation.

Paul’s great theme, “in Christ,” expresses the unity essential for body ministry.  In Christ we are one body.  In Christ we live and serve.

Love lies at the heart of body ministry.  The body is one, bound in love.  The body builds itself up in love (Eph.  4:16).  That is why 1 Corinthians 13 is central to Paul’s passage on spiritual gifts in the body of Christ.  “Make love your aim,” he insists, “and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts” (1 Corinthians 14:1).

Jesus insisted on love.  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all mean will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

Our unity is not based on doctrine, but on Jesus.  Unity comes from who we are, the body of Christ.  This is a fact, not a hope.  We are one in Christ.  We are one in the Spirit.  God has made us one.  Unfortunately, being sinful, we often fail to live out that reality.

A Christ-like attitude, in humble kingdom thinking and love overcomes competition and critical spirits that divide us.  That’s where we see the Holy Spirit moving in power among us as we obey the Lord’s command to love and serve one another.

Breathtaking community transformations are now happening around the world where we live this out in unity.  Whole communities transformed by God now witness to his power to heal the land and the people when we repent and unite in obedience to his requirements.

Almolonga in Guatemala, Cali in Columbia and villages in Fiji all provide outstanding examples of this transformation.  This information is from George Otis, 2000, “Snapshots of Glory” reproduced in Renewal Journal, Issue 17

Almolonga, Guatemala

The town of Almolonga in Guatemala in South America, typical of many Mayan highland communities, suffered from economic depression, inebriation, and crime.  The four gaols were full this town of 19,000.  Many criminals had to be transported to gaols in the capital city.

Guatemala City pastor Harold Caballeros reported that, “the town suffered from poverty, violence and ignorance. In the mornings you would encounter many men just lying on the streets, totally drunk from the night before. And of course this drinking brought along other serious problems like domestic violence and poverty.  It was a vicious cycle.”

Donato Santiago, the town’s chief of police, said, “People were always fighting.  We never had any rest.”  Now with crime dramatically diminished and the gaols no longer needed, police chief Santiago, says with a grin.  It’s pretty uneventful around here.”

A few Christian leaders began regularly praying together from 7 pm to midnight in the 1970s. As they continued to pray in unity, increasing numbers of people were being healed and set free from strong demonic powers or witchcraft.  Churches began to grow, and the community began to change. Crime and alcoholism decreased.

Within twenty years the four gaols were emptied and are now used for community functions.  The last of Almolonga’s gaols closed in 1994, and is now remodelled building called the ‘Hall of Honour’ used for municipal ceremonies and weddings.

The town’s agricultural base was transformed. Their fields have become so fertile they yield three large harvests a year. Previously, the area exported four truckloads of produce a month.  Now they are exporting as many as 40 truckloads a day.  Farmers buy big Mercedes trucks with cash, and then attach their testimony to the shiny vehicles with huge metallic stickers and mud flaps declaring, The Gift of God, God is my Stronghold and Go Forward in Faith.

Some farmers provide work for others by renting out land and developing fields in other towns. They help people get out of debt by providing employment for them.

On Halloween day in 1998, an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 people gathered in the market square to worship and honour God in a fiesta of praise.  Led by the mayor and many pastors, the people prayed for God to take authority over their lives and their economy.

University researchers from the United States and other countries regularly visit Almolonga to investigate the astounding 1,000 per cent increase in agricultural productivity.  Local inhabitants explain that the land is fertilized by prayer and rained upon with God’s blessings.

Unity did not happen overnight.  It took time.  It needed a small group of persistent leaders who began praying together, crying out to God for mercy and for change.  That usually happens when we are desperate and realise that we need God’s intervention.

We are desperate, or should be.  We live in tough times as persecution and calamities increase globally.  But there is hope.

Some leaders now look beyond their doctrinal and denominational differences to seek the Lord together in unity, as he told us to do in humility, prayer, seeking him and in repentance (2 Chronicles 7:14).

God can change whole cities, such as happened in the city of Cali in Columbia.

Cali, Columbia

Columbia in South America was the world’s biggest exporter of cocaine, sending between 700 to 1,000 tons a year to the United States and Europe alone.  The Cali cartel controlled up to 70 percent of this trade.  It was called the largest, richest, most well organized criminal organization in history.

The drug lords in cartels ruled the city through fear. At times 15 people a day were killed, shot from the black Mercedes cars owned by the cartels. Car bombs exploded regularly.  Journalists who denounced the Mafia were killed. Drug money controlled the politicians.  By the early 1990s the cartels controlled every major institution in Cali including banks, business, politicians and police.

The churches were in disarray and ineffective.  “In those days,” a pastor recalls, “the pastors’ association consisted of an old box of files that nobody wanted.  Every pastor was working on his own; no one wanted to join together.”

A few discouraged but determined pastors began praying together regularly, asking God to intervene. Gradually others joined them.  A small group of pastors planned a combined service in the civic auditorium in May 1995 for a night of prayer and repentance.  They expected a few thousand people, but were amazed when 25, 000 attended, nearly half of the city’s evangelical population. The crowd remained until 6 o’clock the next morning at this the first of the city’s now famous united all-night prayer vigils held four times a year.

Two days after that event in May 1995, the daily newspaper, El Pais, headlined, “No Homicides!” For the first time in anyone’s memory, 24 hours had passed without a single person being killed. Then, during the next four months 900 cartel-linked officers were fired from the metropolitan police force.

By August 1995, the authorities had captured all seven of the targeted cartel leaders. Previously the combined efforts of the Columbian authorities, and the American FBI and CIA had been unable to do that.

In December 1995, a hit man killed Pastor Julio Ruibal, one of the key leaders of the combined pastors’ meetings and the united prayer gatherings. 1, 500 people gathered at his funeral, including many pastors who had not spoken to each other in months. At the end of the memorial service, the pastors said, “Brothers, let us covenant to walk together in unity from this day forward. Let Julio’s blood be the glue that binds us together in the Holy Spirit.”

Now over 200 pastors have signed the covenant that is the backbone of the city’s united prayer vigils. What made the partnership of these leaders so effective are the same things that always bring God’s blessings: clean hearts, right relationships, and united prayer.

As the kingdom of God became more real in Cali, it affected all levels of society including the wealthy and educated. A wealthy businessman and former mayor said, “It is easy to speak to upper-class people about Jesus. They are respectful and interested.” Another successful businessman adds that the gospel is now seen as practical rather than religious.

Churches grow fast. One church that meets in a huge former warehouse holds seven services on a Sunday to accommodate its 35, 000 people. Asked, “What is your secret?” they point to the 24-hour prayer room behind the platform.

A former drug dealer says, “There is a hunger for God everywhere. You can see it on the buses, on the streets and in the cafes. Anywhere you go people are ready to talk.”

Cali police deactivated a large 174-kilo car bomb in November 1996. The newspaper El Pais carried the headline: “Thanks to God, It Didn’t Explode.”  Many people noted that this happened just 24 hours after 55,000 Christians held their third vigilia – the all night prayer vigil that includes praise, worship, dances and celebration mixed with the prayers and statements from civic and church leaders.

City authorities have given the churches free use of large stadium venues for their united gatherings because of their impact on the whole community, saving the city millions of dollars through reduced crime and terrorism.

Fiji, South Pacific

Fiji now has significant examples of effective community transformation, based on honouring God in unity between churches and communities.  Fiji has experienced many military coups.  In spite of this, Fiji also experiences significant unity in local village communities and among many churches.

The 2005 documentary report titled Let the Seas Resound, produced by the Sentinel Group (www.sentinel.com), identifies examples of transformed communities in Fiji, featuring reconciliation and renewed ecosystems.  The former President of Fiji, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, and former Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, include their personal comments in this video and DVD report, now distributed worldwide.

In September 2004, 10, 000 people gathered to worship together in Suva, Fiji, drawn by reconciliation initiatives of both government and church leaders.  Only four years previously such unity among government and church leaders was unimaginable.  Ethnic tensions flared in the attempted coup of May 2000, when the government was held hostage for 56 days, and violence erupted in the streets of Suva.

As people of Fiji unite in commitment to reconciliation and repentance in various locations, many testify to miraculous changes in their community and in the land.

Three days after the people of Nuku, north of Suva, made a united covenant with God, the water in the local stream, which for the previous 42 years had been known as the cause of barrenness and illness, mysteriously became clean and life giving.  Then food grew plentifully in the area.

Fish are now caught in abundance around the village of Nataleria, where previously they could catch only a few fish.  This change followed united repentance and reconciliation among all the churches and in the whole village.

Churches in the Navosa highlands north of Sigatoka came together in reconciliation and unity.  Some people in that area grew large marijuana crops worth about $11 million.  Nine growers were involved.  The team leaders told the farmers that it was their choice, that they should obey God and trust him for their livelihood, without any promises from anyone to do any­thing for them.  If they could not, then they should not participate in the Healing Process.  By the time the Process had finished, the people had destroyed the crop as part of the reconciliation Process.  After the HTL ministry, a total of 13,864 plants were uprooted and burnt by the growers themselves.  There were 6,000 seedlings as well.

Many island communities in Fiji and the South Pacific now report similar ecological and community transformation.  See my book, South Pacific Revivals for further examples of healing of the land through reconciliation and unity among churches and communities.

This is not only an island phenomenon, where it may be easier for whole communities to come together.  It happens in towns and cities too.

When we obey our Lord who requires unity in his body, we see miraculous changes.  That unity can be lived out amid God-given diversity.

2.  Diversity

Our unity is expressed in the diversity of gifts.  There is one Spirit; his gifts are incredibly diverse.

The point is developed in all the body passages of Paul.  Diversity is to be celebrated, not squashed; encouraged, not smothered; developed, not ignored.

Body ministry will use these gifts.  God’s Spirit moves among his people in power to meet needs and minister effectively.  Those gifts need to be identified and used, and in the process, as in Jesus’ life and ministry, special anointings enable effective use of all the Spirit’s gifts.

The best use of spiritual gifts is proper use, not misuse nor disuse.  Paul describes various streams of God’s gifting.

1. God our Father gives personal gifts in grace.  Often seen in our personalities and preferences, these motivating gifts include prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhorting, giving, leading, and showing mercy in compassion (Romans 12:6-8).  They blossom in us as we offer ourselves to God, not being conformed to this world but being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2).

2. Jesus Christ, the Head of his Church, gives leadership gifts to his church, including the gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11).  These gifts are the people – not just their ministries such as evangelising and teaching.  They may be full-time or part-time, paid or unpaid.  Most are unpaid, as with Jesus and the apostles.  Think, for example, of the huge army of voluntary home group leaders giving pastoral care to millions of people, and reaching out to others in natural friendship evangelism.

3. The Holy Spirit manifests himself in our lives with gifts given to each of us for the common good.  They include a word or revelation of wisdom, a word or revelation of prophecy, faith, various gifts of healing, miracles, prophecy or speaking from God, discerning spirits, various kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).

Paul even ranks God’s gifts in order of ministry importance in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guiding or administrating, and of different kinds of tongues (1 Corinthians 12: 28).  We sometimes mix up the order and emphasize the least the most!

Not only are we rediscovering the many and varied gifts of the Spirit in the 21st century, but we are also rediscovering the vital biblical truth that these gifts belong to all God’s people, not just the leaders, pastors or clergy.  Together we learn to be supernaturally natural.

That motivates us all to be involved in ministries which include all the various manifestations of God’s Spirit among us all.

The diversity of these glorious gifts can be summarised in the following way for a simple, practical application to ministry:
motivational gifts from God our Father,
ministry gifts from Christ Jesus our Lord and Head, and
manifestation gifts from the Holy Spirit our Comforter and Friend.

Motivational Gifts from God our Father

Romans 12:6-8 lists gifts in a passage about discovering and doing the will of God in the body of Christ, using our God-given abilities.  This list corresponds closely to our natural God-made abilities filled with God’s Spirit.  Some writers suggest that knowing these God-given gifts in our lives motivates us to serve him well for his glory.

1.  prophecy:  so prophesy in proportion to our faith;

2.  ministry:  so use it in ministering or serving;

3.  teaching:  so use it in teaching;

4.  exhorting;  so use it in exhortation;

5.  giving:  so give liberally;

6.  leading:  so lead with diligence;

7.  showing mercy:  so do it with cheerfulness.

Most of us do all these things in various ways, but each of us will be gifted more strongly in some of these gifts.  Knowing our gifting helps us serve the Lord with gladness, fulfilled in our calling.

Ministry Gifts from Christ Jesus our Head

Ephesians 4:11 summarises the leadership or ministry gifts given by the risen Lord, Head of his church.  These gifts differ from all the other lists of gifts because it is the person who is the gift of Christ to his church, not just their ministry gift:

1.  apostle:  sent by the Lord (originally the 12);

2.  prophet:  speaking from the Lord;

3.  evangelist:  proclaiming the gospel of the Lord;

4.  pastor:  shepherding the Lord’s people;

5.  teacher:  instructing the Lord’s people.

Increasingly, these gifts are being recognised and developed in local churches.  Usually, where people are gifted by the Lord in these ways, they become leaders in the church, often unpaid (as in home groups or specialised ministries such as with youth or children), sometimes paid (as on staff, part time or full time).  This list in Ephesians is not a list of local church staff, although the staff will have some of these gifts.  The more that the leaders in the church, voluntary and paid, can exercise and be supported in these ministries, the more the church will demonstrate the anointing and power of the Spirit in its life.

Manifestation Gifts from the Holy Spirit

1 Corinthians 12, gives two useful lists of manifestations of the Spirit in the body of Christ.  Some people use the following helpful categories:

The power to know:

1. word of wisdom:  a divine understanding for a need;

2. word of knowledge:  a divine revelation about a person or event;

3. discerning of spirits:  a divine awareness about spirit powers;

The power to act:

4. faith:  a divine enabling

5. healings:  a divine provision of wholeness;

6. miracles:  a divine intervention supernaturally;

The power to speak:

7. prophecy:  a divine word given;

8. tongues:  a divine unknown language (occasionally known to others);

9. interpretation of tongues:  a divine revelation of a message in tongues.

Paul emphasizes the importance of these gifts, and strongly argues that we need one another because we are all gifted differently.  The eye cannot say it does not need the hand; the head cannot say it does not need the feet.

Gifts are gifts of grace.  We all need God’s grace as we grow in using these gifts, and appreciating them in one another.

1 Corinthians 12:28 then arranges various gifts in an order of ministry significance:

1. apostles

2. prophets

3. teachers

4. miracles

5. healings

6. helps – service

7. administration

8. tongues

Leadership in the church is crucial for it can release or stifle the use of the spiritual gifts of God’s people.  Leaders do not need to envy or fear God’s gifting in his people.  The more the body of Christ lives in its gifting and calling, the more the leaders themselves are able to live in their own gifting and calling, and not be overloaded with ministry which is neither their gifting nor their calling.

We all have many gifts from God but some people are gifted by the Spirit more fully than others in various ministries.  Gifts may emerge unexpectedly as we believe and obey the leading of the Spirit in our lives.  We often discover God’s gifting as we serve one another in various ways, for the Spirit then anoints us for those ministries.

Preaching, for example, can become prophecy as it is anointed by the Spirit of God.  That prophetic ministry may happen unexpectedly in the process of a sermon.  It may also be given in preparation as a word directly from the Lord.

Compassionate service and healing prayer will at times be anointed powerfully by God’s presence in signs and wonders to heal.  Our gift, anointing and role then merge together into strong spiritual ministry.

So role, spiritual gift, and anointings cannot be clearly divided.  Indeed, as the Spirit of God moves in greater power among all members of the body of Christ, the ministry of that body becomes increasingly anointed.

Then the professional is swallowed up in the spiritual; natural ability is suffused and flooded with supernatural life; the human is filled with the divine.

Jesus lived this way.  He laid aside the rights and powers of his divinity, though still being divine.  He became fully man, not superboy nor superman, but fully man, the second Adam without sin.

Then filled with the Spirit from his baptism at around 30, he lived and ministered in the power of the Spirit.  He was filled with the Spirit, led by the Spirit, anointed by the Spirit, and empowered by the Spirit.  He showed us how to live a Spirit-filled life.

Following Pentecost, his followers did the same, though not sinless like Jesus.  They too were filled, led, anointed, and empowered by the same Spirit of God.  So the gifts of the Spirit functioned fully among them also, though limited or marred by human weakness and sin, as Paul often pointed out in his letters.

You can ask for this, and expect it.  The leaders and Christians in the New Testament church did that.  They constantly prayed that believers would be filled with the Spirit.  And they prayed for boldness to live courageously in the power of the Spirit and for God to confirm his word with healings and signs and wonders (see Acts 4:29-31).  God answered those prayers.

A Body Ministry 1See also Body Ministry

This article has selections
from Body Ministry

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Contents:  Renewal Journal 17:  Unity

Snapshots of Glory, by George Otis Jr.

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Unity not Uniformity, by Geoff Waugh

Reviews: Transformations DVDs; Informed Intercession, by George Otis Jr.

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Vision for Ministry, by Geoff Waugh

Vision for Ministry

by Geoff Waugh

 

Dr Geoff Waugh is the founding editor of the Renewal Journal.  

This article is adapted from his book Body Ministry.

The task Jesus gave us is still the same.
The context of that task keeps changing.

Renewal Journal 16: Vision PDF

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An article in Renewal Journal 16: Vision:

 

Accelerating change is changing us and the church.  Already the one hour (11 am to noon) hymn-sandwich church service held in a ‘typical’ church building with wooden pews and an organ which stands empty most of the time, is looking like ancient history – and very bad stewardship.  It may not be wrong (and God can use anything), but it’s not in the Bible, and it’s fading into history.

Nearly 2000 years ago Jesus gave us our job: “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth, so go and make people my disciples … and I am with you all the way even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

His final promise told us how we would do that: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses … to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

That’s still our job, and we can only do it by the power of the Holy Spirit – as Jesus did.  However, the context and the way of doing the job changes constantly.

There’s nothing there about buildings, pews, spires, bells, organs, clerical garb, status (except witnessing servants.

Change changed

Change has changed.  It is speeding up.  We live in accelerating change.  Change changes our ministry, and us.  We think, feel and act differently from all previous generations.  We perceive each day in new ways now.  We plan and do more.  Cars, phones, microwaves, TV and the internet have changed us.

Church has changed.  Church people walked to the services and socialised together on Sundays for most of history; now millions drive cars, and fill Sunday with many other activities.  Church life for most of history involved time with extended families; now families are widely scattered.

1. Accelerating social change

Alvin Toffler wrote about the Third Wave in sociology.  He could find no word adequate to encompass this current wave we live in, rejecting his own earlier term, ‘super-industrial’, as too narrow.  He wrote:

In attempting so large-scale a synthesis, it has become necessary to simplify, generalise, and compress. . . (so) this book divides civilisation into only three parts – a First Wave agricultural phase, a Second Wave industrial phase, and a Third Wave phase now beginning.

Humanity faces a quantum leap forward.  It faces the deepest social upheaval and creative restructuring of all time.  Without clearly recognising it, we are engaged in building a remarkable new civilisation from the ground up.  This is the meaning of the Third Wave.

Put differently … we are the final generation of an old civilisation and the first generation of a new one … [living] between the dying Second Wave civilisation and the emergent Third Wave civilisation that is thundering in to take its place.[1]

Think of church life during those three waves.

1. Churches for most of 2000 years of the First Wave agricultural phase were the village church with the village priest (taught in a monastery) teaching the Bible to mostly illiterate people, using Latin Bible parchments copied by hand for 1500 years.  Worship involved chants without books or music.  These churches reflected rural life, with feudal lords and peasants.

2. Churches in 500 years of the Second Wave industrial phase (co-existing with the First Wave) became denominational with many different churches in the towns as new denominations emerged.  Generations of families belonged there all their life and read the printed Authorised (1511) version of the Bible.  They have been taught by ministers trained in denominational theological colleges.  Worship has involved organs used with hymns and hymn books.  These churches reflected industrial town life, with bureaucracies such as denominations.

3. Churches in 50 years of the Third Wave technological phase (co-existing with the Second Wave) are becoming networks of independent churches and movements, among which people move freely.  They tend to be led by charismatic, anointed, gifted, ‘apostolic’ servant-leaders, usually trained on the job through local mentoring using part time courses in distance education.  Their people have a wide range of Bible translations and use Bible tools in print, on CDs and on the internet.  Worship involves ministry teams using instruments with overhead projection for songs and choruses.  These churches reflect third wave technological city life.

Some churches, of course, mix these phases, especially now with the second wave receding and the third wave swelling.  For example, some denominational churches, especially those ‘in renewal’, may have a gifted ‘lay’ senior pastor not trained in theological college.  Some independent churches have theologically trained pastors with doctoral degrees in ministry.  Some denominational churches function like independent churches in their leadership and worship styles.

The huge changes we live through now can be compared to a clock face representing the last 3,000 years, since people recorded history, so each minute represents 50 years.  On that scale the printing press came into use about 10 minutes ago.  About three minutes ago, the telegraph, photograph and locomotive arrived.  Two minutes ago the telephone, rotary press, motion pictures, automobile, aeroplane, radio and emerged.  Less than one minute ago television appeared.  Less than half a minute ago the computer and then communication satellites became widely used, and the laser beam seconds ago.[2]

A former General Secretary of the United Nations, U Thant, noted that “it is no longer resources that limit decisions.  It is the decision that makes the resources.”[3]  He saw this as the fundamental revolutionary change, the most revolutionary social change we have ever known.

Other writers focus on the problems involved in accelerating change.

We live through problems never experienced before.  No nation and no aspect of life can escape their pressure.  These include:  the expansion of population, the burst of technology, the discovery of new forms of energy, the extension of knowledge, the rise of new nations, and the world-wide rivalry of ideologies.[4]

Accelerating change produces uprooting which causes rootlessness in society through:

1.  the repeated moves of so many families (e.g. scattered relatives);

2.  the disruption of communities through urban sprawl (e.g. moving to new churches) ;

3.  the increasing anonymity of urban life (e.g. the lonely crowd);

4.  the disruption of shift work (e.g. longer hours); and

5.  the fragmentation of the family (e.g. divorce now common).[5]

We live and minister in this revolutionary ‘post-modern’ era of rootlessness and changing values.  This context gives us increasing opportunities for loving, powerful witness and revival.

2. Accelerating church growth

Not only is the world population exploding.  So is the church.  By 1960 the world population had passed 2.5 billion and in 30 years from then doubled to 5 billion.  By 2000 it passed 6 billion.  However, in most non-Western countries the growth of the church already outstrips the population growth.

About 10% of Africa was Christian in 1900.  By 2000 it was about 50% Christian in Africa south of the Sahara.  In 1900 Korea had few Christians.  Now over 40% of South Korea is Christian.  By 1950 about 1 million in China were committed Christians.  Now estimates range around 100 million.

Every week approximately one thousand new churches are established in Asia and Africa alone.  Places such as Korea, Ethiopia, China, Central America, Indonesia and the Philippines are dramatic flash points of growth.

What kind of church is emerging?  Over 500 million Christians are pentecostal/charismatic.

The movement of the Holy Spirit across the world in the twentieth century has far eclipsed the marvellous beginning of that same movement in the early church.  It continues to spread.  Churches change and grow in power – along with persecution.

Modern developments provide the church with amazing resources.  Already reports of radio ministry into China and Russia tell how God uses this medium powerfully, along with spontaneous expansion of the church through signs and wonders.  Preachers now reach into the homes of people through television.  Millions are being won to Christ through The Jesus Film now translated into over 500 languages.  Similarly, cassettes and video tapes proliferate, much of all this being closely related to dynamic ministry in the power of the Spirit.

Some fundamental principles now change how we function as a church.  These dynamic changes recapture basic biblical principles.  They include:

Divine Headship – from figurehead to functional head.

Servant Leadership – from management to equipping

Church Membership – from institutional to organic

Dynamic Networks – from bureaucracy to relationships

Body Ministry – from some to all

Spiritual Gifts – from few to many

Obedient Mission – from making decisions to making disciples

Power Evangelism – from programs to lifestyle

Kingdom Authority – from words to deeds

Divine Headship – from figurehead to functional Head.

A Catholic prayer group in Texas realised that none of them had ever obeyed Luke 14:12-14.  They had not fed and clothed the poor who could never repay them.  A loving prophetic word from the Lord through a charismatically gifted Sister called them to do that.  They all agreed it was from the Lord.  So they took enough food for 120 people working everyday (including Christmas day) at the city garbage dump just over the river in Mexico, and they all had Christmas dinner together there in the dump where the people were working.  Over 300 people turned up to eat.  The food multiplied.  People brought relatives and everyone ate.  The eight carloads from the prayer group  ate.  They had enough left over to take food to three orphanages.

Now a lively church exists there.  The sick are healed.  Everyone at the dump had TB originally. Within four years no one had it.  Charismatic doctors see people healed through medicine, prayer and miracles.  At regular meetings, not just on Sundays, people have more fun dancing in church than in any dance hall.  Their worship involves everyone in singing, dancing, and praying for one another.[6]

If Jesus is really the functional head of his church, not just the figurehead, how does that work?  Basically we listen to him, and just do what he says, in any group, anywhere.

The disciples found it almost impossible to conceive of the kingdom of God without equating it with the world’s kingdoms.  So do we.  We also find it almost impossible to conceive of the church without equating it with our human societies.

We tend to run the church according to social patterns.  Church structures look like social structures.  The word ‘church’ often refers to some social expression of the church, or to a building, neither of which are biblical.  So we have great difficulty with the apparent lack of interest in the New Testament for institutional models of the church.

The New Testament church grew, rapidly.  It could be counted: 3,000; 5,000; and great multitudes.  This was undoubtedly the church of Jesus Christ, with all its faults.  He lived in the midst of his body.

The written and living word express the Lord’s headship in his church.

1.  The Written Word

All scripture is the inspired word of God; God-breathed (2 Tim.  3:16,17).  Scripture communicates the word of Christ to his church.

The headship of Christ in his church is eroded or denied when scripture loses its authority.  Conservative churches including Charismatic and Pentecostal churches believe the Bible.  They believe in miracles, then and now.  They believe God answers prayers, then and now.  That does not make all they do or say right, but it does preserve what’s right – God’s Word.

Although church structures and traditions vary, the Word of God provides an anchor and an objective measure of faithfulness or aberration.  Jesus was very clear in what he said!

Always there is the unexpected.  God’s purposes may be known, and yet are unknowable.  We continually discover that we have missed large slabs of the total picture.  We have the scriptures, as did the theologians of Jesus’ day, and like them we often fail to see what is there.  It must be divinely revealed and illuminated to be known.

2.  The Living Word

Scripture and prayer provide a means of communication with Christ our head.  Yet, like all means, they are a vehicle of communication, not the communication itself.

Speak to Him thou, for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet –
Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.[7]

The body of Christ is a living body, just as the Head is a living head.

Institutional forms and organisational expressions should yield to that.  The living body of the living Christ must give substance to that reality.  Then the inward union with Christ finds expression in the outward dimensions of church life.

Unless we grasp this, we will continue to secularise all we do, including ministry.  A secularised church functions like any other secular society: voting, electing leaders, keeping minutes, and running a bureaucracy.  That can easily bypass the Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ, the living Head changes all that!

For example, obedience to the Great Commission comes not from mere outward observance of the written word, but naturally from the dynamic life in Christ.

The Living Word transforms the letter into life.  “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life,” said Jesus (John 6:63), and Paul added, “the letter of the law kills, but the spirit gives life” (2 Cor.  3:6).

Then the Bible comes alive, anointed and empowered by the Spirit who inspired it.  Preaching becomes prophetic words from God as we wield the sharp two-edged sword of the Spirit.  Teaching lights fires in minds, hearts and wills.  Serving gives Christ’s love and healing through his responsive body, the church.  Prayer is transformed into intimate communion and sensitive response to the Lord, our Head.  Faith grows bold and strong.  The church grows with unleashed power when Christ is no longer the figurehead or absentee land-lord but sovereign Lord with kingdom authority.

Carl Lawrence gives an outstanding example of this in his book The Coming Influence of China.[8]  A full account is reproduced in Renewal Journal No. 12: Harvest.  Two teenage girls ‘just prayed and obeyed’ as they were led by the Lord.  They established 30 churches in two years on Hainan Island in China.  The smallest had 220 people, and the largest nearly 5,000 people.

That kind of radical obedience to Christ the Head of his church produces a radical biblical kind of leadership in the church.

Servant Leadership – from management to equipping 

Leadership in the body of Christ, as in the kingdom of God, is very different from all other leadership in human society.   Authentic Christian leadership is Spirit-filled, Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered, hidden and charismatic, yet manifested in power and visible institutionally.

Bishop Stephen Neill notes:
There has been a great deal of talk in recent years about the development of leadership …  But is the idea of “leadership” biblical and Christian, and can we make use of it without doing grave injury to the very cause that we wish to serve? .  .  .

How far is the conception of “leadership” really one which we ought to encourage?  It is so hard to use it without being misled by the non-Christian conception of leadership.   It has been truly said that our need is not for leaders, but for saints and servants.  Unless this fact is held steadily in the foreground, the whole idea of leadership training becomes dangerous.[9]

Jesus raised these issues also.   They touch on the fundamental dimensions of servanthood and equipping for ministry.

1.  Servanthood

The radical nature of Jesus’ leadership, what he demanded of his followers, is best expressed in his words:

In Matthew 20:25-28, in response to the request of James and John for leadership or prominence in the coming kingdom and in answer to the other disciples’ reaction to this request, Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant – and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Jesus insists that the world’s concept of leadership must not operate in his church:  “Not so with you.”  Leadership is not about position or hierarchy or authority; it is a question of function and of service.  The greatness of a Christian is not in status but in servanthood.

Jesus underscored his revolutionary teaching: greatness comes not through being served, but through serving.   In God’s kingdom the standard of achievement is found not in exercising power over others, but in ministering to them and empowering them.

Jesus dramatically illustrated this teaching by washing his disciples’ feet.  Then he told them to do just what he had done:  “If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, so you must also wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).  That lesson was so important that he gave it to them a final act of love just before he died.

Jesus rejected both political and religious authority.  He established Kingdom authority – serving others.  His rejection of earthly power is so revolutionary that his disciples continually missed it.  So do we.

What pain we could save ‘the church’ and what awful church-split sins we could avoid if we understood and obeyed this basic biblical principle!  Church splits don’t happen where people love, serve, and truly forgive one another.  You may be ‘right’ (in theology or practice) but if you split the church then you are very wrong.

Where would Jesus fit in our traditional church patterns today?  Would he savagely attack the political power plays and status seeking leadership?  Would he call our divisions sin?  Would he denounce in scathing terms the religious pomp and ceremony?  Would he absolutely reject hierarchical positions, titles, and garb.  Once he did.

Even more fundamental to the nature of the kingdom and the ministry of the church are other questions.  Would he disturb the meetings?  Would he cast out demons?  Would he heal?  Would his preaching so provoke his hearers that they would oppose him?  Would he be more at home outside our religious systems than within them?  Would he so threaten our systems that we would denounce, expel or ignore him?

Leaders in many persecuted churches, where the church grows powerfully, face all that now.  That’s where you see servant leadership most clearly!

“Who serves?” is a very different question from “Who leads?”

Does this do away with leadership?  Yes and no.  It does away with the world’s kind of leadership.  It requires the Kingdom’s kind of leadership, which is servant leadership led by the Spirit of God.

Terry Fulham (in Miracle at Darien) demonstrated that kind of Kingdom leadership in an Episcopal church in America.  He accepted ‘leadership’ on the basis that no decision would ever be made by the elders (or board) until they were in total unity in the Spirit.  No vote would ever be needed.  They believed Jesus could lead his church.  So they required unity.  If unity could not be attained, they waited and prayed till it was.

The New Testament regards all Christians as ministers and servants.  Body ministry must be servant ministry.   If leadership is a legitimate term for kingdom life and body ministry, it must be servant leadership.

It is both a radical leadership style among other styles and also the life-style of every Christian.  It is the ministry of every member of Christ’s body.  The great leaders in the Kingdom may be the least obvious – humbly and courageously serving others, unnoticed.

2.  Equipping for Ministry

Some servant leaders are called and anointed to equip others for ministry.

In one sense we are all called and anointed to do that.  Some as parents, raising children.  Some as carers, showing others how to care.  Some as team leaders, serving and inspiring the team and empowering them for service also.

Among spiritual gifts there are different ministries including leadership and administration.   Our problem is that those words carry so much political and hierarchical freight that we can hardly use them without distorting them.

Leadership in Christ’s body means service, ministry, and being least or last, not greatest or first.  The first shall be last, and the last first, Jesus said.  Leadership is a spiritual function of serving and empowering, dependent on spiritual giftedness, not just on human ability.

Jesus Christ, not personality or achievement, makes leaders.  The Ephesians 4 passage is a clear statement of that kind of giftedness.   He appoints some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in his body to equip (by serving) the members of that body for their ministry.

Michael Harper summarises their function as:

Let my people go      –   the apostolic function of the Church
Let my people hear   –   the prophetic function of the Church
Let my people grow  –   the evangelistic function of the Church
Let my people care   –   the pastoral function of the Church
Let my people know –   the teaching function of the Church

Go to my people
Speak to my people
Reach my people
Care for my people
Teach my people.[10]

Leadership gifts in the body of Christ equip that body for ministry.  Again, using such loaded terms, it needs to be stressed that this is quite different from mere human ability to lead; it is spiritual giftedness.  Like other spiritual gifts, it may find expression in and through natural ability, but it is then natural ability anointed in Spirit-led power.

The amazingly diverse, flexible nature of spiritual leadership needs emphasis.  No one model has it all, even though we all are called to be servant leaders.

Paul’s way of developing leaders was to recognise and encourage the special gift and role of each person, especially elders.  Paul was undoubtedly a leader, a servant leader in the strong sense of the term.  He served with his apostolic gifts.  He equipped the body for ministry.

The term servant leader recaptures essential dimensions of the equipping ministry.   So long as ‘leader’ is understood charismatically as spiritual giftedness, it becomes stronger than ever.  Christ, head of his body, gives that kind of equipping leadership to members of his body.  Enormous authority is vested in that understanding of servant leadership, precisely because those leaders serve others, and equip others for ministry.

This specific equipping ministry in the body applies especially to leadership of large churches.  As a church grows larger, it is vital that the pastor be an equipper.  The ministry will be done by the whole body, not just the ‘leader’.  No one person can do it all.

Body ministry requires leadership which is both humble and powerful, leading by serving.  All spiritual gifts need to function this way, especially leadership gifts.   Powerful leadership grows from humble service.

Church Membership – from institutional to organic

We are members of Christ’s church; that sounds institutional.
We are members of Christ’s body; that sounds organic.
In fact, the two can be one!

The church must find its expression in human society, so it must have institutional characteristics.  They may be as simple as a home group gathering regularly together, or as complex as a multi-million dollar denominational agency.  As the institutional forms grow more complex, their vested interests become more binding and conformity to the world usually increases.

The Holy Spirit cannot be confined by institutionalisation.  He never has been.  He continually breaks free of human limitations and blows where he will.  Christ, by the power of his Spirit is building his church.

Instead of a dictatorship or a democracy, God has chosen to make the Body of Christ an organism with Christ as the head and each member functioning with spiritual gifts.  Understanding spiritual gifts, then is the key to understanding the true organisation of the church.

The charismatic nature of the church as Christ’s body will be expressed through the spiritual gifts of its members.  So both the charismatic dimension and the institutional dimension co-exist in the church; the former being its essence, the latter its cultural or social expression.

1.  The Organism

The body of Christ is an organism, a community, with interpersonal relationships, mutuality and interdependence.  It is flexible and leaves room for a high degree of spontaneity.  The Bible gives us this model for the church: the human body (1 Corinthians 12).

The charismatic dimension in both ministry and organisation does not do away with professional abilities and functions but fills them with the active, powerful presence of Christ by his Spirit and so transforms them from being merely professional to being charismatically gifted as well as professionally competent.

For example, a professional counsellor may be less effective than a non-professional friend who ministers love and care in the power of the Spirit of God.  The dynamic power of charismatic ministry lies in the active presence of God’s Spirit filling that ministry or at least guiding it.  However, a Spirit-filled, Spirit-led professional counsellor draws powerfully on both gifting and training.

Implications for church organisation are enormous.  Although the professional tasks and organisations will probably continue, the ministry of the whole body will require very flexible forms which allow and intentionally foster body ministry.  Counselling, teaching, preaching, social care and evangelism are all transformed by the Holy Spirit guiding and empowering those activities.

Charismatic Anglican David Watson gives an example of this from his own experience.  As the church he pastored in York grew into fuller expressions of charismatic life it needed restructuring to provide adequate pastoral care through elders who were charismatically gifted as pastors not just elected to fill an institutional role of leadership.  They cared for area groups, especially mentoring the group leaders.[11]

Watson emphasises that where Christ is central and head of his body, he will provide charismatic leadership through gifted elders who in turn lead or care for the whole body, especially through pastoring and teaching gifts in the small groups or cells of the body.  An organic model of the church expresses the real headship of Christ in his body and his ministry through the spiritual gifts of his people in body ministry.

Revival in Bogotá (see article in this issue) tells that kind of story dramatically in 2001.

Paul was clear on this.  Within the body of Christ apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor- teachers equip the body for ministry so that the body members, using their spiritual gifts, can do the work of ministry (Ephesians 4).

Paul’s three main passages on the church as the body of Christ give basic lists of spiritual gifts for charismatic ministry.  Others could be added.  The Ephesians 4:11-12 list refers specifically to charismatic leadership in the church, given by Christ, the risen and ascended conqueror, to equip the members of his body for the work of ministry.  Aspects of that equipment are included in the various lists of spiritual gifts.  Each passage emphasises the importance of ministering in love and unity.

2.  The Organisation

In times of accelerating change and exploding church growth, the institutional model of the church needs to be flexible and responsive to its environment.  Further, if it is to allow a truly charismatic ministry to function with strong spiritual gifts, it must be sensitive and responsive to the Holy Spirit, all the time.

The early church gives a startlingly clear picture of such a flexible institutional model.  They were constantly led and empowered by the Spirit.  They were very human, with typical faults and problems.  The New Testament authors wrote mostly to fix those problems, especially in the epistles.

They met in many house churches, still as the one church in one place, inter-related.  It was extremely flexible, needed everyone’s involvement, and could multiply anywhere.  The church in China today, and in African villages, and in Latin American communities, uses this same organisation.

The institutional model of the church then was a house church model.  That model has been repeated all through history, and in many parts of the world today is the means of flexible rapid church growth.  Most large churches use this model in home groups.

Organisational membership often involves attending the meetings, paying the dues, abiding by the rules, and possibly being elected or appointed to office.  Any society can do that.  Most do.

Organic membership of the body, however, functions by living in Christ and ministering in spiritual gifts.

These two kinds of membership need to be differentiated when discussing church membership.  Usually “church membership” means club membership; it is an institutional expression of the church.  Usually “body membership” means the organic functioning of the members of Christ’s body, and its members being united by the Spirit of God in the one body, the church.

Organisational habits can reverse their meaning over years.  Calvin in Geneva, for example, refused to identify with clerical pomp and wore the poor man’s cloak when preaching, but in time that turned into the Geneva gown, a clerical institution.  Francis of Assisi also wore a poor man’s cloak, which has now become a religious uniform quite unrelated to what the poor now wear.

Those quirks are minor compared with the massive maintenance programs of large religious institutions.  Denominations which came into being for mission, often breaking away from hardened institutional forms, in turn become maintenance-oriented and lose the very vision which gave them birth.

The organisational form of the church needs to be continually responsive to the Head of the church, or it becomes secularised and the Spirit of God is quenched.  Leadership in the church must be especially responsive to the Spirit to avoid this.

Organisational life in the church can remain flexible and responsive to the Head of the church as it keeps its organic life alive in the power of the Spirit.

Dynamic Networks -from bureaucracy to relational groups

Networks of groups increasingly replace bureaucracy.  Short term task groups replace committees.  Networks of independent churches and groups are replacing historic denominations.

Spirit-filled groups or communities give one simple example, now affecting multiplied millions of people.  People relate in home groups, house churches, mission groups, independent churches, and renewal or revival movements everywhere.  So your home group may have people who were Catholic, or Anglican, or Methodist, or Baptist, or Hindu, or New Age.

Second Wave churches, for example, in earlier days could insist on loyalty to the denominational bureaucracy and policy lines.  Now people choose from networks of the ecclesiastical smorgasbord.  Television, mobility and education all shift our consciousness and increase our awareness and choices, including church life.  That is how renewal and revival have been spreading.

A current example is the grassroots spread of charismatic renewal and revival.

In First Wave rural villages with little outside influence, little change occurred – “We’ve always done it this way.”

In Second Wave town churches ‘renewal’ could be kept outside the denomination by being banished to another bureaucracy, and therefore ignored – “Join the pentecostals and don’t rock the boat.”

Third Wave society opens new networks of information and experience.  Our increasing mobility brings us into contact with renewal and revival.  Our extended education opens our minds to these new insights.  Our television portrays the power of God in healing and our worldview begins to shift.  Our friends give us paperbacks to read or cassettes to hear and videos to see, and conviction or hope grows within us.  Our visitors or home group leaders tell of their experiences and we seek what they’ve found.  Our friends pray for us and God releases his Spirit more fully in our lives.  Yet all of this happens outside the denominational bureaucracy; or it may do so.

So Wagner’s “third wave” of renewal is carried on Toffler’s Third Wave of social change into all church structures.  Our friendship networks become ‘the bridges of God’ into our churches and out into the lives of others.  Significantly, no pastor or minister may be involved.  People witness to people.  People now have the Bible tools, education, and friendships to check it out.

Those changes catapult us into new expressions of ministry.

Body Ministry – from some to all.

Body Ministry involves the biblical pattern of ministry in the church, the body of Christ.

Body Ministry is the ministry of the whole body of Christ.  It functions through the use of spiritual gifts in all the members of the body.  The unity of the Spirit of God finds expression in the incredible diversity of spiritual gifts and ministries.

The Reformation rediscovered the authority of the Bible and the wonderful gift of God’s grace in providing salvation by faith in Jesus.  Unfortunately it failed to free the church from the rule of the priest or pastor, so carried that form of leadership into the Protestant church, producing a drastic clergy-laity division.  Spiritual gifts in the whole body of Christ were largely ignored.

Body ministry, then, is not limited to church meetings, although the meetings need to express body life as well. That ministry is total. It finds expression in all of life.

Ray Stedman popularised the term “body life” in his book by that name thirty years ago.  He used body life services in which people could share needs or testimonies.  Bodylife becomes body ministry as people apply their spiritual gifts to those needs in the church and in society in ministry.

Body Life teaching opened the way for a fuller apprehension and use of spiritual gifts in shared life and ministry. That in turn has opened the way for a fuller discovery of the dynamic power of body ministry in Kingdom authority.

Spiritual Gifts – from few to many

Body ministry requires spiritual gifts.  The body of Christ ministers charismatically.  There is no other way it can minister as the living body of the living Christ.  He ministers in and through his body, by the gifts of his Spirit.

Charismatic gifts of the Spirit differ from natural talents.  We can do much through dedicated human talent, but that is not body ministry through spiritual gifts.  Natural talents do need to be committed to God and used for his glory.  They can be channels of spiritual gifts, but may not be.

Spiritual gifts constantly surprise us.  God uses whom he chooses, and chooses whom he will.  Spiritual gifts often show up with great power in unlikely people and in unlikely ways.

A common misunderstanding, for instance, is that those with an effective healing ministry must be especially holy people.  They may not be.  Gifts of the Spirit are given by grace, not earned by consecration.  Young, immature Christians may have powerful spiritual ministries, as they discover and use their spiritual gifts.  Many do.  That is no proof of consecration or maturity, even though to please God we need to offer ourselves to him in full commitment.

Romans Chapter 12 gives a surprising example of this.  The well known first two verses challenge us to offer ourselves fully to God and so discover his will for our lives.  Paul then explains that knowing God’s will involves being realistic about ourselves and our gifts.  If we know and use our God-given gifts, we fulfil God’s will for our lives.

Body ministry, then, depends on the use of spiritual gifts, not just the use of natural talents dedicated to God.  Both are vital for committed Christian living, and both will be present in the church.  However, the church is not built on committed natural talent, even though churches often seem to operate that way.  Body ministry involves the use of spiritual gifts.

For example two people may have the talent of beautiful singing voices.  Both will sing in worship and even on the platform in ministry.  One, however, may be anointed with a prophetic gift in song, and the other may not be.  That gifting will move hearts and wills in the power of God’s Spirit.  Christ gives those gifts – we don’t create them.  Some of these gifts of God’s Spirit, received for ministry, will be blessed in ministry in and through natural talent as well, but the key to body ministry is not the talent.  It is the spiritual gift.

Similarly, spiritual gifts are not Christian roles or tasks.  All Christians witness, but only some are gifted in evangelism.  Every Christian has faith, but some have a gift of faith as well.  All must exercise hospitality, but some are gifted in hospitality.  Prayer is for all of us, but some are gifted in intercession.

Spiritual gifts operate in unity with diversity.

1.  Unity

Paul’s passages on spiritual gifts all emphasise unity expressed in diversity (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4).

Without that unity expressed in love, the diversity destroys the body’s ministry causing chaos, division, sectarianism, and impotence.  This is Paul’s theme in 1 Corinthians 12-14.

The Corinthians did not need teaching on the reality of spiritual gifts nor on their diversity.  They knew that.  In fact, they abused that.  So Paul had to correct the fault by emphasizing the unity of the body, bound together in love.  Gifts are not to be a source of division and strife, but an expression of unity and love.  Unless rooted and grounded in love, the gifts are counter-productive.

Unity in the body of Christ allows that body to function well, not be crippled.  No one has all the gifts.  We all need one another.  No one should be conceited about any gift that God has given.  No one must think his or her gift the most important, and magnify and exalt it at the expense of others.  All gifts must used in humility and service.  We do not compete.  We minister in harmony and co-operation.

Paul’s great theme, “in Christ,” expresses the unity essential for body ministry.  In Christ we are one body.  In Christ we live and serve.  Love lies at the heart of body ministry.  The body is one, bound in love.  The body builds itself up in love (Eph.  4:16).  That is why 1 Corinthians 13 is central to Paul’s passage on spiritual gifts in the body of Christ.  “Make love your aim,” he insists, “and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts” (1 Corinthians 14:1).

Jesus insisted on love.  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all mean will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

Our unity is not based on doctrine, or methods.  Our unity comes from who we are, the body of Christ.  Paul states this as a fact, not a hope.  We are one in Christ.  We are one in the Spirit.  God has made us one.  That unity is expressed in body ministry.

It shows in our attitude – in humility, kingdom thinking, and love.  It smashes competition and critical spirits, especially between different people and groups with different gifts.

Breathtaking community transformations are now happening around the world where we live this truth in united ministry.  See articles in this issue of this Journal!

2.  Diversity

That unity is expressed in the diversity of gifts.  There is one Spirit; his gifts are incredibly diverse.

The point is developed in all the body passages of Paul.  Diversity is to be celebrated, not squashed; encouraged, not smothered; developed, not ignored.

The church may be two or three, or two or three hundred, or two or three thousand.  Different sizes will have different ministries or functions, such as cell, congregation or celebration, but all are the church.  Christ is present in his body.  So are his gifts.  Again, different gifts will be appropriate for different expressions of that body’s ministry, but it in one body.

Body ministry will use these gifts.  God’s Spirit moves among his people in power to meet needs and minister effectively.  Those gifts need to be identified and used, and in the process, as in Jesus’ ministries, special anointings will come.

Preaching, for example, will often become prophecy as it is anointed by the Spirit of God.  That prophetic ministry may happen unexpectedly in the process of a sermon.  It may also be given in preparation as a word directly from the Lord.

Compassionate service and healing administrations will at times be anointed powerfully by God’s presence in signs and wonders to heal.  Role, gift and anointing then merge into strongly focused spiritual ministry.

So role, spiritual gift, and anointings cannot be clearly divided.  Indeed, as the Spirit of God moves in still greater power among all members of the body of Christ, the ministry of that body will be increasingly anointed.

Then the professional is swallowed up in the spiritual; natural ability is suffused and flooded with supernatural life; the human is filled with the divine.

Jesus lived this way.  No one need envy another’s gifts or ministry.  All are needed.

Obedient Mission –  from making decisions to making disciples

Christ himself, head of his church, clearly stated the church’s mission.  He did so on many occasions between his resurrection and ascension.  The powerful dimension of the Great Commission has often been overlooked.  Jesus himself emphasised our mission couldn’t be done without the power of his Spirit.  That is the point of all the power promises in the Great Commission:

Matthew records it: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me .  .  .  and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt.  28:18-20).

Mark records it:  “These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:17-18).

Luke records it:  “I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

John records it:  “He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit …’ (John 20:22).

Acts records it:  “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8).

When empowered and led by the Holy Spirit (who is the Spirit of Jesus and the Spirit of God, Gal.  4:6), mission is powerful.  Then we do not make plans and execute them in human wisdom and strength, but seek divine wisdom and strength.

Empowering by the Spirit of God and being led by the Spirit of God are central to obedient mission.  We cannot claim obedience to the Great Commission when we do God’s work in our strength or our own ways and wisdom.

The Great Commission is not merely an external command to hard to obey.  It is an internal compulsion, ignited in us by the Spirit of God.  The Spirit has been given to the Church because it is her essence and nature to be a witnessing body.

Consequently, a church which is not evangelistic, nor missionary, nor empowered, is an apostate church.  We begin to see the magnitude of our apostasy when we compare our churches with the biblical norm.  We only need an evangelical movement or a missionary movement or a charismatic movement because we have fallen so far.

Body ministry, then, will obey the Head of the body, move in his authority, filled with the power of his Spirit.  The Great Commission begins with the absolute authority of Christ in his church and all the cosmos; it issues in obedient mission, exercised within that authority, and exercising that authority in powerful ministry.

Powerful body ministry flows from obedient disciples, who, individually and as a body, obey their Lord.

The Great Commission calls for this total task of ‘making disciples’ in terms of becoming disciples in the body of Christ and growing in discipleship.  It is one process.  The kind of evangelism required for church growth and stated in the Great Commission is evangelism which makes disciples, not merely gets people to make decisions.  Those decisions may be inadequate and fail to make disciples.

Wholistic evangelism and conversion can be summarised as involving[12]:
Priority One: Commitment to Christ.
Priority Two: Commitment to the body of Christ.
Priority Three: Commitment to the work of Christ in the world.

Jesus would not turn aside from his redemptive mission.  He lived fully in the kingdom realm.  He did only his Father’s will, not his own.  So everything he did was mission.  Within that mission, his evangelism was not meetings or a program.  He saved.  Those he touched were made whole when there was faith.  He said, “Follow me.”  That was his program.  He still calls us to follow him in obedient mission.

Power Evangelism – from programs to lifestyle

Spiritual gifts can release body ministry for effective power evangelism.  The New Testament pattern of evangelism is always Kingdom words combined with Kingdom deeds.

A major shift in evangelism always evident in revivals, and increasingly evident now moves from program evangelism to power evangelism as a lifestyle of all members of the body of Christ, as John Wimber reminded us.

1.  Program Evangelism

Programs of evangelism can be effective.  Crusade evangelism has won thousands to Christ.  Saturation evangelism, especially in Latin America, has reached every home in target communities with the gospel message.  Personal evangelism such as door-to-door programs have reached many people.  Some churches have focused on seeker services or outreach services aimed at reaching the unsaved, and often done so effectively.

All of these programs and many more have been significant means of evangelism.  So, we thank God for so much evangelism which has won thousands to Christ.

However, we must also recognize that thousands and even millions of dollars spent on evangelism programs and all the time and work involved do not always bear abundant fruit.

Wagner, for example, noted that ‘Key 73’ in America touched over 100,000 congregations without any noticeable change in patterns of growth across the board.[13]

Win Arn reported on ‘Here’s Life America’ noting that only 3.3% of those who recorded decisions became active members of any church, and 42% of them came by transfer.  After polling over 4,000 converts Win Arn discovered that 70% – 80% of them came into the church through relatives and friends, whereas less than 1% came as direct result of city-wide evangelism campaigns.[14]

Lyle Schaller similarly discovered that 60 – 90% of people involved in the church were brought by some friend or relative.[15]

Programs are not as effective as body evangelism through the local church.  Body evangelism involves more people in the church than many programs do, is the natural way most people are brought into the church, and can be the focus of church life in a lifestyle of evangelism.

Program evangelism may be useful, but it needs to link strongly with the local church and be a natural expression of that church’s life and witness.  Program evangelism, however, falls short of the biblical model.  It is needed because the church fails to be what the church should be!  Body evangelism calls for more.  It requires the involvement of the whole body of Christ in the power of his Spirit.

2.  Power Evangelism

The biblical model goes beyond program evangelism.  It is depth centred in Jesus’ promise: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses …” (Acts 1:8).

John Wimber emphasized the importance of power evangelism:

Power Evangelism … transcends the rational.  It happens with the demonstration of God’s power in Signs and Wonders, and introduces the numinous of God.  This presupposes a presentation accompanied with the manifest presence of God.  Power Evangelism is spontaneous and is directed by the Holy Spirit.  The result is often explosive church growth.  …

The issue is not what the church is doing.  The issue is what the church is leaving out! Where is the promised power of Acts 1:8?  Where are the demonstrations of the manifest presence of God that we see illustrated throughout the book of Acts?  Were they only for that day?  Do they occur today?  If so, can we get in on it?  Is it possible for you and me to work the works of Jesus?

Power Evangelism is still God’s way of explosively growing His church.[16]

Examples multiply by the millions now.[17]

(a) David Adney reporting on China says:

In one area where there were 4,000 Christians before the revolution, the number has now increased to 90,000 with a thousand meeting places.  Christians in the region give three reasons for the rapid increase: The faithful witness of Christians in the midst of suffering, the power of God seen in healing the sick, and the influence of Christian radio broadcast from outside.

(b) John Hurston, associated with the world’s largest church, Full Gospel Central Church in Seoul, Korea, where David Yonggi Cho is pastor, attributed the phenomenal growth of that church to “the constant flow of God’s miracle power” from the beginning.

(c) A third example is from Wagner’s observations:

In Latin America I saw God at work.  I saw exploding churches.  I saw preaching so powerful that hardened sinners broke and yielded to Jesus’ love.  I saw miraculous healings.  I met with people who had spoken to God in visions and dreams.  I saw Christians multiplying themselves time and again.  I saw broken families reunited.  I saw poverty and destitution overcome by God’s living Word.  I saw hate turn to love.

Power evangelism fulfils the biblical pattern of body ministry and evangelism.  It goes beyond programs to the mighty acts of God in the midst of his people.  Christ is alive in his church by the power of His Spirit.

The church is true to the kingdom of God when, like Jesus, the signs of the kingdom are manifest in powerful ministry.

The church spontaneously expands through power evangelism.  It is one facet of dynamic body ministry; a natural result of a healthy body, filled with the life of God.  That transformed body will explodes in mission.  It is already in many countries.

The emerging church in the 21st century is increasingly involved in power evangelism under the Kingdom authority of Jesus himself.

Kingdom Authority – from words to deeds

Christ is king.  In Paul’s later writings he emphasises this dimension in relationship to the church as Christ’s body.  He reigns in and through his body, the church.  Yet that rule is also cosmic, of which the church is now a part and therefore directly involved in cosmic principalities and powers.  Kingdom authority is integrally part of the church’s life and mission as the body of Christ.

In Colossians 1, Paul explains that Christ alone is ‘the image of the invisible God’ and is pre-eminent over everything and everyone (v. 15).  This includes being ‘the head the body, the church’ (v. 18).  He is not just another divine being but in him alone ‘all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell’ (v.19).  In his death and resurrection he triumphed not merely over sin and death but over the cosmic powers also (v. 20).

In Ephesians 1, Paul emphasises that Christ is pre-eminent over the cosmic powers.  He is ‘far above all rule and authority and power and dominion’ (v. 21) and ‘head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all’ (vs. 22-23).  Paul then explains how this applies to the church which is his one body, not many different bodies (4:4).  The ascended Head of the church gives spiritual gifts to his church, all of which come from Christ (vs 7-8).  These include spiritually gifted leaders to equip us all ‘for the work of ministry’ and to build up the body of Christ (v. 12).

These passages from Paul lift the concept of the church as the body of Christ way beyond a cosy club of personal support and encouragement.  Support and encouragement must be in the body, but any human society could give that if it’s members care for one another.

The body of Christ is something more.  It is the body of Christ the King.  Like the kingdom of God, Christ’s rule has been established and is yet to be realised fully.  So the ministry of the body of Christ is his powerful ministry.

The ascended, victorious, all powerful Christ, having conquered sin and death and hell now reigns supreme.  He is the head of his body, the church.  He gives gifts to his church, specifically those called under his authority to exercise authority in the church as leaders so that all God’s people may be equipped by him for his ministry in and through us.  That is body ministry.

Signs, wonders and fantastic church growth characterised the early church as normal Kingdom life burst out in the powerful ministry of the body of Christ.  Body ministry demonstrated kingdom authority. As in Jesus’ ministry, the early church ministered in signs and wonders (Acts 2:43), prayed for signs and wonders, and expected more signs and wonders (Acts 4:30; 5:12-16).

Granted, the church is often weak.  Kingdom life often lies untapped.  Christians, and the church, corrupted and weakened by disobedience or faithlessness (the lack of faith which results in sin), may fail to manifest kingdom Life.

However, accelerating church growth in the power of the Spirit of God point to the greatest demonstration of kingdom life and power the world has even known.  Yet, as in the life of Jesus, it can remain hidden from those who, seeing, will not see, and hearing, will not hear (Isa. 6:9-10 Mt. l3:14-15; Mk. 4:12; Lk. 8:10; Jn.12: 40; Acts 28: 26-27).

The kingdom is manifest, yet hidden; revealed, yet concealed. Those who ask, receive it; whose who seek, find it; to those who knock, the door of the kingdom is opened.  And the church has the keys!

The Kingdom of God was the central message of Jesus. That message was in powerful words and deeds.  Christ, the Messianic King, incarnate in his human body, proclaimed the kingdom of God as immanent.  He called for response in repentance and faith Mk.l:15).  His parables described the mysteries of the Kingdom.  His miracles displayed its power and authority (Mt. 12:28).  You cannot separate, in the evangelistic ministry of Jesus, proclamation and demonstration, preaching and acting, saying and doing.

Similarly, Jesus gave that authority and power to his disciples: “preach as you go, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons” (Mt. 10: 7,8).

This same message and powerful ministry were normal in the early church.  Throughout the whole of Acts, in almost every chapter a demonstration of the Kingdom accompanies the proclamation of the gospel.

The clash of kingdoms emerges as a strong theme in the epistles also. The church contends against the principalities and the powers, the world rulers of this dark age, the spiritual hosts of wickedness (Eph.6:12).  Each member of Christ’s body, then, has been redeemed from captivity and set free by Christ to serve the King.

The body of Christ must be seen as the agent of the kingdom of God, where Christ rules in power and still proclaims that reality through his church, both in living word and dynamic deed.

The kingdom of God is much more than an evangelical ‘born again’ experience, or a concern for social justice, or a communal interest in loving relationships, or a charismatic quest for personal victory.  It is all these and much more.  It is the cosmic clash of kingdoms.  It is the church smashing the gates of hell to release the captives.  It is the spreading reign of God in Christ upon the earth.  It is the eternal purpose of God being fulfilled in restoring and reconciling all things in the universe to himself.

God reigns. Christ is King. His Spirit endues his church with kingdom life and power.  Jesus himself declared the kingdom charter, quoting from Isaiah 61:1-2:  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4:18-19).

Body ministry, then is powerful ministry by the body of Christ. It must include the signs of the kingdom as well as the words of the kingdom. Spiritual gifts, imparted by the victorious Christ through his Spirit, empower Christ’s body for authentic mission in the world.


References

[1] Toffler, A. 1980.  The Third Wave.  London: Collins, pp. 20, 25, 28.

[2] Adapted from Postman N. & Weingartner, C. 1969.  Teaching as a Subversive Activity. London: Penguin, pp. 22-23.

[3] Toffler, A. 1970.  Future Shock. London: Pan, p. 23.

[4] Trump J. & Baynham, D. 1961.  Focus on Change. Chicago: Rand McNally, p. 3.

[5] Schaller, L. 1975.  Hey, That’s our Church. Nashville: Abingdon, p. 23.

[6] Laurentin, R. 1986.  Viva Christo Rey!  Waco: Word.

[7] Barclay, W. 1958.  The Mind of St. Paul.  New York: Harper & Row, p. 122.

[8] Lawrence, C.  1996.  The Coming Influence of China.  Gresham: Vision, pp. 186-192.

[9]  Neill, S. 1957.  The Unfinished Task.  London: Edinburgh House, p. 132.

[10] Harper. M. 1977.  Let My People Grow.  Plainfield: Logos, pp. 44-45, adapted.

[11] Watson, D. 1978.  I Believe in the Church.  London: Hodder & Stoughton, pp. 292- 293.

[12] Wagner, C. P.  1976.  Your Church Can Grow.  Glendale: Regal, p. 159, from Ray Ortland.

[13] Wagner, op. cit., p. 141.

[14] McGavran, D. & Hunter, G.  1980.  Church Growth Strategies that Work.  Nashville: Abingdon, p. 34.

[15] McGavran, D.  1980.  Understanding Church Growth. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, p. 225.

[16] Wimber, J.  1983.  Unpublished Class Notes, MC510, Healing Ministry and Church Growth, pp. 1-2.

[17] Examples from Wimber, op. cit. pp. 5, 7, 12.

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