When I was in my mid teens I had a unique experience. I attended the first Billy Graham Crusade held in a place called Harringay Arena, in London. This night was to change my life forever and to initiate a God consciousness in me , along with thousands of other people in the UK. A week later I made that decision public in a meeting in a Local sports stadium where one of Billy’s associates was preaching.
Many who were affected by that night and the presence of the Holy Spirit , went on to become some of the foremost Christian leaders in the nation, whilst others simply became solid Christians.
For all of us who attended, those nights were so unique and unforgettable and may well have determined the future of the Church in the UK, which was in rapid decay at that time.
My life has been richly blessed by being at “moments of destiny” in the years of my following Jesus. Apart from that special night which turned my life in a God-ward direction, I recently had another of those unforgettable times in my life, which I believe will prove to have been totally unique
I was in attendance at the “Together on a Mission Conference”, in Brighton UK, along with around 5000 people. This was the last of a long line of Conferences held by New Frontiers Churches over the past 25 plus years and one that culminated in an unusual event.
New Frontiers has been led and developed with Terry Virgo and a team of committed men who have sought to build on a New Testament pattern of Church life and Ministry, with some notable success. With more than 200 churches in the UK and a total in excess of 800 around the world , they have not been idle or inactive!! Led and encouraged by Terry’s strong teaching ministry, we heard many of the New Frontiers leaders share during this conference on the various topics related to the future of the movement, and to the personal life style of its members.
Every day we had exceptional worship and on the last evening someone was heard to say that they “thought they had already died and gone to Heaven”!! The last evening the chairs were removed from the auditorium floor and people simply stood, danced, waved, worshipped and soaked in the presence of God.
Many will remember the famous Stoneleigh Conferences that New Frontiers initiated and their affect on worship around the world. In a unique faith step Terry Virgo felt called to bring an end to this annual event at the point of its greatest success.
Events all around UK since in various regions have seen that same spirit continue locally as members of New Frontiers have gathered in regional conferences.
So on this July night in Brighton we were to witness the last of the “Together on a Mission Conferences” embracing the whole movement.
Challenged three years before by a ministry from the USA concerning the future of the movement ,and its leadership, Terry had sought God and found another unusual and unique answer.
Rather than choose another International Leader, Terry felt led to recognize and bless a number of his spiritual “sons” carrying the strong DNA of the movement, to initiate their own teams, in the same style of the one he had built to form New Frontiers over the years.
At this final evening meeting we saw the culmination of this decision as men and their wives stood before this massive crowd , dedicating and being dedicated to, the vision of building New Testament churches around the world , in interdependent spheres.
I was privileged to participate in this ,once in a lifetime event, in prayer and in the prophetic ministry that I carry. This was one of the highest honors and privileges that I have enjoyed in my ministry journey.
Seeing team leaders from the UK, USA, Europe, India, Africa , South America, Australasia, and more, being set apart for the ministry to which God has called them was like a re-enactment of Acts 13 from the New Testament.
This was not a formal birth of a denomination, but rather a release of powerful teams into the earth built around relationship, and New Testament Church life. The expression of the strong spiritual DNA will now find itself creatively manifested and interpreted into the cultures where the teams are working. Since this is relational and not geographical, the teams will be international and interracial moving in a surge of church planting and international aid programs around the earth. I believe this will result in massive growth on an exponential scale as they seize the opportunity to press into unreached territory in the Nations
Terry Virgo will continue to meet with these apostolic men and gather them for prayer and input whilst releasing them totally to express the life of God that is at work in and through them.
We often hear people say “you have to have been there” I am so happy that I was privileged to be part of something which has at its heart a reformation of the way that Christianity is perceived and done .
Acts of faith that Terry has implemented have set a tremendous example for all these teams to follow, and follow it they will!!
For our part we will continue to be associated with, and a part of, the Team led by Mike Betts from Lowestoft Community Church, along with Maurice Nightingale, Goff Hope, Grantley Watkins and Joseph Kristianson. These are men who have proved to be great friends and co-workers and have an incredible record in church planting, growth and the training of leaders in the Local Church with a commitment to The Spirit and The Word, in their activities.
There is still much ahead for us, but I know that I will never experience another event in my life time so profound, biblically sound and Spirit anointed , as I did a couple of weeks ago in Brighton. “You had to be there”….. and I was!