The Welsh Outpouring
Imagine being part of a relatively new local church where literally hundreds of people, many from the margins – drug addicts and alcoholics – have given their lives to Christ in a single month. This week some of the Living Hope Community Church eldership team and I went to visit a small town in south Wales, Cwmbran, with just a population of 55,000 but on the 10th April during a midweek Encounter meeting suddenly God began something new.
It all started that night with a member of the church who after a car accident 10 years ago was paralysed from the waist down in a wheel chair being prayed for and right in the middle of the prayer he stood up, lifted the wheel chair above his head and ran around the auditorium with it praising God. As Richard Taylor, who’s the lead pastor of Victory Church shared this account with us in his office he said some were praising God and others, because they knew the guy’s situation were even screaming with fear because what had happened.
Since that night they’ve continued to meet every night at 7pm, except for Fridays which they take off and Sunday nights when they have their church plant meeting. They can’t fit everyone in. There are overflow rooms, hundreds watching on Livestream and it continues with probably at least 15 saved daily, others healed, miraculous signs and wonders, and many set free from addiction.
Check out their website www.victorychurch.co.uk and this video for more information.
During our First Friday Day of Prayer and Fasting on May 3rd I sensed God speaking to me about what was happening in Wales, so I shared this with some of the team and made a plan to be there on Thursday – planes, trains and automobiles.
Usually Richard would spend the entire afternoon until about 5.30pm in prayer leading up to the evening meeting but on this occasion he kindly agreed to meet up with us. As he shared the story it was clear that here was very ordinary guy, from a criminal and addiction background, who was simply passionate for God and his purposes. He has no agenda other than seeking to cooperate with the agenda of God on earth.
You can check out the full story and reports on the website however I had several personal observations.
- Hunger and humility – he and the people attending every night had a hunger for God and the presence of Jesus, and coupled with that was humility. These meetings were not about putting his name or the church’s name on the map, or a way of manipulating the vulnerable or attendees to give money to their cause. This is the real deal.
- Obedience – I heard Richard say on a few occasions that God had said that “as long people showed up, He would”. That’s why the meetings are continuing, they’re drawing near to God. For a long time I’ve heard God say, “I will respond to you, the way you respond to me”. James put it this way, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.”
- Mission – what is really significant about this move of God is the numbers who are getting saved. Unlike many “similar” meetings in the British Isles over recent decades which sadly mostly resulted in self-indulgence with little or no transformation outside of the meetings this is very different. It’s a joy to see Acts 1:8 in action. God gives us the Spirit to reach the lost! 100s already have been saved.
- Wisdom – to address the issue of possible burnout other members of the team share the ministry and there is no meeting on a Friday evening to enable everyone to rest up. So often in the past as soon as God starts to move in power leaders fall for the temptation of publicity from Christian TV, much of which sadly is money focussed and can turn something that is sacred into a sensation. Thankfully in this instance the Victory Church team have had great wisdom and currently the Outpouring is only available on Livestream and I believe UCB will be doing a documentary which I’m confident will ensure any additional exposure will continue with integrity.
- Local Church – it’s so encouraging to see this rooted in the context of a life giving local church with a vision to plant 50 churches in the south of Wales. Church life, small groups, youth and ministry etc. is continuing as “normal” and ensuring that everyone moving forward in discipleship.
I could write much more but hopefully there’s enough there to give you what we sense is the “heart” of this local team partnering with the Holy Spirit.
As we reflected upon the circumstances that led to the start of the outpouring I was reminded of the woman at the well. Through her life changing encounter with Jesus an entire town was transformed. That’s the parallel I see here. Perhaps in the first instance it is about the transformation of lives in south Wales, but undoubtedly God’s heart is for other communities and nations and we’ll pray for the fire of God to spread.
Some might call it revival, renewal, an outpouring, but maybe it’s a glimpse of what New Testament Church can actually be. It’s remarkable. But isn’t the church worldwide called to be just that? Maybe instead of being focused on programs and personalities when we actually put the presence of Jesus at the centre of our lives and local church this is exactly what we should expect.
We also met up with a good friend who ministers with the Salvation Army in the Cwmbran and he was so encouraged by what God was doing. So often we see the growth of other churches around us as “competition” but here I found genuine celebration for the salvations from another local church leader.
We had some great conversations with the taxi drivers about what was happening, and certainly it’s a blessing to them. One told me, “I hear God has turned up at that church.” I think that’s a good description. Another, this time from a Muslim background was curious to understand was happening and so we had to opportunity to share the gospel with him.
The evening outpouring meeting was an amazing time to worship, hear testimony, encounter Jesus, receive ministry and partner with the Holy Spirit. Without appearing to be giving a clinical response to events, again, here are some personal observations. As someone once said, “I’m not a judge, but I am a fruit inspector!” This place was covered in fruit!
- Worship – as the doors opened, Godfrey Birtill, who was leading the worship that night to give some of the Victory team a rest was already worshipping and everyone else just started to join in. There was no formal start or hype, it just all happened.
- Message – Richard or whoever is speaking at the meeting simply spends the afternoon in prayer and then gives a “now” word on the night as the Holy Spirit leads. They firmly believe in a systematic Bible teaching ministry, that’s clearly their DNA, however the encounter nights have a different dynamic and it’s usually a shorter message (note to self!). It was clear the Holy Spirit had anointed the word as many responded for salvation.
- Salvation – there was a celebration as around 15 responded to the gospel. As this is very much a local church context in which God is moving it was encouraging to see that they weren’t just seeking decisions but making disciples. All who responded then came forward, were prayed for, received discipleship materials and a process of follow-up began. I laughed as Richard pointed them to other churches to get planted into as they had no room left!
- Challenges – in every move of God you’re always going to have the Spirit, the flesh and the devil at work often at the same time. I was so encouraged that the Victory team whilst not stifling the move of the Holy Spirit, when necessary gently yet firmly addressed any obvious “flesh” and ensured the demons fled. This is a safe place for anyone to visit or to be planted. There wasn’t an offering, just buckets at the door and unlike much of what was seen on Christian TV, people weren’t pushed over by the celebrity minister on the stage and declared healed, rather Richard encouraged anyone who believed that God had healed them to continue on medication, first go to their doctor to have it verified before sharing it in this public setting.
- Fire Carriers – it was great for our team to be prayed for by the Victory team and our passion and belief is that God has imparted a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit into our lives and ministries here on the Isle of Man. I know some will give 101 reasons why it’s not necessary to even attend something like this in order for God to move in your life or church. To those who hold that view, I agree that we have everything we need within us from the moment of conversion to fulfil the work God has called us to. However, from both biblical and personal experience I know that when you get into the presence and partner with those who have a specific anointing for ministry that there is a fresh impartation. We read that even Saul started to prophesy when he met a company of prophets. Similarly when I’m in the presence of Andrew Selley and our Four12 apostolic team God always imparts something new from the Spirit which they carry in their lives and ministry. Recently when we were blessed by a weekend with Frans Olivier (evangelist) many were released in that ministry and saw souls saved for the very first time. I’m confident that God’s fire has been released upon us in a fresh way, to see personal holiness, more salvations, greater healings and people set free from addiction.
My prayer is that the Welsh Outpouring will become a British Isles and beyond outpouring, and that local churches will be life giving communities where the lost are found, the sick healed and captives are set free.
May your Kingdom come… may Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven… MORE LORD!
Posted on May 11, 2013, in Christianity, Church, Church Planting, Healing, Isle of Man, Living Hope Community Church, Prophetic Word and tagged The Welsh Outpouring. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.