My recent visit to the mid-week prayer meeting at King’s Church London, was particularly enjoyable.
Crowds poured into their freshly acquired and renovated, superb auditorium, enjoying the buzz of fellowship and friendship. My association with this church has lasted decades. It was among the maybe two dozen churches that initially came together, bringing Newfrontiers to birth.
Looking around I wondered how many faces would be familiar to me, since the church has enjoyed steady and exciting growth since Steve Tibbert moved there with his wife Deb and became it’s leader some years ago. Sure enough I found myself in conversation with some who had been there from the beginning, when the initial group, then known as Allerford Chapel, led by Richard Haydon-Knowell, had invited my involvement. Fresh faces were also quick to extend their hands in welcome.
Phil Varley led the band and us into a glorious time of worship, celebrating the evident presence of God, with his gathered church; one of my greatest joys!
I was then interviewed before the gathered hundreds by Steve Tibbert who wanted me to review some of our Newfrontiers history and update on my current programme (Audio: Interview with Terry Virgo – January 2015). At one point he asked how many of those present had attended the historic Stoneleigh Bible Week which ran for 11 years and ended in 2001. My guess was that maybe a third raised their hands, more than I had expected in view of the hundreds who have been added to the church, now meeting in 3 different venues.
It is not easy to tell the story of decades in three quarters of an hour and to answer questions about high spots and painful times, but as I gazed at these hundreds of zealous believers in their vibrant prayer meeting, I was so grateful to God for a story to tell and the burgeoning work that is going forward. Now there are approaching 300 Newfrontiers churches in the UK, (probably 1,000 worldwide) with several of them meeting in large transformed warehouses, gathering many hundreds. Three of them now gather over 1,000, with Kings London leading the way.
When we concluded our final ‘Together on a Mission’ Newfrontiers leaders conference at the Brighton Centre I said, ‘this is simply the end of the beginning… now we multiply into the next phase of our Newfrontiers history’.
As Sunday by Sunday I preach mostly in Newfrontiers Churches and often sit with groups of Elders and wives over lunch, meeting new young emerging leaders, hearing plans of church plants, courageous giving, work among the poor, new buildings being acquired, overseas involvements, I never cease to thank God for his phenomenal kindness and faithfulness and continue anticipating the much more that he has promised.
Later this month Wendy and I return to India, where I have been involved since 1979 and which became our first overseas Newfrontiers location, now celebrating scores of Indian Newfrontiers churches.
How good is the God we adore
Our faithful unchangeable friend
Whose love is as great as his power
And knows neither measure nor end.
Tis Jesus the first and the last
Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home.
We’ll praise him for all that is past
And trust him for all that’s to come!