August – September 2012 Issue 4
We must give God all our time We need visions not just dreams The pastor homing in on hope
Anne Wafula Strike Meet the Paralympic hopeful who has beaten all the odds
Mark Ritchie The AoG evangelist putting the cross back on the map
WE ALL NEED A MENTOR Life works better in relationship according to Ernest Anderson and Kirk McAtear as they research practical leadership
David Harvey believes that a true church will struggle if it is worldly
IT'S THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH Mattersey Hall’s new Principal reveals all about the Bible college
ISSN 2049 - 2014
Contents Features 03
PASTOR HOMING IN ON HOPE
Pastor Pete Cunningham tells the tale of how his £20 million property portfolio is helping people into their own home
WE SHOULD give god all our time
A chaotic evening with the children taught Leanne Morgan that we must make God top of our priority list
EXTRAORDINARY GIFT OF MENTORS
Mentoring others will not only see people set free, but it will keep them free, explains veteran minister Ernest Anderson
STRIKING OUT FOR THE PARALYMPICS
it’s mentor be for everyone!
When she became ill in Kenya, villagers believed she had been cursed by God, but Anne Wafula Strike defied the odds
It may feel uncomfortable at first, but everyone, including church leaders, needs a mentor, explains Kirk McAtear
we need visions, NOT JUST DREAMS
IT’S THE BEST PLACE TO BE ON EARTH!
THE BEST BOOKS ON THE SHELF
Cross country preaching tour
The Movement need not fear the future, says former AoG General Secretary Alfred Missen in an article first printed in 1973
Mattersey Hall College’s new Principal Glenn Balfour outlines why he believes it’s the best place to study the Bible
As summer holidays arrive, Kate Kent takes a look at three books that she thinks are worth packing with your Factor 15
AoG evangelist Mark Ritchie is determined to put the cross of Christ back on the map – literally, by taking a tour of the UK
Phil Pye is the new man to answer your leadership questions
with Ian Williams
advertise in Re Online – call the National Office on 01777 817663 Re Online is the official magazine of Assemblies of God GB Editor in Chief: John Partington The purpose of Assemblies of God is to give every man, woman and child the opportunity of understanding the gospel and to provide a church where they can grow and develop in ministry for the glory of God. 2
Re Online is published by Assemblies of God Incorporated, PO Box 7634, Nottingham, NG11 6ZY. Tel: 0115 921 7272 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Publishing agents: New Life Publishing Co Write to: Re Online, PO Box 777, Nottingham, NG11 6ZZ. Tel: 0115 824 0777 Email: email@example.com All content is copyright and must not be reproduced without prior written permission from the Editor. Submitted articles are subject to editing. By submitting articles you accept this to be the case.
hen asked by Kate Kent to write my editorial for this edition of Re Online, she reminded me the overall topic to be covered would be re-search. Without doubt this important topic helps us both in the present and in the future. As we understand by researching our past, we can continue to build on the pillars of truth and the foundation stories of those who pioneered our great fellowship of Assemblies of God. As I read back into some of the articles written in previous Fellowship magazines, I came across one by Alfred Missen, who was our General Secretary in 1973, which happened to be when AoG’s Jubilee Conference took place. And now here we are in 2012 and our country has been celebrating our Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – how fitting for us to be
reminded of that event nearly 40 years ago when Mr Missen wrote of our heritage: a ‘God blessed future’. His words, which you can read on page 16, form a rather celebratory article. But, after ‘researching’ his wonderful piece of writing I am persuaded we need again to rejoice in what has occurred, whilst heeding his warnings to never lose our roots or hallmarks of genuine Pentecostal doctrine and destiny. Jubilee celebrations are only fitting when history proves that today’s and tomorrow’s blessings outshine the ‘good old days’. Thank you Alfred – may your words stir us all to look forward with much hope and zeal. Your friend,
• Follow John on Twitter: @johnpartington
Pastor Pete Cunningham
Pastor homing in on hope... Pete Cunningham is an unsung hero in AoG. His charity, Green Pastures, supports the homeless. It has property worth more than ÂŁ20 million and has recently scooped an Aspire award. But it wasnâ€™t 0 always a large, thriving ministry, as Kate Kent found out 3
Pete, it all sounds really impressive: you’ve gone from helping a few people to reaching more than 400. Did all this start with you wanting to buy and rent property? Well, yes, I suppose so. But it was more like a kick up the bottom from the Almighty because we’d already been running night shelters with the local authorities. Then they got a grant and we assumed they would house the homeless, but instead they renovated some properties and opened a housing advice centre instead. We prayed every morning and read the scriptures regularly and God directed us to Luke 10 – the story of the Good Samaritan – and the light just switched on! It was the last part of the story that struck me, the Samaritan took full responsibility for the needs of one man and I realised we didn’t need help from the local authority. The Word was saying to me, “You take responsibility for these people.” We realised that if nobody else was going to buy property, it would have to be us! So Vicki Woodley, who was with us from the start and still is, mortgaged her property for £24,000, I’d got a small pension of £6,000 and my son Andy was on next to nothing but had £100 spare each month so he gave that to help pay the bills. We didn’t have enough to buy anything decent but there was one house on the market with two self-contained flats that was sinking in value, so we bought it! It cost us £27,000 and we housed our first two people. So how have you got to where you are now? There is no doubt it’s the goodness of God to us – we don’t promote ourselves. People tend to come to us and say, “Can you help us?” We follow what we believe is biblical, which says, “If your brother comes to you and you can help them then help them!” We’ve become a Community Benefits Society, which is how we are funded, and we’re registered with the FSA so we look to other believers who have money in the bank to loan the money to us and then we pay five per cent on it. Between myself, Vicki and Andy we had some expertise but really it’s all been God. I remember Vicky coming in one day and saying, “I think God wants us to buy another house.” Well, it was a lot more than the first house we’d bought but it was a big detached house in a pretty good area and it cost us £156,000! As always, 4
the Lord was with us and we went to a bank that we had a track record with and they put us in touch with a mortgage company and a financial advisor and we were able to borrow the money. Suddenly we owned this expensive house! Just recently our properties have been re-valued and our portfolio of assets currently stands at £20 million! This year we’re looking for 3 to 4 million pounds worth of investment money so we can continue to expand.
Pastor Pete and the Green Pastures team
This isn’t just about housing people though, is it? You are obviously and intentionally sharing the gospel, with or without words. It’s all about being Jesus to the people and we hope that as we do that they will surrender their lives to him. We bought a terrace block with five bedsits and inherited an old gentleman in the process who already lived in one of the flats. He had two granddaughters we got to know. One of them was married but was held unlawfully in a flat by the husband and eventually he was arrested and sent to prison. In time, this lady, although living a complicated life, made a commitment to Jesus and was baptised. We have so many stories to tell! Tell us about the food bank you are operating. We’ve always tried to provide people with food. We have a baker in town supplying us with bread, pies, pastries and buns daily and we have two farmers giving us their ‘gleanings’ such as cauliflowers and leeks. Other churches in the town have put boxes in the foyers for tins to be donated. We have over 200 people that have access to a food parcel, and this year we had one person saved because of the food bank. I love that the Church can rise up at this time and feed people during an economic downturn. Apparently you are planning to teach a trade to those you are housing. Can you tell us more? We call it ‘social enterprise’. We have a great young man working for us who is entrepreneurial and he’s talking to our partners and telling them what we can do to get our tenants back into work. He’s created a building team who help renovate our houses. One of our tenants, a young lad, started working for us, got saved and is now in the local church. We’ve developed 0
Pastor Pete with the first tenant of the Lighthouse Project
Rockmount Greenwich, one of Green Pasturesâ€™ many properties
a gardening team so our tenants can renovate our gardens. We have a landscape gardener who can charge £30 an hour but some of his clients only want their lawns mowing which he would only charge £10 an hour for. He came to us and said, “I’ll work with you – your guys can cut their grass and you can keep the money, I’ll keep an eye on it and get them back into work.” We also have a removal van and just recently someone offered us two of his shops for free for four months to see if we can establish a business. Getting people back into work is a reality! Our social enterprise is going brilliantly but we don’t have any money. We have a ‘1,000 club’ and we’re asking people to give £1 a week to it. It’s not mega bucks but if everyone does it, it could be! We set out to house people but God had so much more in store for us to do around it. We had a rampant alcoholic chap turn up about three years ago and we found him a flat, but he would come over every day to abuse us and swear at us and mock us. But God kept telling us to be kind and to love him. Six weeks later he turned up to tell us that he’d lost his wife to a divorce and his daughter had been killed in an accident. He said to us, “You are the first people who have been kind to me.” From that moment on he began to change. We’ve seen him recently clean-shaven with a woman holding his hand and he now has a job and a flat. He came back to say thank you! How have you been able to achieve this? Do you have a business-type background at all? I was in a stockbroking firm from the age of 16 until I was 24, which was when I entered the ministry. I was never a stockbroker – I looked after people’s dividends on the floor of the house as an unauthorised clerk and I was good with figures. I think we have talents only God knows about but at the right time he brings them out of us. It was all about buying and selling, which is what I’m doing now! Tell us about the Aspire award you’ve won. Did you ever dream that your organisation would get such acclaim when you bought that first property? Never! Someone put us up for the award and the next thing we knew we had a letter from the Evangelical Alliance telling us we’ve been shortlisted and to attend, so we turned up and there were three ministers there from the Houses of Parliament. 6
“I have a dream...” Community changer Pete Cunningham
The other finalists were fabulous and we just expected to come third... I’d already told God I’d be happy with a ‘runners-up’ plaque so I was very humbled when we won... and absolutely lost for words. I just stood there and said, “You’re all just so inspiring!” The minister who was presenting the award said to me, “You must get up in the morning and be so inspired to get on with the job.” When I thought about the comment it made me think, “I’m 69, I wake up and I’m glad I haven’t expired!” Vicki got up to speak too. She’s an amazing spiritual woman who loves God and serves him 24/7, taking people into her house and going the extra mile. Without her we wouldn’t be in this position. She was the one who put up the most money and had the most expertise. What’s the oddest evangelistic opportunity God has presented to you? Just recently I gave a leather coat to John Partington and I got two back! One is black but the other is a brown fur lined leather flying jacket like the Americans used in the war. This isn’t the type I wanted but God clearly wanted to give it to me. Three times last week it gave me an opportunity to shine for him and share the story. The first was at an early morning prayer meeting, when a minister friend of mine at the beginning of the meeting said, “If anyone wants a flight home just have a word with Biggles.” The second was visiting a business where a man struggles with his faith. He also commented on the coat, so again I told him about the goodness of God and how when we are generous God has a way
of blessing us back. Later on, as I travelled home he sent me a text me and said, “I feel so encouraged, I will be really buzzing for the next week.” Lastly, I was at a ticket barrier at Euston Station where one of the Virgin officials commented on what a wonderful coat it was. It was a great opportunity to talk to him about the Lord Jesus and about what an amazing God we serve. When I left him, his eyes were wide and he said, “That is totally amazing. I have never heard anything like that in my life before.” God’s given me an evangelistic coat! Do you have a long-term vision for Green Pastures? No, I have a dream. Vision to me is being able to see it. This year I want to house another 115 people, and I want Christians to lend to us so they can get a good return for their money, see lives changed and people saved. But my dream is for the Church of Christ to end homelessness, for the Church to gather and become a mighty army because if all the churches were doing what we are doing then we could change this nation. What about you Pete… where would you like to be in five years’ time and what would you like to be doing? I want to keep going as hard as I can. I feel healthy and I don’t feel I’ve aged. I’m often doing 16-hour days. I want to preach to communities, talk to people and be looking for openings as I feel we have a great story to tell. • If you are interested in investing your money, head to www.greenpastures.net • Follow Green Pastures on Twitter: @greenpastures
We should give God all of our time A chaotic evening with the children taught Leanne Morgan that we must put God at the top of our priority list
am constantly learning about myself, my God, my relationship with him and how that impacts everyone I am in relationship with. Just when I think I have learned my biggest lesson, another challenge or opportunity is given to me and that becomes the latest and best thing I have learned!
So often, I learn a vast amount about my walk with God through my relationship with my own children. Through the different experiences I have with them, I get a deeper understanding of how God feels about me. On this occasion, it was the end of a particularly stressful day and our three children were running wild. My four year old little boy, Reuben, was kicking his football around the bathroom (even with my loud pleas for him to stop), knocking shampoo bottles and toothbrushes flying. My eldest daughter, Erin, was having one of her (increasingly frequent) pre-teen ‘moments’ as I had simply asked her to get ready for bed. Then, as I was drying my youngest daughter Bethan’s hair, she decided to bash out a hearty rendition of the latest piece that she had proudly learned at choir practise, begging me to listen. As I wrongly reprimanded her, it was another one of those revelation moments. I realised there and then, in all the chaos, I had effectively communicated to her that what she was doing wasn’t worth my attention. Her big eyes looked up at me and I instantly bent to kiss her head and 8
encouraged her to carry on singing to me, and that I would be paying attention this time. I chose to ignore the noise around me and adjusted my attention fully to her. How often have I asked for God to talk to me and then ignored what he said or simply not listened closely enough? How many times have I used the excuse that I am a busy working mum so I can’t pay attention because there isn’t enough time? There are so many things in my world that are holding a contest for my attention. The fact is, however, I constantly ask God to speak to me, but I just get distracted by the chaos around me. I forget to perfect my listening to recognise his voice, and to know the importance of this. In order to hear God and grab his attention, we need to change our priorities. Making something a priority means everything else comes second. It’s that determination that drives you to do whatever it takes to achieve what you want. In Luke 19 we read about Zacchaeus, who was determined to see Jesus as he came through Jericho. It was his priority to see the Lord. He was a wealthy man, but something changed that day and
his focus became Jesus. For us, we need to cultivate that desire that drives us to make God the centre of our attention. That alone must be the starting point. Changing our priorities sometimes isn’t enough on its own. We may have great intentions but fail to act on them. We need to change our position. Zacchaeus had to literally change his position and climb above the crowds to see Jesus. He elevated himself to a fig tree. Not only did he make Jesus his centre of attention, but his action resulted in Jesus giving him his attention too. Just like when I was amid the chaos of my children that evening, I had to change my position in order to give full attention to my daughter. I chose to block out the distractions in order to hear her. We need to change the way we engage with God, including where, when and how we do it. After all that, we need to change our perspective. It’s time to lift our thoughts out of, and above the distractions, to a place in our hearts where we can make God the centre of attention. It’s imperative to understand that God wants to engage with us! Your position may be one of a mother, a teacher, a grandparent, a cleaner, or anything else that you may be, but our primary position is a child of God. We already have God’s attention, all the time. Isn’t it time we gave him ours?
Why mentors need extraordinary gifts Mentoring others will not only see people set free, it will keep them free, explains veteran AoG minister Ernest Anderson
'There is a call for leaders who are competent teachers who, having learned the divine and spiritual lessons themselves, are able to competently instruct others'
entoring is a very necessary and important ministry that requires people of extraordinary gift and quality. One of the immense needs of life for all people – and especially within the Church of Christ – is to be wisely and correctly taught.
This being the case, the call is for Christian leaders to fulfil this role and responsibility and so benefit the body of Christ – and even the world – on a large scale.
Being mentored Before an individual can really, effectively fulfil the role of a good mentor, they have to be mentored in the best possible way and learn how they can be worthy, inspired teachers themselves. The disciples of Christ, before they could wholly enter into their calling to be instructors within his Church, first of all had to come under his tuition for three years. They were in his ‘college of further education’ where they were to learn invaluable lessons in and through him in word and deed. Christ was the great mentor that sought, by way of example and word, to teach these men who would later fulfil the major role of mentoring the Christian Church. They were mentored both in word and deed and had to embrace what Christ taught with regard to love, faith, mercy and generosity, exemplifying it so others could see that Christianity really worked. The Christian leader and believer must always remember that they are in Christ’s school to be taught by him. They are in training, being prepared ultimately to be counsellors of others. The home, college, scene of work, church, society at large is where all are being mentored on a daily basis and the lessons of life have to be learned. Success here paves the way to being a good mentor for Christ. It is not an easy process but one that must be engaged in. I started as an early teenager in a small local assembly. I then had the privilege of being a student in Bible college for two years and was mentored by good tutors. Through a commitment to Bible study and application of truth over the years, I have grown in knowledge. Later on I began to tutor at Bible college, which caused me to give myself to knowing God and his Word so that I could 10
be suited to this task of mentoring.
Being a mentor It is not enough for a person to make an initial commitment to Christ and be saved – there has to be the readiness and will to be regularly counselled by him. The new believer must be aware of God’s plan for their lives in every way and guided into fulfilled living as God has determined. There is a call, therefore, for leaders who are competent teachers who, having learned the divine and spiritual lessons themselves, are able to competently instruct others. When Barnabas assumed leadership of the church at Antioch, he saw the great need of giving wholesome teaching and guidance to these new Christians so they
would realise God’s great goals for their lives. He went and got Paul to come alongside him to perform this task of mentoring and, as a consequence, the church benefited enormously. The spiritual tuition through Holy Spirit-inspired men achieved tremendous results in changed lives that impacted the world around. It seems that churches not only require evangelistic crusades to bring the gospel to the outside world, but there is the demand for Christian mentoring when people have come to Christ so that they may both know and grow in essential truth.
Responsibility Paul makes it clear to Timothy that having been truly taught he must also teach others, and then those taught by him must
'Paul makes it clear to Timothy that having been truly taught he must also teach others, and then those taught by him must become mentors'
Extraordinary... Ernest Anderson
become mentors. Second Timothy 2:2 says, “And the things you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” We are to sense that we have a vocation to fulfil in seeing Christian believers fully taught in Christ in the things that relate to his kingdom. Peter and Paul felt the responsibility of fulfilling this major role and so their epistles are full of instruction. Mentoring has to be a constant ministry that flows and grows until all are divinely taught and tutored. All ignorance must be purged so that believers know the truth that sets – and keeps – us free.
Opportunity Our present world, with its technology,
gives us the opportunity to provide tuition on a very large scale. With the use of computers and the Internet, Christian information can stem from the home and touch the world at large. Fifteen years ago on my retirement I learned how to use a computer. It was not an easy matter, but through sheer devotion and persistence I succeeded. Someone kindly introduced me into having my own Christian website six years ago and left me to it. It has been quite a challenge and demand to work this site – but it has grown considerably. In the course of this period I have been able to develop around 24 subjects and place three articles daily on the site. More than 91,000 people from all over the world have visited the site and have been able to view the great amount of
material that is on it and have profited. A brother from Pakistan, having seen my site, contacted me and desired to have a version for his nation and he wanted to translate the material into Urdu. This has now taken place and so many are being blessed in that nation by the Word of God. Looking at Facebook quite a long while ago I saw some of the rubbish that people placed on it and realised it was an opportunity to put Christian truth on. The Lord led me to record a daily prophetic word which has been a source of faith and blessing to many. Others, too, do the same thing and so mentor a vital audience.
• Visit Ernest’s website at ernestanderson.wordpress.com 11
Equipping you for Christian Leadership in the 21st Century... Email: graduateschool@matt erseyhall.com Call: 01777 815002
Andrew McCourt A graduate of Mattersey Hall, Andy is the Senior Pastor of CFC Church, with congregations in Belfast and Antrim. Andy is a new addition to the MAML team.
Dr Robin Routledge A graduate of Cambridge with a PhD in Biblical Studies from ShefďŹ eld, Robin teaches Research Methods to the ďŹ rst year class. He also serves as Academic Dean for the college.
Dr Andrew Davies Now Senior Lecturer in Intercultural Studies at Birmingham University, Andrew was one of the original architects of the MA-ML during his role as Director of Graduate Studies at Mattersey Hall.
Now Recruiting for our 2012-13 intake:
Dr John Andrews John is soon to take up a new position at Renewal Christian Centre, Solihull and has been in full time Christian leadership since 1987, having led the thriving Hub Central in Rotherham for 15 years.
Dr Phil Jones OBE As President of CE Electric UK, Phil Jones brings high level organisational expertise from the business sector and is also leader of the Five Towns Christian Fellowship.
MA in Missional Leadership with Mattersey Hall
Striking out... When she became ill in Kenya, villagers believed she had been cursed by God. But Anne Wafula Strike defied the odds and is bidding for gold during the Paralympics
woman who was struck down with polio as a child hopes to compete in the Paralympics for Britain this month. Determined Anne Wafula Strike has defied the odds throughout her life after she became ill as a toddler in Kenya and her family were told by villagers that God had cursed her.
But the wheelchair-bound devout Christian bounced back to qualify as a teacher, get married, have a son and move to Britain. And now the brave 40-year-old is set for her latest challenge – representing Team Great Britain in the Paralympics as a wheelchair racer. Anne, who lives in Harlow, competed for Kenya in the 2004 Athens Olympics but gained UK citizenship in 2006. She missed out on qualification for Beijing 2008 by just 0.1 seconds and is determined to succeed this time round. “Representing Great Britain at the Olympics will be a fantastic honour and
I hope I get the chance to do that,” she says. “God has handpicked me to do this and I know that I’ve been a witness for Christ and have shown that sport can empower people to achieve. “I am at a stage now where it doesn’t matter to me if I pick up medals or not. I have lots of achievements and awards. I am determined not to let the wheelchair define me. My faith in Christ defines who I am and God has given me the grace to achieve all that I have done.” Life hasn’t always been so enjoyable for Anne. Growing up in Africa she faced severe persecution and discrimination because she was disabled. “People lack
knowledge and education on disability in Africa,” she says. “They either said it was witchcraft or punishment from God. But what people didn’t know is that I had Christ on my side and I’ve proved to the world that I’m not just a disabled person but I’m a useful member of the community who God has used for his glory.” Anne, a previous winner of the BBC’s ‘My Story’ competition, started training as a wheelchair racer after she gave birth in 2002. She went to the gym, initially to lose weight, but soon realised she had a talent for racing and started training with other disabled athletes. She trains six times a week in the run-up to tournaments. In a further remarkable twist, she was originally named Olympia Anne by her father at birth and believes that competing in the Olympics is a fulfilment of God’s plan for her life. 13
It's mentor It may feel uncomfortable at first but everyone, including church leaders, needs a mentor. Kirk McAtear explains why
n most areas of our life it is a healthy and safe requirement to have a check-up. We go to the doctors to have a medical check-up to keep us healthy, to see if there is anything that is abnormal that could affect our long-term health.
Our vehicles have MOTs so anything which needs to be adjusted or repaired can be, to ensure that the cars we use are safe for us to drive and to protect those around us. In our jobs we have staff appraisals to evaluate and check up whether we are meeting the requirements we are employed to fulfil and to highlight how we can improve and develop. So when it comes to leadership, ministry and being mentored, why would we not be open to an honest check-up of how we are doing? I dislike the dentist and, I am embarrassed to admit, I have avoided a check-up for a few years! And yet on reflection, why do I avoid them? All the dentist is going to do is improve the health of my teeth and gums, and help prevent long-term damage. My reflection led me to wonder whether I am perhaps avoiding a checkup because it is uncomfortable. I have to allow someone into an area of my life that not many people get into. I have to be vulnerable, and literally ‘open up’. I have to be held accountable for whether I have flossed, brushed or eaten the right foods to protect my teeth. Basically, I was avoiding accountability in the area of oral hygiene. When it comes to being mentored, I have found that accountable relationships are the most helpful and healthiest ones I can have to help protect, guide and develop me as a leader and give me regular check-ups. Three areas of my life which 14
benefit from these accountable relationships are my head, heart and habits.
Healthy Head Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” When I have a major decision to make, I always seek wisdom from my accountable relationships. Recently, there was a decision I was processing and I thought I had come to a reasonable conclusion. However, I did not want to make the choice before I had spoken to a few people who I am accountable to, who speak into my life, who know me, and who I trust. Their response was very much a warning against making this particular decision. Their reply was, “Why are you in such a rush? Does it appeal to your pride? Take a pause and seek God with all your heart. This is clearly not something to rush into.” Now I must admit, my first reaction was that it was painful, the drill goes in, the truth hurts a bit… but the result is greater vision, wisdom and protection from me making a wrong choice. The truth is, we all have blind spots, and accountable relationships help us see something that we may not see and can help us to avoid crashes. Accountable relationships are able to give wisdom to our plans and help keep our heads healthy.
Healthy Heart Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard
your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Why would we not allow someone to check-up on the one area that everything else in our life flows from? Accountable relationships ask us questions about what is really going on in our hearts. One of my mentors says, “I don’t want to hear about your church or your ministry, but tell me about your marriage, your kids, and your time with God, how are you doing?” Those questions keep me safe, keep me protected and help me guard my heart. I have found every time I share my heart in an accountable friendship, the weight just lifts off. All of a sudden the problem does not seem as big as it was because someone else has come along and is carrying the weight with me. An accountable mentor will dig a little deeper than anyone else, just to make sure there is nothing rotting underneath, or to see if there are any holes that may need to be filled. Such people are those who love you and who you trust. They are those who we allow to look into our lives and who ask some tough questions that affect every area – emotions, motivations, reactions, attitudes and thoughts.
Healthy Habits Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.” Accountable relationships help me in my personal and spiritual growth. They ask about my habits, my thinking processes, and help push me to overcome the limitations that can stop growth and change. A spur is the metal object on a horse rider’s boot that digs into the horse
We all need a mentor, says Kirk McAtear, who believes such accountable relationships can keep you sharp
to push it on, provoke, kick into gear, give direction, accelerate and make it persevere. Good accountable relationships want to see you become all that you can be, to fulfil the potential in your life, and so they will continually spur you on, stir you up and prod, poke and provoke you to change, because change will help you step into your purpose. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Accountable relationships have kept me sharp. My mentor can see more in me than I can see in myself, and when I become blinkered or bogged down in my vision, my mentor speaks into my life and reminds me of what God has gifted, anointed and called me to do. It is like Paul stirring Timothy. In reminding him of the gift of faith that lived in his family he provoked him to fan into flame the gift of God that was in him. My mentors have always reminded me of what is in me. When it comes to being mentored in this 21st century of church building, there are many resources available to help me in leadership. However, what really grows me as a leader is when those people, who form my accountable relationships, sit or speak with me one on one, look me in the eye and ask me tough and honest questions giving me a check up! It is those conversations that protect me, give me direction and sharpen me. Accountable relationships are my greatest help to keep my head and heart healthy and to develop healthy habits. • Kirk McAtear is the Senior Pastor of Kings Christian Centre in Birmingham. Follow him on Twitter: @kirkmcatear 15
Don't forget our heritage This prophetic article from former AoG General Secretary Alfred Missen, originally printed in Redemption Tidings in 1973 when the Movement was celebrating itâ€™s jubilee year, reminds us of our Pentecostal roots
here are times when it is right and proper and even necessary for us to stop and consider from where we have come and where we are going. Unless we do this we could find ourselves going a very long way in a very wrong direction in a very short time.
It could well be that on this Jubilee occasion such a moment has arrived in the history of our Fellowship. We should not forget that the Pentecostal Movement in this country sprang into being as a result of the intense hunger of earnest believers who were desperately tired of cold, heartless, formal religion and who longed after a richer, deeper and fuller experience. Eager men and women both individually and in groups all over our nation were seeking God in earnest and sustained intercession for the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Early Pentecostal meetings were small and consisted almost entirely of such seekers. Most meetings closed with times of unhurried waiting upon God. Great emphasis was laid upon the emptying of self that believers might be filled with God. Time spent in seeking was time devoted to heart-searching and cries after holiness. Both Scripture and subsequent experience show that maturity of spiritual experience is not the ground upon which God meets us in the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The infilling of the Spirit should be regarded as one of the initial experiences of the new convert. It would, however, be the utmost folly to separate either in our preaching or in our living, the enjoyment of power from the necessity of holiness. 16
The experience of speaking with tongues, for which our fathers were ostracised and misjudged, has now become accepted and in certain areas almost commonplace. We rejoice in every evidence that God is indeed pouring out of his Spirit upon all flesh, but both inside as well as outside of our own ranks we look to see a greater manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit as well as of the gifts of the Spirit. It is interesting to note that as far back as December, 1909, Pentecostal leaders issued a London Declaration that the promise of the Father is evidenced by speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives to utter, but it also includes the consciousness of the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the consciousness of our dwelling in him and he in us, divine illumination concerning his Word and his will, the testimony of Jesus, the threefold conviction of the world by the Spirit in us, our continual guidance into the deep things of God and the continual glorification of Christ to the exclusion of self. To all this, our hearts say a glad Amen! Perhaps the time has come to restate it loud and clear. Preoccupation with an experience must never be a substitute for devotion to God. Our seeking must be after him. The Holy Spirit is a person â€“ the Third Person of the Godhead. It may well
be and, indeed, it seems clear that scripturally there is no need today for believers to wait for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. God is far more anxious to give us the Holy Spirit than we are to receive. Are we not, however, in danger of losing the art, both in our private devotions and in our public worship, of quietly waiting upon God? Do we make sufficient provision in the ordering of our individual lives and of our corporate Fellowship for the invasion of the Almighty, or has our schedule become so tight that there is little opportunity for God to speak to us? If there was ever a time when we desperately needed the voice of God, it is now. Such forces are abroad today that within a short time, apart from divine intervention, society as we know it could disintegrate. The spirit of the age is also seeking to make inroads into the Church of Jesus Christ, blurring the vision, lowering the standards, substituting imitation for the real thing. To be alert to the devilâ€™s devices is to be on our guard. When a well-known eminent preacher in the early days of the Pentecostal Movement alleged that it had upon it the hallmark of hell, Alexander Boddy was able to reply pointing to the seven hallmarks of heaven. In the Pentecostal blessing with the sign of tongues, he declared, Jesus is glorified, Calvary is honoured, the Bible is loved and souls are saved. Pentecostal believers are noted for their missions to the heathen, their love for prayer gatherings and their readiness
Those who witnessed them will never forget the great campaigns of Stephen Jeffreys, says former Assemblies of God General Secretary Alfred Missen (left)
for His coming. These evidences, we can humbly say, have persisted throughout our history. They must ever be among us if we are to fulfil God's purpose to our generation. Our own Fellowship has been particularly blessed in the spiritual quality of its readers. We must ever thank God for their stand for doctrinal purity. It would be the utmost folly to preach or believe that experience is the only thing that matters. Every experience must tally with the Word of God. As on the day of Pentecost, we must be able to vindicate what we practise by being able to point to Scriptures with a clear and unashamed ‘this is that’. The Spirit of God will always lead us to the Word of God and will ever exalt the Lord Jesus Christ. His operation in our lives must inevitably intensify our love for our Lord. False cults have flourished because of the ignorance of many of the Word of God and because of the Church's failure to instruct its members Young men have dreams, in Bible truth.
Apostasy begins with the decline of the prayer meeting and the neglect of the Bible study. No activity of the church can replace these. They are among the basic essentials of true fellowship established on the day of Pentecost. If the work of God is to continue to progress, pastors must give time and attention to this vital ministry of instruction in the things of God, and people must give time to receive it. And now we must remind ourselves that the Movement which began with an intense seeking after God for personal holiness and the infilling of God’s power, soon afterwards, in the providence of God, found expression in seeking after the souls of men. Who among those who witnessed them, can ever forget the great campaigns of Stephen Jeffreys and the notable efforts of others who followed him. It is significant that the emphasis in preaching at those great gatherings was on the need of repentance and salvation. God mightily honoured the Word with signs following but the message was ‘the word of this salvation’. The gospel that was preached was not first a gospel of healing but the gospel of deliverance from sin and all its consequences. We are living in an age of substi-
tutes. Gold is being replaced by brass and silver by tin. Imitation has indeed become a fine art in every sphere. It is difficult to discern between wood and veneer, between chrome and plastic. So too in the realm of the spiritual. In the conditioning of the masses, Jesus Christ Superstar replaces Jesus the Saviour. Cheap ‘Jesus’ slogans abound. ‘Amazing Grace’ finds its place in the top ten but is still so far from the experience of so many who sing about it. The only effective answer to it all is the preaching of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. The land is before us. After nearly 50 years we must humbly confess that there are still large areas of the British Isles with hardly any Pentecostal witness. We rejoice in all that God has done. We give thanks for the faithful and sacrificial efforts of men with passion and vision which have produced so much, but we desperately need more. Most of all we look to God himself. He alone can supply our need, can teach our fingers to fight, can give us the enlargement we must have if we are to fulfil our destiny. Power belongs to God, but our Saviour said, “All power is given unto me... Go ye... I am with you always.” That is our Pentecostal heritage!
says Alred Missen 17
illy Graham once said, “Every Christian should go to Bible college if they get the chance.” And there have never been more chances than there are today, especially with the provision of student finance for validated degree courses. Studying at a Christian leadership training college has never been more affordable!
Here at Mattersey Hall we aim to provide a life enriching experience which really is the best of both worlds. We offer a quality academic education validated and monitored by a respected British university, but we never lose sight of our focus and responsibility to teach the faith. Our goal, quite simply, is to form the next generation of Christian leaders. I vividly remember the day, a quarter of a century ago, when I myself was a student at Mattersey Hall. God clearly spoke to me and gave me a life’s calling. I can still remember the words – “to teach God’s Word to God’s people.” As both lecturer and now Principal, this continues to be my vision. Our main flagship programme continues to be the full-time degree course leading to a degree in Biblical Studies and Theology. Over three years, students study a wide range of classes ranging from the New Testament and the Gospel of John, to Old Testament theology and the book of Romans. Those wishing to do so can also learn Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek in our wellestablished and well-respected biblical languages classes, among the best taught in the country.
proud of our Pentecostal heritage and this comes across both in our worship and ministry and in the classes we teach, with courses on offer on Pentecostal Distinctives and Pentecostal Church History. But we also understand that not everyone wanting to study God’s Word can relocate to Mattersey and dedicate three full years to it, so we offer some alternatives. It is possible to study for the degree part-time and spread the course over six years. This suits people who need to combine study with work. Another option is to study with Mattersey Hall without even leaving home, and take the same degree course by distance learning. For those wishing to come to college to study but who cannot commit to three full years, there is the option of taking just the first year classes and gaining a certificate in Christian Ministry, or similarly the first two years and graduating with a diploma in either Christian Leadership or Biblical Studies and Theology. Mattersey Hall also offers a special one year Graduate Diploma for those who already have an appropriate degree and are in a senior ministry role.
Something for everyone
The next generation
We recognise that every student has different interests and a different calling and so we offer a wide range of elective classes to choose from. This is also reflected in the fact that we offer two undergraduate degrees. Running alongside the course in Biblical Studies and Theology is the option of graduating with a specialist degree in Christian Leadership. There is considerable overlap between the two because, obviously, Christian leaders still need a thorough knowledge of the Bible and theology, but the leadership speciality allows these students to take classes in courses such as pastoral training, cross-cultural ministry or local church in mission. What is also good is that students do not need to finally decide which specialist subject to take until the second year of the course. Of course, as the training centre of Assemblies of God we are rightly
Mattersey Hall has never been simply about teaching ‘head knowledge’. Our focus has always been to train and to be a place where mature Christians can impart to the next generation, inspiring and challenging them. There is something very special about being able to devote three years to being a part of a community of godly men and women, united by the desire to serve the Kingdom and change the world. If all you want is an academic degree, Mattersey Hall is not the place for you. We take spiritual formation very seriously and devote considerable energy to it – all of which goes beyond simply providing an education. For example, Mattersey Hall has a decided missional ethos. Every year each student participates in a missions trip, normally overseas. This takes a variety of forms. Recent trips have included schools work in the Czech Republic
and the Isle of Man, visiting the sick and orphans in South Africa, church planting in France, and building up the churches and encouraging believers in places as far flung as Spain, Thailand, Luxembourg and others. Mission trips are meticulously planned and feedback from the students consistently shows how much this impacts their spiritual life. We do not begin our days with classes. Nearly every day the students run their own assembly service in the college chapel, in which they take turns to preach. The highlight of the week is a special extended chapel service every Wednesday morning. This allows a much fuller time of worship, led by our fantastic student band, and a message from one of our teaching staff or a visiting speaker invited in specially. Our reputation enables us to attract the very best leaders and speakers to impart to the staff and students. Here at Mattersey Hall we place a very high value on commitment to a local church and we work closely with churches and pastors in the region. This is of immense value to the students’ spiritual formation, something which we constantly go back to. Mattersey Hall is not about simply gaining head knowledge.
Good times ahead These are exciting times here at Mattersey Hall. The college campus is now not only home to the college, but is also the headquarters of the National Ministry Centre. This will have a tremendous benefit to the
▼ It's the best place on the planet ...says Mattersey Hall College’s new Principal Glenn Balfour
Glenn Balfour speaks after being inaugurated as Principal
students who will get to rub shoulders with national and international leaders they would otherwise not get to meet. An obvious recent example of this is Dominic Yeo, the inspirational keynote speaker at this year’s conference. Within hours of arriving in the UK, Dominic popped in to the college unexpectedly and gave an impromptu message to the students. Another promising new development is the new college library, which will house our already extensive collection of academic books and journals in a purposebuilt study centre. Mattersey village may be calm and tranquil, but I believe that for training, equipping, forming and releasing the next generation of Christian leaders, Mattersey Hall College is the most exciting place to be in the world right now! • For more information visit www.matterseyhall.com
Mission HQ... The traditional home of Mattersey Hall College
Steps to make sure transition stays on track
ail To ask Phil a question, e-m edi torial@new life.co.uk
Re Online’s new Leadership Doc Phil Pye, answers your questions
was so impressed with the transitioning talk at this year’s national conference by Paul Reid and Andy McCourt. But as the assistant pastor waiting for the baton to be handed over, I know my experience is not going to be a good one. How can I gear myself up for what will be a very hard time for myself and my wife without throwing in the towel and leaving the church altogether? The issue of transition really does seem to be a ‘hot potato’ currently in Christian leadership – perhaps because so often in the past it has not been navigated well. With regard to being the assistant or associate leader waiting to pick up the baton, there appears to be a certainty that the experience is going to be negative. Why? The reason there is so much teaching and discussion at present is to enable the transitional journey to a new leader to be both enriching and empowering for both the outgoing and incoming leader. Here are a few markers to ensure that transition stays on track. 1) Keep the communication lines clear. This encourages healthy relationships – the key to the whole process. 2) Converse with great candour, mean what you say and say what you mean. Agree and stay within specific timelines… for a senior leader to speak about a finishing line but then never articulate what it is, is unhelpful in the extreme. 3) Carry a great heart and remember, “Transition does not create fractions, it reveals them!” Attitudes, motives and reasons will surface in the process but a heart
after God enables an appropriate response. 4) Seek a wider consultancy where necessary, that reaches out to other trusted leaders that carry a love and respect for the church you are involved in without the ‘emotional baggage’. I fear I am losing my anointing – is this possible, and what would be the clear tell-tale signs? ‘Anointing’ is a word often used in church circles and yet is not always easy to define. I remember talking to an Anglican priest friend of mine a little time ago. One of his sons had spent some time in an American Pentecostal church and when he came home he remarked, “Dad they talked about the anointing a lot!” So what is it? David was anointed with oil as a confirmation of his call to kingship. Jesus said at the beginning of his public ministry, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me,” so clearly it is important for all of us in life and ministry to know the help of the Holy Spirit through anointing. Here are a few points to think on: • The anointing is the outflow of the Holy Spirit in our lives. • The anointing is the overflowing of God’s divine life into human life that has been given over to God. It enables people to carry and impart blessing to others. It is a work of the Spirit. • There is no need to fear a loss of anointing, unless in life we are doing things that grieve and quench the Spirit’s work in us, often revealed in a lack of passion
and purpose. If this is so, make redress promptly, acknowledging a fresh dependency on the Holy Spirit. Anointing is not defined by shouting or shrill behaviour and it goes beyond natural ability, good organisation or ecclesiastical authority. It accentuates the life of God in you, not diminishing but increasing – so believe and expect just that! The eldership have a tendency to disagree – violently! What should I do? Elders are meant to get on! Often, however, it can become a conflict area with a, ‘them, the elders, and me’ mentality... this needs to change! ‘Elders’ is always plural in the New Testament. It seems to me they served as a team. Some carried a weightier gift. Peter was an apostle, but described himself as an elder and so worked together in guiding, shepherding, overseeing and leading the flock God entrusted to them. It is to this expression of eldership we ought to aspire. Here are some essential ingredients that will help any eldership team: • A conviction that God has called them to be part of it • A commitment to the vision and direction of the local house • A consistent adherence to the core values • A communication that builds trust • A consecration that gives all to God. An eldership running to these principles will see conflict as a rarity, and when it arises, grace-filled hearts and attitudes work towards a speedy resolution.
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Pastor's focus on followship The Spirit Of The Purple Cow James Galloway, River Publishing Stoke-on-Trent AoG pastor James Galloway is back with his second book following on from the success of ‘From Beach Hut To Palace’, the story of how his church, ‘Breathe City’ was repurposed. This time, using the story of Jonathan and his armour bearer, the author stresses the importance of ‘followship’ (what it is and how it’s established), presenting a completely different prototype for church growth. Jonathan’s armour bearer said to him, “Do whatever you think is best… I’m completely with you, whatever you decide.” These are the type of people any good leader wants in their church! You can have the best vision ever dreamed up, but without a commitment to executing it and giving people something significant to follow, it won’t work! James contends that armour bearers are people of influence, commitment and adventure – always ready for action, and that in order to grow your church you must develop those who will follow you no matter what, and as a result become great leaders themselves! A fresh read for all pastors, who in turn need to buy this book for their leaders. £7.99, paperback
Lioness Arising Lisa Bevere, Water Brook “The lioness rises from her slumber, a magnificent image of strength, passion, and beauty. Her mere presence commands the landscape, protects her young, and empowers the lion. In groups, lionesses become a creative and strategic force to be reckoned with, acting as one to change the world around them. You too are a lioness.” So says Lisa Bevere! This is a book for women about waking up and changing the world based on Numbers 23:34, “These people rise up like a lioness; like a majestic lion they stand.” This is not a book for the faint hearted but for those who will dare to read it, dare to be challenged by it and, ultimately, will dare to act on it! £7.49, paperback
Real Marriage Mark Driscoll Love him or hate him, author and pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, Mark Driscoll, is a man on a mission, and in his new book, ‘Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship And Life Together’ he combines solid biblical teaching with vulnerable personal stories in his gritty and straight to the point style. This is a great read for those about to enter married life, especially with the now infamous chapter ten on ‘Can we do _____?’ where sex is covered from just about every angle! £7.50, paperback 22
Mark Ritchie is ready for an epic journey
id you hear the one about the Scotsman who decided to carry his cross the length and breadth of Britain?
Man on a mission, Mark Ritchie will stop at 30 venues on his tour and hold evangelistic services where he hopes to reach 7,000 people. Mark, who lives near Nottingham, will begin the venture in Brighton, heading north to Edinburgh, then driving west to Wrexham before finishing his courageous challenge in Hull. The trek comes a year after widespread riots rocked the UK with people from all walks of life trashing shops and going on looting sprees in several of the nation’s cities. It was during this dark time that Mark decided that he needed to do something to promote the gospel throughout the country. “Last summer during the riots I was absolutely devastated and couldn’t stop crying as I saw Britain hurting itself,” he says. “As I began praying I saw a picture of Britain as a crowded room – busy, agitated and distracted. As I looked God spoke to me and told me to walk into the room. He told me to walk right into the middle of it and once I was there to put the cross down so that every eye in the room could see it. “If I walked in on my 12-year-old daughter and she was cutting herself, I’d be so upset and horrified that someone so precious to me was harming herself. That’s what I thought about when I saw the riots in Great Britain. “And so the adventure began, and now I’m in training because I’ll be walking
I'm carrying my cross in pu blic AoG evangelist Mark Ritchie is determined to put the cross of Christ back on the map – literally 10-12 miles a day nearly every day for 70 days!” Mark, who regularly holds stand-up comedy gospel shows across the country, will start the trek on August 26, finishing on October 27. He will speak at churches along the way, including Hillsong in Newcastle and Audacious in Manchester. Mark hopes that the challenge will not only raise the profile of the gospel message but that people’s lives will also be changed. “At each stop I will do an accessible evangelistic preach that will communicate the message of the cross – a message that Jesus takes away the sins of the world. The gospel is a message of joy, hope and destiny. It’s also a message that cannot
be ignored. I think some churches are nervous about how it will be perceived, maybe a bit embarrassed. But there is courage rising up in people as the concept is shared and on so many levels we can see it being a really powerful time. “I’m a bit nervous, but I’m totally trusting God. Some people will accept it, others will reject it but no one will ignore it. God has put it on my heart to put a cross in front of Great Britain and I’m just obeying him. I can’t wait to see how it goes and the response we get.” • For more information visit http://www.73rdtrust.com • Follow Mark’s progress on Twitter: @mark73rdtrust 23
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Research is like playing hide and seek Finding out might be fun, writes Ian Williams, but facts should inspire us to faith not fear
esearch is ‘the diligent and systematic investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts and theories’. It could be said that research is formalised curiosity, as it involves poking and prying with the purpose of creating new knowledge. Researching is like playing a game of hide and seek – looking for things that are often hidden out of sight but within reach when searched for. It’s the discovery of information and gleaning of understanding that helps us to put things into perspective and to make wise choices that impact our journey and determine our destination in life. Numbers 13 records possibly one of the most infamous biblical ‘research’ operations ever undertaken! Spies – or researchers – were sent by Moses to investigate and explore Canaan and its inhabitants. The aim was to pry with the purpose of uncovering up-to-date and relevant information that would be used to make decisions which would ultimately define the destiny and future of Israel. This fact finding exercise required the 12 spies to undertake a populous census to determine the demography, the economic climate and the fertility of the land. On completion of the investigation a concise report of the research findings, including method, evidence, conclusion and recommendations was submitted to the Israelite leaders. In turn, the report of the research expedition was presented to the entire Israelite community. The facts evidenced both opportunity and challenge: a land that flowed with milk and honey; a very
fruitful land requiring two people to transport a cluster of grapes; a people who were powerful; cities which were fortified against invasion. The information gathered throughout the research project was interpreted in two distinctly different ways resulting in two diverse conclusions. Ten researchers portrayed a pessimistic attitude and concluded that ‘we cannot attack Canaan’ whilst two researchers from a faith-filled perspective concluded that ‘we can certainly conquer the land!’ Fact should never be considered in isolation without faith. The whole of the Israelite community had received a word from God concerning their inheritance and the occupancy of the land of Canaan. They chose, however, to succumb to the recommendations of the majority – the pessimistic, fear-filled researchers, rather than embracing the God-given revelations from a faith-filled minority. Forty days of research resulted in 40 years of nomadic desert wandering, all because God’s people chose to embrace the research results and recommendations of the fearful ten who saw things very differently from the faith-filled two. Throughout biblical history and beyond, men and women have been charged with a task or calling and in response have ‘completed research’ to survey the
‘project’, to evaluate the resource and to say yes to God’s call. Even in 2012 we are called to understand (or research) the times and seasons in which we live and to respond accordingly by implementing appropriate actions to meet the needs of the day. We are constantly uncovering new information that has the potential to either, in fear, derail our God-given destiny or, in faith, facilitate possession of the land – our inheritance. Facts will create a crisis of faith for the pessimist and a challenge of faith for the optimist. The gathering of research evidence has the potential to birth selfdeprecation, fear, pessimism, foolishness, unbelief and rebellion. Or, it can birth confidence, courage, optimism, wisdom and obedience. The ultimate fact, however, is that God is not limited to demographic data, economic climates or national productivity. The fact is, he is God and he will do his will through us or despite us. The greatest book of truth and fact ever written tells us that we can overcome, that we are more than conquerors and that we can do all things through him who gives us strength. As we examine, investigate and research the opportunities within our communities which are set before us both individually and corporately, let’s silence the conclusions of the critics and the pessimists and shout a loud recommendation, “We should go up and take possession of the land, because we can certainly do it!” • Follow Ian on Twitter: @ijbjhr 25