PRMI’s Growing the Church event continues to grow!
This fall (2013), Dunamis Fellowship Canada sponsored two of these events, one in Guelph, Ontario in the east and the other in Edmonton, Alberta in the west.
Hear how Barbara Ferrier, coordinator for the Guelph event, describes what happened:
“They came from east (England) and west (Vancouver) and north (Ottawa) and south (Windsor), and took their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.
Indeed, it was a feast for pastors and church leaders, who came hungry – yet discerning. The first morning one participant admitted he was evaluating what he was hearing (to which Mary, who was teaching, replied – ‘you wouldn’t be Reformed if you weren’t evaluating!’). By the end, he offered to put in a good word at the seminary regarding the teaching he had heard.
Twenty-five of the 62 participants were pastors (40%), and the rest were experienced lay leaders. We were pleasantly surprised how deep the conversation and prayers went, so quickly, within the small groups. Jesus met many in profound ways, and the Holy Spirit provided just lovely, gentle teaching opportunities, like the kairos moment that developed just before Kevin taught on Kairos moments.”]
Martin Boardman uses different metaphors to describe the event in Alberta, but there are similar themes of people coming empty and being filled:
“As we gathered together on Monday morning as a group of individuals, some knew others in the group, but for the most part it was a group of individuals. When we gathered together to close with communion on the Thursday we were a family, a community joined and held together by the work of the Holy Spirit.
About forty people, many of them pastors, attended event which took place in Edmonton, Alberta. A number of the pastors shared that they arrived dry and thirsty. But as they left they had received the living water and were refreshed.
The morning prayers were times of dancing together as people led out with Scripture, song and words and pictures given by the Spirit. We saw people encounter Jesus during “the Walk” each afternoon. This time of prayer was, for a number of people, the highlight of the week and a time of deep encounter with Jesus. We also saw the beautiful way the Spirit moved in the group sessions.
We give praise to the Lord for all that he has done.”
A Paradigm Shift
Pastor Bill Tuininga said of his experience,
“‘Growing the Church in the Power of the Spirit’ was for me a paradigm shift. It isn’t an easy transition, because for years I have been trying to run the church and make “it” happen. It requires trust and love to let the Holy Spirit run the church. I found the teaching to be sensible, charismatic and Biblical. And because of the experiential component, it has given me more confidence in praying with others.”
Group discussion was lively
Finally, Paul Stokes, the lead teacher at both events, reflects on what he saw happen:
“It was thrilling to see the impact which this material and the power of the Holy Spirit had in people’s lives, and such a privilege to be part of it. As people journeyed from early cautious questioning through to tear-jerking testimonies of God at work, it was clear that the Holy Spirit was effecting a massive transformation in many hearts and minds!
Personally speaking, it was an awesome blessing to work alongside some faithful and anointed teachers – Kevin DeRaaf, Mary Sterenberg, Martin Boardman, Anne Vander Hoek and Dave Westra did an excellent job of articulating the content and recognising the kairos moments. And it was equally valuable to come alongside two healthy leadership teams and help them reflect together about the dynamics of teamwork and ensure that lessons from these events are taken into account for future events. It was a busy fortnight for me, and such a privilege to be part of what Jesus is doing in Canada.”
What a joy to hear these stories of seeing leaders renewed, refreshed and empowered by the Holy Spirit!