In early March 2017, 35 people met at the 12th Annual Fellowship Gathering of the Dunamis Fellowship Britain & Ireland held at our favourite venue–Kings Park Conference Centre, Northampton, England.
We were thrilled to welcome fellow Dunamites from “across the pond.” Ministry Director Cindy Strickler’s very quick turnaround from her recent trip to Japan was acknowledged as a token of the deep love that has built up over the years between her and the “Brits.”
Following her visit to the UK last year to teach Growing The Church, Pastor Gina Dick from Grand Rapids, MI, was enthusiastically welcomed back to deliver compelling biblical reflections on God’s Covenantal Promises. Her husband, Daane, and Stephanie McClain—of PRMI’s youth and young adult programme–were also warmly received.
Dancing in Step with the Holy Spirit
The event had a very different approach to any conference we had attended before. Apart from meal times–which were set by the Centre–and opening with Worship, the timetable was totally blank. Paul Stokes, Director of DFB&I, explains:
“We have a long-standing custom in Dunamis of stating that ‘the schedule is subject to change depending on the leading of the Holy Spirit.’ This year we intentionally left every session open and forced ourselves to continually seek guidance from the Spirit for the next step: what should we do next, and who should be leading?
It was a rich and challenging approach as we sought to dance in step with the Spirit every moment of the day.”
Even Gina had agreed that whilst she would prepare things that the Lord might want us to hear, there was no guarantee that the Lord would lead her to say what she had prepared. Fortunately for us, the Lord led Gina to “still our souls” as we contemplated topics such as the “Presence, Pace, and Grace” of the Lord.
This compelling teaching, along with inspirational worship led by Brian Harley and team, made it very easy for attendees to engage with God.
PRMI Overview, Dunamis Worldwide, and Important New Initiatives
There was a 3 part presentation that set out the “bigger picture” of PRMI’s ministry, which Cindy Strickler kicked off with a very encouraging “whistle stop tour” of PRMI around the world.
We heard about formal regional expressions such as Dunamis Fellowship Korea, new expressions being developed like the one on the West Coast of the USA, and a number of less formal structures for networking, such as the work in Indonesia and Africa which could eventually lead to formal Dunamis Fellowships being established.
It was obvious that the meeting was impressed and encouraged by how the Lord had blessed the growth and spread of the work of PRMI. Important development areas for DFB&I to consider for future engagement might be the work in Israel and in Eastern Europe, such as that of Frank Drake in Estonia and the Czech Republic.
Cindy went on to explain that the team at the Community of the Cross, the PRMI Board, and the leaders of the Dunamis Fellowship International all had an important and strategic role to play in ensuring a cohesive, Spirit led approach to how all these initiatives should be supported, further developed, and financed. A big part of the overview and “working out” of God’s will in all of this is the 2017 Prayer Initiative that Brad addressed in a video greeting.
Part 2 of the bigger picture was a presentation from Pauline Eyles about the new Mountain Top Equipping Programme that was launched in August 2016 at the COC. The UK course will take place on 16th May. This teaching draws on the two latest books by Brad Long, Exposing Satan’s Plans in Radical Islam and A Prayer Strategy for the Victory of Jesus Christ: Defeating Demonic Strongholds of ISIS and Radical Islam.
Pauline made an appeal that people should not too readily dismiss attending the course because of some of the more obvious content of Brad’s books that they might find difficult to engage with. She said that since Brad’s dramatic vision back in 2009, the Lord had called him and PRMI to raise up an army of intercessors to literally pray “Thy Kingdom Come,” and this had propelled PRMI into a new era of looking at the “macro to micro,” “individual to organisational,” and “global to local” views of ministry and spiritual engagement.
Not everyone is called to deal with the spiritual “macro” issues, but, she argued,
“We should all know what they are about, so that we can:
- Make an informed decision about where we are called to serve in the Dunamis family and be comfortable with that
- Understand the work and struggles of other family members in different areas of calling
- Pray for the organisation knowing the ‘full deck of cards’ we are working with.”
She invited people to prayerfully consider attending the UK course.
The final part of the presentation was a 10 minute video greeting from Brad specifically to the DFB&I to explain the new prayer initiative and to point out the important and strategic role that they could play in supporting and developing the call and the prayers to bring into fruition “Thy Kingdom Come.”
Geographically and historically, DFB&I being in the UK is strategically positioned to make a significant difference. He briefly set out the three main “planks” of the prayer strategy:
- Setting up the prayer house and the Community of the Crossas a global prayer hub
- Providing equipping programmes and materials to train and equip an army of intercessors
- Raising up anointed leaders who can train and nurture intercessors and continually increase their numbers
Brad emphasised that “there was an immense urgency for prayer mobilisation–an incredible opportunity for a truly kairos moment of advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ and to move towards the fulfilling of the great commission.”
Brad explained that, conversely, in the demonic realm a similar mobilisation of forces was taking place and this had to be stopped. He described this as a moving towards “the hour of the power of darkness.” This video is available on the DFB&I Website. To watch the full video greeting, visit the DF Britain & Ireland website.
He asked for help in the 3 areas of provision of finance, participation in the programmes, and supportive prayer.
The fellowship meeting welcomed the personal greeting and input from Brad. It was good to see him “in person” if only on the big screen.
Challenges and Joys Facing the DFB&I
Whilst Paul did not deliver a Director’s report per se, his comments and input at various stages of the event, together with the most entertaining yet informative finance report from Chris James, painted a picture of both the joys and struggles of an organisation that has an amazing collection of gifted, dedicated, and generous people in terms of their time, finances, prayers, gifts, and skills and–most of all–their hearts for Dunamis.
But despite that generosity, Paul indicated that there are some serious challenges due to our lack of the financial and human resources needed to maintain and grow the various areas of ministry if the DFB&I wants to be more effective and efficient in certain areas, especially timely and regular communication.
Chris reported that the DFB&I is showing a healthier balance sheet for the 2nd year running, with historical debts now having been paid off. Paul invited people to pray and discern what needed to be done to “fill the gaps” and even expand our ministry and “sphere of influence” in Britain and Ireland from both a financial and people perspective.
What is the Lord saying to us?
An ongoing call to prayer and discernment when people returned home was essential. Following the conference, participants received an email request that the DFB&I leadership team be kept informed of any ideas or discernment that arose as a result of personal prayer times and reflection.
Activities in the Fellowship
It was agreed that feedback reports on the various existing and proposed activities and tracks should be “short, sharp, and to the point”–and the focus should be on praying for them.
Elaine Pierpont’s report on the non residential church-based Dunamis Track that only runs once a year was testimony to the fact that the material can be flexibly delivered. Dunamis 5 will be taught there in August.
Bernard Fidder’s Ashburnham Track, which had experienced some powerful moves of the Holy Spirit, was in planning for Dunamis 4 in April and was attracting new attendees. These folks were specifically being brought to the track by Jon Sermon, who is discerning the need for a track in his own church in East Anglia.
Paul Stokes reported that there were discussions going on about the progress of the North Wales track and the exciting possibility longer-term of our first foray into Scotland.
Pauline Eyles briefly set out Brad Long’s hopes and plans for Dunamis in Israel and said that a “piece of the jigsaw” could be a DFB&I team delivering teaching to an Anglican guest house in Jerusalem.
Lynne James was commissioned to start to redevelop a healing ministry for DFB&I. Since Vernon Payne had stepped down as Director in June 2015, healing ministry had continued on an ad hoc basis. It has now been discerned that this should be formalised again.
It was acknowledged that, sadly, there is currently a “gap” in our capacity to deliver a programme to youth and young adults, although the earlier discernment meeting had identified both the will and the need to have one. Gina gave an inspiring testimony of how the youth programme in her own church started from nothing and is now growing in quantity and quality of young leaders. Fervent prayers were offered for a similar breakthrough in the DFB&I.
Your Next Step
Consider praying for discernment about whether or not the Lord may be calling you to attend a Dunamis Fellowship Annual Meeting next year. Next year’s DFB&I Annual Meeting will take place between February 28th and March 4th 2018, and the next Dunamis Fellowship International Annual Meeting will take place in January of 2018 in Black Mountain, NC.