We'd spent the day following the spread of christianity into the UK, through the English Reformation, revivals and radical movements through the centuries to the present.
To conclude, we found ourselves in the charismatic renewal of the 1960's and 70s: This rediscovery of the life of the Spirit within the denominational churches that refused to remain a personal issue of renewal, and led to restoration church streams emerging all over the UK. These are our roots in the New Frontiers family of churches, and we now find ourselves tipping over into the second generation of our movement, along with others.
If church history teaches us one thing, it's that most radical, pioneer movements, slow and settle as they move into their second generation. Indeed some stagnate or even turn right off course. Our challenge is to remain not just a pure restoration stream, but one which has significant impact with the gospel in our towns and cities across the UK and into post-Christian Europe. For us, this would be far from slowing or maturing, but a pioneering gear change and increase of impact.
So, to the extraordinary events of the opening paragraph - We ended the day with this double edged warning and provocation in mind, by reading together the remarkable prophecy from Smith Wigglesworth dating back to 1947. Reflecting on the last 40 years of our history, our development as a part of the 'Word and Spirit' movement, this prophecy speaks clearly of two eras which have now passed with incredible insight.
Knowing this, the final third predicted by Wigglewsorth is even more stirring - a revival outpouring the like of which has never before been seen, from the UK out into Europe. No wonder our response in the room last week was one of groaning and expectant prayer - what about you? May our second generation be marked by such radical and zealous discipleship that the map of Europe is once again transformed by renewal and revival!
Here is the prophetic word in full:
During the next few decades there will be two distinct moves of the Holy Spirit across the church in Great Britain. The first move will affect every church that is open to receive it and will be characterized by a restoration of the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit. The second move of the Holy Spirit will result in people leaving historic churches and planting new churches. In the duration of each of these moves, the people who are involved will say ‘This is the great revival’. But the Lord says ‘No, neither is this the great revival but both are steps towards it.
When the new church phase is on the wane, there will be evidenced in the churches something that has not been seen before: a coming together of those with an emphasis on the Word and those with an emphasis on the Spirit.
When the Word and the Spirit come together, there will be the biggest movement of the Holy Spirit that the nation, and indeed the world, has ever seen. It will mark the beginning of a revival that will eclipse anything that has been witnessed within these shores, even the Wesleyan and the Welsh revivals of former years. The outpouring of God’s Spirit will flow over from the UK to the mainland of Europe, and from there will begin a missionary move to the ends of the earth.