Bill Johnson in Harrogate
Last week Ben, Kate, Alison and I along with a few others from Leeds Vineyard and several from Vineyards around the country joined with leaders from many churches across Europe to hear Bill Johnson teach at a conference in Harrogate hosted by New Life Church.
Bill, along with the church he pastors, Bethel (in Redding, California), is having a significant influence on the church worldwide. He is a compelling leader with a conviction that we should seek first the presence of God and then expect his presence to be evidenced by healing and miracles.
He told us that in 1987 he turned up at a John Wimber conference (the pioneer church planter who led the Vineyard until he died in 1997) in Anaheim, California with a theology for healing but without a practice. Although no one prayed for him and he didn’t get “close” to Wimber he left that conference changed and has pursued the presence and power of God ever since. And his church has subsequently built a prodigious track record of healings and miracles.
Alison and I were at the same Healing conference in 1987 and it changed our lives too. We wish we had seen as many answers to prayer as Bill has – but maybe he has prayed a lot more than we have!
Last week we basked in some inspired worship, learnt some good stuff and were privileged to hear 54 people testify to verifiable healing on the last evening. It was refreshing to experience worship and see ministry done rather differently from the way we go about it. Although we differ from Bill Johnson and Bethel in some important theology, we love what they are doing and are inspired by their ministry. We were encouraged to take seek God’s presence, take more risks and pray for more people! Which is all good.