I’m in North Carolina for a weekend outreach at One Tribe, a New Age festival in Raleigh. It’s always a great treat and privilege to work with Kelly Williams, Papy Fisher and the whole Desanka team. The tent is set up and ready, and of course, looks beautiful as it always does. It will be a great time of being a part of what God will do in the hearts, bodies, minds and spirits of those who are genuinely seeking spiritual reality and truth.
As the summer outreaches fast approach, I embark on added adventure, as if four days of hitchhiking in Iceland, followed by five weeks of traipsing around Wales and England aren’t adventure enough. In addition to connecting with dear friends I’ve met in all of those places, Phil and I will attempt to add our own Light and Love to that of others at three festivals, the same ones we reconnoitered last year; Burning Nest (in Wales), How The Light Gets In (also in Wales), and the summer solstice festival at Stonehenge. Back in the states, there is the Wild Goose festival in North Carolina, the month-long Haunted Happenings here in Salem, as well as a few scattered events here and there.
The “added adventure” I mentioned is that, since I’ll be raveling so much, I’m moving out of my apartment. Why spend money on rent if I’m not going to be there? My brother Greg has graciously agreed to store my stuff, and both my brothers (Jeff is my other brother) have room for me when I’m not traveling. Dear friends in Essex, MA have also let me know I am welcome to stay at their place indefinitely, and I am blessed by others who have made similar offers.
So. I’ll be couch surfing. This greatly adds to my immediate “to do” list, but it’s all manageable (I think!).
My family, of course, especially my mother, thinks I’m nuts, so that’s one thing, at least, that will remain the same. Wouldn’t want to ruin my image. And as contrary to sound reasoning as this may seem, it really is consistent with my developing understanding of who I really am (yes, at sixty years old, I’m finally figuring that out).
Arthur Burk has done a tremendous amount of work in the last twenty-plus years in learning about, and teaching, what he has come to call the redemptive gifts. These are the Romans 12 gifts. Burk describes the behavioral characteristics that accompany each of these gifts, among other things. His teachings on the redemptive gifts has been tremendously helpful to me in my ministry as I have been able to identify people’s gifts and, as a result, help them understand what makes them tick, who God has made them to be, how they fit and function with the Body of Christ, etc. It is probably the single most valuable thing I’ve studied with regards to ministry.** It has also been a huge help to me personally. I’ve been able to ascertain that I am a redemptive prophet and the behavioral characteristics that go along with it not only help me accept who and what I am, it has been a huge relief to find out that I am not flawed. I was designed this way.
“This way” includes, among other things, two things that have made my life difficult on one hand, but have also been a blessing when I have been able to indulge them properly and with wisdom. They are, my urgent need for a great deal of alone time, and a seemingly compulsive need for a frequent change of scenery. Both these characteristics have caused me trouble when I’ve indulged them compulsively. I’ve had to exercise some restraint and to mature in the meeting of these two needs to avoid hurting others and making a mess of my own life. At times, I’ve felt guilty for what I assumed was selfishness and immaturity for these feelings, and very often, I WAS selfish and immature in getting those needs met. Understanding that there is a reason God made me this way is now proving to be very helpful and liberating in using these characteristics in order to complement (and implement) my life’s purpose, which is serving others through missions.
So, at the end of April, I will be a wanderer. I’ll be Bilbo Baggins. The thought excites me and gives me butterflies in my stomach. I don’t think for one minute it will all be pleasant and easy. But, funny as it may sound, I know I’ll feel as much at “home” as I maybe ever have. The idea of “home” being a place of firm roots has always made me uneasy (and consequently made me feel flawed). That uneasiness can be a curse if I allow it to be. It’s a burden in any case, but so is an established home a burden. It’s just a matter of the type of burdens one is designed to carry. An ass and an ox carry loads differently. Feel free to decide which one I am. My friends will not find it necessary to hesitate.
Stay tuned. My adventure is changing. It should at least result in some decent stories!
*My mother didn’t actually say that, to me anyway. But I know she thought it!
**I consider Burk’s teachings on redemptive gifts to be a real life treasure – the missing key, with the potential to change the relatively formless entity that is the Body of Christ into – finally – the fully functional, every member participating community we’ve always known it should be. I am currently studying the subject with the hope of helping local communities realize these gifts.
Yesterday I wrote a blog listing the various crazy festival outreaches I’ll be ministering at in 2016. It is crazy ministry with other crazy ministers ministering to crazy people. It is great fun and I love it. All of those outreaches, except one, are pretty much a sure thing. I’ve done all of them in the past, so they’re not an unknown quantity. Only one is in question, and that one is Burning Man.
Burning Man is my favorite festival. It is wild, it’s in the desert, it’s raucous, hours from anywhere, with amazing examples of self-expression. It also the most demanding. It’s demanding physically, emotionally, and demands a lot of money to do. A person going to Burning Man can expect to spend a minimum of a thousand dollars. But the festival goers are hungry for spiritual reality…
As of yet, I don’t have a team committed to going this year. I went alone last year, and I absolutely loved it, as I always have. It remains to be seen whether I’ll go alone this year. If I cannot put together a team, it will likely be my last year.
So this is pretty much a last minute call for a team. Have you ever thought of going to minister there? If so, let me know right away, and also go and check out the Burning Man website as soon as possible. Sign up for the newsletter (this is crucial) called “The Jackrabbit Speaks”. Look at their list of Important Dates and the ticket page.
God bless you. It’s not easy to get in, it’s not easy to get there, it’s not easy to Be there. But it sure is fun.
I’m looking for Special Forces kinds of people!
My first organized outreach of the year has just ended and planning is busily happening for the rest of 2016.
From April 29 – May 1 I will be in Raleigh again for https://onetribefestnc.com, which will take place at the same fairground as the BMSE I just returned from, and with the same extraordinary team. My airfare for that event has been graciously provided by a supporter, for which I’m very grateful!
From May 25 – 31, I’ll be with a team in Port Talbot, Wales, for Burning Nest , which is a festival in the tradition of Burning Man. This is a fairly new festival on which we had a big impact last year. This year, we expect to have a MUCH bigger impact. We will have a larger and very capable team operating in high levels of prophetic ministry. One thing I’m excited about doing there is to train and release other festival goers (called “Burners”) to bless their fellow Burners during the festival, thereby building on the camaraderie and brotherhood that all such festivals depend on. That is really part of the point of the festival, and I hope to make that more directed, focused and agape-ish. Yeah, that’s a word. Really! (No, not really. I made it up) (http://www.burningnest.co.uk/#event-details-1-1 Burn)
Running concurrently with Nest is How The Light Gets In (https://howthelightgetsin.iai.tv), a philosophy festival in Hay-on-Wye, also in Wales. Phil will be taking a small team there and will be running some events called “cigars and philosophy”, which is exactly what it sounds like and which Phil has used with great effect at Burning Man and other places. These dialogical events always lead to talking about God, and that’s what we’re all about!
Next is the Solstice festival at Stonehenge . This starts a few days prior to the solstice at a campground a few miles away from the stones. We are very excited to have seven people from the States joining us this year, and possibly a few from the UK as well. Last year, Phil and I were busy the entire night of the solstice, Phil engaging in dialogue about philosophy and religion and me interpreting dreams and doing some other prophetic ministry, including some healing. (http://www.stonehengecampsite.co.uk/solstice_festival)
We return to the states after the solstice and head to Hot Springs, NC for the Wild Goose (festivalhttp://wildgoosefestival.org). This is a Christian festival with a very liberal focus, which we welcome, but one of our objectives is to be a somewhat more conservative Christian voice (We don’t consider ourselves to be strictly conservative by any stretch. We’re pretty hard to categorize. We don’t even know what we are). I’ve had the pleasure to see people there who were wavering in their commitment to Christ make a renewed commitment, and this is very satisfying.
Burning Man is next (http://burningman.org). This will be the seventh year for our team (my sixth year). I hope to take a larger team and so to have a larger impact. This is one of the more strenuous events, requiring a huge amount of resources, financial, physical, and otherwise. I’m planning to do a Go Fund Me campaign to replace our dome which we were using for a communal kitchen area and hospitality area and which was destroyed by high wind last year.
Then it’s time for Haunted Happenings (http://hauntedhappenings.org), the month-long Halloween celebration here in Salem, MA. This probably requires as much resources as all the others combined, but the impact is huge and the number of people reached is commensurate. We’re upping the game on every level on this one this year. We have far more people committed. This means LOTS more prep work and planning, but the month long event should be more relaxed and smooth (we hope!)
In early November I’ll be in Lyons Falls NY at the Health and Wellness weekend (http://hersle.com/events/1416189/health-and-wellness-at-the-edge-hotel). I work alone at this one and have seen very deep healing happen. One of the other vendors there, after doing healing encounters with her two years in a row, called me a “spiritual chiropractor”, LOL. She even wrote that on my sign.
Are you interested in participating in any of these? This ministry is not for everyone, but if you think it may be for you, let me know. If you Would like to participate but can’t go, consider donating. Thanks!
Last weekend, 2/26/16 – 2/28/16, I was ministering at the Raleigh, NC, Body Mind & Spirit Expo. This was my third time ministering at this New Age event. It was here, in 2012, that I first met Kelly Williams and Papy Fisher who have become dear friends and highly valued fellow ministers. I was invited by them to join the absolutely amazing team, made up mostly of young adults, that they have been training and nurturing for several years.
We had anywhere from eight to twelve people ministering at any given time and often had up to twenty five people waiting in line for ministry. Most of them, of course, were New Age adherents who were nonetheless willing to talk about God (even Jesus) IF THEY DON’T SENSE ANY JUDGEMENTALISM FROM YOU! which is how we have trained ourselves to speak. It’s also important to NOT use “churchy” language (we call it “Christianese”) and this has also been our emphasis.
This being in the bible belt, we always have lots of Christians come through. Now, one might be tempted to judge them for coming to a New Age event, but we understand that these people are hungry for real, tangible spirituality, and that is why they come. Others have begun to incorporate different spiritual practices into their lives. We talk to each of these about Jesus and arrange dialogue between them and Jesus. He always responds! These are life changing moments and we have turned not a few back to faith in Christ.
As for the non-Christians (or, as we like to call them, “pre-believers”), several got saved! Yup! Made genuine commitments to Christ! Many more encountered God and found Him to be an actual loving person who cares about the things they care about. At least one got delivered from a spirit of fear and had that broken off her bloodline. Others had painful emotional wounds healed.
Here are a few of the things that they wrote in our journals (I removed the names and the little drawings of hearts, etc):
“Wow! Thanks so much for your gifts that you shared with me regarding my dream. You’re the best! Thanks.”
“I really had an eye opening experience and thank you.”
“Thank you Bob and Conny for telling me what I’ve so desperately needed to hear! “
“Papy and Cheryl, thank you so very much for giving me some tools to put the thought of positivity first, and put the darkness in my wake.
“I appreciate your energy and blessings and I promise to keep them close to me always. “
“Dream Interpretation. Thank you for the insightful dream interpretation you gave me. I am not overreaching to call it life changing! My own interpretation set me on a course that required a lot of change – but I now understand, not in the right way. Now I can make the changes in myself that will be most helpful. Thank you also for freely (literally) giving of your time to help others and your kind words of support. May the loving energy you have shown be returned to you tenfold!”
“I received a spiritual blessing from Dennis and Maggie. They gave me great insight on how to strengthen my marriage. I wish you all luck and great success in life! Peace and blessings.”
“I received the wonderful Spirit of God to help heal me. I felt lovely tingling and eventually free of pain. Thank you! God of Goodness and Miracles!!”
“Thank you for freeing me from my fear and giving me the guidance to pass it on to my daughter.”
“The information and beautiful words of compassion I heard today were exactly what I needed and afforded me clarity I had previously lacked. God bless.”
We have many such outreaches planned for this year (and every year). If you think this kind of ministry is valuable and would like to see it continue, please consider a donation. All of us ministering at these events pay to do so out of our own pockets. We believe in it that much. Thanks!
We are already (already!? We shoulda started this last year!) putting together our 2016 calendar and are looking for team members. We need to immediately (if not sooner!) get some folks to join us for Burning Nest, Port Talbot, Wales, May 25-31. We established a strong presence there last year. If you’re following our weird adventures, you may already know that our vision is to plant churches at transformational festivals.
Festival missions is not for everyone. Being immersed in counter culture gatherings can be a shock for many Christians. But if you’re comfortable around weird people – it helps if you’re a little weird yourself! this might be just the thing for you. The only requirement is the ability to love these entirely lovable folks.
The next batch of tickets goes on sale later this month (January), so please respond immediately! Send me an e-mail at email@example.com, or FB message me.
This past week, I drove down to NC to be with my friend Jeff, an overseas missionary who has returned to the states. Jeff had a commitment to teach some YWAM students and staff about prophetic ministry and I accompanied him there. The teaching was excellent and on Friday we took about eighteen students and staff to a local community college to do minister prophetic blessings, words of knowledge, etc. They were all amazed at how easy and fun this kind of ministry can be, and at how open people were to receiving it.
This was a great group of people. I was filled with hope for the future of the Body because of them. I watched an introverted, tiny young woman named Gabby approach a large, somewhat scary guy whose body language clearly said, “Stay away!” She and Corey spent a lot of time with him and his demeanor visibly changed. They both prayed with him. I was standing a distance away, watching. The man was obviously appreciative and was smiling broadly when we left him.
As we walked around campus looking for people to minister to, Corey felt we should walk through a parking garage. I thought, well, what the heck? Who knows what could happen in a parking garage? We approached two young woman and asked them if they would like a “free blessing”. One said yes. As we blessed them, we each received words of knowledge for her and for her friend. As it turned out, they were both believers who were discussing how discouraged they each were in their faith. We spent maybe an hour with them. Corey and Gabby had great things to say to them. I was able to walk both of them through some inner healing. It felt like we were with lifelong friends when we, sadly, had to part and go on our way.
We had many other wonderful encounters with people that day, and heard similar great stories from the others who were all walking around in groups of two or three. One could easily write a small book from the events of that one day and it would be really encouraging reading. Maybe we should do that!
Prophetic evangelism is easy, it’s fun and it’s fruitful. Each of these people regularly practiced evangelism, but not quite like this. This is the kind of ministry I do, and if you’re interested in making a difference this way, I can show you how. We’re planning our festival schedule for next year and are looking for team members who might be interested in going with us to one or more festivals. Stay tuned, or contact me. My training style is mostly OJT (on the job).
My friend Jeff is also available to come and teach groups. He is an excellent teacher. If you are a pastor or other leader who would like to see your people on fire for evangelism, he’s your man. Contact me, I can put you in touch
Well, Burning Man 2015 is over. Up until now, I’ve taken that mission a year at a time. There have always been so many unknowns, so much expense and so much work and planning involved that one step at a time seemed to be the best approach. The destruction of the dome in the almost unrelenting high winds is largely the catalyst that has got me thinking more long term about my future there. The dome was really useful on a lot of levels – as kitchen space, a place to hang out, and a place to offer hospitality to others, which often resulted in ministry happening right in our camp in an informal approach (though the ministry was often quite deep).
I went alone this year. That also made me aware of my need to plan and make decisions.
So the dome needs to be replaced with…something. With what? It depends. I don’t expect to go alone again, but last year it was just three of us and the year before, just four. The little 20′ PVC dome was great for us. But what if we want to take a larger team?
So the main thing I need to know, upon which how to plan depends, is, can we get a team to go, and how big of a team?
So this is a preliminary call for team members. We need reasonably healthy people, including some who are good with building and tools. No ministry experience is necessary. We will train you. It isn’t even necessary that you be a Christian. If you want to be a part and contribute to what we’re doing, we have stuff for you to do. We need people who can embody the Ten Principles of Burning Man (Look them up. Self reliance is one of them).
Beyond Burning Man
But Burning Man is not the only thing we do. We have a vision to plant churches at festivals. I’ve written about why this is important in other blog posts, but in a nutshell (a) the world is being changed at these festivals and (b) festival goers are spiritual seekers and are open to spiritual discussions. We potentially established churches at three festivals in the UK this past summer.
So we hope to build a pool of people who are interested in participating in this vision. You may have been part of some leader’s vision in the past where you basically were locked into what that leader’s vision was, but our methodology is different. We want people to join us, and support the vision with their own vision, creativity, and ideas.
If this interests you, we’d like to hear from you. Here is a link where you can get on a list to receive e-mails. You can also follow this blog. I also have a FB page by the same name, My Foolish Mission.
Even if you feel you can’t travel to these festivals, there is a LOT you may be able to do: You can pray! You can help get the word out. There may be things that need to be built, costumes to make, etc. Words of encouragement are really helpful! Don’t hesitate to get in touch!
It was a routine encounter in just about every way. A woman sat before me, troubled by anxiety (I don’t remember what the issue was. I never do). I said, “Let’s ask God what He has to say about it. Do you have a belief in God?”
“I believer there’s something”, she said.
“Are you ok with calling this ‘something’ God?”
So I had her ask God questions about whatever she was troubled by and listen for the answers. And God answered her. He almost always does. Actually, I think He always does, but sometimes people can’t hear.
The answers brought her great relief. It always amuses me that at this stage of the encounter, the person receiving ministry doesn’t think it strange that God is speaking to them, even though they are usually doubtful He will. So, as I’m in the habit of doing, I asked her, “Do you realize you’ve just had a two way conversation with your Creator?”
“God spoke to you because He loves you. And He is more eager to speak with us than we often are to speak with Him”.
Now she knows that “something” is a person with a voice, and that He cares for her. She encountered Him herself. My only role is as a facilitator. No advice. No sales pitch. No clever entreaties. Just her and God, having their own conversation, and I get to be a fly on the wall.
I love this ministry.
“The evangelical church is contributing to the political and social polarization in the nation instead of acting as peacemaker. The church’s responsibility is to be for the political sphere (and the culture) what it cannot be for itself. The church is not to hold those on the left in contempt, neither is it to be co-dependent on those on the right, but rather it is to provide moral/ethical guidance for the whole of the political sphere.”*
Reading this made me happy. Although I tend toward social conservatism, I’ve long been uncomfortable with the evangelical attitude that God is the champion of the political right, that conservatism equals godliness. Lately, I’ve been even more disturbed by the near panic of the Christian right and their insistence on preserving a culture which benefits themselves and their preferred lifestyle. As Christians, we aren’t supposed to be spending our lives making ourselves comfortable. That idea is absolutely antithetical to anything Jesus and the New Testament writers either said or modeled. And yet, the proponents of Christendom have never had a problem justifying such a life.
Once the above quote had sunk in a little, I did kick back against it a little, thinking, this is true, but the same can be said for progressive Christianity. And I believe that applies. But evangelicalism’s jingoism has been running on fumes for much longer and is more entrenched (in a rut, in other words). And for myself and most of those I minister with, we are either evangelical or from evangelical backgrounds, and I have no doubt this is where the cleanup needs to start. Progressive Christianity is at least partly a reaction to evangelical churchianity, and as such, they’re entitled to it.
We can either be missional or we can serve ourselves. Not both. If we want to be missional, we can’t insist the culture conform to our preferences, which were never anything like a perfect reflection of God’s Kingdom anyway. Instead, we need to allow the culture to inform us about how to serve them – in other words, be Christ to them – in a way that’s meaningful to them. It’s no good trying to provide someone with a sense of identity when they haven’t eaten in two days, and it’s no good talking about the hereafter if they’re outraged about the social injustices they see all around them.
“Jesus is waiting for the local church to join him in the culture. Christ is not waiting for the culture to join him at church.”*
Good things are happening! Let’s pay attention so we don’t miss anything!
* From “Following Jesus To Burning Man”, Kerry D. McRoberts