The weekend outreach at One Tribe Fest, Raleigh NC, is over. Not a lot of traffic at this one, possibly due to the weather. But it was still a very good weekend. We had committed to help with setting up and packing up the event, and the event organizer, a woman named Dulce – an apt name for this sweetheart of a woman – was very grateful and has become a real friend as a result. We look forward to serving her at many other events.
Part of our duties included helping other vendors with their set-up, which can involve a LOT of work. So, between that and the long conversations we had with them during the slow weekend, we made plenty of new friends, and strengthened relationships with others we have met at other New Age festivals. We ministered to many of these vendors over the weekend, which we always try to do. Besides just being a natural thing to do, it builds a kind of family atmosphere with them, and gives the whole event a feel of community.
Despite the sparse attendance, we did have (I’m guessing) a couple of dozen encounters with attendees. For myself, there seemed to be more requests for dream interpretation than usual, and as usually happens with those, people are often disturbed by dreams that are actually reassuring once understood. I love watching the look of relief people get when they find out what their dreams actually mean.
We saw people set free from heartbreaks and bondages of all kinds. We watched people who believed only in an impersonal Universe ask for and receive for themselves answers directly from God. As always, we simply made the introductions.
I am so blessed to be able to work with Papy Fisher, Kelly Williams, and their whole Desanka ministry team. What an amazing group of people! Their favor with event organizers is increasing and they are seeing more and more doors open to them. I expect to have the pleasure of working with them more and more.
In two weeks, I leave for Iceland and then the UK. We have a team that I am so grateful to be a part of joining us for three outreaches. We will have prophetic encounters probably numbering well over a hundred during that time. We have lots of new things we are going do this year in our never-ending desire to grow and adapt fresh approaches in effectively serving and ministering to the people Jesus loves – which includes you!
How can we serve you? Do you have dreams you need interpreted? Or need prophetic ministry? Maybe you’d like to be on our team, or learn how to do this kind of ministry at festivals and events near you. We can help. Feel free to contact me.
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.
“Evangelism is teaching the gospel with the aim to persuade”
This is one definition of evangelism I just came across. It’s a pretty good one, in certain situations. But what happens if you’re talking to someone who doesn’t want you to teach them, and doesn’t appreciate your attempt to persuade? This approach is fine if someone, or many someones, have asked a question, or otherwise shown their openness to engage with you, and then only if doing so actually answers their question.
In my ministry, that kind of favor, or permission, usually happens AFTER there has been a genuine God-encounter; a healing happens, or someone is powerfully set free from some bondage, or we interpret a dream and the interpretation rocks their world. That’s when they start asking questions: “How are you able to do that?” “How did you know that?” “Why do you do this for free?” “What are you guys all about?” See? Now we have permission. And people will listen. If they are offended by my answers, at least they aren’t offended by my presumption. The truth is, I can’t remember the last time someone got offended. We’re living in a time when people are very much interested in talking about God (“The fields are white…”). They just don’t want to feel he is being shoved down their throats. Having experienced the love and power of God, they WANT to talk about it. Sometimes they come to Christ, right then and there. But they pretty much ALWAYS go away knowing there is a God who knows and loves them, often even if they have not asked any questions.
I love it when that happens. Those are the times I identify with Jesus when he said “I have bread to eat you know not of”. But though I do the work of an evangelist, getting people “saved” is not my first concern. In a real sense, it is not my concern at all.
I notice with some amazement that Jesus demonstrated the power and the love of God without requiring anything of those he served. Even among the “stiff-necked” who had no intention of following him, such as the Galileans in John 4 when he healed the nobleman’s son, he did a miracle and met the need. It used to puzzle me that he would often perform some miracle and then, while he had their attention, fail to lead them in the sinner’s prayer. It’s true that he was continually preaching the good news about the Kingdom, but he DIDN’T REQUIRE ANYTHING OF THEM! This, despite the fact that the people were thronging him, pressing him, crowding him, anything to be in his presence. He had them in the palm of his hand!
And that is what most would-be evangelists today don’t have.
There are two kinds of evangelists out there. There are the ones who preach in churches, or in stadiums for pre-packaged evangelistic rallies. These are “preaching to the choir” for the most part, to people who are already Christians who are there for the show. Many of them bring their friends and neighbors and many of these do “get saved.” All good.
Then there are the street preachers, brave souls who go into the marketplace and shout their version of the “good news” at people. Trouble is, with most of these, nobody ever takes what they are saying as good news. Including me. Or my fellow prophetic evangelists. It doesn’t help that these same street preachers purposely seek us out and will often stand as near to us as they can with their bullhorns and announce to the crowds that we are “of the devil” and leading people astray. As proof of this, they often point to the line of people waiting to talk to us.
Jesus had crowds of people waiting to talk to him too.
They waited, because they knew he had something real to offer them. They wait for us, because they know we have something real too. The street preachers come with nothing to offer – and expect to be heard. They think they are evangelists. They are actually “clouds without rain.” (Jude 1:12)
To do the work of Jesus, you first of all must be genuinely concerned for the people you want to reach, and to be genuinely concerned means to see their real, earthly, flesh-and-blood needs. Meeting those needs has to be your real motivation, out of compassion. When I and my teammates go to minister, we try very hard to do only what we see the Father doing – because that’s what Jesus did. As for their salvation, I personally believe that their “getting saved” is between them and God. My role in that is to make the introduction, to answer their questions, and possibly to lead them to where they want to go if they don’t know how to get their on their own. I am a facilitator.
My definition of evangelism looks something like this: To love my neighbors in truth – to get to know them, to listen to them, to truly “see” them. To be available to them, and to not give up on them – ever.
That is, after all, how God treats me.
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.
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!
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
“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
On Monday, May the 15th, Phil and I arrived in our rented van full of building materials plus a large tent, to be used for ministry, in a beautiful green valley less than ten minutes from the south Wales steel mill city of Port Talbot. This was to be the site of Burning Nest, a Burning Man inspired festival, and this would be its third year. It was obviously going to be very different from Burning Man, which is held in a completely barren desert where you have to bring everything you will need to survive for a week, two hours from the nearest city. Here, there were bunks to sleep in, running water, flush toilets, hot showers, wifi, green grass and lush trees. Five hundred people would attend this four day event as opposed to the seventy thousand that spent a week in the Nevada desert last year. We were here several days early to help with set-up and to build our interactive art project, and to minister in dream interpretation and inner healing to the festival goers.
We helped where we could, building geodesic domes, etc., and built our “Told Booth”. It was a toll booth on a bridge in which people were invited to write things they had been “told” which had taken a toll on their lives. People were curious about it, which resulted in us meeting people and having lots of conversations. They were excited to hear that, on Sunday, the last day of the festival, we would burn it and all the things they had written would go up in smoke.
On Thursday, Hope Deifell and Dee Cunniffe arrived. They are both gifted and experienced in prophetic ministry, including dream interpretation and healing. They had brought all kinds of material for decorating the ministry tent; bolts of colorful cloth, lighting, etc., and got to work making the tent into a beautiful, peaceful place. By this time, the Told Booth was operational and people were writing things on the walls. Heartbreaking things. Hurtful things people had said to them. Exposing secret hurts to the light of day brings healing. Several times, knowing that I was connected with the Told Booth, people would just tell me things they had been told. Some of these, I was able to minister to on the spot; others I invited to come to the ministry tent, and some of them did.
The ministry tent was immediately busy. Even though there were only three of us ministering, we often needed to have two encounters going at the same time because people would just walk in. There were several very powerful encounters. As usual, we watched years of hurt and trauma fall from people’s shoulders as they were changed before our eyes. We were able to share Jesus with nearly every one. No one objected. They were open to all that we had to say. Many expressed a desire to know Jesus, and we gave them all that they were able to receive at that time, encouraging them to continue getting to know him. A couple of them chose to ask Jesus into their lives.
Several of the encounters were very intense. One in particular was a young man who, just as he was about to get his freedom, would retreat into himself. I feared we would fail him. We were all praying intently, but we seemed to be losing the battle. I felt helpless. The way we approach this kind of ministry is to walk the person through the process to freedom, but they must do it themselves through an act of their own will in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, and he kept shrinking back at the key moment. Suddenly, it was as if a fire were lit inside him. He took authority over his torment, spoke truth to defeat the lies in his life, and he was free! We were all crying!
Another, middle aged man had anger buried so deep that he wasn’t able to ever BE angry, even when it was appropriate. We located the source of the anger; he had been picked on relentlessly in school. I had him pretend that I was all the kids who had hurt him, and had him tell me all the things he would like to have told those kids. As he started, his voice got louder and louder. He got really angry! People outside were looking. It was pretty scary. But he got free. He was a different man after that. He didn’t even look the same.
Everywhere around the festival site, we heard people talking about the things we were doing. They loved the Booth and they loved us for bringing it. People who received ministry from us went and got their friends and brought them to us. Wherever we went, people would ask us when they could have an encounter. We were rock stars! We would explain that it was only through God that we were able to do what we did.
On Sunday, we burned the Told Booth. We had a large crowd. They watched the hurtful words go up in smoke as they cheered. It was a huge fire! This was a really cathartic thing to happen to this community of festival goers who had come looking for transformative and/or spiritual experiences. We had succeeded in providing just that for a great many of them.
But this was not intended to be a one time event. We believe in the long haul, in investing ourselves the communities to which we are sent. Going to Nest was also a reconnaissance mission, and plans for how to best serve this community began to form immediately and will continue to develop. This is true for each of the festivals we attend. We intend to return next year, with a larger team of eight to ten. We want to provide a spiritual oasis where people can encounter Jesus to the degree that they choose. That requires creativity and sensitivity to the people and to the Holy Spirit, and we have the experience to do it. This is what we do. We want to be a visible presence that is accessible to festival goers right where they can be reached.
Maybe you’d like to join us 🙂