IF YOU’VE NEVER READ MY BLOG before, you might not know that I am a missionary to Transformational Festivals. I spoken before about how these festivals, which number in the several hundreds or thousands world wide, are influencing the larger society. I’ve spoken about how spiritually hungry festival goers tend to be. Going to festivals has been for me a series of surprises and un-learning about people in general, about ministry and evangelism, and about Jesus. Yes, I’ve learned a lot about Jesus from people whom you will likely never see in church and whose behavior, dress, language, etc., would never be tolerated in most of them.
AND THAT LEADS ME TO talking about the one thing that has haunted me for eight years about festival peeps, and that is the percentage of them who have been wounded in church. It’s more than half. Now, I’m not interested in laying blame here. But along with that fact is this one: that almost none of these people are averse to talking about Jesus. You can see the hurt or anger in their eyes as they talk about church; but they very often feel some sort of affinity, even affection, for Jesus. True, they often have misconceptions about him (or are the misconceptions mine?). In any case, ministering at festivals is easy, IF! you’ve unlearned enough stuff.
ANYWAY, as our vision of festival missions grows, it has occurred to Phil, my partner in these crazy endeavors, that we need to create “church” at these various festivals, church which returns every year, which people can count on to be there for them. In true missiological fashion, these “churches” would not look like the familiar Western churches, but would be adapted to the culture they are presented to serve. We’ve been doing this awhile and consider ourselves to be very much the same as the people we go to serve; we identify with them fully. They are our people. We are them. This is the stuff successful missions are made of.
IN EIGHTEEN DAYS, we leave for Iceland. We don’t have a real plan for what we’ll do there, but that’s not unusual and is never a problem; quite the opposite. Then we go to Wales for Burning Nest (a Burning Man inspired festival) where we’ll be joined by Hope Deifell of North Carolina, and Dee, who lives near London, England. Then a philosophy festival at Hay on Wye, Wales, followed by the summer solstice celebration at Stonehenge.
Would you like to help? We could use lots of prayer, particularly for health issues we are battling. If you’d like to contribute, it’s tax deductible. Just follow the link. Let us know it’s for festival missions.
Thanks for reading!
Heading to Iceland where we will get into some really organic outreach, then our small team to Wales for the Burning Nest festival followed by a philosophy festival, also in Wales, then Phil and I head to Stonehenge for the summer solstice celebration. We expect to touch literally hundreds of lives.
21 days left!
If you’ve been following my FB posts or my blog you know that my co-troublemaker, Phil, and I are headed overseas for some ministry/outreach. What you might not know is, Phil is sick! Well, we’re both “sick”, or so people tell us, but that’s not what I mean. I know what you’re thinking. He’s in-the-hospital sick. We trust he’s getting well and will recover completely, but he’s going to need a total of 6 weeks of IV antibiotics and that 6 week period will be finished maybe 48 hours before we leave for Iceland!
(Yes, that’s an emoticon)
Needless to say, this creates a few problems vis a vis the upcoming trip, not to mention some for Phil personally.
We need prayer!!! Specifically for Phil’s health. A few miracles are needed. The infection needs to be completely gone. He needs protection from any sort of reaction to antibiotics. Phil’s physical heart needs a miraculous healing. Those are numero uno.
Of secondary importance, but crucial to this trip, we need God to take care of quite a few details that we neither have the time or the resources to deal with. I won’t bore you with a list of them (I can’t even foresee all of them!). Some of them will be surprises when they occur, to me anyway.
With Phil unable to devote as much time to this project as he otherwise would have, our fund raising efforts are hampered. We have the airline tickets. We have the festival tickets, camping reservations, etc. paid for. I personally have (almost) enough money put aside to cover bills while I’m gone. I thought about breaking down anticipated expenses for this letter, but that seems antithetical to the level of faith this requires us to walk in. That being said, the fact is, we do need money!
I feel like we need those who have been such loving supporters (and those who might want to be) of Phil and The Gathering to rejoice with us, raising a hilarious cry to heaven for all He is going to do to make these outreaches successful, because this is bigger than just the immediate outreaches this summer. We’re trying to start trouble — oops, I mean, a movement! We’re trying to start a movement here!
in two months Phil Wyman, Hope Deifell and myself will be traveling to the U.K. where we’ll be joined by Dee Cunniffe of England for the first of our summer outreaches. For seven years I’ve been traveling all over the U.S. doing prophetic and healing ministry at large festivals and small coffee shops. In every place I have ministered, there is always a line of people waiting to receive a touch from God, and virtually all of them do. It’s truly amazing how open and hungry people are to receive from God. Very often, people wander into our tents, or wherever we’re set up, and tell us they could sense the peace even from outside and just knew they had to come.
That’s why the street preachers with their bull horns and offensive ways are so puzzling. Why would anyone want to do that, when people are so open? Why put up walls? What is to be gained by offending people?
Thankfully, I’ve been taught a better way by those who broke ground that I get to benefit from. It is the way of Grace, with which God has dealt with me. So, I, and those from whom I learned, extend Grace to others. The results speak for themselves: people who had no belief in God go away knowing God cares for them, usually after hearing His voice for themselves. They forgive those they previously could not forgive. They’re healed of trauma and terrible hurts. They feel lighter, more free.
The four of us will minister at Burning Nest, a festival in Wales. Phil and I will go on to Hay on Wye, a philosophy and poetry festival, also in Wales, and then to a Pagan festival revolving around the Solstice at Stonehenge. We know these types of events and the people who attend them. We’re expecting great things.
You can read Phil’s excellent article on this type of evangelism/outreach here:
If you would like to help make this happen, we would love to have your help. Prayers are definitely needed!
You can make donations here: http://www.salemgathering.org/donate
In the comment box, type “festival missions”, or my name.
Thanks, and may God bless you richly!
Since a large part of my ministry is to transformational festivals, I’ve provided a link so those unfamiliar with them can get a taste of what they’re about: http://thebloom.tv/public/index.php/dashboard/view/25 The following quote is from thebloom.tv website: “Part 3 of The Bloom looks at the “New Ways Of the Sacred” that have emerged in Transformational Festivals, including how they are re-instilling a sense of MYTHOS for participants; engaging a renewed exploration of RITUAL and Ceremony as an aspect of community experience; and synthesizing an authentic spiritual culture reflective of our unique time and potential that experiences and honors THE SACRED as a community without dogma, doctrine or charismatic gurus.” (italics added) I realize I could be burned at the stake for this (figuratively speaking), but we as Christians could learn much from other religious movements, including emerging ones. I’ve observed while attending various festivals that they tend to stress community vigorously, while my experience in church has been that community is often superficial. I’ve also noticed that many counter culture folks are closely attuned to the nature and flux of the times they find themselves in, while the church has often been too detached to be relevant within the society all around it. To be missional, we must walk within the culture of those we mean to reach. And while I believe in good doctrine, much of ours is emphasized poorly; and we certainly have had too many charismatic gurus. I go to festivals as one of them; I can see where they are reflecting Kingdom principles and can encourage those things; I can see where Christ is relevant to their longings and can present Him as such. I love these warm, intensely sincere, strange people. Send me to them! I do have the heart of Jesus for them! And as always, if there’s anything I can do for you – dream interpretation, spirit cleansing – let me know. I offer them at no charge; donate if you wish, but it’s not required. I work by phone, Skype, FB Messaging, and in person.
Welcome readers. Next month (February) officially begins my formal outreach ministry for 2015. I’ll be traveling to North Carolina to minister at the Raleigh Body Mind Spirit Expo, a New Age event. I thought I’d share one story and a few testimonials from some people we ministered to the last time I was there.
“Katie” came to see us and addressed [one of the team members], telling her that she had seen her from a distance and knew [she] could help her. “Katie” told us she had been psychic from an early age and needed some direction for her life. Each of us on the team were immediately aware of the intense burden of pain she was carrying. There was so much emotion inside of her, but she had it locked behind thick walls. Each of us ministered to her hurts, apologizing on behalf of those who had let her down and injured her in her life, and speaking affirmation of who she was and how she had been created. Katie softened, letting her guard down somewhat. There were wet eyes all around as the ministry touched more and more instances of hurt. I hoped that Katie would break down and weep because of the release that would happen if she did. She never did, but she did let us in a little with tears in her own eyes. She made a space inside her walls for us, and we were all honored by her acceptance of us. I pray the encounter took her a long way down the road to healing, and to finding a relationship with her Creator.
Here are some testimonials by some we ministered to, in their own words (I corrected spelling. I couldn’t help myself).
“Thank you, Dan, Hope and Dennis for helping me today. I feel like God lead me here to you today. I feel inspired and blessed by everything you told me today. I will stay strong and keep listening to what God wants me to do. I hope we can keep in touch.” (I am good friends with this person now, and she is strong for Jesus!)
“This was a wonderful visit. I feel I know what my dream means now. I am very refreshed with the spiritual cleansing I received.”
“This has been an extraordinary experience.”
“Thank you so much for providing me with such great wisdom and insight…I appreciate the blessing as well and felt truly in touch with the Spirit throughout our session. I hope to see you again and learn even more.”
“Dear Miracle Dream readers: Thank you so very much for understanding and laying out the meaning of my dream. I am hopeful this will open up the beginning of my life from this stage on and assist me with giving more of myself to others and finding my purpose.”
“What I felt instantly among y’all was RESPECT. By asking consent for any and all blessings, you made me feel an agent who knew what was in my heart. Often psychics/intuitives have a bossy holier than thou attitude, but I felt empowered and adjusted to. I didn’t realize the release I needed to feel from my father, but that was all the more reason I needed to let go and address the issues around him and his influence. Thank you for gifting me with what I denied even needing.” (One reason we are so successful is the culture of honor we cultivate. No one ever goes away feeling they were caught in a hard sell. Everything is by consent of the one being ministered to)
“Thank you for being a light and witnessing to the light of Christ in my life, and blessing me so that I can be God’s blessing to others.”
“The kindness and love being spread by the people here is so immense I hope the whole world receives such a blessing.”
” I had a wonderful and insightful [encounter with your team]. They were warm and very informative. Because of their guidance I had to re-think my purpose for visiting this expo. They were confirmation for the Holy Spirit and delivered the message in a loving way. Thanks a lot!” We regularly minister to Christians who are so desperate for genuine spiritual connection, which they have despaired of finding in church, that they go looking elsewhere. It is very satisfying to be able to teach these folks how to commune with God in tangible ways)
“Feelings of love and joy and relief. Thankfulness of Father’s continued grace for myself and all of creation. May each one continue to ‘go deeper’ in Father.”
“What sweet heart songs of surrender are ushered forth from a heart that has heard its Creator’s message. I am eternally grateful for your receptivity to Creator and am in turn cracked open a little. I feel cared for, thank you.”
“For years I begged for my mom to love me. On Feb. 25 _____, I met with your pastoral team who ministered and prayed for me and my niece. God answered my prayers as only He does – through His own. May God bless you indeed! I came by your booth today to thank you for apologizing on behalf of my mother asking I somehow find it in my heart to forgive you. You have touched my life in such a dramatic way that I will never be the same.”
“How totally refreshing to encounter humans who understand my thoughts, dreams, and essential nature! Thank you, Kelly, Brian and Dennis! I’ll take your interpretations with me on my ongoing search for my Creator and Sustainer.”
This, and every encounter that occurs in expos and festivals like this one make it very clear how important it is for the Body of Christ to go to these events to minister to the crushed, the abused, the broken hearted, and those who are simply seeking. And people ARE seeking – People go to these events precisely because they are seeking. They’re seeking meaning for their lives in tumultuous times, and many of them feel that they are not going to find it in church. I know this, because they tell us so. They wonder where the power is, and are going to sources other than the church out of stark hunger. When believers encounter us, they’re relieved to find that what they are looking for IS available for them too, within their own faith. Those who do not call themselves Christians are surprised to find themselves hearing God’s voice for themselves. They are, in almost every case, less resistant to Jesus after an encounter with us. many eagerly announce to us that they are determined to know this God who obviously cares about them. Some make on-the-spot commitments to Jesus.
Those of us who attend such events do so at great expense to ourselves, financially, time-wise, often taking time off work, and sacrificing time at home with loved ones to meet the needs of a desperately hurting world, following Jesus to the places we see Him going. Most of us are frustrated by the events we CAN’T go to, usually because of a lack of financial resources, possibly more than any other factor. It breaks my heart that so many churches, and church people, frown on this type of ministry. The field is so ripe, and there is so much potential fruit out there! And we’re excited to be making plans to return to many of the same festivals this year. Burning Man has always been the biggest one, and we will, Lord willing return there this year, complete with an art project designed to cause interaction between festival goers and God. But this year, we want to take it overseas as well.
So Phil and I have made plans to go to Wales and England in May and June (and possibly July) to do outreach at various festivals, including Burning Nest (a Burning Man offshoot in Wales), a philosophy and music fest (also in Wales), the summer solstice celebration at Stonehenge, where there is a 4 day festival and really excellent opportunity for prophetic evangelism. We have our Burning Nest tickets, and reservations at the solstice festival campground and the philosophy fest bought and paid for. One need that I have is transportation there and back to the U.S. So I’m looking for someone who has Delta Sky Miles to donate. My ministry partner, Phil, needs American air miles. If you can help either of us get there, contact us at: http://www.salemgathering.com, or reply here.
You can also donate here: http://www.salemgathering.org/donate
Include my name (Dennis Huxley) or Festival Missions in the comment box.
The smallest gift is hugely appreciated, because we just cannot do this important work without you. Help this ministry grow!
And please, follow this blog!
I was blessed to be a part of my city’s New Year’s Eve celebration on Wednesday. This was a family friendly event held in the late afternoon/ early evening at the Old Town Hall. Phil had a great idea for an interactive art project after the same general idea as the ones he has created at Burning Man. See, we like to build these weird looking structures, but the structures aren’t the art. They’re designed to have people interact with them, and THAT is the art. Phil brought Burning Man to Salem! That’s way cool, you know.
So we arranged twelve old pallets in two semi-circles, with twelve more on top of those to make a structure looking sort of like a corral nearly eight feet high. It was called “The Palette Of Your Life”. It was a calendar, representing the twelve months with the four seasons; a clock, with the twelve hours, and the four compass points. People, including children, were encouraged to write things on strips of colored paper and staple the strips to the pallets, or to just write on the old wood with markers. They wrote their resolutions, their hopes for the new year, things they wanted to leave behind with the old year, etc. This led, as we had hoped, to conversations about life with people. I personally walked one couple through some forgiveness issues and through identifying lies they had come to believe about themselves, replacing the lies with truth. There were lots of other activities going on; live music, hula-hoops, face painting, balloons, etc. The building was packed. It was incredibly noisy. It was awesome fun!
I can anticipate based on experience many of my fellow believers asking, why should the church involve itself in such activities? My answer is, because I love this city and I love its people. I am pleased to bless them and to serve them. I love to create opportunities that lead to meaningful interaction with people. I love to be present when they are thinking and talking about things that matter to them. And I think Godly love is reason enough. Don’t you?
The city, and the people, loved our art project. They were impressed with the structure, which is nice, but what is really important is they saw the value in the actual art, which, as I said, was THEIR interaction with it. Without that, it was just a pile of old pallets.
Thank you, City of Salem, for your confidence and favor toward us. It’s a pleasure working with you.
We want to do similar things at festivals all over the world. We want to provoke meaningful dialogue about temporal and eternal things. We want to show and impart to people the Kingdom of Heaven and its principles.
If you’d like to hear about our foolish adventures, please, feel free to “follow” this blog, and also check out any or all of Phil Wyman’s blogs. Here’s a good place to start: http://burningreligion.com
Evangelism is on my mind. It’s always on my mind, and I do mean always. My dreams at night seem to go on and on, and they are always about ministry and outreach. I’m always with my fellow missionaries at someplace like Burning Man, or the streets of Salem. This goes on night after night. I have no other reason than evangelism, which is the motivation for whatever ministry I do, for being here.
We’re living in a time when the institutional church, and in particular, evangelicalism, is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the times and the culture we live in. It’s been a long time since the Body of Christ actually grew much. We hear about “church growth”, but it’s pretty much always some trendy, novel new church drawing believers away from some other church whose novelty is fading. Church leaders keep coming up with new programs to draw people in, but as others have noted, there is a very small percentage that might potentially respond to such methods. The majority of the population will not.
They won’t come. Not at all.
Are we to ignore those who we know will not respond to any sort of marketing ploy to get them to “come to church”? Should we be content to sit and wait for what will not happen? Or will we say, “Here am I. Send me!”?
Paul said, “For I have a great sense of obligation to people in both the civilized world and the rest of the world, to the educated and uneducated alike. So I am eager…. to preach the Good News.” (Romans 1)
I have that great sense of obligation. I’ve left much behind to pursue that obligation. I’m not complaining. I don’t miss it most of the time because I am able, by grace, to not look back.
Evangelism is not magic, nor is it a formula. It can’t be limited to preaching a one-sided monologue to a crowd in some hall or stadium. It’s awesome when those things happen, if they bear fruit.
But there are a lot more people who cannot be reached this way than those who can. Among those who have no use for or interest in the church are a whole subculture that are changing the world as you read this, and although you are certainly aware of their influence – and maybe a little uncomfortable about it – most people are completely unaware of the origins of much of the changes that are happening (See “The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World”, by Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson). Festivals are magnets for people like that. That’s why I go to festivals. To influence the influencers – as well as to minister to the hurting among them. And it’s just ordinary evangelism to me, because I truly feel like one of them. I love the culture and the people. I’m often criticized for that, and yet most believers don’t criticize the missionary who loves the culture and people of, say, Papua New Guinea. We applaud them, and support their missions.
“Ordinary” evangelism – day to day evangelism – is simply about being able to identify with the people all around you. Notice I didn’t say “your target people group”. People know when you have made them into a target, or a project. You have to be genuine, and you can’t fake this. If you are genuinely interested in a person, they will value what and who you are – but you have to value them first. If this is faked, people will know. If you’re like me, the methods promoted “at church” – handing out tracts, knocking on doors, approaching random people to ask if they would like to talk about Jesus – are just too uncomfortable. These methods make me feel phony. Unsurprisingly, many of the people that are the recipients of these methods see them as phony, and they are not appreciated. They turn people off and put up walls to the gospel. Now, these methods do work among certain people groups, usually those with a church background, and it’s vitally important that these be called back to the fold. So if you are doing any of these kinds of ministry and getting results, please, keep up the good work.
The misunderstood directive to be “in the world but not of the world” makes evangelism awkward and unnatural. If you truly felt free to rub shoulders and truly immerse yourself into the culture of your neighbors, you’d be evangelizing without even thinking about it. After all, Jesus didn’t say, “You will witness for me”. He said, “You will be witnesses unto me”. Think about that. It’s not so much a call to action, although it is that, as it is a simple statement of fact.
Alan Hirsch, in his excellent book, “The Forgotten Ways”, makes this observation:“I discovered that when surveyed, the average non-Christian population generally reported a high interest in God, spirituality, Jesus, and prayer that, taken together, indicated that a significant search for meaning was going on in our time. But the same surveys indicated that when asked what they thought about the church, the average non-Christian described a high degree of alienation.” Hirsch, Alan (2009-04-01). Forgotten Ways, The (p. 34). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
This is what I have found everywhere I have gone. The groups I have ministered to range from Witches and other neo-Pagans, New Age proponents and practitioners, and festival goers. They are so willing, even eager, to talk about Jesus. Many times, their understanding of Jesus is based on fancy, but other times, they have some surprising insights into the person of Jesus. Regardless, they are open to really considering another’s viewpoint, providing that you are willing to treat their points of view with respect.
I truly like and appreciate people who organize and attend transformational festivals. I listen to them. I work alongside them. I am willing to, and do, learn from them. Who can deny that any one of us can learn from anybody, even a small child? I am not afraid of being tainted, or defiled, or negatively influenced by them. And you know what? Even if it IS risky getting so close to such strange people with such radical ideas, aren’t we at war? Have you ever seen a movie scene where any kind of rescue is taking place, like in a war movie? Or, are you a “first responder”, or have you ever had to rescue anyone from anything? Isn’t rescue risky? I’m willing to take risks to rescue people. I’ll bet you are too.
I really, desperately, want to hear from YOU. Please leave comments. Ask me questions. Criticize me. Offer suggestions. While I am quite comfortable with what I have been doing, I know I’ve only scratched the surface, and I am NOT satisfied with the amount of fruit. I know my flesh is a hindrance to the Holy Spirit, and I am trying to “decrease” while immersing myself even more deeply. I KNOW much more is possible.
If you’re reading this, I’ve prayed for much increased revelation of God’s will for you, and that you will experience His presence in intense ways!
Shalom and thanks for reading!