I just got home last night after two weeks in the UK where I took part in an outreach at Burning Nest, a Burning Man affiliated transformational festival. This was my third time at Nest and I’ve been overwhelmingly pleased by the fruit of each of those outreaches. Each year, anyone who happened to be on the team made many genuine friends and were able to provide deep insight and even healing to many of our fellow “Nesties”. Through social media, we’ve been able to continue those friendships throughout the year.
I can say with confidence that this year was the best so far. And the only credit I can take for that fact is for inviting Papy Fisher and his Desanka team to come with me. Papy and his team of (mostly) young people are veterans at festival ministry and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with them at several different outreaches. They are skilled at helping to build and run large festivals, then provide hospitality to festival goers, mostly, but not limited to, feeding them good food. After a few years of seeing this in action, I decided after last year’s Nest that I never want to do anther festival without providing some serious hospitality. So I mentioned it to Papy. I was intending to twist his arm if necessary, but I knew it wouldn’t be. So Papy, Jake, Micheal, Jordan and Alycia (Smurfette, since she was the only female on the team, plus she has blue skin. Ok, she doesn’t have blue skin) came to Nest!
Their plan was to serve a great breakfast for free to whoever wanted it. This was an ambitious plan. Think about it – how do you take the necessary equipment for such a thing on an overseas flight? Well, you don’t. We borrowed canopy tent and chairs , but other than that, we had to buy or build whatever equipment we needed, plus the food! We bought two table top gas burners and a gas grill, and the three propane tanks to fuel them. We bought pots, pans, buckets, washtubs, and utensils. We built four work surfaces totaling about 19 feet long. We bought peppers, onions, potatoes, mushrooms, fruit, coffee, milk sugar, bacon, ham and sausage by the van full (We had to rent a van and a passenger vehicle), and over 700 eggs!. We got up early and worked for hours feeding festival goers. Why? Because sharing food with people is a very intimate thing to do, and because it’s one of the most loving ways to serve others, which is probably why Jesus did it. Ok, we didn’t do it quite like he did. Maybe next year! But because of our efforts, folks hung out with us throughout the entire festival, which resulted in even deeper friendships. We had a lot of fun too.
But before we could serve in that way, the festival had to be built. A lot of work goes into setting up an event like that. In the previous two years, we worked hard with the build crew. Last year, Mr. Jeff and I worked long hours for 3+ days helping to set up. We got to know the others who were on the “build” team. This year, the Desanka folks worked so hard that those organizing the build came looking for us whenever any hard work was needed. We got to know and love the others on the build crew.
Unlike nearly every other such outreach, there was very little formal tent ministry going on. Instead, any personal ministry we did was spontaneous and intensely relational. I had been trying to move in that direction for a few years now, with limited success. I knew that focusing on hospitality could achieve what I wanted, because I had seen it happen at other events where Desanka was ministering. I was not disappointed at Nest. I heard from Alycia of a man who identifies as agnostic who encountered God in such a way that he had to acknowledge he had had a genuine spiritual experience. A group of people who were intentional cynics and doubters showered us with gratitude and respect and we returned the favor. Several people thanked us and said that the festival was far better than it would have been had we not been there. I personally (because Jesus was working through me) was able to alleviate not a little of the pressure for two people with painful anxiety. And several told me how their lives had changed in the last year, or two years, after being ministered to by us.
We are currently relying on the extreme generosity of several people to be able to continue ministering at Nest, but one in particular who is storing our equipment for us. His name is Will. He’s a great friend, but we will not be able to continue to impose on him year after year. I know that’s it’s imperative that we continue at Nest, more so now that we have the correct formula. It will be impossible without outside support, so I’m shamelessly putting in a plug for support here! We need to be able to rent storage space in the UK. I’d beg if I thought it would help, but ‘nuff said for now 😉
If you’d like to know more about festival ministry and why it matters, feel free to contact me. If your faith community would like to have someone come and speak about our experiences, or if you would like a workshop in prophetic ministry, including prophetic street ministry, we’d love to help you with that. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
With just one outreach left for 2016, another year of doing dream interpretations, spiritual readings, inner healing, and trying to love people as Jesus did – and does – is almost over. I’m already planning for next year. As best I can remember, these are the outreaches I did this past year:
February: Body, Mind, Spirit Expo. A New Age event in Raleigh, NC.
March: Another New Age fair in Raleigh, the name of which I don’t remember.
May: Burning Nest, a Burning Man sanctioned transformational festival, otherwise known as a “regional Burn”, in Port Talbot, Wales.
June: How The Light Gets In, a music and philosophy festival in Hay-on-Wye, England,
followed by the Summer Solstice festival at the Stonehenge Campground and at Stonehenge near Amesbury, England.
July: The Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, NC
August: Three Days of Light, a transformational festival in Ferguson, NC.
October: Haunted Happenings, a month long Halloween celebration in Salem MA.
Upcoming in November: Health and Wellness Weekend, a three day, mostly New Age fair in Lyons Falls, NY.
I worked with various teams of amazing people at each of these. My plan is to repeat all of them and add at least two more besides: Transformus, a regional Burn near Asheville, NC; and, a possible return to Burning Man after a hiatus from that festival this year. I may also add one or two festivals in the UK as well. I have new ideas for some of these, primarily the transformational ones, that I’m pretty excited about. For several of the festivals I go to, I join with Papy Fisher, and his amazing group of young people that he has discipled. Papy always adds hospitality, usually in the form of food, to the mix of ministry. The increase in effectiveness this adds can’t be overstated: It’s invaluable to forming meaningful relationships with people, and that’s really what ministry is all about.
Festival ministry isn’t easy. It’s a lot of work, it’s kind of expensive and the festival environment isn’t for everyone. You have to be a little tough, and more than a little crazy and wild, and though we tend to be willing to work alongside anyone who wants to be a part, there are those I personally have discouraged from getting into it. There are pitfalls and temptations and we have suffered a few casualties over the years. But we’re always on the lookout for good, tough recruits, or seasoned veterans to join us.
Festivals are changing the world. There is a huge number of festivals all over the world, and yet the Church either ignores them or is completely unaware of them. That’s probably a good thing, since being crazy and wild isn’t exactly encouraged in the church, generally speaking. Maybe you’re crazy and wild enough. If so, let’s talk. Maybe you’d like to start your own festival ministry team. If so, we can train you and your people – or just give advice.
Currently, I’m looking to create a small team of people for Burning Man 2017, which is pretty much recognized as the ultimate transformational festival. With over 70,000 participants in the Nevada desert, it is (I believe) the largest such festival in the world. And while it’s still many months off (“The man burns in 304 days!”), planning needs to start now. Tickets usually go on sale in January. It isn’t cheap. and it’ll test you. But for many festival people, it is their favorite festival. I think it is my favorite. Do you think this is something you could do? Let me know.
How can I help you? Do you have a dream you need interpreted? Do you need healing for trauma or emotional wounds, or do you just feel “stuck”? Are you part of a group that is interested in prophetic evangelism and outreach? I offer personal ministry, in person or via Skype, and personal or group training.
Last weekend I once again joined with Kelly Williams, Papy Fisher and a few of his Desanka team in festival ministry, this time at the five year old 3 Days of Light festival, which Kelly had been working on getting into for a couple of years, held this year in the mountains of Ferguson, NC. I have worked with this group at the Wild Goose festival several times, and last year at Haunted Happenings in Salem, MA. It was the first time at this festival for any of us. In addition to doing the usual prophetic ministry out of a tent, Papy was determined to serve the festival in some way similar to what he has done at Wild Goose. So, with Caroline Buchanan’s capable leading, in addition to prophetic ministry, we provided free delicious meals, water, coffee, the occasional roll of duct tape, etc., to anyone and everyone. The impact of having this added aspect of ministry is hard to calculate, but for the sake of illustration, let me say that our presence at this festival was maybe ten times as effective as it would have been with just the ministry tent alone. The ministry tent is where the deepest impact happens. It’s where bondages are broken and people knowingly connect with God. But there was more traffic through the ministry tent because of the free food and drink and the fellowship and relationships that resulted from them.
The importance of that fellowship and the relationships that follow can’t be overstated. This is where festival goers encounter people being Jesus at ground level. They are loved; even more importantly, they are liked. They keep coming back, not only for sustenance but just to sit and visit. Relationships deepen. Contact info is exchanged.
Contact info is exchanged in the ministry tent also, but the dynamic is different. It is that of one person needing help from another person. Sometimes, ministry really does continue afterwards with those who have received ministry in the tent, and a discipleship of sorts ensues. The friendships that develop over food, drink and conversation are different and invaluable. They are, I think like the friendships Jesus formed while on earth, with the mutual affection and easy interchange of people who like each other.
I really can no longer imagine doing outreach ministry without this dynamic.
The encounters we had in the tent were very deep, quite numerous – one after another much of the time – and often very intense. Some were so intense I wasn’t able to talk about them even with others on the team. I still feel unable to tell some of the stories. There was what appeared to be more demonic manifestation than usual, all of which were vanquished as we remained steadfast in prayer and the authority we carry. As usual, many of those who came entered easily into a two way conversation with their Creator, who they either didn’t believe in or weren’t sure existed, and then were delightedly stunned when it was pointed out to them that the conversation had occurred (that’s one of my favorite things). There was one man who, through tears, said he was “stuck” because of a broken heart. My own heart broke for his grief. He left, not without sorrow, but no longer stuck, and free of guilt and shame. I watched his face light up with joy when it was pointed out to him that he had had a two way conversation with God. It’s just so cool that they don’t realize this is happening when it happens!
God is so wonderful.
Recently, a friend, sent me a link to a blog written by a guy who is part of a Christian prayer group. This particular blog article was about a music festival, one of a series of music festivals that happen in various places around the world. The prayer group obviously feels threatened by the existence of these festivals, owing, it seems to their New Age ethos. The writer of the blog mentioned the New Age leanings and called it an “occult” music festival. He writes how his team visited one of the festival arenas prior to the festival to pray that, among other things, attendance would be low and that there would be “major delays and disruptions” so as to hinder the festival. And he reports that attendance at that particular festival, unlike similar festivals held elsewhere, was extremely low indeed and that the delays and disruptions and troubles were pretty substantial. The author was pretty excited about the group’s apparent success, but from my position as someone who attends festivals all the time, I have to ask – what did they really accomplish?
I’m sure they believe they frustrated the powers of darkness.
Assuming for the sake of argument that the group’s prayers were responsible for the low attendance and the technical troubles, did anything redemptive happen as a result?
The author counted as a victory the low attendance. The arena, he reports, holds 15,000 but only 1,100 showed up. If we allow that the music festival is a place of spiritual darkness, then we can make the assumption that those that stayed home avoided that darkness for that period of time, but there is darkness, and light, everywhere, and I doubt this music festival is as evil a place as this group of Christians assumes it to be. And what about the delays and disruptions? Were they a testimony to anyone that the love of God is greater than any power on earth? Certainly not to the attendees or the organizers, unless the group engaged them to tell them what they had done, but the author doesn’t report engaging any of them, though some of them stayed at the arena to observe the “fruits” of their “labors”.
So they engaged no one, blessed no one, loved no one.
If these prayer warriors HAD engaged the organizers or the attendees and told them that the festival failed because they had prayed against it, would they have been grateful? Would they have seen this as an act of love on the part of the prayer team?. No, they would have seen it as an act of aggression. They would have, I promise you, felt (understandably) that these Christians hated them and disapproved of them, and that therefore, the Christian God probably hates and disapproves of them too.
It appears that these intercessors attended the festival but DID NOT bless the attendees, and this is what I find most troublesome about this whole episode. This looks to me to be just another case of fearful Christians too afraid to actually walk in love amongst those Jesus has died to love. How does anyone read the accounts of Jesus and not understand that he absolutely wants to BE there with these people, and that it is our job to go where Jesus wants to be?
I’ll tell you a secret: I go to many festivals – it’s what I do – and I and those I go with are often the only Jesus followers there. You know what we always find?
Jesus is already there!
On one hand, I commend these intercessors for their zeal and I know they believe they are being loving and doing the Lord’s work. They don’t know they are being fearful, but they are, and Jesus followers, of all people, should fear nothing. They apparently were praying for the attendees to not enter into covenants with darkness. Well and good. But why were they not THERE for them, listening to them and praying for their real earthly and spiritual concerns? Why were they not ministering to their needs and empathizing with their hurts and disappointments? In short, why were they not loving them? Isn’t that what Jesus did? When did he ever do anything resembling what these “prayer warriors” were doing?
Our ministry – the ministry of ALL Jesus followers – is that of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:16-20). There’s a better way to do this than by disrupting things and opposing people’s free will, which even God does not do and which does not redeem anything at all. Jesus meets people where they’re at. This is the difference between the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The fruit of the latter may make you feel clever. But it is ministering Life and Light which has taught me what Jesus meant when he said, “I have food to eat ye know not of”.
“(T)he world has been crucified unto me, and I unto the world”
I’ve just returned from my trip to the UK. I did prophetic outreach at three festivals. I was joined at the Burning Nest festival near Port Talbot Wales by Mark Searle, Dee Cunniffe and Mr. Jeff. I then joined Phil Wyman and Andrew Thomas at How The Light Gets In, a philosophy and music festival in Hay-On-Wye, also in Wales. Several of the friends I’ve made during that time honored me by inviting me to visit them in their homes, so after the second festival, I travelled around England, visiting people in Hereford, London, and Hastings. These are not people who would identify as Christians and they know that I do, and yet through working together, breaking bread together, sharing a drink together, and hearing of or seeing with their own eyes how the love of God sets people free, we have become friends. And during my visits with them, those friendships were deepened. I was also able to do healing work and dream interpretations for some of the people I visited.
I then met David and Sandi Brown and their daughters, Shalom and Zoe, and Christopher Gaston in Salisbury and together we took a bus to the four day Stonehenge Solstice festival. Phil joined us there later that same day.
During the five weeks I was there, I saw a great deal of the UK (one of the many perks of this ministry I’m surprised to find myself in) but, more importantly, I and my teammates broke bondages, interpreted dreams and prayed for healing. Painful memories had the pain of them removed. We pointed out the Light of the World to people and taught them how to move toward Him. We warned them of the dangers they were likely encounter and how to avoid them.
Festival ministry is not something I ever would have chosen. Festival culture was not something I had any awareness of, and even if I had been aware of it, nothing about going to festivals would have appealed to me. I’m an extreme introvert. I avoid crowds. I don’t enjoy parties. Festival ministry chose me, you might say, suddenly and unexpectedly, back in 2007. I thought it was blip, a singular event in my life, but it has expanded and grown to the point where I have retired from my job to devote my life to it. I don’t presently have a place of my own to live, mostly because I don’t seem to need one. It’s a luxury I can do without for now. Meanwhile, the list of festivals I go to keeps growing. I expect to increase the number of UK festivals from three to five. I’ve lost count of the US ones. I still don’t like parties, and there are things that people do at festivals that I have no interest in doing, so there’s much I don’t participate in. But I am drawn to these people. And I am drawn to festival culture. It is my life, and I absolutely love it.
This is a culture that looks at society as it is and believes there are better ways. Who can argue with this? The world is a mess. The desire of these people for an alternative, and their belief alternatives are possible is, I believe, because they, like me, are created in the image of God. There is a hunger in all people for certain realities that reflect the nature of God, and there is much in society that does NOT reflect that nature. This is the Imago Dei, and is an amazingly beautiful thing to observe even in people who have no conscious desire for God himself, although I believe all people possess this desire innately. I have heard thoughts and opinions that reflect qualities I recognize as Godly from witches, from New Agers, from people who were drunk or high on drugs, from the mentally ill – all, I believe, possess a spark of the divine. I believe that even those with whom I vehemently disagree, or who are doing detestable things, in their heart of hearts, what they really desire at the bottom of it all are the things of God. God loves festival people, and I love them too. They ARE searching for a better way, and while I do not imagine myself as some sort of guru in their midst, I do see my role as that of a gentle guide, available to all if they want it, but honouring their journey whether they do or don’t.
What can I do for you? Do you have dreams that need interpreting? You can e-mail them to me. Are there bondages or strongholds in your life you need help getting free from? I do this ministry through Skype, free of charge. Feel free to contact me.
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.