First-hand Norfolk view of Florida Outpouring
-based Christian intercessor, Jill Gower
, has just returned from Lakeland
where a religious outpouring, led by evangelist Todd Bentley
, is approaching its 100th
consecutive night. Jill reports on a life-changing experience.
I have just returned from Lakeland, and I went with two other ladies, Caroline Anderson from Bury St. Edmunds who runs a ministry called The Well, with her husband Peter, and a lady called Lynda who runs a house of prayer in Albania. Peter, Caroline and I are part of the East Anglia Prayer group.
We flew out to Orlando on 8th June and returned on Thursday 12th, which wasn’t very long but God always manages to do what He needs to do in the time frame we have. When we arrived on Sunday night we had to sort out our accommodation, and ended up getting to the meeting fairly late.
I don’t know really what I was expecting, but I suppose something that was going to completely impact me as I walked in. That wasn’t the case! It felt very much like any other Christian camp type meeting except larger, until they began to pray for Israel. The anointing that was on the prayers was just incredible. Later the leaders did a “fire tunnel” which we all went through. Again the power one felt going through this was something else. The organisers did not want people to fall over because it would have been an impossible situation but it is very hard to keep on your feet when your legs have completely let go!
The next morning Caroline and I went to Ignited Church, where the pastor is Stephen Strader. This is what they call the epicentre of the revival and where the meetings began. The heritage of Stephen and his father Karl is quite amazing and they have experienced several moves of God in Lakeland over the years. It has been a well of anointing and Todd Bentley was the right man at the right time to come into that anointing and release the well of revival.
It was such a powerful morning and what we saw was the outworking of the five-fold ministry behind this move of God. Pastor Stephen is an apostolic figure and this grounds the whole work, and clearly he is the father of this move. He put in place the covering and teaching which anchor the whole thing. It was very evident to us that because the whole move is grounded in the five-fold ministry there is both protection and building up.
Over the next few mornings we had the privilege of sitting under some wonderful teaching at Ignited Church and always with the apostolic covering of Stephen Str
ader. The worship was awesome – both at Ignited Church and at the evening meetings and we would spend hours glorifying Jesus so that whatever then took place came out of a meeting with Him.
In the afternoons there was evangelistic training to take this anointing out on the streets. The evangelism teacher, Jeff Lewis, did not just share how to do this, he went out with the people and during the time we were there many were healed and came to the Lord on the streets.
At the evening meetings we saw many miracles taking place, and impartation and powerful times of prayer. On Tuesday Todd (pictured above) felt led to anoint everyone with oil, something that usually took place on Friday night, so we were very blessed to be part of this. It was quite an undertaking as he personally anointed each person. I think each night we received prayer and impartation. On the final night of our stay it was a real breakthrough night and something in the heavenlies really seemed to shift, it was very powerful. Todd had spent a long time with the Lord beforehand and he imparted that into the service.
What became very evident to Caroline and me was that people were coming over to Lakeland and running with that part of the anointing which flowed at the evening meetings and not picking up the whole, which was the five-fold outworking of it all. We felt too, that for people just watching the evening meetings on God TV, however good these are, it is still only part of the picture.
There has been much criticism about this outpouring and Stephen shared with us that the amount of hate mail that pours out to him and Todd is staggering; they call the people who send them the “Revival Police”!. It is very sad that so much of this is totally unfounded, as people probably have no idea of the protection and Kingdom principles that have been put in place.
Until we saw the covering from Ignited Church we had no idea either. It is not flaky in any way, nor is this move a kind of “bless me” one either – the whole point is to take it out onto the streets, back to where you come from and release the Kingdom of God. Some have felt that there doesn’t seem to be much repentance, but when you see the whole picture you realise there is repentance, something Todd is personally very hot on, and although this may not necessarily come out at the main meetings,it is very much at the heart of what is going on.
I hope and pray that people will embrace the whole and not just part of this move, because as far as I could see and sense, all the kingdom principles and ingredients have been put in place. The team are doing all they can to authenticate every miracle documented and there is quite a procedure to follow before people are even allowed on the platform, and afterwards they have to be followed up by doctors’ reports etc. Every resurrection too, they are doing their utmost to validate.
I have the greatest admiration for these guys; they have had to shift so quickly to accommodate all of this, and that in itself is absolutely amazing. For example, Stephen has a church of 500 which he is now desperately trying to look after on top of everything else, but he has opened the doors of his church every single day of the week to accommodate the thousands coming in for the morning and afternoon sessions. The others have had to find and erect the main venue at the airport and the logistics of running continuous meetings for up to 10,000 a night is something else.
When I look at Todd at and his team I see how God would use them for they are so willing to move with Him and are not controlling this in any way at all. Many times during the meetings God has overruled the direction it is going in and they have been so willing to flow in with Him. Karl Strader, the grandfather of Ignited, says about Todd “in him there is no guile” and from what I have witnessed I would agree.
I believe the visit to Lakeland has changed my life, and already we have had very powerful impartation services, and I am now working with a group locally to see how God is wanting us to run with this here in our situation which will be very different from what is happening elsewhere. However, it is our desire to run with the whole package and not just a part.