Every leader needs a Nigel. I first met him and his wife many years ago as he will mention in todays guest post about how he has helped in the work of Newfrontiers:
At the recent Newfrontiers TOAM Conference I felt God prompt me to testify at the end of Joel Virgo’s talk about being armour bearers to leaders. Several have generously said this was helpful so I will fill in a bit of the history Terry and I have had together.
We first met in 1968. My wife and I wanted to start a Bible Study group in our village with another young couple and this couple knew of a good visiting speaker to open our first meeting – a certain Terry Virgo! Subsequently we asked him about the Baptism of the Spirit (a ‘new discovery’ in those days) and what the Bible taught about healing.
In May 1973 Terry became a regular visitor to our group, visiting us every two weeks. Janita and I invited him to arrive early for a meal recognising the hand of God on him and that we would probably only have this close access to him for a short period – but God had other plans!
In 1977 Terry planted our house group as a church – the first church plant he made. From small beginnings (including a young Adrian Warnock in my wife’s Sunday School class) this church in Haywards Heath has since sent out several groups to plant into the surrounding towns and villages.
At the age of 9 yrs and again in 1974 I felt God call me to full time ministry – but I did not know when that would come about. In 1978 I mentioned this to Terry. So, when he first formed an apostolic team in September 1980 he asked me if I still felt this call. If so, would I become his administrator – he didn’t know what an administrator did but knew he needed one. My response was that I did not know either – but ‘yes’! (By then I had in fact helped organise the Downs Bible Week for several thousand so I guess he felt I had at least something to offer.)
What does the Bible say about administration? There is much I have learnt and am regularly sharing on my blog (www.nigelring.org). But one of the key passages for me is Acts 6:1-7. A welfare-dispute among the widows threatened to distract the apostles from their main calling – prayer and ministry of the word. I felt that God was saying to me that my calling was to relieve Terry of all that might distract him. In Acts 6 the immediate effect was rapid growth of the church. My heart was for us to see the same as an emerging family of churches.
In the last 3 decades it has been my joy and privilege to work closely with Terry as a friend. I have learnt much from him – his tenacity to the word, his wisdom, his commitment to prayer, his humility and so on. Personally, I have developed the philosophy for administration that once spiritual leadership has set the direction my role is to implement it and to ensure that the administration is inconspicuous. Like the oil in a vehicle, it will not be noticed if it is fulfilling its function to make the vehicle run smoothly. Administration in the Kingdom is about providing contexts for people to meet God – if they are distracted by poor administration it has failed.
God has been very gracious to us since the early days. Newfrontiers is now a family of over 700 churches in nearly 60 nations. Most of these churches have been planted from within Newfrontiers, founded on an apostolic and prophetic foundation. The administration has, of course, grown and Newfrontiers now has many skilled and gifted people working on a substantially church-based decentralised model. But my personal commitment to Terry remains. We both believe that it is a ‘till death us do part’ relationship and look forward to further years of service together.