TOAM Terry Virgo's Fireside Chat

Terry explained that he felt God say to him that for this session he should “Just sit down and talk to them.” He explained that he had been looking at the last part of Hebrews, and it was good stuff but it wasn’t coming into a sermon form. He felt God said to him “what would you like to stay at this historic moment?” As Ginny prophesied tonight would be “a coming of age party” for Newfrontiers. So Terry wanted to highlight some things that really matter to him. What has been helping him over the decades?

1. Everything is God’s initiative. Its true historically, theologically. It is God who initiated. It is the Mission of God. We are not trying to draw God into our mission. He gives us the chance to get caught up in his mission. God came to us while we were helpless, dead, enemies of God. We weren’t seeking God. God knew you from before time, before he created anything. He chose us, we didn’t choose him. God’s free grace runs through our DNA as a movement. God came to us in amazing mercy. It has given us a sense of destiny. There is a purpose about my life. I didn’t stumble on this. God had an idea before he interrupted my life. God chose us in spite of who we are. “The grace of God upon my life is not dependent on me, on what I have done or deserved.” Terry spoke of a time recently where he was singing that song and couldn’t continue for laughing at the wonder of what God did with him, a backslidden Christian.  God has a purpose for us and he broke in. We should ask him, Lord I want to know what you have called me for.

2. God’s enabling and empowering. The coming on of the Holy Spirit was not just an academic issue for Terry, it was an issue of life and death. Even when he tried to live as a Christian and be a witness he couldn’t do it. Coming on of the Holy Spirit changes everything. He wanted to receive power. When the Spirit came upon someone, the next word is nearly always “and.” He comes on us not simply for ourselves. When power comes on us we are transformed. It changed everything for Terry at the age of 22. He wanted to serve God at that time. God’s Spirit changed things. When you believe in the coming of the Spirit you are wrestling with things like what PJ spoke of yesterday. Terry told his testimony about how he got filled and then shared the testimony with others. It leaves many enigmas and challenges. There are times when our hearts are aching because we don’t see more. But we need to spend more time with the Holy Spirit, get to know him, and experience more power. We need more of the Holy Spirit. We don’t dial down our engagement with the Holy Spirit in order to be more missional!


3. God’s commissioning We want to build on an apostolic and prophetic foundation. We want to build on genuinely sent ones. Not just theologically trained, but actually sent. God must commission. God came to Moses and said “I send you!” It is that call that is critical. Not pleasing men but pleasing God! Matthew Parris urged Christians to stop trying to reconcile their beliefs to this age! We answer to the one who called us. We don’t go with the trend. We stand for reformed theology, for charismatic ministry, for apostles and prophets, for complementary roles for men and women, for grace, etc. We believe God has said do it this way, we will not just copy those who say do it another way. We are answerable to him.
4. Being a servant. We just do what we are told. Doesn’t require explanations. If Jesus says fill the water-pots with water, if you are a servant you don’t have to have an explanation you just do it. The disciples got used to doing what they were told. At key points in the history of Newfrontiers Terry explained they have simply followed the prompting of God. Such as when they were told to stop Stonliegh or this conference. We go through a process, we don’t jump to conclusion. We hear it together. That’s all that’s needed if you are a servant. God is happy when he found David as it says he is “a man who will do my will.” We just trust him with things outside our control. We trust his ability to provide. God has promised that we would help millions of people. We are to be the servant of God. It is a massive honor to be his servant. The world is waiting to see a church that looks like it is answering to God. We are not meant to try to get nearer to the worlds tune. We must be out of step with the world, offering them something other than what is pulling the world down.
5. Faith. God wants him to trust him more than we do. God loves robust faith. Sometimes you look at a ministry that is successful and think, I don’t agree with some of what they say but God loves faith. God is doing phenomenal things in our day. We are little league. God is doing massive things today. The more the China church grows (and it is millions now) their economy is becoming stronger on the back of a protestant work ethic. Beware the danger of a passive Calvinism. Jesus challenged his followers when they couldn’t cast out a demon “its your little faith.” He didn’t say “it wasn’t the will of God.” He said it comes from prayer. We need to get out from cynicism.
6. Prayer is absolutely fundamental. “A move of God will last as long as it retains the Spirit of prayer that brought it to birth.” Prayer must be at the center. Make sure prayer be at the hub of what you do. Do you want to be like Jesus? He prayed a lot!
7. Gathering a team That has been wonderful. Friends, companions. What has he gained? Friendship at a deep level. Not just co-laborers. Partners. Koinonia. Partnership. Same vision. Complementary gifts. People who make up for his areas of lack. Vulnerability makes a team. That’s how it works. Not a lot of yes men. Not clones. “I am not wroth cloning I have a team because I need a team.” Couldn’t exist without drawing on these men and women that God has built around us. Prayer partners. Men of the Spirit. Prophetic conversations. Love one another, on the same page. Want to see what someone is hearing. Get before God together as a team. Love, trust, fellowship, men of the Spirit. Men who will disagree.

Submission isn’t saying yes all the time. Make your point, argue your case, at the end we say “We are in this together” and you all go. Comradeship where we discuss issues. Terry spoke about some of his team, and who will be continuing the work moving forwards taking more responsibility.

David Holdon who he had known since a boy, now a spiritual father. David Devenish who again he has known for decades, has become a phenomenal leader, teacher, travelling into the Muslim and Russian-speaking world. Colin Baron who is willing to travel thousands of miles to sit and talk to key players and unravel stuff. Often out of the light, behind the scene. Perceptive, sees round corners. Simon Pettit was a major contributor, with his passion, love for God, laughter before he died suddenly. David Stroud, who has become a statesman, in God, such leadership skills. Now more UK-based apostlic teams are emerging. Jeremy Simkins who has grown into a man of weight. Just seing all that has happened in the North has been encouraging said Terry, men rallying to Jeremy’s leadership and gift. Mike Betts coming through, young men wanting to be with him, his passion for God. Guy Miller, who has raised up churches in Portugal, Spain, India. God is raising up these ministries.

In Africa when Simon suddenly died, he had already handed his church over to Stephen Van Rhyn who is helping other churches there. PJ Smyth who has such evidence of the hand of God on him, and a great church coming to birth. Scott Marquis, who is hard to keep up with in his work in Southern Africa. Steve Oliver who met with God in Cape Town, planted out in South Africa and saw poor people who were raised up to become pastors. Suddenly called to Dubai. Such a strategic place. Edward Burio… you cant keep up with him! Handful of churches that have grown massively since. Transforming society. Working with the poor. A father to thousands. John KpiKpi who came to Brighton as a student, now working into 7 nations into West Africa. Teams coming out from one team. John Lanferman, overseeing the work in America from coast to coast, with churches being planted. Same values are there, and it keeps growing. Lee Yarboroguh, in Mexico, now a number of churches in Mexico. Right across the nations. There are many others who have been with us for many years. Men like Steve Tibbert, and others who serve.

Terry explained that tonight we are praying for the current snapshot like in a family.  It is recognizing what already is happening. But in the wings are many other young men coming through who are breaking through, he listed men like Matt Hatch, Joel Virgo, Tope Koleoso, and others.  There are growing ranks of them. It is about a transition from one team to many.  There will be more teams in the future. People will rally to one of these band of brothers.

The apostles will often meet together, for a season Terry will still join with them.  Gathering of equal interdependent apostles which Dave Devinish will facilitate. Some apostolic figures will travel between the teams. He sees that the men coming through in Newfrontiers are brilliant skillful men. They can carry the passion and drive. Terry felt he could be in danger of becoming the blunt edge, we need the sharpness of a new generation

Terry believes God has given him great promises for the future. He will still be traveling. Later this year he will be going to 5 places in the USA, where only 2 of them will be Newfrontiers. He is increasingly being invited into other worlds. Going wider.

God is opening doors all over the place. God has given us a voice. God has plenty for Terry and Wendy to get on with. The Newfrontiers Brighton office will close.  Terry Will be going to Kingston to help in a young church there. Will be travelling. Will be going in like a grandfather. Encouraging, the responsibility rolls into the hands of the new generation.  Recently one of his sons said to him its a bit like John the Baptist “You grow less and less, they grow more and more”
Terry said it immediately reminded him of an old prophecy given to him in his first church: “Young men prepare yourself for ministry in this place as Terry will grow less and less, you will grow more and more.” In the context, the prophecy was stating that  whe would go out from that church more and more. This is the same thing that is happening now.

At the end of the session Terry also especially honored Nigel Ring who has been so instrumental in building Newfrontiers into what it is today.  It is truly amazing what God has done through the friendship of these two men.  After all the whole thing started when a young Nigel Ring asked if his pastor friend could come and speak to some Christians in his lounge who were beginning to receive the Holy Spirit, and wonder what to do after being thrown out of an evangelical church.  My own parents started attending that church in Haywards Heath very early on.  So I have grown up watching what was a tiny group of people in Sussex grow into an army that spans the globe.  840 churches are now in Newfrontiers according to the latest figures.  What an impact.  What a wonderful way that God delights in using a few to bless the many.  As we now in effect see the beginning of many more apostolic spheres, what kind of a global impact can we all have together?  When you consider that there are of course so many other church groups that God is blessing as well that are nothing to do with Newfrontiers, you have to feel very positive about the future of the Church around the world.

About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock has been a blogger since April 2003, and part of the leadership team of Jubilee Church, London for more than ten years, serving alongside Tope Koleoso. Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus.

Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway. Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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