Over the last twenty months almost 4500 people have come to faith in our community. Below are some observations and brief reflections on where we are currently in stewarding an outpouring.
Something shifting in our community: response levels remain high among people far from God.... both among individuals and institutions. We are planting more businesses, partnering with more agencies, placing more children in families.
Supernatural is accelerating: the number of people coming to faith through words of knowledge, healing, supernatural insights and experiences is increasing significantly. This is surprising because it's not something we have been seeking.
Rate of people coming to faith is slowing but remains consistent: in the early days we experienced between 8-10 people come to faith each day in diverse environments. Now the average is seven people. Those coming to faith through our gathered environments now exceeds the number of people coming to faith through catalytic evangelists. This may be attributable in part to the following:
evangelists spending more time nurturing new believers.
evangelists spending less time on the streets.
It's possible to have catalytic evangelists and scattered servants. This was one of my greatest fears and one of the greatest threats to our missional culture. We feared that ordinary believers would place the ministry into the hands of experts. It hasn’t happened. All sorts of people are leading people to faith in all sorts of places. It is increasing and growing.
Our greatest impact is among those people - and in those areas - that historically have been difficult for churches to reach: the urban poor are most responsive. There seems to be particular favour among those who have never encountered faith, those struggling with addiction, single mothers, long term unemployed, those living on council estates and those wrestling with systems of poverty.
Disappointing levels of church connection: the miracle question has not led to massive connection. Whilst almost 4500 people have come to faith, we estimate that just under one seventh of those have connected in local churches. This is lower than expected. On the plus side, it's better than it used to be.
Significant outpouring among children: we are witnessing significant outpouring among children. Our kids are leading their classmates to faith, praying for people in the streets and operating at unusual levels of accuracy in the prophetic.
Transferrable grace: this has been perhaps one of the most surprising aspects. Other churches are beginning to report similar upsurges in people coming to faith on the streets. Many for the first time.
Pressure and favour: stewarding unusual favour introduces unique pressure. It has thrown up exceptional challenges... internally and externally.
Expectation remains high: as a team, we are slightly exhausted and hugely expectant. At times it has been more than we could imagine and more than we could handle. It has stretched our staff, our systems and our structures. Our sense is that we have learned lots of ways 'not to do it' and are beginning to reposition ourselves for yet another new normal.