By Frank Billman
In John 14, Jesus talks to his disciples about the Father working through him, including doing miracles, and in verse 12 he tells them: “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.” Do you think that Jesus meant that even United Methodists who have faith in Jesus today would do what he had been doing? At Aldersgate Renewal Ministries (ARM) we do.
We believe that United Methodists are called to do what Jesus did, including moving in the miraculous. That is why we started the Methodist School for Supernatural Ministry here at our Aldersgate Renewal Center in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. The goal of the school is to have participants not just learn about supernatural ministry in the past but to do it in the present.
In “Principles of a Methodist Farther Explained,” John Wesley wrote: “I do not recollect any Scripture wherein we are taught that miracles were to be confined within the limits either of the apostolic age…or any period of time, longer or shorter, even until the restitution of all things.” Wesley’s Journal is filled with accounts of the supernatural in his life and ministry. And early Methodists looked forward to “the work of God” breaking out at their meetings. You can read about these examples in resources such as The Supernatural Occurrences of John Wesley by Daniel Jennings and Early Methodist Life and Spirituality by Lester Ruth, both available from ARM.
In October 2010, at “Session One—The Basics,” participants in the school were given a historical overview of supernatural manifestations and moves of God from the New Testament to the Methodists and then special concentration on manifestations of the Holy Spirit among Methodists then and now. Many were unaware of this part of our history and they were unaware of places in United Methodism today where miraculous ministry is still happening. It was a safe place for United Methodists to share about supernatural experiences they have had.
Some of the topics shared during the school were: Developing Intimacy with God; Being Baptized in the Holy Spirit, Staying Filled, and Ministering the Baptism to Others; Discerning the Spiritual Times; Flowing in the Gifts of the Spirit; and How God Increases the Anointing.
One of the instructors, Dr. Scott McDermott of Washington Crossing UM Church in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, told the audience, “The church is not a museum for yesterday’s miracles.” His church has a website: www.GodHealsToday.com that shares testimonies of the many healings that are happening at his church.
We needed 20 people to show up to break even. When we found that 94 were coming, we wondered if we were going to have enough room for everyone in the venue. The presence of God was felt during anointed times of worship and soaking prayer. Healings were experienced. Spiritual gifts were received. People were filled with the Spirit.
Evaluations from the first participants were overwhelmingly positive. Here are just a few:
“I felt from the first session that we were in such a holy place,” wrote one layperson from Kentucky. “The presence of God was so strong it was hard for me to stand many times….I’ve been changed by the level of worship we experienced. I’ve been changed by the testimonies of what God is doing among Methodists today….I’ve been changed by seeing the hunger of the people gathered in this place and that God wants to meet us where we are. I’ve been changed by the power of God that touched me this weekend. I’m going home with fire in my bones!”
A pastor from Tennessee testified, “I believe as I step into what has been imparted to me, God will begin to move in signs and wonders and miracles in the local church I serve.”
“For 47 years, I’ve been bored in the UM Church,” confessed another pastor. “Now I understand why. I want to see Acts come alive in the church today. I want God to show up at church supernaturally. I am tired of church as usual.”
During the session, there were opportunities for the participants to receive impartation prayer, prayer that God would impart the power to minister as Jesus did with signs and wonders and miracles, prayer that they would be “carriers” of the Kingdom when they went back to their churches. What has been really exciting is to hear about God breaking out in supernatural power in the churches of participants when they returned home—altars filled with people seeking more of God, physical and relational healings, other manifestations of the Spirit. We are posting these on our website under the Methodist School for Supernatural Ministry.
DVDs of the first session will soon be available for purchase. Attending Session One—The Basics or watching the DVDs is required to be able to attend Session Two, February 16-19, 2011.
Session Two will concentrate on Hearing God. It will provide a biblical and Wesleyan study on hearing God; different ways we can hear from God; giving, receiving, and evaluating prophecy; prophetic evangelism; dreams and visions and other topics.
We are planning on offering topics like prophetic art, and equipping and releasing children and youth into supernatural ministry at our July Aldersgate 2011 conference in Dayton, Ohio, where there will be a larger audience for those topics.
Frank Billman is the Director for Church Relations for Aldersgate Renewal Ministries. More information about the Methodist School for Supernatural Ministry can be found on the ARM website: www.AldersgateRenewal.org.