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Why Are These Churches Growing So Rapidly?

The Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown
The Truth Network Radio
December 5, 2023 4:50 pm

Why Are These Churches Growing So Rapidly?

The Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown

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December 5, 2023 4:50 pm

The Line of Fire Radio Broadcast for 12/05/23.


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God is moving powerfully in churches all around America. It's time for The Line of Fire with your host, biblical scholar and cultural commentator, Dr. Michael Brown. Your voice for moral sanity and spiritual clarity.

Call 866-34-TRUTH to get on The Line of Fire. And now, here's your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Hey friends, this is Michael Brown, and this is part of a special series I'm doing with some colleagues, some pastors that I know well, these churches I've ministered at, or these ministries I know well. And I want you to hear some of what God is doing, because sometimes you think it's rough, you know, we haven't seen people saved in our church, or there's no church that's really growing powerfully in our city, and it just seems there's so much discouragement and people leaving and post-COVID, trying to find our way again.

So this is not just hype from around the world. These are people right here in America, solid pastors doing solid ministry, seeing amazing fruit. And I want you to hear from them firsthand. The first pastor I'm going to introduce you to is a gentleman named Brent Simpson. He reached out to me some years ago as an Assembly of God leader, as someone who loved taking over churches that were failing and helping revitalize them and helped ultimately coach others to do the same trained pastors and leaders.

He's doing his doctoral work. He's a very solid theological gentleman, and I've been able to pour into him over the years. But I've been thrilled to see, as I've been going down to the Tampa area where he's based, what God's doing. So Brent, thanks for joining us today on the Line of Fire. Oh my goodness, it's such a privilege. Yeah, one of the cutest things is you said that you and your son sometimes would listen to the Friday broadcast where I'm getting questions, and once you heard the question, then you'd shut it before the answer to see what answer you came up with.

So we're in harmony a lot, I think, right? Oh, absolutely. I think that's a great way of helping to mentor our children, and I'm an apologist like you, so people would ask questions. I'd pause it. I'd let him answer, and I'd get a 12-year-old answer or a 15-year-old answer, whichever child was in the car, and then I'd answer.

And then you get your answer, which was always way better than mine. Oh, well, sweet. I love it.

I love it. What's the name of your church ministry there? It's Arise Church.

All right. And when you first got there, did you plan it? Did you take over church?

What happened? You know, this was a church revitalization. Ada and I came in 2010 as a church of about 70 people, a little A-frame building with a steeple, kind of traditional small church here in the south. Yeah.

All right. And where are you today, the home base and your campuses? Yeah, so now we have campuses still in Brandon. We have one in South Shore, which is kind of about 30 minutes south of us, Ruskin area. And then we have another one in Brandon that specializes towards an Indian community. So there's three locations now. All right. And roughly, what's the total number of those that call these bases home now? On any given Sunday, there's probably about 1,600 people right this second.

All right. So you went from 70 to roughly 1,600 in a period of 12, 13 years. What about young people? Do you have a lot of young people coming?

Oh, my goodness. Yeah. I mean, it's not just teenagers. I think that's what people think when you hear young people. But the more recent phenomena, especially in the last six months or so, is how many young adults.

I mean, early 20s, 25, 26, some married, some not. And a ton of our guests lately have been young adults coming in who are rediscovering faith or, you know, rediscovering the Lord in our church. It's been a beautiful thing to see. And yeah, our youth ministry also is, you know, really growing and really on fire for the Lord. It's not just about attendance numbers, but they're just, they're passionate, hungry, desperate for the Lord.

Yeah. And friends, I'm asking questions to which I know the answers, because I've been there. I've been in the services. I've seen the young people going after God. I've watched the church grow. And it's not a hype thing. It's not a smoke and mirrors thing. It's not an exalt the big man of God thing. And that's why I asked Brent to come on, in fact, to kick this series off with you. Isn't it true that over Easter there were parents that came and got saved because the kids invited them?

Oh yeah. I mean, that happens all the time in our setting. There's parents that come consistently, sometimes even grandparents that are invited either because of kids or because of youth that come in and find the Lord. You know, in our setting, a lot of times they're rededicating their life to Christ.

You know, we're in the South. Everybody's been to church at some point, right? And so a lot of times they're coming in, they have church hurt or pain from the past, and they're coming in and finding the love of God all over again and rededicating themselves over to the Lord. And what about healing miracles? Have you seen much of that?

Oh yeah. That's been consistent throughout the 13 years that Aidee and I have been at the church. It started smaller because the church was smaller, but nowadays we probably have three to four legitimate healings every week through our ministries or through, you know, just Sunday services. We see some pretty radical healings of all types. Just recently there was a thyroid that was healed with a doctor's, you know, report showing that we've had a couple of teams or field of ticks recently where, you know, they have involuntary emotions. We had a deaf ear healed not too long ago where somebody had hearing aids.

They don't need any longer. And yeah, so just all kinds of healings have been consistent in our setting for a long time. I think that's pretty normal. But you haven't majored on preaching and teaching healing. You're not known as a healing evangelist. Is that correct?

Yeah, no, not at all. In fact, we just simply, I would say we major on the presence of God. That's our emphasis. If God shows up, good things are going to happen. And so we just believe we should be hosting the presence of God every week and we come together. And every time we come together in a small group or, you know, any kind of ministry that's going on, God's presence has to be there. And you and I have talked about this, but I think that's oftentimes the missing element in the modern church is because probably unintentionally, and I don't think anybody would ever mean to do this, but we end up replacing the Holy Spirit with, you know, lights and cameras and seating and fancy stages and, you know, really articulate sermons. And what happens is the Holy Spirit's not there. And so in my opinion, we're not even a church.

We're really kind of an Acts 1 church model instead of an Acts 2 church model. And so we've just emphasized the Holy Spirit. And when doing so, what we've seen is God shows up in radical healings, radical salvation testimonies. I mean, you know the story of the atheist who was in the back of the room that was saved not long ago. That's such a cool story as well. But just by inviting God's presence back center into the church, it really just opens up the door for all kinds of amazing things to happen.

Right. And you're a teacher of the Word. You put a lot of preparation into ministry of the Word. You had me come in, and in fact, we went from campus to campus.

We drove first over here, second there, third. It was kind of fun to do that. But addressing, you know, LGBT issues in the church and what the Word says and how to minister, so not avoiding controversies. You had a black brother of mine come in, a dear friend, to talk about race issues in the church. I mean, you're tackling the controversies.

You're Word-based. You welcome the presence. Tell the atheist story, though, quick. We need to hear that.

All right. So back in February, right as Asbury was going on, revival hit our church in a unique way. I would argue we're always in revival in our church, but it came in a more powerful way. And God was moving, and service kept going longer and longer. People are coming up, getting saved. We brought out a baptism tank, and all of a sudden we got, you know, just dozens and dozens.

I think there was 54 people that first Sunday that came up fully clothed, unprepared, repenting, getting baptized. And in the back of the room, there's an atheist, a guy by the name of Andy. And he's sitting in the back of the room, and honestly, he's a little annoyed that the service keeps going on for so long. He's sitting back there frustrated.

He's playing on his phone. He's only there because he's appeasing his wife, who's a believer, and comes to our church. And suddenly in the back of the room, the Holy Spirit speaks to him and says to come to the front and give his life to Christ. And so he did. He shocked him and surprised him, and he walked up. And at that point, we were having some testimonies on the stage, and he walked up on the stage, and he said, the God I don't believe in just told me to come up here and give my life to him. Yeah. He's still with you.

Yeah. Well, that's what I was going to say is I love this testimony, too, because it's a beautiful darkness to light kind of story. And I've been mentoring him and loving on Andy, and he tells these stories. He said, man, I was driving down the road, and somebody cut me off, and usually I'd cuss him out and flick him off and get all upset. He said, now I find myself praying for him and feeling sorry for him and wanting him to repent and praying for him.

I mean, it's a beautiful, beautiful story. Amazing. And he actually recently, they just took a job. God has been blessing them tremendously, and he took a job making a lot more money in Washington, D.C. area. And so they just moved a couple weeks ago, but I'm still keeping in contact with another church there.

Amazing. And Brent, we've just got a very short period of time, but you're a coach, a mentor to other church planters, so you're very much into systems, aren't you? And guidelines and practical steps.

You do that. You help people with that, correct? Yeah, I think systems are very important. If you're going to get the right outcome, you have to have the right systems. So yes, I teach, I'm kind of a leadership coach.

I try to help as many churches as I can grow. Yeah, so I'm definitely into systems. Right. So it's not either, it's not charismatic chaos or dead order.

It's a matter of good order, good systems, good wisdom, grounded in the Word, and then let God move. Yes? Oh, absolutely. As you know, Paul King said, I didn't just come with words and wise and persuasive words, but demonstrations of power. And I think it's both and. You need the preaching of the Gospel. You also need the power evangelism of the demonstrations of power happening in the midst. And in my opinion, those are both supposed to be happening together at all times.

Yeah. So friends, God is at work. This is one of several interviews you're going to hear. Brent, if you could just say one last thing. Take a minute, share your heart to other pastors, leaders who may be discouraged, who think, I'm just not seeing God move.

I'm not seeing anything happen. Take a little while and just share your heart. Oh, wow. So I was with Pastor Bill Johnson recently. He said this, he said, the spirit of revival is inside of every church. And it's up to us to recognize, slow down. And when that still small voice speaks to us or that gentle whisper speaks, that we're actually going to stop it, acknowledge it. And I think we can get so caught up in systems.

I'm a systems guy. I believe in systems, but the systems have to be driven by the presence of the Holy Spirit. They have to be driven by God's voice in our midst.

And I think sometimes we get so caught up with trying to get another person here and trying to build a crowd and trying to raise the budget that we miss what is ultimately the most important thing. And that's just being with God, hearing his voice, allowing him to speak. So in the midst of all of our systems, in the midst of all of our modern technologies that are wonderful and great assets to the church, we can never miss the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit and what he's doing. And I can tell you so many times, as you know, Dr. Brown, you'll be in the middle of a message or in the middle of a service and the Holy Spirit will start speaking.

And it's so easy just to run past it and ignore it because you have an agenda. And so for all the pastors listening, I would just encourage them to slow down, listen to God's voice, take a moment and then just be obedient. And when you're doing that, God will build his church. It's his, not ours.

God built his church and all the other things will come alongside of it. Yeah, and I said this last thing. I was with you the last time you asked, hey, can I come in on this Sunday night? I said, you're going to believe it.

I'm going to be in your same city basically Sunday morning. So we said this definitely was one of those things. We said, this is the Lord. And it was at the end of like a month of prayer and fasting.

And I still remember being with the young people on the platform there. And this is the end of January and tell them you're going to see a massive youth awakening, the passion, the hunger, the service. And your media team took a picture of me with all the young people behind me crying out to God together.

And that to me was a picture of what's coming. It is a joy to be part of the same spiritual family with you, man. And I, every time I'm with you, I rejoice to see what God is doing. Keep it up, keep leading well.

We need you on the front lines, man. Thank you so much for all you do. You are such inspiration to all of us. This is Michael Ellison, founder of Trivita Wellness. I want you to hear an amazing testimony from my friend, James Robison. And most all of you will know of him. He and his wife, Betty, host the Life Today television program. Now here is James. Let me tell you about a miracle I experienced. My friend, Michael Ellison, he and his wife are our 40 year plus best friends.

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Call 800-771-5584 or go online to This is how we rise up. It's the line of fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get on the line of fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Hi friends, it's my joy to introduce you to another pastor, this time in the state of Florida as well.

So we get a couple from Florida, one from Texas, one from Denver, one from the Colorado area, and each one with a very different story. But this whole broadcast, I just want to encourage you, God's moving. God's moving in different places through different leaders in different ways, and be encouraged. In your church, maybe you've been praying, it's been dry, it's been difficult, you've been laboring for years, you've hit walls.

I want to encourage you, the same God who's moving in these different churches can move powerfully in yours, your own life, your own ministry, your own community as well. Speaking now with a brother that's become a dear friend and co-worker, Alex Pappas, together with his wife Naomi. They came over from South Africa. They're now located in Vero Beach, Florida. Alex leading Oceans Unite Christian Center. Alex, welcome to The Line of Fire. It's great to be with you, Dr. Brown.

Thanks. So when did you and Naomi come to the States? Well, we actually came to the States in 2008, so it was quite a long time ago.

And you're officially citizens. I remember I was there shortly after you got official citizenship. When did you plant the church? We planted the church in 2015, so it's been about eight years now. And what was the mandate you felt from the Lord as a South African in Vero Beach, Florida, to plant a church? Well, I was sort of working almost like an evangelist, helping a pastor in in Stuart, and just really was praying one morning and really spending time in prayer. And the Lord very clearly spoke to me about planting this church in Vero Beach, but it was more about the mandate than the planting of the church, which was to teach and demonstrate on the love and the power of God.

That's really what it was was all about. Right, so you get to flesh it out in congregational life. So you started the church eight years ago, obviously just a handful of people. And Vero Beach, of course, certain times of the year, winter, there are a lot more people coming. But just steadily now, how many folks over the course of a month are attending Oceans Unite? Well, we have, you know, I would say the congregations, you know, probably a little over a thousand now, you know, and that's this time of the year. By the grace of God, we've seen very, very steady growth. And it's just been amazing.

Just watching what God does has been nothing short of just absolutely amazing. Yeah, and I think the congregation's probably tripled since I first went down. I remember it being around 300, maybe the first time there. Could that be right?

Yeah, that's definitely about right. When we moved our locations in 2000, I believe it was like the end of 2017, and you came in 2018. I think the beginning of 2018 was when you came the first time. And yes, I mean, we've definitely seen real steady growth, you know, since then. And every year it's different, but it's been incredible.

Right. And you are in a unique location and setting. Out of all the places where I minister, this is maybe the most unique setting.

Tell us about your current location. Well, currently we're in a mall, and we don't have like one of the big box stores. We're sort of in the side of the mall, but we renovated the whole thing, and it's basically where we are. Now we have almost a whole leg of the mall is the church at the moment, which is very unique. Yeah, so I mean, you drive in and you see all the signs for all the different stores, and then the sign for the church. And you've got a cafe, you've got a gym, all these other things. Tell us about the ministry. You've got a home for women.

Tell us about that. Well, the whole purpose for us was evangelism and community. And while we were out in the streets, we began to see the needs in our community. And one of the great needs was homeless women, and women that were basically almost destitute.

And so we started a home called the House of Transfiguration, which houses women that basically have nothing on the streets or downcast. And we've just seen God move so powerfully in that program. And I really believe the reason why is because the girls get connected to the church and become part of a church family.

Yeah. And don't you have folks, you pointed out worship team or piano player, worship leader, different ones that were drug addicts and just radical conversion stories. Now they're part of the church? Well, I think that's been the most exciting thing for us as pastors. And that's kind of what keeps you going through all the tough times that you do experience is just seeing God do these radical transformations.

And there's just no question. It's when people encounter the Holy Spirit or encounter God that their lives are changed. And we have.

I mean, I've got some of the best staff members I have have been former drug dealers, gang members. And just to see God transform them has been, oh my gosh, just so wonderful. And so it's been, the evangelism continues.

You were traveling doing evangelistic ministry, but that continues to be the heartbeat. And you're always pointing these people out to me. I've gotten to know some of them.

And the testimonies are amazing. And that's the continued lifeblood of the church. But you mentioned it several times already. You referenced the power of the Spirit. And you know, I've been with you, ministered freely there.

Friends, it's not some weird place, really spooky, weird, ultra spiritual. These are people, families, and people living their lives in the community, et cetera. But there's a strong emphasis on the power of the Spirit and the baptism of the Spirit.

Talk to us about that as a core value. Yeah, I think that, I think the baptism of the Spirit has been one of the most impactful things in part of our ministry. Just, you know, once people realize that the Holy Spirit is such a, such an important part of our relationship with God, you know, he's the part that, you know, that we actually have, you know, intimacy, communion with, and seeing the power of the Holy Spirit and specifically, as we said, the baptism of the Spirit, just, Dr. Brown, I've seen people's lives radically change. You know, people that sit in church have been in, even in our church for a while, that we do a course on the baptism of the Spirit, you know, every three months. And I see that as a turning point in so many people's lives, just that encounter with the Holy Spirit that way, where he comes upon them like that, and it's just life-changing. It is, it has, it has been almost like the mark of our ministry, because we've done it from the beginning and consistently do it. So we lay hands on up to, you know, up to a hundred people in a baptism of the Spirit service at the end of the teaching and see people get filled with the Spirit in that way.

And that has been just, just incredible. So, as we've talked about this, but I really want our listeners to hear this. So you do this course, we've discussed some of the scriptures. I mean, this, you really get into the word and dig into the scripture.

What does it say? And then in a non-coercive way, saying that we're going to pray, you lay hands on people to be baptized in Spirit. So obviously, there's speaking in tongues, there's a sense of spiritual empowerment, there may be other gifts manifest, but what you've told me a lot about is the change in life, changing character, overcoming sin. Give me an outstanding example or two of that.

Well, I mean, you know, there was one that really stands out to me. There was a young man that was actually a family member of one of my staff, and he was coming to church for a long time, sort of on and off, and kept on trying it, but was never really, nothing was ever really happening. But he was really trying. He was trying to serve God. He was trying to connect. And he came to one of the baptism of the Spirit services that I did.

It's a long course, it's like three and a half hours, because I really dive into it. And I remember after praying for him at the end of the service, everybody was gone, and he was kind of sitting towards the back of the sanctuary, and he was weeping. He was absolutely weeping. And I went up to him, and I, you know, sort of started speaking to me. He just, I remember him saying to me, this is, you know, this was, this is so real. You know, I never really, I never knew that I could feel and experience God this way. And his life was radically changed, where he ended up becoming one of our worship leaders. I mean, the before and the after, which was the baptism of the Spirit, is so incredible. And I think, I think the main reason why is because it goes from, it's almost like, goes from being Logos to Rhema. You know, it's like, it's like what they read, and what they, what they learn about, and what they hear about, becomes their experience.

They like encounter God, you know, they encounter the Holy Spirit. And that particular one is just one, it'll never leave me. I've seen so many.

I've seen, I've seen, I've seen so many, but that particular one has just been, it's just, I'll never forget it, you know. You could see it on his face. You could see he wasn't the same. It was, it was, it was, his encounter was so real and so powerful.

And, and it wasn't a showy encounter or anything like that at all. He just, you know, we laid hands on him and sort of started weeping and, you know, he started praying in the Spirit. And then, you know, then I saw him at the end. But, but when I walked up to him, he was a different person.

Yeah. And that's, again, the Word teaches certain things. We now do what the Word says. God then backs his Word. So all this reaffirms the Word, gets us deeper into the Word and deeper into our relationship with God. And then there's long-term fruit that comes out of it. Hey, Alex, it's not just a joy to be with you and your, and your family as, as you become family to me as well, but to see the growth, to see the health and to know I, you know, I've got just a couple of seconds, but I can preach my heart out on repentance and holiness and you're with me and the people are with me.

So things are being built the right way. It's a joy to be part of the Oceans United Christian Center. I look forward to seeing you again. And thanks. Just these little tidbits are going to minister to many people. Thanks for being with us, Alex. It's such a great joy. Thank you, Dr. Brown. We love you very much.

Thanks for everything. Hey friends, Dr. Michael Brown here. Do you remember when people thought I was crazy? When I said it's not too late for America, that God can still do something in our country, that there is going to be a pushback, a gospel-based moral and cultural revolution.

And do you remember when people thought that you were crazy because you felt the same way, because you believe what I was saying and already felt it in your heart? Well, friends, that pushback is here. The, the gospel-based moral and cultural revolution we've been talking about for 25 years is unfolding and we are right in the thick of it.

And the line of fire broadcast is divinely positioned for such a time as this. Friends, you would be so gratified and blessed as, as, as I hear, if you could hear what I hear, testimony after testimony as leaders, young people, old people, moms, dads, students, people from all backgrounds come up to me and say, Dr. Brown, you're providing a template for us. You're providing a blueprint for us. You're showing us how to do this, how to have hearts of compassion, backbones of steel, but friends, it's a joint effort.

We do this together. And with your support, we can amplify this broadcast around the nation and amplify this voice to shake the nation. Join our support team today, become a torchbearer with a dollar or more per day. Here's a number to call to sign up. 800-538-5275. That's 800-538-5275. Or go to, and become a monthly supporter. Click on donate monthly support.

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Hey friends, Michael Brown here. For some time, I have wanted to expose you to many of the fine churches where I get to preach and minister around the country, different parts of the world, so you can be encouraged. I know many of you, pastors, leaders, you've been working so hard in your community for years and seeing very little fruit. Some of you just sharing your faith in the workplace, in school, in your neighborhood, and you see very, very little fruit. And I want to encourage you to keep sowing, to keep believing, to keep going for it because God is moving. And what you're going to hear is this real life stuff. I'm on the ground with these people.

I see what's happening with my own eyes. Today, I'm speaking with Pastor Mike Fehlauer of New Life Church in Corpus Christi. Mike, welcome to the Line of Fire. Thanks for joining us.

Yes. Thank you, Dr. Brown. Thank you for having me.

All right. When you took over New Life, how many folks were in the church then? There were about 300 people.

300. And they were mainly older. Is that right?

That is correct. About 45 and up. Yes, sir. Okay. And you yourself were, what, in your early 50s when you took it over? Yeah, I was actually 52. 52.

All right. Today, roughly, about how many people call New Life their home? Well, the number that call New Life their home would probably be around close to 5,000, 5,500. There's about 4,000 active attenders, though. And then what percentage would be, in your guess, 25 and under?

Oh, wow. 25 and under, I would say probably, I think, 50%, probably more, probably higher than that. Yeah, I mean, I've been blown away by seeing what's happening with my own eyes.

And something happened... I'm definitely the minority. Yeah, yeah, the older ones are the minority, for sure. And the leadership, too. That's a whole other subject we can talk about another day, how God gave you a clear, intentional vision of bringing young people on staff and what's happened as a result of that.

But you and your wife told the Lord, if you send the young people, we'll take them. Something began to happen about five years ago. So give us an overview of what happened, and then what's been happening through COVID, after how many have been baptizing each year.

I want people to be encouraged and hear for themselves. Yes. So several years, I started in 2011. It was very difficult. We were growing, but we were plowing. It felt like we were ice skating on concrete, if you can get that visual, up until 2018. And then 2018, we had an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in July of 2018. And it was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

It was very powerful, very visceral. Salvations, repentance, conviction, and then spontaneous baptism started happening, which we had not seen or ever had happened before. And we baptized from August of 2018 to December 1000. To date, we've baptized. It's been five years and this move is still going on. And actually, I think it's stronger and more intense.

But it's about a little over 5000 so far today. And there is, right there on the platform, there is this tank, and it's every service, spontaneous baptisms. And sometimes you send me pictures, people lined up that didn't come in planning on this, lined up to get baptized.

Yes. What would you say are the key elements of what God's doing? If someone said, well, what's actually happening?

What are the key elements? Well, there's a real strong conviction of the Holy Spirit and repentance. So there's a real spirit of repentance from sin. There is, and with that, of course, salvation. So that picture I sent you, that was 43 spontaneous baptisms in one service. We have three morning services and 90 some percent of those were first time salvation.

So that's one of the things, one of the characteristics. The other is, of course, restoration and people coming back to the Lord. But the other strong one is healing. A lot of healings, a lot of miraculous healings that started back in 2018 and have continued these five years. Pre-creative miracles, blind eyes opening, a woman getting her ovaries back after a full hysterectomy, just miracles, healings like that. And these, these are documented or people, you know, that you can vouch for?

Yes, they are. And these are medically documented, at least the ones I've mentioned to you, like a woman with breast cancer, another man with stage four liver cancer. These are all healings that the doctors examined them and said, this, the cancer's gone. There's been a miracle.

Yeah. Would you say that you put a really strong emphasis for years on teaching and preaching about healing or that this was just something God started doing when people were coming to him and getting saved? This is what he started doing. I have not honestly spent an extended amount of time teaching on specifically healing. It just, it just started when this outpouring took place and it was just people, just their faith. There was such a spirit of faith. People were coming and just believing they were going to get healed.

Like the woman who had her ovary recreated came after a full hysterectomy. She saw one of the articles about the revival here. The Lord told her to come. He said, she'd been praying for God to do a miracle in her body. And he said, go. And she came to a service.

I've never met her, but she talked with one of our staff and she has the x-ray from her doctor. So just, so we never really focused on it. Just came with the outcome. And that was my impression, just getting to know you and seeing what you talk about where the emphasis is just like the healings come as an expression of the Holy Spirit at work. What happened recently? Folks from your church have been active on Texas A&M campus in Corpus Christi. What happened recently when was it like roughly one-tenth of the campus showed up for a meeting? Yeah.

Yeah. It was back in August and we had an outdoor outreach there on the what's called the East lawn there on campus. And, um, we had almost 1100 students, college students show up. That's roughly 10% of that Texas A&M campus. It's 11,000 students. And our young adult pastor Tarek, uh, preached a really strong message on the love of God, but the repentance from, from sin. And, uh, it's a very strong, uh, gospel message and 124 college students came forward to get saved, to come accept Christ and were water baptized. And how many students do you have currently involved in your, in your small groups? Uh, around any given week, there's around 500, uh, college students in small groups from starting on a Sunday night through Friday.

So that's, that's almost one in 20 students. Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah. It's about 500. We have more than that, that attend, but that's how many that are actively involved in life groups. And then we have between junior high and senior high, uh, in our, in the public schools, we have around three to 400 kids, high schools and junior high kids in public school Bible clubs in the schools.

So, all right. So when, when you have God moving on a college campus there and people repent, get right with God and want to be baptized, where have they been doing the baptisms? Well, a lot of, most of the time that, that particular service, the outreach I mentioned, we brought a tank with us, a horse, horse trough is what we use.

You've seen it. But, um, what we've been using for the last year and a half, this has been going on at A&M campus for about a year and a half, not, not daily meetings, but ongoing almost daily though, really. But they've been mostly baptizing them in the campus fountain.

Yes. I mean, one of those fountains, like you like throw a coin in kind of thing, you know, outdoor, that's what they've been, that's what they've been baptizing. You talk about a public testimony on campus. Uh, talk about the Bible clubs. Cause you've told me they they've even had them in elementary schools.

So these are, these are student led. I know there's a faculty member, someone from the school itself, and then you send church staff over as well. But tell us about these Bible clubs.

Is there much open college now, high school, junior high, even younger what's happening? Well, it happened around the same time, uh, that it started on the A&M campus, which is about a year and a half ago. And we had, uh, an outpouring in our youth meetings and the students wanted to have Bible clubs as a result. They were just so fired up and all they need is a student or I'm sorry, teacher to sponsor it. So they initiated this and we started off with 12, uh, I think 12. Now there's a 14 or 15.

We've had as many as 20. Uh, but within the 14 this year, there's, like I said, 340 to 400 kids, uh, Bible clubs and, uh, kids in these Bible clubs in the public schools, in the public schools, meaning in the public schools, high school, middle school, and elementary, the kids actually prepare a little message. They're preaching, they're giving invitations for salvation. They're laying hands on their peers, praying for the sick, praying for God to move on their hearts, praying for the filling and filling of the spirit. And that's happening even in the elementary schools as well here. Yeah.

And you know what's so neat about this? So obviously God's entrusted you with leadership, you're preaching, you're pouring in, you're setting an example, but this is not about you or about New Life Church. This is about people taking the gospel out where they are, correct?

That really is. About a year and a half ago in the midst of this revival we've been in, God gave us a word and it was create your own pulpit. And we began to share that with the people. And we only, it seemed like we only had to share it once.

We've shared it more than that, but it just took off. And particularly with the college kids and the high school and middle schoolers, they caught this concept of creating their own pulpit, which is everywhere they're at, wherever they're at, that's, there's a pulpit. There's an opportunity for them to allow his word to be heard, his presence to be experienced.

So they took it serious. And so they came up with Bible clubs and the life groups. And, and so they've been everywhere they're going, they're just preaching everywhere. So throughout the week, almost every night, I'm getting texts about college kids, particularly getting saved in that time.

Yeah. And you've been sending me many of them, but so encouraging to get the text, to get the pictures of what's happening. And remember friends, these are not just people getting emotional, saying a prayer. These are people hearing the gospel, hearing a message of repentance, recognizing what it means to have Jesus as Lord, at least as much as they can understand at that moment. And then many of them have been added to the church and, and many, many are in small groups and getting discipled. This is the way it needs to be.

Hey, we've got one minute. Just speak to other pastors and leaders listening. Give them a word of encouragement. Well, first of all, I would say we prayed for a long time before we began to see this. We prayed for years for God to move on the campus specifically for the A&M campus.

We prayed for years for the Lord to do something significant in this city that has struggled with poverty and different things. And there were times I felt like giving up. There were times I felt like, well, I don't know.

I've written resignation letters and just filed them. You're like, man, I don't think I can do that. This is not going to work. And, and I, you know, one of the things that we just discovered is that there's a whole lot more that God's doing that we can't always see. And number two, I would say that, uh, don't make the mistake that I made. I feel like I underestimated the hunger of the people, the hunger of the people to experience the reality of God is stronger than I realized that it was. Um, and it's what that is. What's been driving hungry.

And so I, I underestimated, I didn't realize how hungry people were. So yeah. Excellent.

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Call 800-771-5584 or go online to This is how we rise up. It's the line of fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get on the line of fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH.

Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Welcome back, friends, to the line of fire. I hope you have been blessed by today's broadcast, especially pastors and leaders, as we're speaking to pastor after pastor, different parts of the country, Florida, Texas, now Colorado. Tomorrow we'll go back to Texas and just speaking to leaders about what God's doing in their midst. And today I'm going to speak with Pastor Shane Farmer. I've had a delightful time being with him and his congregational family twice this past year there outside of Denver, Colorado. Shane formerly pastored a leading Presbyterian church one of the fastest growing Presbyterian churches in the country.

A friend recommended he read Leonard Ravenhill's classic book, Water Revival Tarrys. He read it. He began to pray several hours a day out of the challenge of that book. It revolutionized his life. There was an outpouring that took place in the Presbyterian church, which was not welcomed by all.

And even though he was the senior leader, he felt it was best that he move on. And he planted a new church. So, Shane, welcome to the line of fire. Thanks so much for joining us.

Oh, thank you so much for having me. Alright, so when you planted this church, how long ago was it that you planted this brand new work? It'll be three years in just a couple of weeks. We're approaching that three-year mark. Alright, and over the course of a month, how many folks would you say are attending Church of the Front Range now? I honestly don't know. I look at a lot of data, but I don't look at the attendance data much.

But I would get, I mean, it's definitely sub-1000, probably somewhere in the 750 to 850 range would be my guess. Got it. Alright, so not one of those that can give you the exact person count every week, which I love. When I was there, what really blessed me, there was a wonderful spirit of prayer before the meeting. The worship was just beautiful. And the songs, the hymns, the just very Jesus-exalting and cross-exalting. I saw so many young people, though, right in the front of the building, going after God, which I've seen in each of the churches with each of these pastors that I've been interviewing.

What's drawing the young people? Was it just what I saw while I was there these two times, or is this something regular that's happening with them? It is something regular that's happening with them, and I wish I could tell you, like I know exactly why this is happening, but the spirit of God is going after a generation. There's a unique calling, I'm sure many others have received this, to raise up a Joshua and Caleb generation, a generation that will persevere. And we're seeing it happen, and it's just incredible.

Yeah, it is beautiful to see. And something happened not long after the Super Bowl, and then you heard reports about outpouring of the spirit at Asbury. And you asked the Lord, God had been moving in your church, I had preached earlier in the year on themes of revival, and you had seen God even deepening what he was doing in your midst those days. But then you just, you asked the Lord, why not us, why not here, not long after the reports of outpouring at Asbury. So what happened that following Sunday?

Yeah, absolutely. We actually have a prominence of revival, as I know many do, and so when you hear revival is breaking, it's in the air, it's like, well let's go after God. And I just simply returned from an international trip, and I just stood up and I said, I'm going to go after God, I'm going to be here every night this week, and you're welcome to join me.

It might just be a few of us just praying, but he's pouring out his spirit, like let's reach out for him. Well, God moved in that service, and in fact, at the end the altars were filled in an unusual way, and there was a woman that received a public tongue, and she stood up and she delivered it, called for interpretation, and God gave the interpretation. It was a call to repentance and discernment, but that service continued for almost 24 hours. It was about 23 hours straight of worship, the same group of people singing without our voices ever wearing out, and it was just absolutely incredible, and it kind of kicked off a year of just the amazing activity of God. So you're talking about a service that starts on a Sunday morning and ends 8 a.m. the next morning with a good number of people there the whole time and worship the whole time unbroken. And friends, just so you understand, Pastor Shane does not come from a Pentecostal, Charismatic, kind of wildly expressive background, or work them up, kind of emotionally get everybody all psyched up, kind of manipulative background.

That's not what the church is, so when there's tongues and interpretation, that's something very real and relatively new in their midst, and for something to happen on this level is extraordinary. Now, you've had steady prayer and worship going on, actually two separate streams, one part of the building where there's prayer, one part of the building worship, 24-7. How long has that been going on? Well, that started just a couple of weeks after the event I just told you about, the 24-7 worship component. We had been praying 24-7 by God's direction for a couple of years, but the worship thing is new, and it's approaching nine months now.

And what is the importance of doing that 24-7 prayer and worship? Well, to be honest, we've grown in our understanding of the importance, but we didn't really know when we started. We had another service two weeks later. It went late, and in the middle of the night, one of our elders kept getting this repeat vision of the worship center, and the sun just coming up and down and up and down, and trickles of people coming in and out, as if the service would never end. And as we prayed on that and tested things in person, tested things in prayer, we really strongly felt that God was inviting us to bring him an offering of a continual assembly of perpetual praise. In the middle of the night, with no preparation, we said yes, and he has sustained it since then. Obviously, it was a scary thing to say yes to, but he did it, and he's continuing to do it.

Yeah. Now, what folks may not know, just as Shane's talking, just very honestly and innocently, is that Shane's got a lot of strong theological background, his co-pastor with, or associate pastor with whom I've interacted, strong theological, biblical background. Shane understands a lot of things having to do with church growth movements, et cetera. So, it's not just, hey, we don't really know what we're doing. It's that he's been there and done that with a lot of the methodology and says it doesn't work. I know you've got a whole book coming out on that, and again, I hope to talk with you on the air about that book, but could you just give kind of the short version of been there, done that, and the programs don't work, there's got to be the presence of God to change everything?

Yeah. You know, years ago, we hit the top of the fastest growing church list in America and all that sort of stuff, and yet, our qualitative things we were seeing as we would do a survey of our people and just looking at life change and transformation and engagement with the word of God or prayer or these sorts of things, even actual salvation counts. It's like, we just weren't seeing the qualitative things, and I just began to get burdened and increasingly broken over time, like God, surely there's something more, and by his grace, he started to speak and to lead and to teach us how to get back to our roots. So, if a pastor is saying, you know, we're not seeing growth, we're not really seeing transformation of lives, if new people come in, it's from other churches and old people are leaving, but we're not seeing people really saved, we're not seeing young people radically transformed, we're not seeing the kind of growth that we believe we should see, and certainly there are many like that, and they're fine people, and they're making efforts, and they're doing what they know how to do.

What would you say to them, first, in encouragement, and second, is the most important thing you've learned during this season? I would say that the most important thing that I have, I felt like the Lord has revealed, is that there is an idolatry in the church that's about the presence and the preferences of people over the presence and the preferences of the Lord, and that the great, the so-called great commission has been elevated to a point where it has been placed as the mission of the church, even though Jesus said what was first and greatest was to love the Lord your God with all of your heart and all of your soul and all of your mind and all of your strength, and we need a first love revolution where the church gets back to our first love and seeks him out of love for him and recognizes that the beginning of the mission is to love him with all that we are, and then of course to teach others to do the same, and that heart shift in me has been something the Lord's been leading me on and something that we believe is very important to what God's doing in this hour. And you're seeing real evidences of God coming in your midst, it's not just a matter of numbers or the 24-7 which is quite phenomenal with the numbers of people that you have to sustain that, but are you seeing people encountering God and really being changed? Yes, unlike ever before, more testimonies by far than I've ever heard in a lifetime of ministry in such a short period of time, deep heart refining, people getting free of things they never thought they would get free of, we have seen more signs and wonders, and just that anecdotal manifest presence of God that has sustained throughout the year has been just the greatest part. Yeah, and friends, just what I witnessed in the two trips there, that was enough, and feeling of a like heart with Pastor Shane and his staff and team, to say, hey, this is another one of those places, I've been seeing it before the outpouring at Asbury, I got on the air and said, listen, the first wave of the next revival movement has already hit America, it's here, God's moving, it's early stages, but things are happening.

And then a little after a week after that, Asbury explodes and suddenly the nation talking about revival, there's much, much more we want to see. The pastors, leaders, brothers, sisters, moms, dads, young people have been praying for God to move. He is moving around the country, there's going to be much more, but wherever you are, say, God, meet me, meet us, right here, how about here? How about over here, Lord?

And he will hear the cries of his people. Hey, where is Church of the Front Range located? Yeah, we have two locations right now, one in the south suburbs of Denver and one in the northeast part of Colorado, France. And the church website is? Yes, Awesome. Hey, Shane, great talking to you, look forward to seeing you and everybody at Church in the Front Range again in the future. God bless, buddy.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-05 19:15:11 / 2023-12-05 19:37:53 / 23

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