It all started with coffee with a pastor friend. He is the leader of a seeker-friendly church meeting in an active movie theater. They are looking to serve twenty/thirty-somethings who are unchurched and reluctant to go to a church building. Hence, meeting in a cinema. When second service is over at 11:15, you have to rush out because they're selling tickets to the movies and the smell of popcorn is tantalizing . The church continues to draw several hundred people, and there are new people coming to Christ who have a very checkered church background, if a church background at all.
So my question was this: "What are you going to do about the Holy Spirit?" And by that I was concerned that there was no real place for new Believers to be introduced to the power and majesty and beauty of the Holy Spirit and His gifts. The church has semester community groups that attempt to move Believers into community and each one has a flavor. But there's not one that moves toward baptism in the Holy Spirit as an experience.
And I understand this. In our church world there is so much hullabaloo about the Holy Spirit and who He is that it often looks and sounds like a circus. You can turn on the TV and whoa! you can witness first-hand extremes - in teaching and practice - concerning the Holy Spirit. And from a TV screen (no matter how big), it can look and sound rather bizarre.
So, Pastor Bobby looked at me and said, "Why don't you help us? Why don't you develop a two day retreat where teaching is about the Holy Spirit? And we could do it a couple of times a year. And maybe some other churches like ours could have you come and do it for them..."
So Phyllis and I put together The Encounter Weekend - around ten hours of teaching about the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit, forgiveness, baptism in the Holy Spirit, the Lordship of Christ, and praying in the Spirit.
We began on Friday night and continue on Saturday with Subway sandwiches for lunch together and time in the afternoon for prayer and "giving room" for the Holy Spirit to touch people. We charged ten dollars to cover lunch and some handouts.
Phyllis and I, Scott and Carolyn Ongalo and Brian Hassett did our first Encounter Weekend last week. Brian led worship and Scott and Carolyn were both intercessors and ministers. It was a great time as gently the Holy Spirit ministered to those present.
Angel - one of the participants wrote:
Pastor Bobby, I just wanted to give praise and thanks to Glenn and Phyllis for doing the Encounter Weekend at the Annex. I learned so much about "The Power of Forgiveness" and "Who is the Holy Spirit?" which helps me to draw closer to Him as I continue to grow spiritually in my walk. It's amazing how you thirst for the Truth when you're there. I wasn't really expecting to learn so much, however, as we were opening our Bibles and reading scriptures from the Old Testament to the New, and reading prophesies and what the Bible says about being Baptized in the Spirit, it's funny but I thought I'd be totally overwhelmed, but instead, I got it... I understood, it wasn't weird or mind boggling... it was the TRUTH. Anyhow, I just wanted to thank the Hatcher's for doing the class. $10 was too cheap... it was worth at least $125. :)
Few things thrill me more than when someone "get's it!" Just plain get's it - and then decides to walk in that truth.
Pastor Bobby says he wants people to go from being seekers to Spirit-empowered followers of Jesus. And we're excited and blessed to use the gifts and experiences the Lord has given us to help make it happen.
It's kinda what we live for in our "people development" lives...