IGNITE is a new leadership and revival network within Methodism that seeks to be part of the global revival movement. It comes out of the 'Approaching Revival' conference tour and five years of 'Church In Revival' conferences, and it complements other church bodies, such as Headway, who also have a priority for mission. Its emphasis in on charismatic spirituality - with a focus on prayer, renewal and missional forms of church.
Headline readers will remember that in 1998 a group in Methodism ran a tour called 'Approaching Revival' - days of worship, teaching and prayer around issues of spiritual revival. Since then the same group has run conferences each year under the banner 'Church In Revival', open to all, but
aimed at leaders in the church.
The conferences have focussed on a range of issues around revival - developing corporate prayer, anointed leadership, repentance and holiness, and the prophetic role of the church. They have been a mix of inspirational speakers - learning from churches across the world caught up in recent spiritual renewal: Scott McDermott from Washington United Methodists in the USA; Perry Dalton from Pensacola, Florida; Isaac Lim and his team from the Singapore Methodist District; Carl Brettle from Intercessors for Wales; and Bob Dunnett from the Prayer for Revival team in Birmingham.
Out of this journey has come the desire to develop an informal network for leaders in Methodism to meet together for prayer, renewing and resourcing.
Why create another network for busy leaders?
We have a responsibility to tend our part of the kingdom vineyard in Methodism, and we need to know and share God's spiritual agenda - the bigger picture for each of us. The reality is that many of us need to schedule in time to be with others in leadership and hence the importance of a resourcing network.
The calling of God to minister in our Church is not to be a stricture around us, or a weight to drag us down, but rather a mandate to be change agents in a Spirit-led ministry. We all know of people who have left the ministry for unfortunate reasons, and it is very important to strengthen hearts and bless each other in our callings.
We share common burdens, faith, frustrations about the denomination in which we are serving. If we can't support each other, and spur one another on, who can?
Our heritage is the well of Methodist revivals in the last three centuries. If God has called us to stay put, it is surely to dig this well of revival and anointing, and to blaze the trail of our heritage in our day.
The season in church and nation is critical at the moment. The explosive growth of international prayer and renewal movements, the critical mission priorities for the national church, the tensions that leaders feel in the middle of changing culture and shapes of church - all highlight the importance of networking, supporting, and encouraging each other more than leaders are often able, because of busy diaries and commitments.
We currently host quarterly leaders days, send out a regular newsletter, and are looking to develop a helpful mix of resources and support for leaders and churches. We also partnered with others in the national call to prayer to Methodism on May 22nd. We have produced a prayer CD-ROM and are facilitating, with Headway, quarterly prayer days - so that on the first Friday in March, June, September and December, across Methodism, local churches can pray for spiritual renewal and the mission of our Church.
You will find an IGNITE leaflet in this edition of Headline. Please keep it for yourself, or pass it on to someone you know in leadership who would benefit from such a network. Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you or anyone else in leadership would like further details about IGNITE, or visit our web site.
The Rev William Porter is a minister in the Burslem Mission Circuit, Stoke on Trent.
Headline, Summer 2004 pp 19-20.