Increasingly people are joining churches related to Newfrontiers through other apostolic spheres and have no awareness of how it all started. Several have recently asked me for the early history so over the next few weeks I will share my personal story of those early days since I was privileged to be in from the start – indeed, from before the start.
One day, on return from our family holiday, I found a letter awaiting me. “Will you be my administrator? I don’t know what an administrator does but I know I need one”. I picked up the phone. “I also don’t know what an administrator does” was my reply, “but yes!” On that somewhat precarious basis a special friendship turned into an employed relationship with Terry Virgo. The continuing deep friendship continues to this day.
That communication, through a letter and phone call, took place in 1980, the time at which Terry first invited me and five others to join him as a team that ultimately became the core of Newfrontiers, soon to be defined as a family of churches, but recently redefined as a family of apostolic ministries, that has spread across the globe. But I am jumping ahead. There is much pre-1980 history that is important for the understanding of the roots of Newfrontiers.
Terry Virgo enters our lives
My wife, Janita, and I first met Terry in 1968. He had been saved in the late ‘50s and baptised in the Holy Spirit two years later. We had been married only one year and another newlywed couple, Phil and Agnes Ball, also moved into our village, Scaynes Hill. We soon came to know them and decided to start a home-based Bible study for other believers. They said they knew someone who could be invited to speak at our first meeting from their former church, Holland Road Baptist Church in Hove, on the Sussex coast of the UK. And so it was that Terry Virgo first walked into our lives.
Terry had also been recently married, having met his wife, Wendy, at the London Bible College. Shortly after their wedding they had moved to another coastal town, Seaford, to join a growing group of people who had been meeting in homes but were now building a meeting place for the church to gather.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
In 1969 we ‘stumbled across’ the baptism of the Holy Spirit when we visited some friends as we were returning from holiday; they spoke in tongues as we prayed together before continuing our journey. There was no explanation and we did not ask. Coming from a mainstream Anglican background this confused us; what was it all about? Talking to friends in our church they told us that tongue-speaking was not for the current era. Some even said that it was of the devil! That soon raised big problems for me, as we shall see in the next posting.