Here is another update from one of the Newfrontiers apostolic spheres.
Recently I was privileged to join the leaders of 14 churches in the UK as they met in Crewe for two days with Steve Oliver. Steve is from South Africa though now living in Dubai where God’s favour has been on him to strengthen and grow the church he joined 5 years ago and to plant another two churches from there. He also travels widely bringing oversight to churches on five continents. His apostolic sphere is called Regions Beyond.
The days together began with worship and prophetic outpouring. God quickly told us that there was a path laid with flagstones for us to walk into new places and nations. This was emphasised by a prophecy using the fact we were near Crewe – a major hub of the national railway – which told us that we were to plant into significant cities. This was confirmed by an email Steve had received within the previous hour from Dubai with an almost identical word based around the town of Crewe.
In the following sessions Steve laid out something of his own history and walk with God including dreams he has carried:
- Diverse churches with common vision for the world
- Apostolic people group caring for far off Islands
- Each community feeling included and important
- People with conscious bias towards one another’s success
- Wonderful local churches to impact communities
- Hundreds of sons and daughters capable and willing to count the cost and plant churches around the world
He shared how he feels the starting gun is being fired for this to come about (although much is already happening!). For instance, he referred to Colin and Pam Nichols going imminently from UK to Bloemfontein to plant a church, a location Steve has carried in his heart for many years. Later we had the opportunity to pray for Colin and Pam.
Steve spoke of other churches also being planted: Durbanville in South Africa would be launched within two days of our conference, Edenbridge in UK to be a ‘church planting church’, Maseru in Lesotho, Mauritius, Eritrea…. The list went on.
Steve also updated us on his own position. He has now passed on leadership of the church in Dubai to others in order to give himself to the wider ministry – even he is human and became very over-stretched last year.
Raising up leaders
Sharing from Numbers 11 he spoke of the urgent need to raise up more leaders and of his plans to launch a Task Team (one of several) led by Gareth Wales to develop a programme of training.
Strategically he is defining the churches he oversees into geographical hubs, following the advice he has received from David Devenish, who is implementing such a structure within his own sphere, Catalyst.
The days ended with further prayer, particularly for those who are going out to plant churches, and also for Burundi which is going through serious unrest as a nation pending elections at the end of June. This unrest is hindering the advance of the gospel; 1 Tim 2:1, 2 encourages us to pray for the authorities so that the church might live in peace.
These are just headlines through my personal recollection of these days away. Now listen to Steve himself as he spoke to me about some of the things on his heart. (I apologise for some glitches on the soundtrack.)