It was 2015 and I was writing a book on Holy Spirit for new believers when I came across a book written by James Beverley, the Pastor of a local Church in Toronto, called Holy Laughter and the Toronto Blessing. I was actually reading the book for research purposes to see what people thought from outside of the ‘Pentecostal Circle’. To my surprise this sceptical Pastor wrote something similar to what I had heard from friends that had been part of what was happening in Toronto’s world-renowned revival.
After decades of revival Beverly said that the thing that remained in the city after all this time was the remnant of the tears that were the result of hearts being mended. My friend Gordon had said the same thing about his time there. He went there slightly sceptical but when God put his hands on his children’s hearts were healed, and tears flowed.
This summer, after a week of fun, family and seaside I was moved deeply to see God moving upon his Church as a thirsty crowd received the refreshing waters of Holy Spirit. Urban Wave was marked with what some from the Pentecostal tradition find normal as people spent time being healed on the carpet. It saw family growing closer together in unity, and it saw genuine tears and cries of agony as hearts were healed from lifetimes of hurt and neglect.
After speaking to attendees of Urban Wave 2018 we have found that the majority of young people (under 18s) enjoyed the deeper teaching from the likes of Paul Benger and Stephen Matthew (alongside watching me being gunged at the Free Family Fun Day & BBQ).
Some of the mums that attended reported that they liked the work and information that Jamie Price shared. One mum said that she was really excited to see what Elim are doing for young people all over the UK through Limitless, the national youth department.
Later in the week we had a great reception for our baptism service on the beach, led by Pastor Harry Goodwin. It seemed like a magical coming together of wind and dark clouds, as the waves raised and four people took the next step in their faith journey, each one loudly declaring their commitment to Jesus in order to reach the ears of those waiting and watching from the shore.
Then of course there was the final night with Daniel Chand where many people were touched by God, and a lot of people said they felt that their life has changed forever since that moment. Young and old met with God in such a way that we heard tears of healing and howls of laughter.
I’ve been around moments like this a lot in the decade that I’ve been a Christian. I’ve had times when silence has fell on a raging Church. I’ve seen cancers healed. I’ve witnessed deliverance and crazy laughter. However, as the Pastor of this small group of people and the organiser of this week of fire, I found myself overwhelmed by the goodness of God to bring me on this journey whereby I might be privileged to lead one hundred people into a presence so wonderful that their lives are changed for good. What’s more it takes me back to moments where God had done the same in my own life. It’s something else when you begin to feel jealous for God’s presence to manifest in your own life in the way he is around the people you’re leading.
I believe the key to this week was being around friends and family, loads of fun and trying not to make our times together too intense.
This year was a real step up for Urban Wave and everyone that came along.
So what’s next?
We’ve already arranged another week of fire for Urban Wave 2019, which will be our fifth year hosting this popular event. We are currently praying for a bigger venue to hold extra delegates, and more space for our incredible Kids Team to plan their next programme. What we can be sure of is another year of memories, days building sandcastles, evenings swimming in the sea, the lights and sounds of the fayre, and the mighty, overwhelming presence of God. Whatever 2019 holds, I’m sure that He will be holding us through it.