Pastor Roger Malcolm wrote this report that recently appeared in the September/October 2014 issue of testimony magazine.
Since becoming pastor of Whitby Christian Assembly in the fall of 2012, it became impressed upon me to lead the church into a greater understanding of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. There has also been a deep desire to witness this great congregation experience the power of the Spirit, particularly in our shared biblical conviction of Spirit baptism.
I ministered on this subject before and after the following event to assist a cohesive partnership with the gift of the evangelist. On the weekend of April 5-6, we held a Holy Spirit Emphasis with evangelist Marie Miller. On Saturday, we hosted 130 ministry leaders/workers for a Holy Spirit Seminar, an all-day intensive teaching. The session delved extensively into the practical work of the Spirit in the life of the believer and in our corporate gatherings.
With concern for parking and future growth, Sunday morning was marked by a return to multiple morning services; this had been in the DNA of the assembly. Before the new facility was opened in the fall of 2011, the church held three morning services. I thought we should return to this while it was still entrenched in the hearts and minds of the congregation. Beginning with the announcement of the weekend and the “back to the future” accommodation for ministry, the transition was very simple.
In both morning services, Marie ministered on the subject, “Do You Hear the Sound?” These were powerful presentations creating an openness and desire for a greater measure of the Spirit’s presence and activity. The closing challenge was to return to our evening “Spirit baptism” service with a prayerful openness to what the Lord would have for each person.
It was so very encouraging to witness the openness of the people and how very naturally, the congregation almost evenly divided in attendance between the two services. The attendance was reflective of a “big day,” with our parking lot attendants sharing its success.
Although the evening service was to begin at 6 p.m., hundreds had gathered in the main sanctuary for pre-service prayer by 5 p.m. God’s presence was incredibly tangible; anticipation of what He was about to do filled the room.
That evening, shortly into the worship, many responded to a call for physical healing. Marie then spoke directly from Acts 2 with a call for response. Over half of those in the room stepped forward, and after a period of over an hour, 50 individuals indicated receiving Spirit baptism with the initial evidence of speaking in unlearned languages.
An event of this proportion had never been experienced in the living memory of the congregation and continues to affect our ongoing life and ministry. Pentecost transformed my life and continues to transform the lives of people who are open to the Spirit’s power. Pentecost Now!
Visit Whitby Christian Assembly's website at www.whitbychristian.com.