These are certainly interesting days! At the beginning of the year we decided as a church to give over the month of January to prayer. As part of this Steve Ball had accepted an offer from Roy Fields to lead some meetings at City Temple, Cardiff. Initially booked for 4 days, we are now entering the 5th week of meetings with "big Roy"!
I was away visiting my mum for the first 3 days and arrived late on what was scheduled to be the last night. To be honest I was tired having travelled most of the day, worked late and spent little time at home but compelled by a commitment to support the leadership of the church I headed down into town. As I approached I remember saying to God to protect my from hype and more importantly from scepticism, a trait of the the old man I am desperate to kill! I also was aware that as a leader I wanted to measure and examine where "God was in all of this". I came into the building and found a seat near the back in the raised seating. Within the hour during a time of acapella worship Roy had pointed to me and called me out. He prayed for me and the presence of God was sufficiently heavy that it was certainly easier to lay down than keep standing! After as i returned to the seat he shared a prophetic worked for me. It is fair to say that God had answered my questions as directly as I could have possibly imagined!
Still some people have some real and legitimate questions about this which I will try to answer. Please note these are my personal opinions.
The meetings are interesting for a Welsh congregation. In the main they are around 2 hours of worship, 3 hours of preaching and an hour of ministry. That's right 6 hours! So there is a challenge straight away. They are long. Have we the patience, the stamina, the energy?
Do I think the meetings are too long? Well yes but no one, least of all God,is asking my opinion so what business is it of mine to ask for them to be shorter? Also there seems to evidence that the disciples had to wait a lot longer in the upper room before they encountered the Holy Spirit. These meetings seem to have power evidence of the power of God as the evening moves on. For some, that is an inconvenient truth.
Is it at times fleshly? Most definitely. But hang on before you run away with the wrong idea. Most if not all church events/services are because they involve people. As Bill Johnson said if you want the fish you need to be prepared to spit out the bones! I think however this is diminished by the evident presence of God?
Is it theologically sound? In the main yes. Is there some things that are said or done that I would question? Probably but I refer you to my 2 previous answers.
Is Roy an itinerant operating without accountability? One of my delights about this ministry is to witness how Roy is listening to Steve Ball and Nigel James as they share with him their wisdom, opinions and concerns. Some of his ideas and practices have been influenced by these meetings. He appears to relish accountability and covering from the church.
Is it a Welsh Revival? The $64,000 question! I would it depends on your definition. When I was studying for my degree one of the key things I tried to clearly do was define my terms so as to avoid misunderstanding. To answer this question it is imperative that the term revival is understood. In the USA the term revival would be more loosely defined than it is in Wales. There it can be given to a meeting where people come to faith, where the holy spirit moves, where people are healed. It can also be used in anticipation of what might happen ie "At church next week we are hosting revival meetings" That was a tradition in the US to hold tent revival meetings where an itinerant preacher would pitch his marquee on the edge of time and hold "revival" meetings. In Wales when we think of revival we hark back to our rich history. We would think of Evan Roberts and the 1904-1906 revival. Over 100,000 people gave their lives to Christ in that time. Families, communities, work places, media and the economy was impacted. The revival poured out of the church and God moved across the nation in a powerful way. Crime went down, pubs closed, rugby clubs suspended games. It was impossible to to be unaware of it even if you were unaffected by the revival.
At this point we are seeing God moving on individuals within the church. People are getting saved, there are people getting healed. Most of all people are falling in love with Jesus. Is it a revival? In the American sense it is. In the Welsh definition, not yet. (but it's not finished !) That is why it is being called an outpouring. I respect the fact that Roy and Melanie Fields listened to the leadership of the church when they explained the cultural differences of revival.
When will it end? I don't know. No one does! We know it will continue for another 2 nights in City Temple as a minimum. It could go on for much longer. Keep checking the website
Should I come to see what all the fuss is about? If you live close by, why not? I know lots of people from Wales who have travelled all over the world to see evidence of the outpouring of God but have yet to drive across town to see what is going on. I mentioned this to my team at work an encouraged them to check it out for themselves. They are mature Christians they can make their own minds up when they have experienced first hand what is going on.
Is is only in Cardiff? No. Roy and Melanie have visited Swansea and Newport so far. February 1st & 2nd, they will be in Neath. More places will most likely follow. For the latest schedule. Check the website