A few weeks ago, we were privileged to be apart of yet another historic gathering that took place in the heart of Eastern North Carolina, Greenville. Hosted by our good friends the Lilley’s, the Phenomenon two day meeting was exceptional! Hundreds of young adults all over the Carolinas and Virginia came together in what seemed to be an explosion of God’s presence! In addition to people keeping the Fire on the Alter burning throughout the night, outreach teams seized the streets of downtown Greenville and moved with great boldness and love. One testimony even included a self-professing gay women who turned her heart to Jesus right there on the street! C-MON! How exciting! Therefore, I would like to dedicate this blog post to the Phenomenon Conference and all what God did there. The following article was published by Matthew Lilley, director of the Burn Greenville, and visionary of the Phenomenon gathering. Please enjoy!
Phenomenon was an amazing weekend of worship, prayer, unity and awakening. As one attendee said….
“Phenomenon was phenomenal!”
Friday night launched with a shout that began over an hour of worship. Frank Boone and I led worship. In the midst of worship, the ministry team came up to the front (this usually happens after the sermon), and people were invited forward for prayer. My view from the stage made it clear that God was touching and changing lives. I saw tears flowing, people falling to their knees. God was doing as much during worship as He did through the other times. I heard one testimony of a lady who encountered God during worship and said she went back to her church and is not the same anymore. We believe in the power of the presence of God!
We did a limited-edition CD pre-release of Let Incense Rise: Live Worship from the Boiler Room, a new worship album that contains many of the songs we sang Friday night at Phenomenon. The album will be available on iTunes and other outlets on Tuesday, November 18!
After worship, the Enteraction dance team performed a powerful dance that stirred our hearts for awakening and prayer! I love that team of young radical Jesus-lovers. They are a testimony of what God is doing (and wants to do) in a generation of teenagers and young adults. I believe that the coming revival will be energized by an loving army of young people!
Sean Feucht, the founder of Burn 24-7 blasted us with a message that challenged us to worship and pray from a place that is rooted in the unchanging goodness and faithfulness of God, rather than letting our prayer wax and wane with the fear and uncertainty of the circumstances around us. Sean travels the nations relentlessly, and his testimonies of the advancement of God’s kingdom in the earth gave us fresh faith. Sean’s hope and joy are always an encouragement!
After Friday night’s session, about 100 of the conference attendees headed to downtown Greenville for Fire on the Altar, with all-night worship, prayer and outreach. Worship teams from across North and South Carolina kept the fire burning at the Boiler Room while dozens went to spread God’s love in the downtown streets! Along with an amazing expression of multi-state unity and the presence of God, a few powerful testimonies came out. A lesbian came to know Jesus for the first time! A street musician came into the Boiler Room and ended up laying on the front altar repenting and soaking in God’s presence for over three hours! What an amazing expression of “fire and fragrance”! The day & night prayer & worship phenomenon around the earth is coming together with a radical expression of outreach to see transformation!
Saturday morning conference sessions are usually considered the less exciting (and less attended) sessions, but Saturday morning at Phenomenon was one of the most powerful times all weekend. BJ & Lisa Sullivan led us in a sweet time of worship, as God brought healing, hope and restoration to hearts. Mike Thornton shared a message based on a prophetic word he received – God wanted to align the wells of heaven and earth, the worship of heaven and earth and the words of heaven and earth. After his message, there was a powerful ministry time as the altars were flooded with people on their knees… crying, shaking (and after a while… also laughing with joy! see Acts 3:19). God was marking messengers, musicians and singers. Deep repentance and healing was taking place. Some were being marked to give themselves to certain cities or nations to contend for revival in those geographies!
One of the things God led us to emphasize at Phenomenon was the campus awakening phenomenon happening on campuses in the Carolinas and around the world. Students from North Carolina campuses shared testimonies at the Saturday morning and Saturday night sessions of how God is stirring prayer, unity and revival! Students are hosting all-night worship and prayer sessions, campuses are coming together for multi-campus worship nights, radical outreaches are taking place – God is moving! Niko Peele of Ignite Carolina is one of our good friends who is on the front-lines of campus awakening in the Carolinas and beyond. He hosted a Saturday afternoon breakout session specifically for students.
Two other breakout sessions included Mike Thornton’s session on Digging the Wells of Revival, and a breakout for musicians and singers led by Sean Feucht, Ian Thornton and David Bradshaw.
The Saturday night session exploded with a worship session led by Incense & Arrows. As they sang “O Mighty Ones”, the room erupted with dancing, shouting and wild worship! David Bradshaw, director of the Fredericksburg Prayer Furnace, brought an amazing message, nearly preaching the entire book of Acts! He spoke of the Upper Room “sacred assembly” being a prototype of how the Church should be constantly functioned, in a place of unified, prayerful waiting on the Lord. The evening ended soberly with a time of “tarrying”, and as we waited, God poured out the fire of His Spirit upon us and spontaneous songs filled the room!
God spoke to me about this gathering nearly a year in advance. It had been four years since we hosted a Worshipfest gathering, and I sensed God saying it was time to do another large conference. He gave me the word “Phenomenon”, and the four main “phenomenons” (prayer movement, campus awakening, revival and Jesus) well in advance, and I knew the whole weekend was ordained by God. Phenomenon certainly exceeded my expectations, and I am so excited about how the Jesus movement is advancing in our region and on the east coast!