Bethel Church Senior Pastor – Bill Johnson – makes an interesting case study for church leadership. What can we learn from the charismatic leader who believes and lives within the realm of revival?
Bill is a fifth generation pastor (which probably means he was going to become nothing but a pastor). According to Bill the major turning point in his life was the Toronto Blessing.
At the time he was leading Bethel Church’s daughter church up in the mountains an hour away from Redding, California, in a place called Weaverville. Back in 1987, Bill had experienced revival when attending two John Wimber Conferences, who was one of the founding leaders of the Vineyard Movement.
When he walked through the doors he said to himself, “Lord if you touch me again, I’ll never change the subject.” He openly admits he didn’t experience anything dramatic, even though he received prayer at every possible opportunity. But from that moment on he dedicated his life “to this”.
Bethel Church – Creating A Revival Culture
Within this concrete context – of the Toronto Blessing – Bill’s teaching, ministry and leadership become much clearer. “I was born for revival, it’s why I live. And if you don’t want that, you don’t want me because this is nonnegotiable.”
That’s what he told the leadership team at Bethel Church when they asked him to lead the Church after an 8 month period without a pastor. And as soon as Bill stepped into the role he was preaching revival every single week and then doing it. Through his passion and determination, the church has expanded, multiplied and continue to influence California and the world. The ripples have even reached our shores.
“Every believer is a supernatural minister of the gospel of power whom signs & wonders should follow. All ministry flows from the prayer, “thy kingdom come… on earth as it is in heaven.” We equip and send the church to carry on the works of Jesus.” – taken from Bethel Churches ‘About Us’ section.
At least with Bethel Church & Bill Johnson you know where they stand, they believe in the supernatural power of the gospel – healings, visions, dramatic conversions, revival – it’s all in a day’s work. And if that’s where you want your congregation to be heading towards (to create a revival culture), this is a Church leader you need to be influenced by.
The Bill Johnson Reading List
This obsession for revival spills out into his books. In fact, I’m confident enough to say that everything Bill has penned is revival-based. Here’s three book worth buying for your churches bookshelf.
Bill’s Revival Textbook:
‘When Heaven Invades Earth’ is a practical guide to building a revival culture in your church. Laid out as a 40 day devotional, the book has been written for everyday church goers to read real life testimonies, be inspired by the possibilities and catch the supernatural bug.
Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, this edition has been expanded to keep up with today’s Christians. Having been translated into many languages (including Czech, Polish, Koren, French, German, Spanish, Croatian, Chinese, Thai, Arabic & Estonian), it’s clear the global church is seeking revival and miracles and they’re looking to Bill for inspiration. If you yearn to see miracles in your church, here’s how to equip your congregation and light a fire in their bellies.
‘Healing Unplugged’ is the result two friends chatting. Bill Johnson and Randy Clark (founder of Global Awakening) interviewed each other at conferences and found that the conversations they had were packed with useful advice, engaging wisdom and good-hearted banter.
This book is a wonderful resource for everyone involved in a healing ministry, like the Healing Rooms. It’s incredibly easy to digest, because it’s a conversation not a textbook, and because there is no ‘teaching agenda’ the stories, heart-ache and passion follow with honesty and openness. The best bits of the book are where the leadership gurus reveal how they messed it up (very encouraging reading).
If you’re looking for a more teaching-based healing ministry book, the duo having also released ‘The Essential Guide to Healing’, jotting down everything – theology, history, practical advice and their five-step modal to healing prayer.
Bill’s Humourous Side:
‘Centre of the Universe’ documents the funny side of being a pastor. Bill tells over 90 bite-size stories – ranging from fly-fishing to healing the homeless – that show both God’s revival power in action and the humourous musings of a humble man.
These spiritual stories demonstrate the everyday journey of a gospel-powered Christian and will encourage your congregation to see the lighter side of the Christian life.
March 17th, 2013 - Posted & Written by James Warwood