I grew up in conservative evangelical churches.
While I am very thankful for my heritage, I always felt like something was missing.
I desired more.
I wanted to experience the power of God I read about in the Gospels and throughout the book of Acts.
Late in my teens, I confessed to a friend my hunger for more. He invited me to his charismatic church. While I was very hesitant to go, I decided to give it a try.
I was overwhelmed with what I experienced.
For the first time in my life, I “felt” God and witnessed life-altering miracles with my own eyes. It was amazing!
It seemed to be precisely what I was searching for.
I became “filled with the Spirit.” This was it, I thought.
A few years later, I moved to Canmore, Alberta and began pastoring my first church.
The church was very charismatic in every sense of the term. We regularly experienced the miraculous, yet, after a couple of years, I felt that haunting feeling of “something is missing” again.
We had not seen one person give their life to Jesus in over a year.
In fact, we hadn’t seen a first-time visitor in months. Our reputation in the community was that we were the ‘weird’ church.
People were scared to check us out.
What were we doing all of this for?
I desired to reach the lost, and the only example of churches who were regularly leading people to Jesus I could find were ‘conservative’ churches.
I wanted to reach the lost, but I did not want to have to compromise the power of the Spirit to do so.
Once again, I was frustrated, and at a loss for what to do, so I called my dad. “I just don’t know what to do anymore. I wish I could pastor a charismatic Baptist church,” I said.
I desired to see the best of both worlds.
I wanted the family atmosphere of a Mennonite church (and the food). I longed to see the focus on Jesus and the ability to impact a community like the Baptists and the Alliance Churches did.
I desired to see the awe and respect of Father God that the Catholics and Anglicans had, and I wanted to experience the power of the Holy Spirit like the charismatics. But how?
During this time, I attended a Men’s Conference in Lake Louise and the main speaker was Pastor Leon Fontaine.
He was pastoring Springs Church, a charismatic church in Winnipeg, the Mennonite capital of Canada, and his church was growing exponentially.
At the time of the conference, Springs Church saw over 300 salvations per month!
At the conference, he spoke of the miraculous, the healings, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
I was intrigued.
How could he be so charismatic and yet see so many salvations?
I began to subscribe to his weekly sermons and was surprised at how he communicated.
He was very matter-of-fact about the miraculous and the expression of the gifts of the Spirit seemed natural in his church.
They weren’t weird about it, and these manifestations were actually attracting the lost, not repelling them – like the book of Acts.
For the first time, I saw an example of what I desired the most – a spirit-filled, evangelical church that was enjoying the best of both worlds.
Springs Church was such an anomaly that church growth expert, the late Jack Whitesell, coined the term “Spirit Contemporary” to describe it.
They were both Spirit-filled and Seeker Sensitive.
Since that time, I have become friends with Pastor Leon, and we have bantered about this “Spirit Contemporary” concept quite a bit.
It has caught on in churches all around the world. In fact, most of the fastest growing churches in Canada and around the globe are Spirit Contemporary in one form or another.
I believe that Spirit Contemporary is the next move of God in the global Church and is the closest methodology to the first Church of Acts we have seen in centuries.