‘God moves’ in Lower Hutt church

This article was written in 2000. With a friend I was at a revival meeting and a man approached me who I knew. This man asked me to report on the revival meeting I had just seen. The church was having meetings during the week and I went along another night and had a closer look. The day before, I interviewed the people who were the leaders there. Interestingly, I was called by an older member of the congregation, who represented the older few people in the church. They wanted to voice their apprehension over what was going on. I post this article now because it fits with the previous articles today, of revival and Pentecostal spirituality. Here’s the article:

Pastor Seth Fawcett and evangelist Mike Livengood outside the old Christian Covenant Church in Lower Hutt in 2000.

“I believe we are sitting on the brink of the greatest revival we will probably ever see. Only time will tell but that’s where we are probably at,” says Mike Livengood, a visiting American evangelist to Hutt Christian Covenant Centre (CCC) in Lower Hutt.

“The revival in Argentina won’t look like the revival taking place in Africa,” he continues. There is right now certain evidences that certain cities in the world are being transformed. As an example, a city in Guatemala has ninety per-cent born again Christians and there are other cities of that nature. The outpouring here is probably not the same as you would see in Pensecola. So, probably God is going to tailor it, according to culture and yet there will be certain things historically true in every major revival of the past, like repentance, cleansing, harvest, sense of the presence of God. According to a book by Brian Edwards, in every major revival there has been a tangible sense of the presence of God. It begins within the Church then to an awakening outside of the Church. If we are going to have a last days outpouring of the Spirit, that’s where it has got to get. But we are not there yet. At this point, in most places, it’s pretty much inside the Church.”

Mike Livengood from the pulpit at Christian Covenant Centre, Lower Hutt, in 2000.

Pastor Fawcet believes what is happening is no different from any move of God. He says healings, repentance and God’s mercy and love are occurring and people are coming forward to the salvation altar call and are offering people prayer ministry at the end “and it’s really interesting to hear people just start to tell their stories.” The stories range from people being set free from attitudinal problems to may women talking about how they have suffered abuse and that God has brought healing in their lives. For many a love for Jesus is going to new levels and adds Mr Livengood, there is a new level of compassion for those who are not being saved. “Other pastors are talking about how their people are getting impacted to pray,” explains Pastor Fawcet.

Is revival happening at CCC? “I wouldn’t say revival”, Pastor Fawcet explains. “We have a move of God. God’s moving. Hearts are being revived and the Scripture is, He is going to come to revive His people so that they are going to serve Him with greater passion. They’re going to be more focussed on fulfilling His mission, which is to bring the gospel to the world, and people will experience the presence of God. Our prayer is Lord, we want more of you. We want to see our nation changed for Jesus and that is the prayer of many churches, and we are in fellowship with lots of other Christians in the Hutt Valley here, having prayer with them, not for a Church, but for the city. Pastors are coming together to pray for the city.”

Mr Livengood, relaxed and amicable in person and with a fiery streak behind the pulpit, adds that what has impressed him in the heart of the leadership in the Hutt Valley is the city wide prayer gathering. We have encouraged the body of Christ to pray for Hutt Valley and New Zealand, he says. “There’s no sense that we have arrived, or we have something someone else doesn’t have. We are just starting to see what God want to do at this point in time.”

Mr Livengood stresses he and the church are taking it one day at a time and are relying on God’s leading in the matter. He says people in the United States fasting and praying for the meetings and is aware that New Zealand intercessors have been pivotal in seeing God move. There has been criticism of the meetings from some people within the Church, but Mr Livengood responds by saying that the long term fruit of revival is what you can see down the road and says it is too early to make an evaluation. “If there’s been something genuine happening in people’s lives then you are going to see that in a few months.”

“The other thing I’ve observed is this looking at the card count there have been people who have filled out decision cards from at least twenty-five different churches. At no point has this meeting been focussed on this church. From the beginning we have tried to communicate with pastors that this is a safe place, if somebody comes here and is from another church, that pastor will be communicated with.”

Mr Livengood maintains that there is no pressure to perform and that the goal is for somebody to open their lives to the Lord and for Him to “touch you”.

“There are some people who will never do anything externally. They stand there very quietly, and their life is being changed by a work of God’s grace. There are others will end up on the floor. I’m very concerned that they get something that is genuine.”

At one meeting after two hours of preaching and worship, and people stood for prayer and came to the altar where manifestations of laughter, shaking, slaying and bowing took place. Others remained more subdued. And a few others seemed to look on at proceedings.

Mr Livengood notes that as far as he can tell, both from what he’s seeing at CCC and from Church history and all the outpourings of the past, “we are not saying that we are at the levels of those outpourings.” However, “God is doing something significant.”

By Peter Veugelaers, in 2000, for Challenge Weekly

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