Newfrontiers


Newfrontiers
Newfrontiers
Newfrontierslogo.jpg
Founder(s) Terry Virgo
Type Reformed Charismatic Church Network
Founded 1979
Location United Kingdom
Area served Worldwide
Members 700+ Churches
Motto "A worldwide family of churches together on a mission."
Website Official website
Registered Charity number: 1060001

Newfrontiers (previously New Frontiers International) is a neocharismatic apostolic ministry network of evangelical, charismatic churches founded by Terry Virgo. It forms part of the British New Church Movement, which began in the late 50s and 60s combining features of Pentecostalism with British evangelicalism.[1] Other streams of the British New Church Movement with which it shares some features include Together, Ministries Without Borders, and Life-Links. Groups like Pioneer, Ichthus Christian Fellowship and Vineyard are more distantly related. Newfrontiers is a rapidly growing movement with over 700 churches representing more than 60 nations worldwide to date.[2][non-primary source needed] Newfrontiers describes itself as "an international family of churches together on a mission to establish the Kingdom of God by restoring the church, making disciples, training leaders and planting churches." Its theology is distinctively Reformed. Newfrontiers is committed to building churches according to "New Testament principles." One of the slogans of the movement has been "changing the expression of Christianity around the world," which is based on a prophecy given by Paul Cain (the Latter Rain revivalist) to the movement in 1990.[3]

Contents

History

Newfrontiers began out of the ministry of leader Terry Virgo who grew up in Brighton, England. Virgo had been disillusioned as a young Christian by traditional UK churches, but after being baptised in the Spirit a desire grew for the church to return to its New Testament expression: both biblical in doctrine and in experience. He became pastor of a church on an estate in Seaford, and was influenced by the teaching of the British Restorationist Arthur Wallis. Wallis believed that a return of the charismatic gifts, such as prophecy and speaking in tongues, to the traditional denominations was not sufficient. Instead, a more thorough restoration of church life to a New Testament pattern was necessary. Particular attention was given to the Ephesians 4 ministries of apostle, prophet, evangelist and pastor/teacher, and organisational elements led the analysis of what it meant to be a New Testament church.[citation needed]

New Addington Community Church is a Newfrontiers congregation in suburban London.

Originally operating under the banner of Coastlands, later the name was changed to New Frontiers International (NFI), and then Newfrontiers. Initially, Newfrontiers consisted of churches primarily in southern England (mainly Sussex, Kent and South London) but also in other nations. Involvements in church care and oversight began in India, Mexico and South Africa. Newfrontiers now has churches across the British Isles and in every continent of the world. The growing network of churches that relate to Virgo have formed a close working relationship focused on mission, church planting and church oversight.[citation needed]

Sunday Services

During a typical service, time is often equally divided between worship and preaching. During worship, as with many charismatic churches, the service is free flowing and members are encouraged to participate with public contributions of prayer, Scripture reading, and spiritual gifts. Preaching will be reformed, Evangelical, and Bible focused, with the goal of applying biblical learning within the contemporary world.[citation needed]

Buildings -vs- The Church

Newfrontiers churches have long since moved away from the traditional view of defining themselves as venues. Instead, they have emphasized that the Bible teaches the church is simply another word for God's people. Other traditional church terminology within Newfrontiers churches can also become influenced by this new definition of church. For example, the word, "sanctuary", is often replaced with a less-reverent word like, "auditorium" or "meeting room".[citation needed]

Worship

Style

Newfrontiers churches are known for their expressive times of corporate worship and wide variety of music styles. The most familiar style would resemble soft rock, usually including the use of drums, keyboards, acoustic guitars and electric guitars (see contemporary worship). Individual worship leaders have discretion over which musical styles and songs are adopted in their church. Typically, there is a mixture of the latest contemporary songs, older contemporary songs, and to a much lesser extent, hymns.[citation needed]

Participation

Newfrontiers churches allow for and encourage that prayer and spiritual gifts be expressed during times of corporate worship. Common examples of these expressions would include prayers to God, prophetic words, prophetic visions, prophetic singing, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues and reading scripture aloud from the Bible.[citation needed]

In most cases, church leaders that are considered to have mature spiritual discernment are appointed to "weigh" each contribution in an effort to biblically maintain order and continuity as described in 1 Corinthians 14:29. Within Newfrontiers these appointed leaders are commonly referred to as "meeting anchors".[citation needed]

Every Newfrontiers church has its own unique approach to participatory worship, but most commonly, anyone wishing to contribute during corporate worship must first share it with a meeting anchor. If it is considered to be potentially beneficial to the whole church body, any worship music being played will subside for a moment, and the individual can address the congregation.[citation needed]

Songwriting

Many songwriters have emerged from Newfrontiers that are known worldwide for their contributions in contemporary worship music. Artists, musicians and producers from within the Newfrontiers family include Stuart Townend, Lou Fellingham, Martin Smith (from Delirious?), Simon Brading, Mark Edwards, Phatfish, Martin Cooper, Dave Fellingham, Nathan Fellingham, Kate Simmonds, Olly Knight, Paul Oakley, Evan Rogers and Jordan Dillon. Others, such as, Matt Redman and yFriday have also been heavily involved with Newfrontiers and its artists. Influences from other movements include Association of Vineyard Churches, Hillsong United (band), Soul Survivor, New Wine, and American artists Chris Tomlin and Paul Baloche.[citation needed]

Evangelism

Newfrontiers believes that evangelism is most effective in the context of a strong local church where each member participates, the gifts of the Spirit are present, there is joy in caring one for the other, a desire to make a difference in society and to reach those in need. Because of this strong emphasis on church led evangelism, the movement differentiates itself from agencies focusing on evangelism outside of a recognizable, locally led and organised church (often referred to as parachurch bodies).They are also strong proponents of the Alpha course.[citation needed]

Bible weeks

The logo used for the Stoneleigh Bible Weeks

Newfrontiers was strongly shaped through Bible weeks. These were conferences gathering UK charismatics/restorationists to hear preaching from various apostolic figures and international speakers. The Downs Bible Week ran for a decade from 1979 and gathered up to 8,500 people at its height. Expositional Bible teaching and lively worship were major features of the event. After a break from the Downs Bible weeks of a few years, Newfrontiers started the Stoneleigh Bible week in 1991 in Coventry, England. The event gathered up to 28,000[4][unreliable source?] delegates from around the world for teaching and celebration. Stoneleigh was stopped in its eleventh year[5][unreliable source?] after the leadership believed God to be leading them to concentrate more on planting and growing churches. Now leaders in Newfrontiers and students and 20s gather annually for "Together On A Mission" at The Brighton Centre in July. Regional events, titled "Together At..." are held around the country to replace the bible week that existed before. In addition, Newday, an event primarily aimed at 12–19 year olds, has a similar blend of worship, teaching and celebration aimed at youth. This is headed up by Terry Virgo's son, Joel Virgo.[citation needed]

Everything Conference

Everything Conference
Everything Conference.png
Type Christian conference
Founded 2010
Location London, England
Key people Matthew Hosier, David Stroud, Jeremy Simpkins
Website EverythingConference.org

The Everything Conference is an annual one day Christian conference held in the UK by the Newfrontiers family of churches.[6] In 2010 the conferences were held in London and Leeds, in March and April respectively, and focuses on cultural transformation.[7] In its first year, over 1,000 people attended across the two venues.[7]

The conference borrows its name from the verse in the Bible "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it."[Ps 24:1].[7][8]

Leadership

In each local church, leadership is expressed in a plurality of local (male) elders, often with multiple staff. The raising and training of local leaders to run cell groups (often now called "life groups", "small groups" or "home groups"), worship teams and other ministries is seen as a priority. Newfrontiers runs an annual international leaders conference where thousands of church leaders come from around the world to gather for a mix of Bible teaching and lively worship services. This conference in Brighton runs concurrently with Mobilise for students and Christians in their 20s and attracts, in total, over 4,000 people a year including people from other denominations. The combination of these two events is now called Together On A Mission.[citation needed]

Complementarianism

All Newfrontiers churches hold to a complementarian position on gender similar to that promoted by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. This means that women are not allowed to occupy positions of governmental leadership within the local (or wider network of) churches, such as eldership or apostolic ministries.[9] However there is no prohibition of women leading in any other capacity, and many women operate as worship/cell leaders and/or prophets and evangelists.[citation needed]

Criticism

Some critics believe that Newfrontiers and other British restorationists are claiming too much when they speak of "restoring the church."[10]

In particular, the movement is seen by some to be exclusivist. As early as 1986, sociologist and church historian Andrew Walker wrote of Newfrontiers that "churches are far more centralised and controlled than those of (...) mainline charismatic fellowships... The situation seems slightly analogous to Japanese business practices: they… export with great success, but import virtually nothing from anybody else".[11]

Allegations of spiritual abuse

In April 2009, the Journal of Beliefs and Values[12] published an article reporting on a 2007 study which "set out to examine the psychological type profile of Lead Elders within the Newfrontiers network of churches in the United Kingdom and to compare this profile with the established profile of clergymen in the Church of England". One of the conclusions of this academic study offers some support for recurring allegations of spiritual abuse:

There is a toughness about this style of leadership that is unlikely to be distracted by opposition. The disadvantage is that this style of leadership can leave some individuals hurt and marginalised for what is seen by the leadership as the overall benefit to the organisation.[13]

See also

References

  1. ^ Andrew Walker The Theology of the 'Restoration' House Churches in David Martin and Peter Mullen (ed) Strange Gifts? A Guide to Charismatic Renewal (Oxford: Blackwell, 1984) 214
  2. ^ Official site, accessed 22nd December 2008
  3. ^ William K Kay Apostolic Networks in Britain: New Ways of Being Church (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2007) 260
  4. ^ http://vimeo.com/23640481
  5. ^ 32s http://vimeo.com/23640481
  6. ^ "ChristChurch London: Everything Conference". www.christchurchlondon.org. http://christchurchlondon.org/everythingconference. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  7. ^ a b c "Newfrontiers UK eNews Report May 2010". www.newfrontierstogether.org. 2010-05. http://www.newfrontierstogether.org/Groups/125588/Newfrontiers/Nations/UKeNews/UKeNews.aspx. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  8. ^ "Everything". www.newfrontierstogether.org. 2010-01. http://www.newfrontierstogether.org/Articles/180058/Newfrontiers/United_Kingdom/News/e_news_archive/January_2010_Issue_18/Everything.aspx. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  9. ^ value 8
  10. ^ Nigel Wright The Radical Kingdom: Restoration in Theory and Practice (Kingsway: Eastbourne, 1986) 118–119
  11. ^ Walker, Andrew Restoring the Kingdom: the Radical Christianity of the House Church Movement 2nd Ed (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1986) 317-318
  12. ^ http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/13617672.asp
  13. ^ Francis, Leslie J., Gubb, Sean and Robbins, Mandy (2009). "Psychological type profile of Lead Elders within the Newfrontiers network of churches in the United Kingdom", Journal of Beliefs & Values, 30:1,61 — 69. URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13617670902784568

Further reading

  • John Fleming. Bind Us Together: To Be the Church That Jesus Really Wants (Seaford: Thankful, 2007)
  • John Hosier. Christ's Radiant Church (Oxford: Monarch Books, 2005)
  • Terry Virgo. No Well-Worn Paths (Eastbourne: Kingsway, 2001) ISBN 0 85476 990 0
  • Andrew Walker. Restoring the Kingdom: the Radical Christianity of the House Church Movement 4th Ed (Guildford: Eagle, 1998) ISBN 0 340 41470 7

External links

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