Is The Black Pentecostal Church Always In Revival?

I was talking to a friend the other day about some prayer meetings that will take place for revival in the UK, to which they responded, “What do you mean they are praying for revival? Revival is here!!!

It got me thinking about my experience of being a member of the Black Pentecostal church over the years and the congregations I have been part of, and I have to say, in my church mother voice “God moved mightily” in all of them.  By that I mean, people got saved, were baptised, discipled, and helped to find their calling – i.e., their lives were transformed.  In addition, the churches experienced growth, so much so that they became knows due to the move of God taking place within their congregations.  This is what revival means for many within the black Christian community


Take my current church, The Arc, Forest Gate, London, led by Pastor Peter Nembhard.  The church recently celebrated its 27th anniversary. When I joined the church 12 years ago, the average attendance was between 150-200 – which is a good size right? Well…after a refurbishment of the church building, the church just grew.  Literally.  Of course there had been prayer for people to get saved, and members were prepped for growth.  And when it came, it was a wow moment.  For me it was.  It’s always a wondrous thing when you see a church grow because peoples lives are being transformed with the gospel.  

ARC church attendance grew so much, i.e., the church was filled to capacity every Sunday,  that there was talk of holding a second service.  However, instead, ARC started to plant churches – and now has about eight congregations across London and the UK.  Some of which are experiencing great growth. 

Doesn’t the bible say the harvest are plentiful and the labourers are few?  But my goodness when workers get to harvest, they can bring in 10-fold, 20-fold or 30-fold as stated in scripture. 

When I think about the work I did as Religious Columnist at The Voice, I was always writing about growing black Pentecostal churches.  The vast majority of those growing churches were independent and  led by young men who were full of energy, ideas and excitement about reaching their generation with the gospel – just like the Windrush church pioneers had been.   

I recall NTCG Mile End when the late Rev Joel Edwards served as pastor in the 190s.  The church was a growing one, and at the time, also revolutionary because Christian women were free to wear make-up and jewellery – a major issue for young Christian women at the time (1980s and early 1990s).

Then there was Kingsway International Christian Centre, founded and led by Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo.  I remember when the congregation met in the church’s three-storey building on Darnley Road, Hackney.   

Members used to worship in the large hall on the top floor of the building.  In no time – and I mean no time – each floor was filled to the capacity with worshippers for Sunday morning services, and such was the growth of the church, three services were held every Sunday until the congregation was moved into the 4000-seater miracle centre in Waterdon Road in 1998 (yes I’ve been around a long time).  And believe me, 4000 people filled that church every Sunday until the building was sold to make way for the Olympic Park and the 2012 Olympics.

Other churches I can list that experienced great growth and revival include Glory House, New Wine, Dominion Centre, Jesus House, Ruach City Church, Trinity Baptist Church, Calvary Charismatic Baptist Church and Jesus House.

Fast forward to today, there are black Pentecostal churches, in London, and across the UK that continue to experience great growth in harvesting souls.

It’s evident, to me, that within Britain’s black Pentecostal community, God is always raising up leaders to plant churches, some within established denominations and others as leaders of independent  churches  who preach the gospel in a fresh way, that attracts the young and the old, lives get transformed and people equipped to live out their God given purpose..

And isn’t that revival is about.  Seeing people get converted, baptised, discipled and equipped to serve the Lord.

My question to you is was my friend right? Is revival something we are familiar with in our black Pentecostal churches or is it a case we haven’t seen revival yet?

Marcia Dixon MBE is Publisher/Editor of Keep the Faith magazine and founder of www.marciadixonpr.co.uk

Written by: Marcia Dixon

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