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Experiencing Life in the Spirit: an interview with Frank Billman

I have become a Scholar in Residence for the Methodist Church of Barbados. The Methodist Church of Barbados is part of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and Americas, not the United Methodist Church. I was first asked to come because someone there read my book. As I did some research I found evidence of some supernatural Methodist history in the Methodist Church of Barbados and that opened that church to hunger for more. They now have me come twice a year for a month at a time to teach and minister on supernatural themes. The countries of the Caribbean that are part of this Methodist denomination are Western rather than Majority world, but there is generally more openness to the power of the Holy Spirit there than in the US, perhaps due to the presence of Santeria, Voodoo, Obeah, Macumba, and other African/Spiritualist/Occult religions that are operating there as well.

Although our UMC has been declining for years in the US it is growing significantly outside the US where people are desperate and hungry.

 

PneumaReview.com: You are involved in Aldersgate Renewal Ministries. Please tell us about this ministry.

Frank Billman: In 1977, the Conference on Charismatic Renewal in the Christian Churches gathered at Kansas City with about 50,000 people attending from a wide variety of denominations. Among them were about 800 United Methodists. At this conference there was opportunity for the different groups to break out and gather together with others of their “tribe.” The United Methodists did this and asked their leaders to form an ongoing national Charismatic United Methodist group as a result of this conference. The leaders were reluctant to do that but they agreed to enter into a time of prayer about it. They consulted with two UM bishops about this possibility and both bishops said that the leaders should go ahead and form this group. So, in 1978 the United Methodist Renewal Services Fellowship was officially incorporated. Today it is known as Aldersgate Renewal Ministries (ARM) and it seeks to bring Holy Spirit renewal especially to Methodism.

John Wesley wrote, ‘The world is my parish.’

For many years ARM has held a national summer conference on the Holy Spirit called Aldersgate at various locations across the country. It is a family conference with programming for people of all ages from babies to senior citizens.

At its headquarters in Goodlettsville, TN just north of Nashville, ARM has held a number of events including annual Ministers retreats. That is where I started the Methodist School of Supernatural Ministry and Supernatural Ministry Intensives.

ARM has branches called Regional Fellowships in several of the UM annual conferences across the country. These provide ARM programming on a more local level.

John Wesley wrote “the world is my parish” so ARM has ministered in around 20 countries around the world at conferences or teaching missions. ARM ministry will take place at the annual conference of the UMC in Finland this summer. There are ongoing ARM groups in The Philippines, the UK, Estonia and one is now developing in Barbados. The ones in the UK and Barbados are Methodist, but not United Methodist.

When invited to do so, ARM ministers in local churches with 7 different weekend local church renewal events on testimony, worship, prayer, the Holy Spirit and Supernatural Ministry. Although most of these venues have been UMCs, ARM has been willing to go where invited and some non-UMCs have requested these ministries.

More information can be found on all these ministries of ARM at AldersgateRenewal.org.

 

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2018

About the Author: Frank H. Billman, B.A. (Houghton College), M.Div. (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), Th.M. (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), D.Min. (Eastern Baptist [now Palmer] Theological Seminary), is an educator, pastor, author, and international speaker. He is currently leading the doctor of ministry program in supernatural ministry at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. While on the staff of Aldersgate Renewal Ministries for 12 years, he led workshops, local and regional renewal events, was supervisor for International Ministries, Methodist School of Supernatural Ministries, and Supernatural Ministry Intensives, and was a general session speaker at the national conferences. In addition to numerous articles, he is the author of Shepherding Renewal (Aldersgate Renewal Ministries, 2011), and The Supernatural Thread in Methodism: Signs and Wonders Among Methodists Then and Now (Creation House, 2013).

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