On the evening of Friday, June 8th, several hundred Anglicans filled Spilman Auditorium at the Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina as the Assembly 2012 Healing Service began. Having spent the last two days in fellowship and teaching with one another, attendees were excited to hear from special guest, Dr. Michael Youssef.
A long-time friend of Bishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Diocese of the South, Dr. Youssef began by sharing his personal journey. Born and raised in Egypt, he immigrated to Australia as a university student to study at Moore Theological College in Sydney. This was no small feat at the time and it was only by the grace of God that he was granted approval for his visa to do so.
While in Australia, he met and married his wife, Elizabeth. It was also during that time that he took a match to his passport, decidedly closing the door to his past. It was a step forward, but Dr. Youssef laughed as he reflected on how God used and continues to use him to minister to the people in the very country to which he had closed the door.
After graduating from Moore, he was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Sydney where he served at several churches before coming to the United States. Ultimately, Youssef and his wife moved to Atlanta, Ga., where he planted The Church of the Apostles. Their congregation began with only a handful of people, but has grown to over 3,000. Dr. Youssef pointed out, though, that it is following the mission and will of God that has brought the people. “To this day, I cannot tell you how many members there are in our church,” he said. “That has never been important to me.”
Continuing the theme of Assembly 2012, Dr. Youssef encouraged attendees to step out in faith, confident in God’s mighty purpose and mission. He emphasized the importance of a healthy, vibrant prayer life in hearing and following God’s call, while cautioning not to use prayer as an excuse to remain stagnant. “Our vestry meetings are one hour,” he explained. “We spend 30 minutes on our knees praying, and the next 30 minutes allowing God to do His work.”
Concluding his message with a clear, strong call to action, Dr. Youssef stated: “We must move forward, not look back and do, do, do, do!”
Following Dr. Youssef’s powerful message, all attendees were invited to come forward for healing prayer. Musical worship continued with a mixture of traditional and contemporary songs as hundreds of people went forward to be blessed and prayed for by prayer teams made up of one clergy and one lay person each.
As many of those present would attest to after the service, the presence of the Holy Spirit was palpable. What a blessing it is to join together in fellowship, worship and surrender before the one true God, asking only that we be used for His glory.
More About Dr. Youssef
Michael Youssef, Ph.D., is the Founder and President of Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef, a worldwide ministry that leads the way for people living in spiritual darkness to discover the light of Christ through the creative use of media and on-the-ground ministry teams. His weekly television programs and daily radio programs are broadcast more than 3,800 times per week in 20 languages to 190 countries. He has authored more than 27 books, including the most recent, Blindsided: The Radical Islamic Conquest. For more information, visit www.LeadingtheWay.org.