Virtually every Friday in the year, different groups of people from Kensington Temple, London City Church leave the busyness of London behind. They set out enthusiastically by car, minibus or train to converge on Annan Court. Purchased by Kensington Temple in 2001, our Encounter Centre is set in 14 acres of Sussex countryside with undulating grounds of woods, streams and gardens.
Around 4pm, the first delegates arrive to find the team leaders already present making the final preparations for the weekend. Anticipation fills the air as rooms in the converted Victorian stables become occupied by eager seekers after God and relieved city-dwellers craving peace, tranquillity and time alone with God. Once installed, the delegates take a moment to relax or stroll through the grounds enjoying the fresh country air.
The men usually go quickly to the walled garden that once grew vegetables for the old Manor House nearby. Now grassed over, the garden supports a perfect five-aside football pitch. Just over the wall are tennis and basket ball courts. A little to one side is the nine foot deep pool, capable of sustaining both bathers and student Scuba divers learning their confined-water exercises. However, these people are not in Annan Court simply to enjoy the sporting or pleasure facilities. They are there to meet with God.
Soon Gary, the resident chef and centre director calls the people together for the first meal of the weekend. The food is good and the diners are buzzing with excitement and expectation, relieved to leave behind the pressures of life in the city for the tranquillity of rural England. London is soon forgotten as all distractions are left to one side – mobile phones, television, schedules and busy programmes. You can sense people relaxing as they begin to focus on meeting with Jesus.
Meal over, registrations completed, rooms allocated – the first meeting begins. From the very beginning, there is a palpable sense of the presence of God as the team leaders and encounter speakers have spent weeks preparing, fasting and praying down the presence of the Holy Spirit. From the very first session on Friday evening through to the concluding session on Sunday morning, there is only one way to describe what is happening – people are encountering God. Relevant and practical teaching, anointed messages, ministry in the Spirit, words of knowledge and wisdom, personal prayer and ministry, compelling worship – all serve to make the experience unforgettable, life changing.
The encounter finishes with a communion service and Sunday lunch and afterwards people make their way back to London filled, blessed and transformed. They have met with God. The following week, they share their testimony with their family and friends and fellow cell members. The victories won on the encounter are consolidated in Living Free! – the 10-week Post-encounter programme and soon the delegates are on the way to becoming cell leaders themselves, sharing with others the life-giving power of God.
The testimonies that flood in each week speak of every conceivable blessing and experience with God. In the presence of God, expectations are met and needs are filled. People are healed, set free and baptised in the Spirit, receiving the gift of tongues. Multiple spiritual gifts are released.
People speak of a new hunger for God, a new passion for Christ and a new intimacy in their relationship with Jesus. They testify to a new love for souls, a clear sense of God’s call on their life and a determination to serve him as never before. Quite simply, they are brought closer to God than they have ever been, learning to trust him as they discover a new revelation of the Father’s unconditional love and acceptance. They leave with a new boldness, assurance and confidence in their faith.
Invariably, encounter testimonies describe healing of marriages and family reconciliation as people are released from pain, inner hurt, bitterness and resentment. Anger and domestic violence are dealt with. Burdens are lifted and sorrow and despair evaporate in the powerful presence of God. The Holy Spirit ministers deep into people’s hearts bringing supernatural peace and joy. People also testify to the miraculous provision of jobs and finance, as well as remarkable answers to prayer for accommodation and other practical needs. The intimacy with God and the prayerful atmosphere releases faith. Deliverance from demonic bondages is frequent as is deliverance from life-controlling problems of drugs, alcohol and sexual addictions.
The Three-fold Encounter Process
The encounter experience is actually in three phases. You begin with the Pre-encounter teaching. Then you go on the Encounter weekend. Finally, there is the Post-encounter Living Free! Course. The Pre-encounter usually takes place in the cell group and is designed to prepare you for the Encounter weekend. As soon as possible cell members register for the next available Encounter held in our Encounter Centre, Annan Court.
These Encounter weekends are dynamic and life-changing, and you will find real freedom as you attend in person along with others from your cell group. They are times of refreshing, assurance and restoration. Many thousands who have attended these weekends run by Kensington Temple testify to life-changing experiences of freedom and deliverance as well as healing and spiritual release.
The teaching and personal ministry directed by the Holy Spirit on these Encounters will give you a solid foundation if you are a new believer and a powerful boost even if you are well into your spiritual journey. The goal is to receive revelation through encountering Jesus face to face, to feel his loving acceptance, to experience his freedom and to hear his call to become a real disciple and an effective disciplemaker of others.
The Post-encounter, entitled Living Free! is a 10-week course of teaching and life-application of Bible truth conducted on Tuesday evenings in the main church. This programme builds on the teaching you receive at the Encounter Weekend, taking you deeper into the experience of the life of Christ. The course leads you personally into the fullness of the transformed life of the Holy Spirit.
Your Encounter with Jesus
We all need to meet with God! We see many examples of people in the Bible encountering him – Jacob wrestling with the Angel, Isaiah’s vision of the Lord in the Temple and Moses at the burning bush. These were all life-transforming experiences. All these people needed an experience of the presence and holiness of God. God took hold of their lives for a reason – they were called to reach their generation with the message of God and to do something significant for him. These people met with the Angel of the Lord, who was Christ appearing in the Old Testament. In the New Testament he comes as a man – we call that the incarnation. But in the Old Testament, he is also active as the Angel of the Covenant. We encounter God through Jesus!
Changed by the power of God
When you meet with God, you are changed exactly in the way they need to be changed. Look again at the biblical examples.
Isaiah (Isaiah 6) needed cleansing, assurance and deliverance from sin. He said to God, “I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” And God replied, “See your sin is purged and your iniquity is removed.”
Moses (Exodus 3) had to be delivered from fear, failure and a poor self-image. He needed deliverance from the past in order to pick up God’s plan and destiny for his life. He had to learn to trust again, to hope again and learn to expect great things from God. Moses’ encounter with the Lord shows us that it is never too late – he is the God of the second chance.
Jacob (Genesis 32) needed to face himself and be delivered from his inner conflicts in order for God to use him. He had to be broken, mended and remade.
Set free to serve God
All these people were also set free to serve God. Isaiah was called to prophesy to an apostate Judah and bring a message of repentance and warning to the nation. Moses was called to bring freedom and deliverance to the children of Israel captive in the land of Egypt. Jacob was called to inherit the blessing and become part of the Messianic line that brought salvation to the nations.
You also have been called. Just as God said to Abraham, he says to you, “I will make of you a great nation.” This means you must get ready for that call upon your life, to be a disciple and a disciple maker for him.
At the Encounter weekend, you will have a genuine experience of Christ. God will give you a divine intervention in your life to encourage you to give up your past life so that you can really get to know Jesus as your personal Saviour. We focus on deliverance and inner healing so that you may become a useful instrument in the hands of God. You also get to seek the Lord personally so that you can hear his call to be a disciple maker – to win, nurture, train and release disciples of Jesus Christ.
The Encounter Weekend focuses on a number of key themes:
- THE FATHER’S HEART – learning to receive the Father’s unconditional love and acceptance.
- ASSURANCE OF YOUR SALVATION – knowing for sure that you are saved and that you have eternal life.
- REPENTANCE – breaking the habits of the past.
- THE CROSS – seeing what Jesus did for you on the cross.
- INNER HEALING – finding release from rejection and inner pain caused by life experiences.
- DELIVERANCE – being set free from evil powers at work in your life.
- BREAKING STRONGHOLDS – a thorough deliverance from everything that binds you to the past.
- THE FAVOUR OF GOD – learning how to walk in the favour of God.
- THE HOLY SPIRIT – experiencing the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit.
- YOUR MINISTRY – understanding and responding to Jesus’ call upon your life.
- LIFE TRANSFORMATION – setting the direction of your life, now and for the future by enrolling in the Living Free! Life Transformation Course.