The Early Days
The story of Nations Church starts in 1974 with the ministry of Christ for all Nations – a ministry founded by a German evangelist by the name of Reinhard Bonnke. Reinhard was a young missionary to the Southern African nation of Lesotho. His ministry there was very difficult. He said that on one occasion, he walked an entire day to preach in a certain village, and when he arrived, there were only five people in attendance at his meeting – and no one got saved. It was a very frustrating and discouraging season for him. He said that he cried out to the Lord and said, “Oh God, this cannot be it. This cannot be the impact of the glorious gospel.”
And then something happened that changed Reinhard Bonnke’s life and the course of history. In the night, he had a dream, in which he saw a map of the continent of Africa being washed in the precious blood of Jesus, from south to north and from west to east. And he heard the voice of the Holy Spirit cry, “Africa shall be saved.” He awoke. His heart was pounding. But then he said that his skeptical German brain began to take over, and he thought to himself, “My ministry has no impact in this tiny little nation of Lesotho, and now I hear ‘Africa will be saved?’ Something is not right. I must have eaten some bad bananas.” But he had the same dream the next night. And the next night. And the next night. And after night number four, he said to his wife, “Annie, I think that God is trying to tell me something.”
That dream was the beginning of the ministry called Christ for all Nations. Reinhard began going from nation to nation throughout Africa, holding evangelistic crusades that were growing ever larger. At first, the events were held in stadiums. Soon Christ for all Nations had built the world’s largest mobile structure at the time, a massive tent capable of seating over 30,000 people! But very quickly, the tent was too small, and Reinhard began seeing massive crowds filling huge fields with hundreds of thousands of people in attendance.
- We’ve seen up to 1.6 million people in attendance in a single meeting.
- We’ve seen more than 6-million people attend a crusade over the course of a week.
- We have seen over 1 million people make a decision for Christ in a single service and up to 3 million over the course of a crusade.
And by the way, this is not just something that happened long ago. This massive, historic harvest is ongoing right now! Not only is it ongoing, but it is also increasing and multiplying – which brings us to the story of Nations Church.
The Decade of Double Harvest
In 2017, the Lord began to speak to Daniel about the upcoming decade (the decade we are in now) as a “Decade of Double Harvest.” And he felt that the Lord showed him that the ministry would see the number of salvations (which was just over 75 million at that time) double to 150 million by the end of the decade. It would be an exponential increase of the harvest. But how was this possible? The Lord showed Daniel that this increase would come not through addition but through multiplication. In other words, it would happen not just by doing more crusades and bigger crusades, but through multiplying laborers by raising up an entire generation of Holy Spirit-filled evangelists that would go into the nations, preaching the gospel and reaping the harvest.
And so, to make a long story short, we have been working for years to obey this word to “multiply.” This is what is happening right now. It’s something you will hear about every Sunday at Nations Church. An army of laborers is being raised up and launched out. They have been trained (or are being trained) and sent out from this place into the nations of the world. But Nations Church is their home base, and here in Orlando, when they are home, they are out on the streets every day, preaching the gospel, praying for the sick, and discipling new converts. When these evangelists go out to the nations, their families support one another, care for one another, and worship together. It’s the purest expression of a New Testament, Book of Acts type church that we know of.
What’s Different About Nations Church?
But it’s not just the evangelists and their families; the Lord gave the leadership of Nations Church the vision for a model of local church that could really impact and transform a city. We’ve seen God shake many cities around the world (in some cities, half the population or more has received Christ in a single week – literally!) But, what about our own hometown? Was it God’s desire that we go out and win other cities for Christ and watch our own city go to hell? Not a chance!
- And so, Nations Church is not just a training center for evangelists (although it is that).
- It’s not just a hub for global ministry, launching laborers into the harvest and providing a home base for their families and ministries like a modern-day Antioch (although it is that).
- It’s not just a powerful weekly worship experience (although it is definitely that too).
- It’s not just for youth, or kids or families or retirees.
- It’s not just about evangelism, and it’s not just about discipleship.
- It’s not just about the worship or the preaching or the small groups or about the outreaches.
- It’s not just about feeding the poor and serving the community.
- It’s not just a local church.
- It’s all these things at once!
We think that Nations Church represents a new way of thinking about church. You’re probably used to the idea of church being a weekly service where people come and (hopefully) hear good teaching from the Bible and enjoy a worship experience. We have those things, but the “real” activity of the church is not limited to Sunday mornings. In fact, most of what we do is happening every day of the week – not only in the building – but all throughout the city and, in fact, all around the world!
Everyday people are preaching the gospel – locally and globally. Every day, small groups are meeting throughout the city, and discipleship is taking place. So, what is left to do on Sunday morning? We celebrate what God is doing! We encourage one another. We provoke one another to good works. We worship God together and stir one another – like coals to burning coals. And then we launch out from that place back into the world and do it all over again! Doesn’t that sound amazing? Doesn’t that sound…Biblical?
The Sunday services are designed to be conducive to people that have real lives. We aren’t taking five hours of your Sunday while the service drags on and on. But we’re also not giving you dry, shallow, spiritual “fast food.” Sunday services are deep, powerful, and life-changing. But they are also realistic in the demand placed upon your time. We want this to be something you look forward to all week and absolutely cannot get enough of.
Children, Youth, and Families
We are also putting a huge emphasis on children, youth, and families. Nations Church is a place where your kids and grandkids are going to experience the presence of God, grow in the things of God, and forge Godly, life-long relationships. We are playing the “long game” to see your kids serving God for the rest of their lives!
Do you realize that most people come to Christ in their teenage years? These young people are the ones most likely, not only to put their trust in Christ but to follow Him for life. So, we are going after them with intentionality. In fact, this is so much a part of our paradigm that we are not sending your teen into a back room to play video games and be babysat while the adults “have church.” Our services are designed to engage your teens. We want them pushing you (the parents) to get to church on Sunday morning. One of our mottos is this – “If it’s too boring for the young people – it’s too boring for the church.” Do you know why? Because honestly, even those of us that are older don’t want to be bored. We all want to be on the cutting-edge of what God is doing!
And when you sign up for a small group, it’s not a commitment for life. After the semester is over, there is a break. And when small groups start up again, you are free to switch to a new group if you want or even take the semester off completely. There’s no pressure. This is not supposed to be a burden. We want it to be a huge blessing in your life.
For us, small groups are not a “program.” They are part of the fabric and culture of Nations Church. That’s why the pastors on our staff lead their own small groups. It’s not just something we want you to do. It’s something we are all doing because it’s so important. These groups are a place where you can be yourself, connect with friends, engage in meaningful conversations, and take the next step in your walk with Jesus. But that’s not all. In these small groups, the Holy Spirit is going to move. People are going to be healed. Bondages are going to be broken. New converts are going to find family and community. These small groups are the lifeblood of Nations Church.
But beyond the local outreach, Nations Church is also touching the world. Nations Church is the local church expression of Christ for all Nations, which is a global ministry that has 14 offices in 12 countries on 6 continents, and has held some of the largest evangelistic crusades in history and seen over 80-million documented decisions for Christ in just over 30 years. And that work continues. We are conducting anywhere from 15 to 43 mass crusades per year right now all over the world. And that’s in addition to conferences and collaborative events in Europe, Asia, South America, and all over the United States. And if you’re wondering if you can get involved in those, the answer is absolutely YES! You are part of the family now, and we want your help, not just in Orlando but all over the world.
Of course, all of this is just a small sampling of what Nations Church has to offer. If you want a place to get involved, we have whatever you’re looking for. Whether it’s kid’s ministry, youth ministry, young adults, or singles ministry, dance, drama or deliverance, intercession, missions, outreach, prophetic ministry, or worship ministry, we have a place for you.