[Lesson Index] [Healing-School Mini-Series Index] [Prev Lesson] [Next Lesson]
There are all sorts of misconceptions floating around about Lakeland. I had a few myself, before I went to Lakeland and saw what it was really like. So what I'd like to do in this last part of my introduction is to clear up a few misconceptions and establish a few truths about what the Lord is really doing in Lakeland, and about what the healing revival meetings are like.
Fictions And Misconceptions
God is at Lakeland, and He is doing a lot of miracle healings there. But not everyone is getting healed. I spoke to a man, one of the volunteers, who had been at Lakeland for two months. He "relocated there" to seek the Lord for healing for his heart condition. He has been to pretty much every meeting, he has faith that God can and will heal him, but he has not received healing yet.
I had the privilege of praying on the Ministry team while I was at Lakeland. I expected that because of the anointing there, every single person who I prayed for would be completely and totally healed. But did not work out that way. Most nights, I tended to see about the same level of healing praying there that I see praying at other places. One night was different--one night 5 of the 6 I prayed for where instantly healed. But on the last night, I would say that less than 10% of those who I prayed for received a substantial healing.
When I attended the ministry team training, they said something interesting. They said that, according to people's testimonies, about half of the healings that occur at the Lakeland meetings occurred when a ministry team member was praying for them. The other half seemed to be divine healings when Todd released a word of knowledge for healing.
I talked to other ministry team members, and their experiences were similar to mine--they saw the Lord heal through them, but many nights more people they prayed for were NOT healed than were healed. And yet, with 20 people praying on both sides of the stage and Todd giving words of knowledge, there were still a lot of healings each night.
I asked the Lord about this, and here is what He told me. The purpose of Lakeland is NOT to be a place where everyone comes to be healed, but where faith is released in the body of Christ, so that everyday believers canbegin doing the same works that Jesus did. The goal of Lakeland is not to heal every single sick person, but to raise up a body of Christ that will go home and heal the sick.
I am told that some meetings are more powerful than others, but the week I was there, I did not seem any more healing power or anointing than I am used to seeing in other healing meetings. The difference in Lakeland is that it has been sustained over a long period of time, and that a lot of sick people come to the meetings to be healed. Typically 6000 people attend a midweek meeting. Lets assume that 1/3 of them came for some type of physical healing. That is 2,000 people seeking healing. If only ten percent of them are healed, that is still 200 healings on given night, and the name of Jesus is glorified through those healings.
God loves to heal the sick, but He has an every bigger goal--that all 6000 of those attending would see an increase in faith so that they can start doing the same works that Jesus did, so that they can pray for the sick and see them healed.
That was the case in the Toronto style renewal meeting, where God the Father was freely pouring out His love on His people. The anointing there seemed to be equally thick no matter were you sat in the building, or even in the overflow room.
But Lakeland seems to be different. The anointing seems to be stronger the closer you are to the platform, particularly if you are facing it (as opposed to sitting sideways to it.)
My first night there, I arrived late and sat in the far corner, near the entrance. The anointing was so faint I could barely feel it. I assumed that it had not been a powerful meeting. But I talked to some people at the hotel the next day, and they said it was one of the most powerful meetings they had experienced. They had been sitting much closer to the platform than I was.
I ended up close to the platform on the other four days, and the anointing seemed very strong on three of them. I discovered that something interesting happened. When Todd gave words of knowledge, he would invite those people having the conditions to come up to the front. Many of the ones far away from the platform did not feel any healing anointing on them when they were in their seats, but when they got close to the front, the anointing came on them and they got healed. In other words, the closer they got to the platform, the stronger the anointing was.
I have heard two theories for why this is. One theory is that God has assigned a healing angel to the meetings. Apparently that angel stands on the center of the platform during the meetings and releases a healing anointing over the meeting. Therefore those who are closer to the angel experience more anointing.
The other theory I've heard is that Todd worked hard and went through a lot to get the anointing that he caries, and that it is his own anointing that is fueling these meetings. Todd spends most of his time on the platform, and that is why the anointing is stronger closer to the platform (because it is closer to the man who is carrying the anointing).
I don't know if either of those theories is correct, but either of them could be plausible.
That is not the case at all.
I have to confess that I was absolutely amazed and impressed at how well the logistics are taken care of for a meeting to service so many people. I expected the parking to be horrible, where you would have to walk over a mile to get from your car to the meeting. It wasn't like that at all. Parking was not that difficult, and getting in/out of the parking lot was much faster than most sporting events. They had brought in 4 or 5 trailers of toilets, which they parked only a few steps from the main entrance. There were lines at the busiest times, but they wait was not that long. There were plenty of facilities, which were well stocked most of the time, clean and pleasant to use. For those who were hungry, there was also a stand not far from the tent where they could purchase food and drinks.
The seating in the tent was amazing. There were probably less than a dozen "bad" seats in the entire tent, because they had carefully placed large screens anywhere that the view was blocked, or that was far away from the platform. They had a very sophisticated audio & visual system and multiple camera men. They did an excellent job of showing close-ups of the action on the platform and also showing quick shots of faces of people attending the meeting. I thought that the sound quality was very good for a meeting of that size. They used very comfortable folding chairs for seating, and the tent was cleaned and straightened by volunteers before each meeting. They even had some lost and found stations set up in the product sales area, and abandoned sweaters, blankets, etc were collected after each meeting and neatly folded on the lost and found tables.
The whole tone of the place was one of welcoming and a sincere desire that each person coming to the meeting would be blessed. There was a fairly large staff of Fresh Fire Ministry interns in charge of many different aspects of the meeting. Each of them was competent, friendly, helpful and loving. Their attitude spilled over on to the volunteers who assisted them. The overall attitude of the place was one of friendly welcoming, where people could feel love and cared about, and have their logistical needs well taken care of.
Personally, I did a lot of volunteer work, and I got to see a lot of what was going on behind the scenes. I was very impressed with the combination of love and integrity that reflected from every Fresh Fire Ministries staff member or intern that I came in contact with. I felt that this was a class act, honoring Christ and treating everyone who came with love, respect and dignity.
That is definitely not the case. I got to see it first hand, because I was trained for their ministry team. One of our responsibilities was to talk to the people who lined up and to verify that a healing had indeed taken place, that there was an observable difference between before and after the healing. The "I am healed by faith" testimonies were not allowed on the stage. That included things like diabetes or other conditions that require a medical test to detect.
Each person who did go up to testify had to provide their contact information, and a short written description of the before and after. There was a team of volunteers assigned to collect that information from them. The screening was carefully done so that only those with legitimate and observable healings were allowed to testify on the stage.
In fact, the screening for those giving testimonies was so stringent that some people could not testify the night they were healed because there wasn't clear observable evidence of a healing. They would get a test from their doctor and come back to the meeting another time with medical certification that they'd been healed before being allowed to come up and testify. Fresh Fire Ministries would carefully document each testimony that was shared from the podium. The produce a book of this data that is available to the media on request.
And you don't have to be concerned about being away from your friends. Almost everyone who travels there is blessed and happy and very friendly. I went there totally on my own, but I kept running into people at the hotel--as you walked the halls, in the dining room, at the pool, etc. They were all so friendly and it felt like I was part of a large travel group. I guess, in reality, we really are all one big group--brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.