In the last issue of the Langstaff Letter, in response to a question from my eldest daughter Beth, I wrote about books that had impacted my life. Now, I would like to write about some of the people who likewise impacted me, especially in the early years of my Christian walk and ministry.
An Anglican (Episcopalian) minister in England and one of the pioneers of the Charismatic Renewal in the 1970’s, Michael Harper founded a ministry called ‘The Fountain Trust,’ and in 1971, I attended the first major conference that he had in Guilford, England. In one week, I was exposed to a wide range of speakers who expanded my understanding of this new move of God. ‘The Fountain Trust’ became a model for Dorothy and I as we began ‘The Temple Trust’ in Australia and likewise began to hold national Charismatic conferences, starting in 1973, when Michael Harper was one of the main speakers. In those early days, Michael was a great encouragement to us as we stepped out of local church ministry to go fulltime with ‘The Temple Trust.’
Ralph Wilkerson was the pastor of Melodyland Christian Center in Anaheim, CA. Each August, they hosted a conference that brought together the major speakers in the renewal at that time, including Katherine Kuhlman, David Wilkerson, and many others. Ralph Wilkerson came to Australia in January 1974 and spoke at our 2nd national Charismatic conference in Canberra. When Dorothy and I took him to the airport after the conference, his plane was delayed, and in that extended time of waiting, he imparted to us a sense of faith and destiny for the ministry that Dorothy and I had just begun. I later served on the Board of Regents for the Melodyland School of Theology.
I first heard Loren Cunningham, the founder of Youth With a Mission, speak in the early 70’s and, as a result, my family, along with a group of young people, traveled to Germany in 1972 to participate in an outreach to the Munich Olympic Games. Loren spoke for me in Australia a number of times in the decade of the 70’s, including the great Jesus 79′ Conference. I will never forget him speaking at one of our pastor’s conferences in Sydney, and he too imparted to me a dimension of faith and vision to believe for all that God wanted Dorothy and I to do in the years ahead.
Dick Mills was a Pentecostal minister with a remarkable prophetic ministry that often unlocked the plans God had for us in ministry. While at Melodyland for their annual conference, I met Dick for the first time (being introduced by a mutual friend) in the foyer of the Grand Hotel. A short time into our conversation, Dick began to prophesy over me words that were to come to pass in the next year. A subsequent word, given at a pastor’s conference in Sydney, related to starting Vision Bible College. Many times, Dick had a word in season that was right on for where we were at that time.
I met David Yonghi Cho, the pastor of the largest local church in the world in Seoul Korea, at an Assembly of God conference in Melbourne Australia, where he was the main speaker. I was also a speaker at the conference, and for some strange reason, we were put in the same pulpit for the Sunday morning service at Richmond Temple. Quite intimidated, I spoke first, and he followed. As a result of this initial contact, I was invited to minister in his church in Korea for a week in 1979; an unforgettable experience for me. Dr. Cho also invited me to be on the Board of Church Growth International. His faith in a miracle working God, his emphasis on prayer, and the many things he shared expanded my concepts of God and ministry and has impacted me to this day.
I COULD GO ON . . .
I could go on and mention so many others: Alan Wilson, a young minister who married us; Colin Orton, the pastor who pushed me into moving ahead with the call into the ministry; Katherine Kulhman, whose healing ministry blew my mind and who prayed from me at a conference in Melodyland; Don Pickerill, a Pentecostal pastor from Los Angeles who introduced us to the motivational gifts of Romans 12; Jim Spillman, whose miracle ministry blessed so many people on his ministry trips to Australia; Fred Price and his message on ‘Faith’; Jim Bakker, who opened up the door to Christian television; Ralph Mahony and Judson Cornwell, who first prophesied over Dorothy and me in 1971 regarding what God had planned for us; Rod Lensch and Morris Vaagness, along with others, who aided us when we moved to America in 1980; Myles Munroe, with his dynamic preaching and teaching; C. Peter Wagner and others, who enlarged the vision of Apostolic leadership; Terry Law with his outreach in missions to the world; John Maxwell on leadership; and Billy Graham, not only his evangelistic ministry but his leadership gifts.
I could go on, including all the various speakers and leaders in Australis and America – too many to name – but I would be sure to miss someone. God has used so many people to impart life and the truth of His word into our lives, for which we are ever grateful.
ONE FINAL QUESTION
Who are the people who have impacted your life and ministry? I would love to hear from you.
Alan – It appears we have some strong mutual friends. One I shall mention is Jim Spillman. He was the strongest, direct personal mentor in my ministry life. I spent weeks living in his library on his Omega Ranch in the high desert of California as I was writing my Masters Thesis. He taught me Greek (He was a Historian, Gk Scholar, and Educator). He modeled some of the most amazing gift ministry (Prophetic and Word of Knowledge) during the Charismatic Era. He would always challenge me to “ask the right question” as I searched for Biblical truth. He and Nancy were very special people that made an indelible etch on my life. Your friend, Dennis Matula, Greater Orlando, FL.
You Pastor Alan have been the most influential person in my life for ministry, and of course I cannot let Dorothy out of this list too! I am so grateful to both of you! After meeting you both the course of my life changed forever! Thank you both for being such wonderful Pastors, Teachers, Examples, Visionaries and Friends!!!!! I love you both!!!!!!!!