“Incredible”: autobiography of John Nelson Parr — Contents
Chapter Twelve: Incredible Innovations
THE INCREDIBLE “Y.E.S.”
After World War Two started we were confronted with many difficulties. Nearly every factory was working overtime and weekends including Sundays, this made it very difficult to get the unsaved into the meetings. After praying much about this situation a great burden came upon me for the multitudes of boys, girls and teenagers who did not attend any Sunday School and never heard the Gospel; and in 1941 the “Y.E.S.” (“Youth Evangelistic Society”) was born. In six years we had opened in districts surrounding the Tabernacle, six “Y.E.S.” youth centres and branch Sunday Schools. The Lord was certainly teaching my hands to war.
Easter Sunday 1942 was a great day. Through the kindness of Mr. Prince Littler of Messrs. Stoll Theatres, London, we were allowed to hire at a very low charge the Manchester Hippodrome (seating capacity 2,400) for our first Youth Festival. At a later date the Youth Festival was held every Whit Sunday. We were subject to a tremendous volume of abuse and condemnation for starting the “Y.E.S.” and holding a Youth Festival in a theatre. Most of the criticism came from other Pastors, however, being definitely certain of the Will of God we forged ahead and held the Festival every year until the Manchester Hippodrome was demolished. The Lord mightily honoured our faith and obedience and hundreds of young people were brought to the Lord Jesus at our Festivals, Youth Centres and Branch Sunday Schools.
The Blessing of God was poured out abundantly upon the work of the “Y.E.S.” The Lord gave us a most magnificent band of leaders and workers, all of whom had caught the vision of boys and Girls for Christ. One of our leaders asked the Lord to teach him how to become a ventriloquist and ultimately he was preaching the Gospel through his doll “Timothy” and had the joy of bringing hundreds of boys and girls to Christ. Our battle cry was “Get them Saved and Baptized in the Spirit before they are fifteen”, and most of our “Y.E.S.” leaders made this their goal. We had also Puppets, Youth Orchestra, Youth Instrumentalists, Youth Accordionists, Youth Choir, Youth Soloists, Youth Singspiration Sextette, The Gospel Four, Tambourine Band and the “Outreachers”. “Y.E.S.” Crusades were held in nearly all the public halls surrounding the City of Manchester and all our “Y.E.S.” Youth Groups were used in these Crusades and our “Y.E.S.” Youth were thrilled to be given opportunity to work for the salvation of thousands of boys and girls for Christ. In 1943 we held our first Camp and every year since that date we have taken over one hundred boys and girls to camp for one week. The Camp meetings have been times of great blessing and scores of boys and girls have been saved and Baptized in the Spirit. It was my firm conviction that we must get boys and girls saved and Baptized in the Spirit before they were fifteen. Experience had shown me that within a short time of going to work they would be polluted and defiled and only a real experience of salvation and the mighty power of the Spirit would enable them to stand against the wiles of the devil. One of our battle cries was “One thousands boys and girls for Christ”, and ultimately we had over 1,100 young people under the age of thirty-five at Bethshan and in our “Y.E.S.” Centres.
We diligently sought the Lord to show us how to win the boys, girls, and teenagers for Christ; and the Lord who showed David how to win battles put into our hearts all kinds of ways, means and methods for filling the Hippodrome Theatre and the public halls with great crowds of boys, girls and teenagers. All our advertising, handbills and leaflets omitted the word “Religion” or anything which would give the people the impression our Festivals, Rallies and Crusades were religious. I had come to realise that young people and the people generally did not wish to have anything to do with religion and to them religion had no attraction whatever. The results proved we were correct in adopting this attitude. The outstanding feature of the work of God at Bethshan Tabernacle during World War Two was our work among the young people. We opened branch Sunday Schools, Youth Centres and Youth Clubs in various districts. Each branch centre found work for about ten or twelve young people and their work for Christ among the boys and girls helped to maintain a flame of fire love for lost souls in their own hearts, then again, one of the outstanding features of these days was the Spirit of prayer which moved in our midst. Sometimes there would be four or five prayer meetings every week. Often after the young people’s meeting on Tuesday night the young people would gather on their own initiative in one of the ante-rooms called “Carmel” for prayer, there would be an all night of prayer monthly on the first Saturday night in each month; we would also have a day of prayer and fasting. From 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. groups of people would be praying continually in certain ante-rooms. This meant that without cessation, during the whole of the day a volume of prayer was continually rising to the God of Heaven for revival and the salvation of lost sinners. The revival atmosphere filled every meeting and not a week passed without sinners being saved and miracles of healing being seen, believers were also continually being Baptized in the Spirit.
Bethshan Tabernacle and its members have been instrumental in opening twelve Pentecostal Churches in the Manchester district. (In 1920 Bethshan was the only Pentecostal Church in Manchester and district.) This means we have proved the Lord to be faithful to His promise for as we have given the message and the blessing to others so the Lord continued to give us good measure, pressed down and running over revival at the Tabernacle.
Chapter 14: Incredible Training
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]