Glad Tidings, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
In 1961 I found myself pastoring a church in Portland, Oregon. I had come off the evangelistic field out of necessity as my father had his first heart attack and needed me to take the pastorate from him. We had recently purchased a theatre that would seat 650, but having just suffered a church split, we were about 100 in number.
Thus began the most difficult years of my life. I really wanted to get the church moving and growing but nothing seemed to work. I began to hunger for a move of God, something that would take us beyond where we were. Since I was an evangelist I wanted a revival.
This is where Pastor Reg Layzell entered into the picture. I visited his church inVancouver, British Columbia, and to my amazement, there were hundreds of people worshipping with such unity that it was overwhelming. Everyone had their hands raised, everyone was worshipping, everyone was dancing before the Lord and everyone was in the prayer room for pre-service prayer. I couldn’t believe this. I had never been in a church that so impacted me spiritually as this church known as Glad Tidings.
I wanted what they had at my church in Portland. I didn’t realize it at the time, but there were three elements involved. First was the unity that I observed. And they were all in one accord, with one heart and one mind. Secondly, they were a praying church. Not just the “spiritual” ones, but everyone was praying, including the kids. And third, they all worshipped the Lord fervently. I knew that was what I wanted.
I began to get acquainted with Pastor Reg Layzell. He was certainly not bashful and he would tell things like they were! He let me know that he really was not interested in Portland,Oregon, as there had been some “far out” things taking place inPortlandthat he was aware of and he didn’t have any faith that any good could come out of Portland.
My family and I would make the six hour drive to his church once or twice a year just for personal refreshing. I knew our church needed what they had. It was a number of years before I finally was able to convince him to come toPortlandand minister at our church. He wouldn’t even give me a weekend, but came for meetings Tuesday- Friday. The only reason he consented to come was because his dear friend, David Schoch, agreed to join him. It was April 1965.
Reg Layzell was a true apostle. He came to us with a word of power and anointing, something that was quite different from what I had experienced in my revivals as an evangelist. He had three basic truths that he built his church on and that eventually I built BibleTemple on as well.
The first one, as I mentioned earlier, was unity — a revelation of the body of Jesus Christ expressed in a local church. If you don’t understand the local church it’s going to be very difficult for you to experience a move of the Holy Spirit because that is the wineskin for the new wine to flow in.
Second was the unity of prayer. Prayer is part of the service. For my house shall be called a house of prayer.
Third was worship. The Father seeketh such as will worship him (John 4). Reg Layzell’s life message was out of Hebrews 13 – Therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of our lips, with such sacrifice the Lord is well pleased. This has to do with God’s very presence. His favorite scripture was Psalm 22:4 – He enthrones himself on the praises of His people. If you want God’s presence in a stunning, magnificent way, then there will be a unity of worship to the Lord. He then comes down and inhabits that praise, which brings the anointing, and in turn opens the Word and brings the results.
Apostle Reg Layzell rescued my life out of the religious routines that I had gone through all of my life, both personally and as a local church. Looking back 50 years I can say that because of Reg Layzell and the change he brought into our church, thousands upon thousands of people have been affected around the world through BibleTemple (now CityBibleChurch), Portland Bible College, and Ministers Fellowship International. All because he was true to the word of God and established in me truths for which I will always be grateful.