Phil's ESOM Q&A

Encounter School of Mission is a supernatural school of mission designed to equip and raise up kingdom carriers who bring back life to every corner of culture. It is a nine month course that helps you discover your kingdom identity, understand your kingdom authority and brings clarity to your kingdom assignment. → Find Out More

Why did you sign up to Encounter?

In the past, me and my wife Rachel had seen some healings, some words, some things like that, but giving a year to those things seemed really interesting. We prayed about it, thought about it. Then Rachel released me into this year. So I did it to see more of God, more healings, taking more risks. But not really knowing what that looked like – we'd sometimes done a few give-aways, prayed for a handful of people, but never cleaned toilets and given prophetic words and things like that. We didn't know what it'd look like to go out a day a week and do only that.

It surprised me how open people were to be prayed for. How people openly shared their emotions with you when you offered prayer or spoke some hope into their lives. I thought a lot more people would say, 'nah I'm okay'. Actually, when you go with openness, caring, and gentleness, people would often cry in the middle of the street as they told you their story, and you got to speak life into it and bring some of God's hope into it. 

What was your biggest highlight?

This was early on. The morning had been wet and cold and not great. Then I felt God tell me to go and speak to this group of young teenagers, chatting among themselves. God said one of them had a sore knee. I said, 'hey we're out today praying for healings, who has a sore leg?' And they all looked to this one guy who says, 'Yeah I damaged my hamstring, and actually, I'm a sprinter for Ireland so it's really important.' Three of the group seemed up for it,  so we prayed. 

As we prayed he felt something, so we prayed again. Then we asked if he could try his leg out, and he started to jog on the spot telling us it felt great! And then he started running, round and round. So his friend sees this and he's amazed, and he said he'd damaged his knee playing football, so we prayed – he felt it click and he looked at us in shock. Then God healed him too, as he was standing there saying 'my knee my knee...' The two guys who were healed and gave their lives to Jesus. The third guy didn't know what was going on. 

What's now changed in your life?

From September to June, there's been so much change. And it hasn't always been forwards, there have been times when I've took my foot off the pedal, some outreach days I've struggled, but its never made me not want to do it. I've always had the hunger to see something, to push into something. It's changed the way I view the Holy Spirit, now he's not confined to a Sunday thing. Now tuning in to him isn't a switch I can turn on and off, like it's just for a Sunday morning, or ministry times. Like when God tells you why the girl you work with is so anti-Jesus and anti-religion. God tells you she's lonely. You can't turn that off, you have to share hope and relationship, share your own journey with loneliness. A guy had a sore knee at work and, you know, when you've seen so many people's knees healed, you can't not say, 'I have a solution'. There's this thing in me that has to say, 'Jesus is the answer to this, too. Can I pray for you?' It's been the journey from hearing his voice to actually stepping out. The switch is on all the time now. 

It's changed my daily readings, my prayer times, how I read the Bible, how I go to sleep and wake up expecting him to speak. Or family situations – that switch is always on, when your ear's tuned to it you always hear it. It's changed both mine and Rachel's lives – now we're moving to the other side of the world to help plant a church. Your yes of saying yes to Encounter opens up your yes to bigger things. Even in healing: when you start small praying for headaches, next thing you're praying for cancer and wheelchairs. Your expectancy level rises. Your list grows, it doesn't shrink. I started with four things I wanted to see God heal, now the list is huge.

3 Places To Visit This Weekend

1. Dunseverick Castle

Dunseverick Castle is a wonderful part of Ireland's medieval history. Though what's left is only a small part of the original structure, it provides a glimpse of the imposing castle that once stood upon the cliff. Aside from the castle itself there are many walks close by and the stunning views can extend as far as Scottish shores on clear days. We recommend you bring a good pair of shoes and enjoy the beauty and history that the North Coast has to offer.

Dunseverick Castle is situated just 5 minutes drive east of the Giant's Causeway, near the small village of Dunseverick. To reach the castle, simply continue down the Causeway Road after passing the Giant's Causeway; there will be signposts for Dunseverick Castle and parking on the left side of the road.

The Causeway Cliff Path walk also runs past the castle site as it makes its way to Dunseverick Harbour.

2. Portbradden Harbour

Portbradden Harbour is an often overlooked gem on the North Coast. It consists of a tiny hamlet of houses that were once occupied by salmon fishermen, a small harbour and St. Gobban's Church. St. Gobban's is considered to be the smallest church in Ireland.

Portbradden is adored by locals for its picturesque views and its traditional feel. Parking is extremely limited so do factor this in if visiting on a busier day during the summer months. 

There is also an amazing walking route from the Harbour - follow the path via the little wooden gate on the left for a fun exploration trail the whole family will love. 

To access Portbradden Harbour, follow the Whitepark Road from Bushmills. Before you reach Whitepark Bay you'll see signs for Portbradden, which will be on your left.

3. Mussenden Temple

Mussenden Temple is located in the beautiful surroundings of Downhill Demesne near Castlerock. It perches dramatically on a 120 ft cliff top, high above the Atlantic Ocean, offering spectacular views over Downhill Strand towards Magilligan Point (to the west) and County Donegal and Castlerock beach towards Portstewart, Portrush and Fair Head (to the east).

Both the Temple and the surrounding views are among the most photographed scenes in Ireland. The area is excellent for walks and picnics, has wheelchair access and allows dogs (although they must be kept on a lead).

Downhill Demesne & Mussenden Temple can be reached by following the Coleraine to Downhill coast road (A2). Head from Coleraine, following signs for Castlerock/Downhill. Continue beyond Castlerock; after a few minutes you'll see the impressive entrance and parking on your right. Continuing down this road will take you to the Downhill Beach, another beautiful place to stop.

Cap Job Club

Our first 'Cap Job Club' was a real success with a 0% drop out rate and all the members have now found work, work placements or volunteering positions. We had the privilege of seeing week on week the members grow in confidence, social skills and self-worth. 

Recently as part of launching our next 8 week course we asked the participants what job club meant to them, this is what one member said…

“When I started Job Club, I was disheartened but somewhat hopeful. I'd tried everything else to get a job, why not this as well? In the past I'd usually failed at the interview stage, so I was looking forward to learning something new. In week 3 we did exercises on skills, but I sat and cried silently because I couldn't think of any skills relevant to my activities. I was ready to run out the door! Then the leaders took one of my activities, put it on the board, and got the whole group to pick out what skills it showed. Within a short time, I had a huge list of important transferable skills that I didn't know I had. Because of that, Job Club became the most useful program I've ever taken part in. So much so that the very next day I had my first successful interview in 7 years.” 

Job Club is an amazing resource transforming members’ mind-sets and skill-sets so they are empowered to obtain and keep a job. More to come!