KWM ‘The Renewal’ (London 2012) – An In-Depth Review…

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The Renewal is an ever growing phenomenal event headed up by Noel Robinson & KWM (Kingdom Worship Movement) that tours all over the UK, gathering in different church’s. From a one day ram packed worship session to a 3 or 4 day action packed long weekend, it’s a not to be missed encounter. Noel Robinson is an inspirational man with such authentic vision, a talented musician and most importantly has a heart for worship. The KWM consists of worship leaders from around the UK from their own local church’s they all bring their own flair and uniqueness to The Renewal. The band consists of people with amazing talent but also a heart to match, who Noel has had the chance to meet along his path.

London 2012 saw the first youth night, ‘Releasing The Sound Of A Generation’ where artists such as Guvna B, Jake Issac, Joseph Perry & Candice Appiah & !Audacious took to the stage. The free youth night opened up with Joseph Perry & Candice bringing a worship set with a really modern and fresh feel to it, which engaged the 1100+ people who attended, leading them into a place where they could be free to be themselves. Before this I had heard a lot about Joseph but never heard him do a set. So I wasn’t too shook when it just blew me away. I felt I could really lose myself in the music, and as soon as I closed my eyes I was able to focus on God and not get distracted in any way. After that a worship team from HTB (Holy Trinity Brompton) carried on with the same feel leading us and helping us press further into God so we could go to a deeper level. Just when I thought things can’t get any better Jake Issac & band were then up but by this point in the night things were off the scale, people were being changed from the inside out. I don’t know about you but when over a thousand or more people come with you to lift praise up to God something significant is bound to happen, and sure enough it did. Jake felt the Holy Spirit telling him to call the people to worship God to thank Him, to shout out to Him for all He’s done and is going to do in their lives. “There must be more than this…” As soon as this opening line from the song ‘Consuming Fire’ was sung, the atmosphere just changed. There was a freedom in the place, an intensity of young people calling out to Jesus to “fill them anew” and the presence of God was undeniable. Noel Robinson then got up and led the crowd in a verse, and then told us where he felt the night was going and to introduce the headliners.

The headlining band !Audacious from Manchester then came on, needless to say this rocky band rocked out hard, with their track about bringing the praise. Pastor Glyn Barrett then spoke this guy is an enthusiastic, challenging dude who brings plenty of laughs and just as much on point golden nuggets in his funny and very well communicated sermons. He told a story of a young girl who was in a church meeting and the preacher called people to the front if they want be more obedient to the voice of God, and she went down the front. After the meeting she was driving her parents’ home and she drove past a petrol station she felt the Holy Spirit say to her ‘go in to the petrol station and do a head stand in front of the coca cola vending machine’. She instantly was like ‘that’s ridiculous’ and carried on driving. She felt the massive feeling of regret the further she got away from the station and she drove back. She pulled up, parked her car and had a look into the station window, saw that it was empty and thought she would run in and quickly do it but as she opened the door a bell above the door rang. The cashier came out and they both stared each other down, as she walked over to the vending machine. She took a deep breath got on her hands and into the headstand position and recovered from it and started to run out. The guy behind the counter shouted ‘stop, wait why on earth did you do that?’ her reply was ‘you wouldn’t believe me if I told you, he said ‘try me?’ She explained she was a Christian and she felt God tell her to do it, as she did the guy pulled a gun from below the counter placed it on the counter and said ‘don’t worry I won’t hurt you. Right before you came in here I was out the back praying that if there was a God for Him to send a Christian in here to do a headstand in front of the vending machine. You see my life is a mess; I’ve lost my wife, been banned from seeing my kids and have so much hate for my job and after my shift I was going to go behind the back of this station and shoot a bullet through the roof of my mouth’ she then invited him to church and he is now a Christian.

It’s stories like this that spur me on and motivate me so much more to live a great life and with such expectancy that Almighty God is willing to use little old ordinary me to be His hands and feet to do extraordinary things here on Earth. !Audacious came back on stage to rock the rest of the night away, leading us in a massive praise fest of worship to our God! This was one of the best youth events I’ve been to in the 10+ years I’ve been a Christian and I have been to a lot of youth events.

On the Thursday night they had a night called ‘One City, One Sound’ where 4 or 5 local bands/choirs came in and did a set each. I wasn’t there for this but I’ve heard nothing but good things from this night.

On the Friday morning on arriving I was just buzzing with expectancy, I didn’t have a clue what it was but if the other Renewal events I had been too were anything to go by I knew we were in for a cracking day. It opened up with Madeleine Kerzner praying and when that woman prays, anything can happen! It then went into a time of worship being led by Donna Akodu and the KWM singers & band. Donna is seriously gifted with singing prophetically and she just goes where she feels led and it’s never a bad place! One of my favourites by her is ‘Heaven Break In’ and I just get lost in praising my God when they start singing the bridge “That’s when, my God, shows up, Heaven breaks in” I wish I could get everyone to feel the power in the song as I have experienced, you all need to come to the next Renewal.

In the afternoon the conference split off into seminars, there’s a variety from Music master class to Sound engineering, from song writing to prophetic painting (also new this year) as I’m friends with some of the guys who were organising the sound for the event, I helped out serving here by doing the sound in a session on music mastser class with Steve & Velveta Thompson & Mark Beswick. I did the sound and got it all set up so it could be recorded, but was also listening to some of what he had to say and it made sense, it’s good to have lessons to be more skilled but it’s also good to be as simple with your chord patterns to help lead people into a place where they can feel free to worship God without any mistakes on the guitar or keyboard etc distracting them from their place of worship. The second session I did sound for Graham Kendrick who led on his guitar, he did something so powerful and simple that I’ve never thought about doing before which was quite simply singing from the book of Psalms. He played his guitar with a lot of progressive chords built up which added power to when he was singing from one of the Psalms he had selected, there was such a sense of power and authority in the room. And with a variety of different people in the room the vocals were beautiful as well.

We then had the privilege to sit and listen to Israel Houghton just dabble on his guitar with Noel Robinson for a bit as he told a bit of his story. He told of when he was 19 years old and started to lead worship in his big church that he only knew 2 songs and that he had to lead the worship team for 40 minutes so in theory he had to carry each song on for 20 minutes each. He spoke about when he was first learning the keyboard he used to sit at home and play in the kitchen. He spoke of how he couldn’t wait to get off stage and play in his ordinary room on his own singing his own praises to God where nowadays for some people it’s all about the big stage and not doing it in the quiet in their own space and how it was different because he couldn’t wait to get off the stage and in to the quietness with just him and God. This story touched me because as you know a lot of people nowadays juts want the limelight but need to work on their personal relationship with God. I thought this was completely on point and gave it a big ‘AMEN’. He also said something so profound that I really loved and I’ve not stopped telling people since I came back, which was when he was younger and he was asked to go out or do something on a Sunday he used to say “I can’t I’ve got to do worship practice” and he said as he grew as leader but also as a worshipper his response then changed to “I can’t , I get to do worship practice.” It isn’t a chore you shouldn’t feel like you have to, your response should be ‘I get too’ cause it’s an honour and a privilege to worship our awesome God and creator. We then had a break and came back for the evening event.

On the Saturday we arrived early with such a buzz carrying on from the Friday night, so the event just got straight on it, again with Madeleine Kerzner praying, which again just got everyone focussed before Noel came up on stage. There was some more powerful praise led by Donna Akodu before Simon Foster of Bristol Elim got up to speak. I then had to leave to go help get lunch for all the guest speakers and artists, but when I came back I could just hear the anthem ‘Oh, How He Loves Us’ being sung so beautifully, so as I was drawn back into the main auditorium, my heart cry was how He loves me! Noel then got everyone to lift their hands up and grab the hand of the person next to them, not to my knowledge because I didn’t know who he was, I was next to Simon Foster he gave me the biggest handshake and I felt safe around him, a complete stranger. We then split off for lunch. The afternoon was very similar to Friday, infact I did the same seminars helping them with sound, it’s great serving people who don’t know you, yet they appreciate you nonetheless! Instead of staying in Graham Kendrick’s seminar I set it for record and went into Lara Martin’s seminar ‘The Dynamics Of A Worship Leader’ not because I want to become a worship leader, but simply to support Lara, as she is the worship director at my home church in Northampton. She told a bit about her story from when she was living in Romania, then picked up her guitar and started to sing ‘I love Your presence’ by Bethel Live and as soon as she did the presence of God began to fill the room, it was as if the Holy Spirit just descended in to the main auditorium and there was such freedom in the air. People were just sat there basking in the Holy Spirit. It was both very moving and powerful. We then split for dinner for the main event Saturday night.

Saturday night as soon as the doors were flung open, people were ready for more, they were screaming and running down to the front eager to worship their God! Such anticipation filled the room, the opening act was a group of dancers from Fiji which blew everyone away about 27 dancers, dancing all in sync, including a young lad in the middle reflecting the fact that the younger generation are also important. Graham Kendrick then got up and started singing a song about calling forth the next generation, which as you can see a similar theme keeps re-occurring. Lara Martin then got up with her guitar and started leading the crowd in some worship, I truly believe the presence carried on and it was just overflow from her seminar, it got a little deeper here, people started breaking out and worshipping God more freely. She started playing along with the Holy Spirit, playing her guitar but not singing she then started singing the words, ‘come, come forth’ encouraging people to come and worship down the front, crowds of people just left their stuff at their seats and came down to the front to worship God so passionately. She led the song ‘Freedom Reigns’ by Jesus Culture, as I was down at the front hands raised in the air praising God, tears streaming down my face, I was trying to sing but for some reason that night God shut me up, I couldn’t get any words out, and that’s not like me at all. I truly believe that night I was released from something, given a total freedom over something, I’ve not yet worked out what it was, but I believe it will soon be revealed. Elim Sound then came on stage and did a set. I’ve heard of them but not heard much of their stuff, but when God blesses something, anything, it will prosper, and these guys rocked out, the presence of God was shining through so much that night, then Israel Houghton took to the stage. He had literally been on 2 minutes walked around praying, laid his hand on Sam Blake the keyboard player from Elim Sound, and he just flew to the floor, the presence of God was so strong this night.Israel then started to lead a song from the keyboard, whilst leaders such as Noel, Mark Beswick, Graham Kendrick, Steve Thompson and others started praying for the people at the front. There was a full on soaking time where, nothing was said people were just in awe of how amazing our God is. Noel then got up and introduced the headliners for Saturday night, Hillsong UK. Pete Wilson led these guys and they were the business, they sang some old school classics, ‘One Way’ ‘Mighty To Save’ and people were praising God like it was their last day on Earth! This was definitely the highlight of my year so far, and I’m expecting a lot more! But honestly words cannot describe this encounter that you will have if you come to a ‘Renewal’ event. I challenge you get down to one, it will be so worth it!

Reviewed By Luke Viner.