Lakeland Revival Officially Ends
After a major scandal and dwindling crowds, the Lakeland Outpouring concluded Sunday.
[10.13.08]The Lakeland Outpouring’s final meeting was held at Ignited Church on Sunday””six months after Canadian evangelist Todd Bentley launched daily meetings in the small Lakeland, Fla., community and left without warning Aug. 11 in a cloud of scandal.
“None of us knew how long this would last,” said Ignited Church senior pastor Stephen Strader, who announced on a blog Oct. 2 that, with the outpouring ending, he intends to set up a global apostolic base in Lakeland. “Ignited Church has had a vision [for] an International Apostolic Center. The Lakeland Outpouring has catapulted our vision forward.”
Strader , while unindicted was publicly implicated by the prosecution in the multi million dollar swindle that saw elderly Christians defrauded out of their savings for which ‚ Strader’s brother Daniel remains in prison until 2036 as a professional gangster under RICO anti racketeering laws.
Days after Bentley told his Fresh Fire Ministries (FFM) staff in August that he and his wife were separating, the 10,000-seat air dome used for the revival meetings was taken down. Bentley resigned his position at Fresh Fire, stepped down from public ministry and faded from the public eye.
It was his FFM board in Abbotsford, British Columbia, that later announced that Bentley had confessed to an inappropriate relationship with a female staff member. At the time, a senior board member told Charisma that Bentley’s alcohol consumption also had “crossed the line.”
Bentley’s faith and exuberance impressed seasoned, prominent revivalists while his wild tactics often tempered the enthusiasm of other leaders. When praying for healing, the tattooed evangelist was known to hit the sick in the stomach with his knee in a move more common among wrestlers than preachers. Bentley even recounted kicking a woman in the face in an act of “obedience to the Lord.”
The reason so much of Europe was impacted by what occurred in Lakeland was largely because daily meetings were broadcast on GOD TV, a satellite-based TV network with millions of viewers in 200 nations. More than a month after Bentley’s problems became public, GOD TV co-founders Rory and Wendy Alec issued a statement defending the outpouring and Bentley’s work in Lakeland.