Rodney Howard Brown
I Recently had the opportunity to visit three services at the River Church, near Tampa, Florida, where Rodney Howard-Brown is the head Pastor. And my opinion of him and the church is as follows:
I think that Rodney is on Fire for God: meaning that I think his heart is right with God, and that he wants to do all that he can to serve the Lord and be used by God. I also heard him say that "It isn't me, and it isn't you, but rather it's God's Spirit" and that "All we are is the vessel." I also heard his younger brother say the same thing. His younger brother also "touched" me while I was standing in the second row praying, and I quite naturally fell back into my chair. I also sensed a Deep Peace in all three services, and also very clearly "sensed" the Holy Spirit's presence on Sunday morning when Rodney's wife was praying for the service, and for those present.
I also had the opportunity to speak with Rodney on Sunday after the service for about five minutes. And he told me that he is always looking for ways to used by God, and to learn new things in order that he may pass them on to God's people. Rodney also has a sense of humor, and uses it in his sermons. He also told me that he believes in a literal Garden of Eden with a literal Adam and Eve, and in a literal Noah and a worldwide flood: the same things that I, myself believe.
The Scripture says that you know a tree by its fruit (Matt. 7:13-29; I John 3:1-18), so in this regard, how does Rodney's Ministry measure up?
People are Getting Saved: In spite of what you may have heard on the Bible Answer Man radio program, or read on the internet, the ministry of Rodney Howard Brown is producing fruit for God's Kingdom. This is evident in the fact that they have regular crusades where many people are making decisions to follow the Lord. I also saw this myself during each of the three services I attended. In one of these about 20 people came forward and made professions of faith in the Lord. This is also what I, myself, did over 28 years ago. And after doing so (about 20-30 different times) the Holy Spirit came upon me and I literally "felt" His presence when it happened. It also happened while I was sitting in the back of a vehicle as it was driving down a highway. In other words, it doesn't have to happen in a church, or while you are at home.
I also noted that they sent out teams of people on Saturday morning to witness to people on the street, and at local Malls, and at a local fair, and at nursing homes. I also attended one of these groups and personally witnessed two people make professions of faith. We were only one of about seven teams that went out.
I also noted that Rodney holds about one crusade a week in different cities across North and South America.
Lives are Changing for the better: I also had a chance to meet several young people who are attending the Bible College associated with the River Church, and they all said that their involvement in the church was causing them to become closer and closer to the Lord, and that they were becoming more grounded in their faith. Most of these students were also involved with the ministry seven days a week. I also noted that Rodney doesn't drink any alcohol at all, but rather encourages his members to get on their faces before God, and seek to be "drunk" with God's Spirit: meaning to be filled up with the joy of the Lord, and with His Peace.
Seven Days a Week: I distinctly recall both Rodney and his younger brother say that our walk with the Lord, and our service to Him should be SEVEN DAYS a week, and not just on Sundays. I also recall being Challenged by Rodney's younger brother not to be ashamed of the Lord in the least bit, and to even confront people who use His name in vain. In other words, when he hears someone use the name of Jesus in vain, he asks them if they know Jesus... because he just heard them speak His name.
I also enjoyed their music, as the band was very talented and so were their singers.
No Home Bible Studies: My understanding is that they do not have Home Bible Studies associated with the River Church. This is one area of improvement they could make to help new believers become grounded in their faith. In fact, I see no reason why their Bible College members couldn't assist in leading such studies, as a means to challenge them in their faith.
Laughing during the service: In two of the services I was distracted by people who were laughing while Rodney was speaking. In other words, it was much harder to pay attention to Rodney when people very close to you are laughing out loud.
Slaying people in the spirit: My opinion is that this is something that would be better to have done AFTER the service, and in a separate room, for those who want to be "touched" and prayed for. But that is just my opinion, and I say it mainly because some people will be put off when they see people lying on the floor. I personally was not offended by this, however, I believe that some people would simply see it as a form of sensationalism used to attract people seeking a new form of high. In other words, while there is NOTHING at all wrong with someone going forward and being touched by the Lord, IF that is all one does for the Lord, then there is a good chance that something is wrong. Also, if doing so distracts from what the speaker is saying, then this is another reason to move it to Another Room AFTER the main service.
Overall I went away with the sense that the people who are close to Rodney, and who regularly attend church there are VERY Serious about their walk with the Lord, and that they want to be used by the Lord to accomplish great things for His Kingdom, and that Many of them are already doing so.
See their Home Page for more info