The impact of Lonnie Frisbee's ministry goes much further than a lot of people realize. There are to this day reverberations still going on from the impact of his ministry. In fact, Ken Fish, a minister who comes out of the early Vineyard, said in a comment to the recent post I wrote on Lonnie Frisbee: “This is an article that anyone who is interested in the origins of the modern "move of the Spirit" should read. Virtually everything that is going on right now in the Revival Alliance, Partners in Harvest, Bethel [Bill Johnson, Redding, Ca], Global Awakening, Iris Ministries [Heidi Baker], and more, has its roots somewhere and somehow in the move of God that began on Mother's Day that Bryan Marleaux writes about here.” (If you didn't get a chance to read this post, click here)
The Lord also used Lonnie extensively overseas, in various places such as England, South Africa, and Brazil, where there were those who experienced a powerful impact of the work of the Holy Spirit.
Scandinavia was another one of those places where the Lord used Lonnie. Some significant moves of God took place in both Sweden and Denmark through Lonnie’s ministry that saved and revived many people. We, through a divine appointment on our last trip to Scandinavia, encountered first-hand someone whose life was changed and completely turned around by the way Christ worked through the Frizz.
Right before we left on our last ministry trip to Europe, our friend David Sloane, a prophetic minister who has been used by God many times to bless and encourage our lives, sent us a recording of our late friend Lonnie Frisbee. The recording was from when Lonnie was ministering in Sweden back in the day. We didn't know that we would encounter someone in Sweden shortly after listening to that recording, who got caught in the line of fire and whose life was never the same: turned around for good by the power of God.
A Little Background on Lonnie Frisbee
For those who may be unaware, Lonnie was used by the Lord as one of the pioneers of the Jesus People Revival. After ministering in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury district where this move originated, he later teamed up, through a divine appointment, with Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.
He was instrumental in getting things off the ground there, and as the main evangelist for some of the crucial early years, he also led some notable figures to the Lord including Mike Macintosh (pastor of one San Diego’s largest churches), Tommy Coomes (became a prominent worship leader with the Billy Graham organization) as well as Greg Laurie (pastor of Harvest Churches and evangelist of Harvest Crusades). Laurie was also discipled by Frisbee for roughly a 5-year period. Lonnie also started Laurie’s church in Riverside, California with Fred Waugh. Frisbee, in fact, was used by God as the preacher and evangelist out there in Riverside for about a year and a half, before Greg Laurie ever came in and that was after Lonnie left to do other things. Greg Laurie took over as pastor after Lonnie had departed and Laurie changed the name to Harvest.
Frisbee was also instrumental in what would become the Vineyard movement (as I shared previously) introducing it to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the famed Mother's Day service where the outpouring first took place. Lonnie modeled and exemplified early on the ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.
John Wimber states in his book Power Evangelism that the Mother's Day service was the first power encounter of his life. Wimber synthesized and theologized much of what he experienced about operating in the power of God as Lonnie ministered in those seminal early days in what developed into the Vineyard.
John Wimber then taught on the Power of God in a systematic, palatable form that many in the body of Christ could readily digest through his conferences, seminars, tapes, and books.
It should be needless to say, but isn't, that Lonnie Frisbee’s impact on these movements: Jesus People, Calvary, Harvest, and the Vineyard, was hugely instrumental and influential.
For many years, Chuck Smith had pastored only a small church he couldn’t get to grow before teaming up with Frisbee. He couldn’t get past what Peter Wagner loosely refers to as a small church barrier. That was until Frisbee showed up and things began to move into what eventually became a revival amongst the youth and hippies.
Greg Laurie’s impact as an evangelist came from those seminal early times witnessing Frisbee as the leading Jesus People evangelist in those early days and being discipled by him.
One should also consider John Wimber’s statement that his first ever encounter with the power of God was at the Mother’s Day service (1) where Frisbee ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit and also that Wimber’s four subsequent books in his life are based on the power of God : Power Evangelism, Power Healing, Power Encounters, and Power Points, to see the impact. Wimber had written nothing of this sort nor had any experience in this area prior to this.
Back to the Story about Sweden
When David Sloane sent that recording to us before we left to Europe, it turned out to be more prophetic than either of us anticipated. While ministering in Småland, Sweden, we ended up having a powerful and unexpected divine appointment with a man who was radically saved and filled with the Holy Spirit through Lonnie back on one of those trips Frisbee had made to Europe:
We had just finished ministering in a small town in Småland and we were stoked at how the Lord really touched, filled and saved some of the youth. We were now trying to figure out how we were going to get to the main train station the next day, since it was quite a distance (about an hour and a half away) and our friends that we were staying with weren't available to take us.
We were glad when a man from one of the churches we had ministered at told our friends he could give us a lift since he would be heading there the next day.
The next morning, he showed up with a roomy station wagon, which was really cool already, as it meant we wouldn't have to be all crammed in with our luggage. It is common in Europe to drive tiny cars that get quite cramped if you stick a few people plus luggage in them.
As we got going we were just chitchatting about different things, when he nonchalantly began to tell us how he came to know the Lord.
He began to share that he had gotten saved and radically filled with the Holy Spirit when a guy named Lonnie Frisbee came to minister in Sweden years back around the time of the Jesus People Revival. Our ears perked up and we listened closely as he told us what happened:
He had been raised in a traditional church in Sweden, but the extreme liberal bent of the state churches and traditional fellowships there, left him, like it has with many others, without the saving message of the Gospel and steeped in unbelief. He said he actually had no faith at all, dead religion just doesn't get the lost saved!
But then a hippie preacher came to town.
He went to a meeting that this hippie preacher Lonnie was doing. Jan showed up drunk and only went there out of some kind of feeling of obligation.
However, his brother was there too, and he had a severe knee injury and wasn't able to walk unassisted. Lonnie called his brother forward in the meeting to pray for him after he gave his message.
Frisbee laid hands on him and began to speak forth healing to the injured knee, and his brother began experiencing the power of God. He could feel something was going on in his knee. After some prayer he just got up and started walking and than began to run around the room.
Knowing the severity of his brother’s injury and that unless God had touched him he couldn't move and run like this, Jan was confronted with the reality of the Kingdom of God.
He was shaken out of his drunken state by what was happening. In a state of awakening, confronted by the Kingdom of God, he came forward and he and his brother received Christ and got saved.
After they accepted Jesus Lonnie then began to pray for them to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit began to fill him with the Father’s love, power, and grace. He had never experienced anything like this before in his life. The Spirit of God filled him, and filled him, and filled him with His presence and he was there receiving for like 3 or 4 hours under the power of God. He experienced a radical baptism in the Holy Spirit. It was a life changing moment that reset his life's course.
He gave his life to the Lord that day and has walked with Christ ever since. He is still actively serving the Lord to this day and walking in the Spirit. He regularly does mission trips to different places and ministers himself.
I noticed how we both shared similar experiences: I shared with Jan how I also had been baptized in the Holy Spirit for like 3 or 4 hours when I first got filled with the Holy Spirit through Lonnie’s ministry back in the day (link to story.) I told him what a life-changing thing it was for me as well.
It was quite the experience to meet someone halfway around the world who experienced the same thing through the same evangelist, Lonnie Frisbee. We felt the presence of God filling the atmosphere inside the car as we talked and drove along.
Youth Touched in Meeting
We also shared with Jan about how the Lord blessed and impacted a number of people and filled them with the Spirit when we just ministered there in Småland:
I shared how we had done some meetings where the adults were being ministered to, but we wanted to find a way to see some of the youth impacted as well.
Our friendsä son named Daniel came up with an idea: let’s take them out on a boat ride before coming over for a special meeting as a way to stir some fun and interest into the mix to get the youth in the area interested in coming out.
A good-sized group of about ten to twelve kids responded and showed up, so we had them out for a short sailboat ride and then had them come up afterwards for some dessert and to share a bit.
After dessert, Mercedes and I began to share some Holy Ghost Surf Stories (link) and some adventures we’ve had serving the Lord in different places in the world. This got their attention as it wasn't a churchy type of message but more of adventures we’ve had in the Lord. Some of the kids were unchurched and others went to church but some were quite nominal (the state of things in Europe today).
We could feel the Holy Spirit starting to break through the walls and barriers there. We then had our friends’ son Lucas share how he had been ministered to by the Holy Spirit when we prayed for him earlier that very day.
The Spirit of God had come upon Lucas powerfully earlier when we were just talking to him and eating lunch with him. The presence of God began to overwhelm him as tears just filled his eyes. We began praying for him and the presence of God filled him in a powerful way. He could barely eat his sandwich afterwards it got drenched by his tears.
As Lucas shared with the group what happened at lunch we began to transition as we were feeling the leading of the Spirit to begin minister to some of them there.
The Lord began to touch and fill some of the young people as we ministered.
As we continued, I felt drawn to go talk to two girls who were hanging in the back of the group and being quite shy. With our friend Maisi, I inquired if they had ever received Jesus as their Savior.
They told us that they had not. So we ended up sharing and explaining the Gospel with them while Mercedes, Lucas, and some others continued praying over the other youth.
After explaining how Jesus had died for our sins and rose to give us eternal life, we asked if they wanted to receive Christ. They responded affirmatively so we led them in prayer to receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
We saw that the Holy Spirit was at work so we said, “Let's also pray for you guys to be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
The Spirit of God began to slowly and gently come upon them, just lightly touching them at first. Then, after a bit, the power of God began to radically increase upon them. Then tears began to stream down their faces. It just became more and more powerful as we prayed for them, and they collapsed down onto the couch as the Lord filled them and they gave each other a big, long, bear hug, and then surprisingly these two who had just gotten saved began to pray for one another and minister to each other.
They had been very shy and reserved and quiet, sitting in the back not involved just prior to this. Now the Lord had taken hold of them and they were being transformed before our eyes.
After praying for one another for a while they began to lay hands on others there and get words for them. This was blowing my mind as nobody told them to do this or even encouraged them. But God was immediately using them as they let the Holy Spirit work in them.
The presence of God just kept being poured out and the meeting went long into the night. In fact, our hosts got so tired they finally went to bed. But not these newly saved and filled young ladies. They were so filled with joy after all the Lord did, they seemed ready to stay up all night, and in fact didn't leave until about three in the morning.
They all showed up at the next church service we did and brought other friends with them. The Holy Spirit was poured out especially on the whole of the youth that night and they stayed long after the meeting was over praying and ministering to one another.
The mother of one of these two young ladies who got saved at that special youth meeting came up to us. She told us how thankful she was that her daughter had finally been saved, explaining to us how she had been praying for her for many years.
God heard her prayers even though His answer to that prayer did tarry for a long time. He also uses unexpected vessels sometimes to answer and do His will!
Vessels indeed: he used a sailboat ride to get them out to a meeting they normally wouldn't go to on a Friday night and some American surfer sharing Holy Ghost Stories to bring them into the kingdom. The Lord used a Hippie preacher to save Jan and many, many others, as well as to impact a large segment of the Body of Christ. He’ll use any vessel that will surrender to His will and follow Him.
(1) Wimber, John with Kevin Springer. Power Evangelism (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1986) 23-26.