Building Big (Part 3) – Being Sure of God’s Will with Terry Virgo

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The Return to Brighton

  • In Terry’s last year at Seaford, he only preached five times – young men he had raised up were carrying the work.
  • It wasn’t that big a work anyway.
  • Terry began travelling and helping lots of other churches.
  • They started to gather home church leaders together – and as he advised an American leader to move to the prominent city of his region, he realised that the same applied to him and so he moved to Brighton.
  • The Brighton church was in a school hall with a capacity of 38 seats. They started looking for a building.
  • Terry walked past a church building and had a sense in his spirit that God would give him the building. He prayed with a few other leaders and they knew they had it.
  • A few weeks later the pastor of that church arranged to meet with Terry and offered him the building.
  • Terry made clear that he wouldn’t throw aside any values to get the building, but the church and leader could join with them.
  • The building was free but they spent quite a lot doing it up.

A Bigger Building

  • They had to start again teaching people how to worship in God’s presence.
  • They filled the building then planted a new congregation across town and filled that one too.
  • Terry felt called to build a bigger team in Brighton – God spoke to him about how Liverpool were dominating English football at the time… by both bringing people through and bringing people in.
  • They had a few congregations – some were really working and others weren’t. They wanted to come together in a much bigger building – something central and prominent.
  • A lot of people gave very generously and sacrificially to bid for a building.
  • In a Saturday morning prayer meeting when they were going for £100,000, Terry felt God say they had it and they should ask him for £200,000.
  • At the same time there were some people who said they had lost their way because they had previously been saying it was about people rather than buildings… and yet this is the way God led them.
  • In the end, they raised just under £250,000 for it.
  • Then they put in the application – and the answer was no!
  • This was put on the local news, and in the report they mocked the church. Then they put the camera in Terry’s face and asked him for his comment and he said, ‘we will have it’.
  • If the vote had been 60/40 against there may have been a chance on appeal, but it was 100/0 against – so they prayed and ended up getting the building on appeal (plus stuff that they hadn’t even asked for).
  • They were doing up the building – and there were elements that they were unsure they could afford, but Terry knew that they needed to do it at that point so he had to put his foot down and insist.


  • Having a good team is very important – and the key to this is vulnerability.
  • Everybody has to be needed.
  • A team leader who is too strong doesn’t really make people feel needed and they know this.
  • A good team is one where everyone knows they are needed.
  • A strong leader isn’t someone who can come with all the answers, but one who can affirm others who bring the answers.
  • Terry had a sense that he would host a conference at the Brighton centre and mentioned it in a prayer meeting – the next day a member of his team had all the literature on his desk.