The Burn Movement
I wrote the following article for Covenant Church’s May edition of their missions magazine.
Burn 24-7 is an international grassroots movement of burning hearts returning to their first love, Jesus, and taking that Love to the nations. Central to this worship, prayer and missions movement are Burn “furnaces” – communities of worshipers who gather at least once a month for extended “burns” of non-stop worship that last anywhere from 8 to 50 hours. Teams, representing churches across the city, take one or two hour shifts to worship, pray and to contend revival in the church and transformation of cities and nations. Intercession, creativity and outreach are a natural overflow of the united worship & prayer.
In the 2006 the Burn 24-7 movement was kindled from the flames of a series of spontaneous, all night, dorm room worship gatherings on the campus of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. These meetings were an expression of raw hunger and passion for the presence of God as students fasted sleep and cried out to God through the watches of the night. Soon, outgrowing the tiny dorm room, these grassroots gatherings eventually moved across the street to a Christian owned coffee house. They began to host regular all night worship events with teams of musicians and intercessors from multiple churches ministering to the Lord in two-hour shifts. The sound released was a raw, prophetic cry of a generation longing for another move of God. Eventually word spread and local pastors began to open the doors to host, what became known as the Burn 24-7, in their churches.
This holy experiment spread like wildfire and many cities in the region began to launch monthly worship gatherings. By 2007 there were close to 20 communities, in cities across the world that took the name Burn 24-7 and utilized this simple model. Since that moment, the Burn 24-7 has exploded to over 200 locations across the world and has pioneered several training schools and sent out dozens of mission teams and several full-time missionaries. North Carolina is home to seven Burn furnaces, including Burn Greenville.
The Burn in Greenville has a slightly different storyline that would later converge with Burn 24-7. Burn Greenville was birthed out of a local worship ministry called 6:22, a a student-oriented worship movement founded in 2002 that centered around Friday night “undignified worship” gatherings. 6:22 grew to host an annual Worshipfest conference, record multiple worship albums and organize regional ministry tours.
Once or twice a year, these Friday night 6:22 gatherings would stretch into “24-Hour Worship” gatherings, as worship teams from across the city were invited to take shifts and keep the fire burning all weekend. It was years later that Matthew discovered the Burn 24-7 movement and realized that what was happening in Greenville was happening around the world. This same thing has happened in other cities as well. The Holy Spirit had been divinely orchestrating a radical worship movement. 6:22 eventually joined up with Burn 24-7 and morphed into Burn Greenville.
From 2012-2015, Burn Greenville hosted monthly Burns at the Boiler Room, a missions base and prayer room in downtown Greenville. This was the perfect venue to demonstrate the Burn’s slogan “From the Great Commandment to the Great Commission.” On Friday nights, worshipers would pack out the Boiler Room with hours of passionate songs and prayers for revival. Worshipers rediscovered the “great commandment” to love God with all their hearts, as they encountered God’s presence and were filled with His Spirit. While songs were rising in the prayer room, downtown Greenville was filling with those heading to bars and clubs. Every month, a team of worshipers would become a team of evangelists, and would descend on downtown with the “great commission” to pray with people and share God’s love. Sometimes, the outreach teams would carry “Free Prayer” cardboard signs to begin to engage with people.
When hosting Burns downtown, there also those who would wander in off the streets, sometimes unknowingly entering into the presence of God. Some would turn and run, but others would linger, listen and allow God to minister to them. We have experienced drunk marines supernaturally sober up and accept Christ, students trust Jesus on the outside steps and even a young man enter on crutches and walk out healed (holding his crutches!). This is what happens when God’s presence collides with a broken world. This is the heart of the Burn.
In 2016, Burn Greenville has become a “mobile tabernacle”, taking the presence of God around the city, hosting monthly Burns in different church buildings each month. This is becoming a catalyst for unity in the body of Christ and bringing a fresh awakening to the hearts of believers to embrace the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.