Pastor Bill Johnson – Hosting the Presence

Our Greatest Priority? God’s Presence.

Last November, I had the privilege of interviewing a true general and personal hero in the faith. It’s not every day that you get to work with someone who has influenced your spiritual journey more than – perhaps – anyone who is presently alive on the planet. This person for me is Pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Church.

The topic we discussed in our interview was the very Truth that, I believe, defines Bill’s ministry, life and legacy—the priority and pursuit of God’s Presence. We talked about the central role that God’s presence plays in both the believer’s life and in the church, as Bill shared about the inspiration behind his latest resource, the Hosting the Presence curriculum.

I’ve had the opportunity of traveling out to Bethel Church four times now in less than a year. Honestly, it is one of my favorite places in the world to visit, and the reason being is because Johnson and his team have committed themselves to building a church culture around the Presence of God more than anything else.

Believe me, Bethel is not lacking in the anything else. They have plenty of classes, programs, and outreaches. There is something for everyone. That said, everything they do is an intentional means to a very clear end. From discipling believers to build healthy families to empowering church members to minister to the homeless, from producing praise and worship music that is shaping global worship culture to championing the availability of God’s healing power, Bethel is intentional about discipleship, outreach, and global impact, but the end to everything is offering the world an encounter with the manifest Presence of Jesus.

I am expectant that by going through the Hosting the Presence curriculum, you will catch a glimpse of what has brought Bethel to this place of Kingdom influence, and, it will stir you afresh to pursue God’s presence as your life’s priority.

Bill’s vision is not to make Bethel a big deal—it is to see every person on the planet experience a life-changing encounter in God’s presence that sets them up to walk out their supernatural identity and fulfill their life destiny.

Hosting the Presence will empower you to do just that!

You can get a home, small group or large group version of Hosting the Presence today at:

Larry Sparks About Larry Sparks

Larry Sparks is host of Life Supernatural, a weekly radio program that features bestselling authors, emerging filmmakers, and key ministry leaders. In addition to serving as the Director of Curriculum Resources for Destiny Image Publishers, Larry is president and founder of Equip Culture Ministries—an organization that equips believers with tools and resources to experience a life of sustained victory through the supernatural power of God. He lives in Florida with his wife and daughter. You can visit his website at and follow him on Facebook Larry Sparks or on Twitter @LawrenceVSparks.

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  • Daniel Winfield

    I am all for experiencing the Presence of the Lord. I am 1,000% for it. I experience the Presence of the Lord. I have for many years. I experience the Holy Spirit just about every day of my life, several times a day. I support Bill Johnson, I support Bethel Church, I support Lee Grady. BUT–please hear my warning. As encouraging as it is to experience the Holy Spirit, you cannot use it as guidance. Repeat, you cannot use it as guidance. As in–DON’T DO IT. His presence is His loving, healing, encouraging touch. We need to stop right there. He still requires us to walk by faith. He still requires us to walk by trust in Him. Period. Period. Period. We cannot use an experience of His presence or touch as verification that we are right or wrong about something, or that we should do this or that. I have made this mistake so many times. And I have suffered the consequences of it. The one thing missing in the Church today is connecting people to the Lord Himself, bringing them to experience His presence, so they will know beyond any doubt that He is REAL. So they can personally experience His love, as His touch conveys His love for us. But so many want to use His touch as verification of His guidance. DON’T DO IT.

    • Larry

      Thanks for your insight, Daniel.

      I, we, and the team at Bethel would agree that there is choice, response and walk of faith that is needed on man’s end to actually walk in and demonstrate His Presence.

      Pastor Bill’s book and curriculum is, above all, making believers aware of Who lives inside of them and what they offer the world in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Awareness and experience alone does not demonstrate the love and power of Jesus. There is a walk of faith that actually puts hands and feet these concepts. However, it is foundational that we are aware of exactly Who lives inside of us, and Bill has been an invaluable voice in championing this message for a long time – and rightly so.

      We NEVER base our Christian life on experience. In fact experience is always the fruit and byproduct of a people who live grounded in the Word, for the Word is our basis of experience. Scripture is the invitation that shows us what is available in terms of experience with the Lord. It is foundational.

      The key is, first and foremost, recognizing that the powerful Presence of God lives inside of us – and then living our lives accordingly.