Spiritual revival simmers in the outskirts of Philadelphia, signaling the beginnings of what Bensalem pastor Mark A. English hopes will be another Great Awakening, like the first one that happened in the American colonies in the 18th century. He believes he is joining a unified effort of co-laborers in the Northeast who perceive emerging signs of a spiritual renewal.
“One of the things primary to any great move of God is there is a real call to prayer,” says English, 51. “Prayer, the Word, repentance, and unity are indicators of a spiritual awakening.”
Christian Life Center (CLC) began holding prayer nights every Wednesday with the purpose of creating room for the Holy Spirit to work.
“The whole night is built around prayer,” English says of the meetings. “Praying for needs, praying for one another, praying that God would bring another Great Awakening to our nation.”
English identifies prayer as a necessary forerunner to seeing the supernatural take place. He notes that early Christ followers in the Upper Room prayed in depth before a miraculous awakening occurred.
His own journey from Florida to the roughly 60,000-person township of Bensalem seemed orchestrated by the Holy Spirit, with confirming signs.
English had just finished preaching one summer Sunday in 2018 at Lifepoint Church in Crestview, Florida, where he served as senior pastor when a friend sent him a simple, yet confusing, text: “Bensalem is a great church.” English texted back a question mark, then learned that leaders of CLC in Bensalem had expressed interest in him serving as pastor of the greater Philadelphia congregation. A series of unmistakable signs followed, pointing him from the
Sunshine State to a new venture up north.
One providential indicator came while on a mission trip to Belgium. While in the library of Continental Theological Seminary, English found a quiet space to make phone calls. He needed to organize volunteers back home to respond to the sudden destruction of Hurricane Michael, which struck the Florida panhandle during his absence. Finishing his calls, a nearby bound volume of Pentecostal Evangel magazines caught his attention. Having loved the once-weekly denominational periodical now out of print, he opened the book to a random page. He landed on an article written in 1991 — highlighting the birth of Christian Life Center in Bensalem.
Back in the U.S., after preaching at CLC three months later, English met with the board for a second time and members voted on him to fill the vacant pastor position. While awaiting the vote’s results, he noticed a book on a table, Ordered Steps. The book’s author, Assemblies of God Superintendent Doug Clay, turned out to be the friend who had sent him the text about Bensalem in the first place.
Soon after, English packed up his Florida office following 20-plus years of ministry and encountered another sign. In the last box of office items, he found 10-year-old postcards from the church’s building campaign. The last card in the last box was addressed to him and signed by a woman living in Bensalem, Pennsylvania — a woman who attended Christian Life Center. English looked toward heaven and said, “I am going, God, but thank you for this last reminder that you are with me.”
Today, behind English’s desk sit the Bensalem postcard and the exact issue of the 1991 Pentecostal Evangel gifted to him by the seminary, daily reminding him of the Lord’s purpose in bringing him to the Northeast.
“I know beyond a shadow of a doubt God has called me here,” English says.