Pure gold streams of water poured from a waterfall, emptying into a serene, shimmering gold pool. As David Illingworth gazed upon the beauty of the scene, he sensed the Lord beckoning him to stand in the pool under the golden waterfall. David obeyed and as he did, the gold water was absorbed into every fiber of his being. At that moment, he realized he wasn’t standing under a waterfall made of water but, rather, of God’s pure, unconditional love.
After receiving this life-changing vision in 2009, David knew without a doubt that God was calling him into kingdom service and out of the corporate world he had known his entire life. “At first I didn’t know what God was calling me to do,” says David. “I just felt compelled to learn more about God and His love.”
A year prior, David was exposed to Andrew Wommack Ministries Europe (AWME) when a friend was diagnosed with cancer. David was given Andrew’s teaching God Wants You Well, and it completely changed the way he thought about and prayed for healing. Andrew taught God’s Word in a way that David had never heard before, and he wanted to hear more. In the fall of 2009, he enrolled in the Charis Bible College (CBC) correspondence course from his home in England.
After devouring the lessons, David was ready to move to Walsall and begin his second year at CBC. His wife, Lesley, wasn’t thrilled with the idea at first. But God spoke to her heart, and the Illingworths were off to Walsall. Upon graduating in 2011, David and Lesley decided to return for a third year.
“During my second year, God told me He wanted me to get to know Him. But during my third year, He said He needed me to get to know myself,” recalls David. By the end of David’s third year, God’s love had given him an unshakable hope, solidifying his faith and enabling him to minister in God’s grace. “I grew to understand who I am in God’s love, which has released peace into my heart,” explains David.
After their third year at CBC, the Illingworths didn’t know where to go next. “I had no plans and no open doors,” says David. “God just kept telling me to wait.” With his vast business background in sales, management, and organizational consulting, along with his global experiences from traveling to over seventy-five countries, there were numerous paths in the natural he could have pursued. But instead of pushing doors open, he simply waited on God. The payoff came in the form of a phone call.
“I received a call one day informing me that I was being considered as the new CEO of AWME,” recalls David. “As I thought about it, I realized the position perfectly fulfilled all that God had shown me and prepared me for over the years.”
In September 2012, David took the helm at AWME, taking over for Will Graham who had stepped down after serving as director since 2005. Under Will’s leadership, teaching materials have been translated into many European, African, and Asian languages, and Walsall became home for AWME and CBC West Midlands. But Will’s heart was primarily that of a pastor, and in May 2012, the opportunity arose for him to return as a full-time pastor to a growing church.
Now that David is on board, he hopes to concentrate on developing relationships within the surrounding communities as well as nearby churches. “Many of the churches in the area see us as undermining their authority. We’re working on building trust by partnering with them to serve those in our cities,” says David. He’s confident that once those in Walsall and beyond taste of God’s love through these relationships, they will want to be a part of what AWME has to offer.