Pentecostal, Charismatic Leaders Announce Plans for Landmark Gathering

Leaders, scholars, and students within the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement will be meeting next year for a landmark gathering to examine the future of the movement, adopt new language, and foster growth, unity and more effective outreach.

"With more than 100 years behind us since the Azusa Street Revival and a new century before us, the time is now for a serious conversation on the future of the movement," announced the Rev. Billy Wilson, chair of the Commission on Holy Spirit Empowerment in the 21st Century, executive director of the International Center for Spiritual Renewal and vice chair of the Oral Roberts University (ORU) Board of Trustees.

"Our hope is that through the work of the Commission new generations will experience the power of the Holy Spirit," he added in an announcement Thursday about the upcoming gathering at ORU in Tulsa, Okla.

"[W]e are excited about what the Holy Spirit will do on campus during the next several months," Wilson said.

The "Congress on Holy Spirit Empowerment in the 21st Century" on Apr. 8-10, 2010, is expected to serve as the culmination of a series of meetings that recently commenced to discuss the future of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement and how to introduce "Spirit-empowered" living to a new generation.

Some of the outcomes that congress organizers anticipate include solutions for the future of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement; the presentation and adoption of new, contemporary vocabulary; increased unity between traditional Pentecostals and Charismatics and emerging churches; and encouragement of the continued growth of "Spirit-empowered" ministries.

"We believe the greatest days for ORU and the world are ahead of us as we embrace a fresh empowerment of the Holy Spirit," stated Mart Green, board chair of the ORU Board of Trustees and president of Mardel, Inc. in Oklahoma City, Okla.

"The ORU Board of Trustees is excited about the Commission on Holy Spirit Empowerment in the 21st Century and how it is positioning ORU in a place of servant leadership to the global Christian community," he added.

According to organizers, three tracks of conversation have been established and include a leadership track, a scholars track and a new generation track. The leadership track includes leaders from the traditional Pentecostal and Charismatic community as well as leaders in new emerging ministries. The scholars track, meanwhile, will include leading scholars from the Pentecostal and Charismatic community with an intentional focus on diversity to facilitate a broad range of thought. Lastly, the new generation track will be a combination of new generation ministry leaders and students to reflect on Spirit-empowered living in their generation.

The first leadership track took place the week of Dec. 7, 2008, in Newport Beach, Calif., and brought together prominent leaders including Jack Hayford, president of International Church of the Foursquare Gospel; Larry Stockstill, senior pastor of Bethany World Prayer Center in Baker, La.; Kenneth Ulmer, president of King's Seminary in Englewood, Calif.; and David Shibley, founder of Global Advance in Rockwall, Texas.

Once relegated to the theological fringe, the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement is now one of the fastest-growing sectors of Christianity.

Over the past century, the movement has grown from a handful of individuals and organizations to a global force of more than 600 million people.