LOS ANGELES – More than 100,000 Christians from around the world are expected to gather in Los Angeles in April for a week-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Azusa Street revival, considered the start of the modern Pentecostal/Charismatic movement.
The centennial celebrations on Apr. 25-29 in downtown Los Angeles will bring together Pentecostal/Charismatic leaders and adherents for community outreaches, ministry training, and a tour of the community's historic landmarks.
“This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the reflection and reality of the world’s greatest revival,” said the Rev. Billy Wilson, executive officer of the Azusa Street Centennial, in a news release on Jan. 13. “The various streams of the movement are coming together in an unprecedented way.”
Prominent theologians consider Azusa Street “the birthplace of the modern Pentecostal movement,” that now boasts more than 600 million adherents to the tenets of Pentecostalism. According to a recent Lausanne report,Pentecostals/Charismatics make up 26.3 percent of the population in the United States with 79 million members. In addition, the U.K.-based Christian research institute noted in its January statistic that out of all Christian groups, Charismatic independent churches are growing the fastest, at 2.4 percent per year.
The denominations that follow the Pentecostal tenets include the Church of God in Christ, Assemblies of God and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.
Organizers of the five-day event have reserved the largest venues, including the Los Angeles Convention Center, the Sports Arena, West Angeles Church of God in Christ, and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In addition, the largest Pentecostal and Charismatic churches in the Los Angeles area will take part and host sessions throughout the week.
More than 150 well known Pentecostal leaders from around the world are confirmed to preach or teach, including Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas; the Rev. Paula White of the Church Without Walls in Tampa, Fla.; the Rev. Jack Hayford of Living Way Ministries in Van Nuys, Calif.; and Pastor Kenneth Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth, Texas.
Wilson, however, noted that the event does not want to attract attention to any one individual or ministry.
“As it was at Azusa Street, personalities will fade into insignificance as all glory is given to God,” Wilson said. “This will be a time of unparalleled blessing, ministry and renewal that we hope will be the launching pad into an even greater second century of Pentecostal revival.”
The centennial anniversary will end its celebrations on Apr. 29, with what promises to be the largest one-day compassion-oriented outreach project in American history. Attendees and local ministries will help distribute dozens of truckloads of food and clothing to Los Angeles’ neediest neighborhoods and a gospel message will be presented.
Other event highlights include: an Azusa believers convention, rallies commemorating William Seymour (the leader of the Azusa revival), women in ministry services, an international revival series, a U.S. pastor’s conference, a prophetic conference, an international pastor’s training conference, a Spirit-filled gathering of Native Americans, and an international youth convocation.