JERUSALEM — At the 11,600-seater Jerusalem Pais Arena in Israel Monday morning, workers here were busy trying to get the brand new 40,000-square-meter facility ready for what could be the largest Christian Pentecost Sunday celebration in the Jewish nation's modern history.
The workers, wary of publicly discussing the event at the venue out of concern for their jobs, would only say there has been a buzz about it in the last few days. They know "the Christians are coming."
The celebration being organized by the Empowered21 Global Congress, will happen May 20-25 and feature some of the most well-known Spirit-empowered leaders from around the globe such as Teen Mania Ministries president and founder, Ron Luce; Samuel Rodriguez Jr., president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor of Free Chapel.
Jeremy Burton, executive director for university relations and communications at Oral Roberts University, explained during a tour through the city Monday that they won't have specific numbers on how many Spirit-empowered Christians that will show up for the gathering until the weekend, but says participants are expected to show up from multiple countries around the world.
Oral Roberts University President, William M. Wilson, who also serves as president and co-chair of Empowered21, said the gathering will be a landmark one for the movement.
"This is a pivotal moment in history for the global Spirit–empowered movement," said Wilson in a statement. "The Impartation service, which will pass the mantel of the global Spirit–empowered movement on to the next generation, is of particular significance. Our prayer is that this service will be a catalyst, igniting the hearts and minds of young people from around the globe with the fire of God's love and power.
Organizers of the event are also hoping that the push to celebrate Pentecost in the land of the first Pentecost will inspire a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
"The Global Congress will be a powerful time of worship and ministry for Spirit–empowered Christians from every continent," noted Empowered21 global co–chair George O. Wood. "We anticipate many changed lives as thousands of Spirit–empowered Christians gather together to seek God and bless the Holy Land."
In anticipation of this event, Empowered21 held the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) Celebration of the Spirit at New Life Church in Amman, Jordan, last Friday and Saturday, which attracted some 1,000 Christians from more than 15 nations and featured a global group of Spirit-empowered leaders. Along with Wilson, some of the leaders speaking at this event included: Cindy Jacobs, founder of Generals International; Daniel Kolenda, president of Christ for All Nations; Stephen Mills, missions pastor of the Lighthouse Church in Kuwait; David Wells, general superintendent of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada; and George Wood, global co-chair of Empowered21, general superintendent for the Assemblies of God USA, and chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship.
"We were deeply thankful to the Lord for our time together with Christian believers from Jordan and around the region," said Wilson of the event. "Despite all of the turmoil of these collective countries, God is doing a great work through many ministers and denominations leaning on the power of the Holy Spirit. The teaching and prayer from the world leaders that came to Jordan are seeds that I believe will bear great fruit for the future. There is great hope for the MENA region and for Jordan."
The Jerusalem event will be livestreamed at Jerusalem2015.com.
Empowered21's vision is that every person on earth will have an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit by Pentecost 2033.