The Global Congress of the Empowered21, a worldwide gathering of Pentecostal Christians, will meet in Jerusalem for a second time in 2020 with a focus on the next generation.
The next generation focus comes after the first global gathering which also took place during the week of Pentecost in Jerusalem in 2015. Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor of the multi-campus Free Chapel Church, had urged thousands of Spirit-filled believers at this gathering to start preaching "the truth about being filled with the Holy Spirit" and speaking in tongues to their families or risk losing a generation.
The previous gathering also took place during the week of Pentecost in Jerusalem in 2015. Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor of the multi-campus Free Chapel Church, urged the thousands of participants at the time to start preaching "the truth about being filled with the Holy Spirit" and speaking in tongues to their families or risk losing a generation.
"It is a slow process to the death of the language. The unity on the language, it's a soul thing. The less it's taught in the home, the less the children of the next generation will get it. I want to say to all of you who are parents here today, what language are you teaching your children? When you go home from church, what language do they hear?" asked Franklin at the time.
"If ever there was a time that we must engage ourselves in the active discipleship of our families, it's in this time. If Deuteronomy 6 ever had meaning to any generation, it is to this generation where it says that you shall diligently teach these things to your children. When they rise up, when they go to bed, when they walk, when they go to school, talk the faith, talk the Word. Let them hear the language even in the home, let them hear the language of the Holy Spirit. Let them hear, Mama," Franklin urged.
Billy Wilson, Empowered21 global co-chair, said in a recent statement to The Christian Post that the movement's vision is to unite the global Spirit-empowered movement and connect nations and generations in the 21st century.
"Our goal is for every individual in the world to have an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit by Pentecost 2033," he said.
With less than two years before the event, which will take place during the week of Pentecost, May 31 - June 3, 2020, tickets went on sale Friday.
Believers are expected to celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit and begin to anticipate in 2033, the 2,000th anniversary of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit recorded in the book of Acts.
"There is a hunger for people to gather, come together for days at a time. Worship and be empowered and be equipped to be engaged in spiritual work," Ossie Mills, who serves as vice president of marketing and communications at Oral Roberts University and the executive director of Empowered 21, told CP in a recent interview.
"Our expectation for this event is that people will come from all over the planet and we're expecting between 7,500 and 10,000 people at the Pais Arena for three full days where we get a chance to experience what God's doing around the world. Hear testimonies in different languages and really experience the power of God as we connect leaders and build an army of believers equipping them to do the work of ministry," he explained.
Pointing to the theme of the 2020 meeting — A New Pentecost for a New Generation — Mills said the younger generations are open to the Holy Spirit but they just don't want to be "goofy."
"We are really with them in that it doesn't have to be that way. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He will not interrupt your day and make you do things you don't want to do. That's not how he functions. So we are focused on making the reality of the Godhead come alive and bring an awareness ... A lot of believers have this gift and never open the box," Mills said.
Asked about how the movement will be addressing growing challenges among believers when it comes to issues like mental illness and suicide, Mills said the gathering will speak to current issues in a way that is relevant to the young.
"In Jerusalem, one of the keys as you can see from our slogan, we are here to empower, the next generation. You'll see a very strong demonstration of next generation leaders that will not just be on the platform but will be involved in all facets of the event and that by itself will bring with it, the issues that the generations are facing," Mills said.
He noted for example that the movement just finished some research on generation Z and learned that: "They see the world a lot differently than millennials or even Gen Xers."
"In their mind, medical issues, people having depression or anxiety, are part of their awareness structures. So we have to bring to bear the best counseling, the best medicine, the best prayer that would come to refute or at least put a framework around some of the issues that generation Z is facing and so we see that as a very strong part of our mandate to equip the next generation to do the work of ministry."
And if you're still on the fence on whether joining the global gathering in Jerusalem in 2020 will be helpful for you, Mills said: "There is nothing like taking a trip to the Holy Land to put your life into focus. When you arrive in Tel Aviv and you make the journey up to Jerusalem you feel the Bible come alive. You see the place where Samson pulled down the columns, you see where David fought goliath, you see where Jesus walked, you see the Upper Room where the Holy Spirit fell. It's a deeply God-centric environment that allows you to reflect."