The Pentecostal movement itself continues to grow at a rapid rate. It is arguably the fastest-growing component of Christendom today. Johnson, Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (located at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) gave a new report on the status of Spirit-Empowered churches. The Center has recently adopted the term “Renewalists” to represent the three key sectors of this movement, including Classical Pentecostals, Main-line Denominational Charismatics and Independent Charismatics. At present, it is estimated that these groups combined make up 584 million worldwide, or 26 percent of all Christians.
Converge21 (C21) brought together a select group of leaders, pastors, educators and next-geners recently to collaborate on the future direction of the Spirit-empowered (a.k.a. – Pentecostal or Charismatic) movement in the United States. On February 29th – March 3rd over 700 Pentecostal and Charismatic influencers attended the event held at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. It was jointly sponsored by the Society of Pentecostal Studies (SPS) and Empowered21 (E21).
“The significance of this event was the convergence of leaders, thinkers and the next-geners to consider shaping the future,” said Mark Williams in an interview. Assistant General Overseer of the Church of God, a Pentecostal denomination based in Cleveland, Tennessee, William’s highlights of the event included the opportunity “to get history from experts such as Vinson Synan; to get statistics from Todd Johnson (Director of the Center of Global Christianity); to hear the voices of students; and, to affirm the things that have been good in the Pentecostal movement.” He said, “I believe Converge21 is the beginning of an intentional conversation.”
The stated focus of the C21 event was “the future of the Spirit-empowered movement in the United States with all its dimensions … including the social justice/righteousness dimension.” According to Billy Wilson, E21 Executive Director, in an interview, one prayer for this event was that those attending would “connect together across denominational, generational and occupational lines for the purpose of God’s work in the 21st Century.” The four-day event consisted of several general sessions, numerous scholarly presentations and a few inter-generational dialogs.
Read my full article on the Converge21/SPS event at my column, Catch the Current.