When the Empowered21 Global Congress convenes in Jerusalem, Israel, in spring 2020, one of the main items on the agenda will be how to get every person on the planet to have an authentic experience with the Holy Spirit.
In the last 113 years, explained Ashley Wilson, assistant director of the global Spirit-filled movement working to connect the generations for blessing, impartation, and a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the 21st century, spirited-empowered Christians have grown from zero in 1906 to 650 million today.
And he believes a big part of that growth is due to a hunger among people around the world for a personal encounter with God.
Spirit-empowered Christians are generally known as Pentecostals, charismatics, or any other number of groups that emphasize the work of the Holy Spirit and the direct experience of the presence of God by the believer. It is generally accepted by adherents of the Spirit-empowered way that faith must be powerfully experiential, and not something found merely through ritual or thinking. Spirit-empowered churches also stress the importance of conversions that amount to a Baptism in the Spirit. This fills the believer with the Holy Spirit in an encounter revealed through speaking in tongues and other spiritual manifestations.
And it is this personal encounter that is making believers out of the movement’s growing adherents.
“We found that young people are looking for authenticity. They want an authentic encounter with a real God and I think Spirit-empowered Christianity, with one of its pillars being that God is a personal God and you can encounter him for yourself in a powerful, real and tangible way. The God of the Bible can become the God of your prayer closet. I think that’s appealing to young people who want an authentic encounter with God,” Wilson said in an interview with The Christian Post.
About two years ago, he explained, the movement partnered with Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and Todd M. Johnson, the Paul E. and Eva B. Toms Distinguished Professor of Mission and Global Christianity who also serves as co-director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at the seminary, to study the growth of the movement, which revealed the 650 million global figure.
During the movement’s global gathering in Jerusalem set for May 31 – June 4, 2020, Wilson says they plan to share a lot more details from the study, including the impact of the movement in the United States.
And as American churches grapple to survive in a society that’s increasingly abandoning God, Wilson believes their growth is a credit to the work of the Holy Spirit.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair