FROM AZUSA STREET
April 25-29, 2006 the International Center for Spiritual Renewal facilitated and hosted the Azusa Street Centennial. This one hundred year anniversary celebration of the Azusa Street revival was attended by over 50,000 people from 106 different nations. The streams of Spirit-filled Christianity converged in Los Angeles to rejoice in a century of blessing on this movement that now numbers over 600 million people around the world.
In 2008, the new Oral Roberts University Board of Trustees began work on clarifying the mission of the university for 21st century ministry. An initiative was launched by the Board of Trustees called Empowered21 and the International Center for Spiritual Renewal was asked to facilitate this process to focus on new generations and the power of the Holy Spirit. Immediately, it was discerned that the convergence of these dynamics was leading toward questions and answers that would serve the entire Spirit-filled movement. Empowered21 began to be understood as a natural kingdom-wide follow-up to the Azusa Street Centennial. The Azusa Centennial reflected on what God had done for the last 100 years and Empowered21 would focus on the future of the movement.
During 2009 and early 2010, Empowered21 held 17 unique conversation events around the world with leaders, scholars and new generation voices to ascertain their insights into the issues facing the movement in the 21st Century. Over 500 people from 54 nations and over 15 different universities were involved in the conversations. Questions like: “What does it mean to be Spirit-empowered in the 21st century?” and “What steps can be taken to engage new generations in the Spirit-filled experience?” were asked.
This process revealed eight themes common to the conversation events as the top needs in the movement – in order of most commonly mentioned:
1. Need for Leadership Character – leaders who are transparent, filled with integrity, authentic, real, pure, and cleansed
2. Greater Biblical Literacy – knowledge of the Bible and an understanding of the purpose of the Holy Spirit, gifts of the Spirit, Spirit Baptism, etc.
3. Need for Spiritual Fathers and Mothers – role models and intergenerational unity to be called for globally
4. Resources – those harvest fields that seem to be ripest in the 21st Century are the most in need and should be resourced accordingly=
5. Education – ministerial training and higher education
6. Contextualization – leadership native to the region being served
7. Transition of Leadership – new leadership of the movement which goes beyond the influence of the USA – moving East and South
8. Rise of Islam – intense pressure is being experienced by Spirit-empowered believers who are aggressive in evangelism on this frontier
Conversation input and discoveries were used to inform the program of the first Empowered21: Global Congress on Holy Spirit Empowerment which was held in Tulsa, OK, April 8- 11, 2010. The Congress focused on shaping the future of the Global Spirit-empowered movement by focusing on crucial issues facing the movement and connecting generations for intergenerational blessing and impartation. Over 10,000 people from 95 nations attended the April Congress where over 210 learning conversations and numerous general session events informed and connected them. It became obvious that the Congress was forming a launch base for further exploration.
The International Center for Spiritual Renewal was asked to lead Empowered21 into the future and Empowered21 was officially transferred to the Center in the summer of 2010. As the governing and fiduciary entity, the ICFSR has assigned inspirational oversight of Empowered21 to the E21 Global Council. This relationship allows the Empowered21 movement to move quickly toward its goals while retaining accountability for its vision and transparency in its finance.
TO THE WORLD
Empowered21 is now witnessing a convergence and collaboration of Spirit-empowered ministries around the world. A series of regional Empowered21 leadership teams have formed to focus on unique issues faced by Spirit-empowered churches operating within disparate socioeconomic climates. The entire network is able to benefit from best practices and growth in individual regions.
Further research within the Empowered21 network has identified five highly important trends where the Spirit-empowered Church is most likely to grow and positively influence the world. They are:
1) experience a fresh, historic outpouring of the Holy Spirit
2) increase in leadership development within Spirit-empowered churches
3) be increasingly known for meeting human needs in the community
4) see an increase in the practice of divine healing
5) be more open for newer expressions of Spirit-empowered ministry
Twelve Regional Cabinets are now pursuing initiatives and events in their area of the world to address the future of Spirit-empowered Christianity and find ways to connect the generations for spiritual impartation. Each regional cabinet will operate under the same vision and purposes for Empowered21 in their region.