The privilege of being at Empowered21’s Amsterdam2023 conference this past June continues to overwhelm me. The opportunity to gather with global church leaders and hear and experience what the Lord is doing by His Spirit, in and through the many-faceted people of God, has impacted me in a deep manner. It is deeper than sentimentality. “Deep calls unto deep” (Psalm 42:7, NKJV). What I longed for in my heart and mind for the global church was experienced as we gathered, leaving a deep impression that remains tangible today.
A unity of spirit and purpose is evident. I am somewhat in awe, almost baffled, by the diverse unity we are experiencing. Not everyone present was from the same family within the Pentecostal/Charismatic/Evangelical spectrum. Classical Pentecostals mixed with neo-Pentecostals and those from various charismatic movements. Key evangelical leaders were not simply observers but engaged participants. The same Spirit of God that we all share is present and very active. The unity experienced is greater than niceties or simply a bunch of gracious people meeting. Something deep, a John 17 movement of “complete unity,” is happening across very diverse entities. Lord, make us one.
The tangible, impactful presence of God is evident. Genuine unity inevitably leads to the Spirit commanding blessing. God is at work in His global family; our diversity in Amsterdam was clearly expressed. Shofars blew, and something deep happened. Broken younger leaders shared, and something deep happened. Digital, tech-oriented evangelists communicated, and something deep happened. Apostolic global leaders exhorted, and something deep happened. In all that took place in word, deed, worship or outreach, the Spirit of God was aligning our hearts and minds in a deep, lasting way. Many of us are still pondering the implications and applications to this day.
A clear, compelling call to a shared global mission is evident. The theme at Amsterdam2023 was EveryOne. With this re-personalization of the gospel comes Empowered21’s audacious vision, “That every person on Earth would have an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit … by Pentecost 2033.” Graciously, the Spirit is making this vision real to thousands of evangelists, missional and denominational leaders, and numerous individual followers of Jesus. The Great Commission we are called to all comes down to someone—a friend, neighbour, family member, fellow class member or workmate—that we personally engage with the good news of Jesus.
The creative giftedness of God’s global family is evident. I left Amsterdam amazed at the multiple means that the Lord is inspiring His people to pursue so the Good News spreads to everyone. The creativity varies from technological advances for digital mission to personalizing intercession by name and location for every person on the planet. The evangelists among us are reaching the least-reached through the gifts and means God has given them to do so. Does something seem impossible? Not to these folks!
The Good News is being shared in its fullness. The wholeness of the gospel is being demonstrated as well as proclaimed as the global church responds to the most vulnerable. A bifurcated gospel is unheard of where everyone is truly being reached. Undergirding this shared initiative is a vast mobilization of the multi-gifted family of God evidenced by generosity, sacrificial service, prophetic input, and integrity. It takes everyone to reach everyone. My reflections inevitably bring me back home to the church in our nation. To me, the applications are quite clear—simple facts.
We need to reawaken to the need for every Canadian to have an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Around the globe, the church is growing exponentially; most believers are engaged in sharing the Good News. They believe their neighbours, colleagues, family members or the strangers they meet daily are entitled to hear it. Where the church is in decline or plateaued, including in our nation, believers have become passive about sharing the gospel. This is often because they doubt that eternal destiny is genuinely at stake. Or more simply, other life pursuits produce apathy towards personally sharing the gospel. Pragmatically, we live as neo-universalists. As Canadian believers, we must be convinced we have good news to share and be intentional to do so in word and deed.
Global churches that are on mission are experiencing God at work. Those who are captured by the compelling call to mission are experiencing the powerful presence of the Lord and the gifting of His Spirit. Jesus always made it clear that if we are doing His mission, His way, then His Spirit’s empowerment and abilities would be at our disposal. I believe the Lord longs for His Canadian church to rediscover this—now.
In unity, God commands His blessing—life forevermore. In the Canadian church there have been many hopeful indications that unity is being experienced and practised as we purposefully engage in shared mission together. Prayer networks have been drawing many people together from our diverse ministries. The unity that has been expanding globally has nothing to do with uniformity. Jesus is at the centre. His Spirit is the glue knitting the Lord’s diverse body together. The Father’s love is compelling His people to go to everyone as ministers of the reconciliation that all are invited to experience. Let our prayer be that this kingdom expansion continues in Canada and globally until the whole world knows. For His glory, Amen!This article was written by David Wells, the general superintendent of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. This article appeared in the Fall 2023 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2023 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Visit www.testimonyenrich.ca.