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Pentecostal Leaders Look to Future

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Pentecostal Leaders Look to Future

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As leaders of six Pentecostal denominations wrapped up a first-of-its-kind summit last week in Los Angeles they left with plans for how to continue in dialogue with one another. They also expressed hopes of including additional Pentecostal bodies and enlarging representations from each group in future meetings.

The three-day gathering to discuss a wide range of international and domestic issues marked the first time in history that such a conference representing a large and diverse membership had taken place. The Pentecostal denominations represent more than 90 million adherents combined worldwide.

The top U.S. Pentecostal officials attending were Assemblies of God General Superintendent George O. Wood; International Pentecostal Holiness Church Presiding Bishop Doug Beacham; International Church of the Foursquare Gospel President Glenn C. Burris Jr.; Church of God in Christ Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr.; Open Bible Churches President Randall A. Bach; and Church of God General Overseer Mark L. Williams.

In all, 35 leaders from the six Pentecostal denominations gathered, including other elected leaders from each organization. Besides Wood, the other five executive leadership team members of the U.S. General Council of the Assemblies of God attended: Assistant General Superintendent Alton Garrison, General Secretary James T. Bradford, General Treasurer Doug Clay, AG World Missions Executive Director Greg Mundis, and AG U.S. Missions Executive Director Zollie Smith.

The leaders discussed a variety of topics, including the effects of terrorism, the church's role in racial harmony, religious freedom, same-sex marriage, social media and technology, biblical training and higher education, and cooperative efforts in evangelism and missions. A goal of the summit was to provide an opportunity for each leader to discuss various crises facing Christians around the globe, while also seeking to help bring unity to the body of Christ globally.

Assemblies of God General Superintendent George O. Wood found the gathering to be truly historic.

"We are all the grandsons and granddaughters of the Azusa Street revival, and in these days, the Holy Spirit is drawing us together in united witness, fulfilling the prayer of Jesus that the world would know us by our love for one another," Wood said.

Blake concurred. "This summit has shown us what we, as Christian leaders, have said and known for some time now: We are all better when we come together as one," Blake stated.

Burris emphasized that finishing the Great Commission will require such a joint effort.

"There is a strong sense that the conversations among us have resonated much like the early church, that experienced a 'one accord' dynamic," Burris said.

Williams declared that only a united Church can reach a divided world.

"Our shared history along with the collegiality and genuine respect we have for one another holds great promise and unlimited potential for fulfilling the mission for which Jesus died," Williams said.

 

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