Registrations are picking up for the much-anticipated conference in C-Town in just over four short months. Here are some details that can help you or the friends you share them with to join the growing sign-up list. Register at 25pwc.org.
Can you share a bit of the history surrounding the Pentecostal World Conference?
In May 1947, 3,000 delegates convened in Zürich, Switzerland, to participate in an international conference for Pentecostal ministers, theologians and leaders. Key ministers on the pioneer organizing team were: Swiss pastor and theologian Leonard Steiner; South African minister David J. du Plessis; J. Roswell Flower, the general secretary of the Assemblies of God, USA; and Donald Gee, an Assemblies of God minister from England. The theme of this landmark gathering at the City Hall in Zürich was “By One Spirit We Are All Baptized Into One Body.” Following the success of this conference and recognizing the need for the training and networking of Pentecostals worldwide, the leaders planned that Pentecostal World Conferences would be held triennially in major cities throughout the world. Canada has been privileged to host the conferences held in 1958 in Toronto, and in 1979 in Vancouver. Today, 72 years later, this conference has developed from a triennial gathering of Pentecostal ministers and laymen into the largest global collaboration of Pentecostal/charismatic groups made up of national councils, fraternal organizations, independent organizations and churches known as the Pentecostal World Fellowship.
What do you see happening in the Spirit-empowered church today, and how does this 25th conference in Calgary fit?
This conference is unique. Right now, across the globe, there is a longing for the Spirit of God to move among His people, and for the church to function as one body and to come together for His purposes. The host committee is made up of nine different denominations from across Canada, with additional denominations gathering to support this conference. 25PWC is modelling unity and true partnership in all aspects. If the body of Christ is going to move forward across the globe, the church needs to come together in unity. Part of the morning sessions will be affinity group breakout sessions that address major issues facing churches globally. The goal of these affinity groups is to voice recommendations on how Christ can be glorified and how the church can move forward in unity to advance His kingdom. We will also be hosting a global prayer meeting on the Friday morning which will be linked to three other locations around the world. We have registered guests representing every continent.
What will be different about this one compared to the previous conferences?
This conference will also bring together the generations, which is going to be reflective in its 70 plus speakers. There is a deliberate focus on intergenerational expression in plenaries and throughout the conference. The affinity groups will be an important time of conversation for peers speaking to peers on issues related to the global body of Christ. Friday’s interactive global prayer meeting will be very multicultural. This will be an event that no one is going to want to miss.
Who are some of the featured speakers, and why were they chosen?
Speakers range from young leaders like Nick Hall and Faytene Grasseschi to more senior leaders like Dr. Lee Younghoon from South Korea and Dr. Dominic Yeo from Singapore. The speakers are a good representation of cultures from across the globe. The full speaker lineup may be found on our website at www.25pwc.org.
Tell us some of the other features at PWC 2019.
On Tuesday, we are planning a reception party to welcome the world to Calgary. We have been able to secure some outdoor venues which we are going to use for outreach in the city of Calgary. On Wednesday, we are planning a city outreach with the participation of co-operating churches. It’s also important to note that the conference will be translated into eight different languages.
David and Wes, you were both at the last conference, the 24th gathering. What was memorable about it? How do you see it as fitting into what will happen in Calgary?
The last conference was in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2016. The Pentecostal/charismatic church has grown rapidly in the Global South and in the Global East. This was very evident in Brazil including the closing celebration and outreach. The event was held outdoors on an airport runway and was attended by close to 100,000 people. Though not all is perfect in the church in any region, it was inspiring to sense the Spirit at work during the week, and even to hear the host superintendent share a testimony regarding a recent resurrection from death that took place in the church. The overall experience made us hungry for more; thus, the theme “Spirit Now” for Calgary. It also made us ponder—what specifically are we desiring to see God say and do in Calgary? While Canada is not Brazil and we may not fill up a runway, we do want to have a gathering where we hear what the Spirit has to say to us now. And in an intergenerational, multi-fellowship, intracultural context, we want to be transformed by the Sprit’s wind, fire and oil. We want to be sent out to Canada and the world, revealing Jesus’ grace and truth.
Randy Young is the executive director of the Pentecostal World Conference 2019 and a credential holder with both The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and the Apostolic Church of Pentecost of Canada.
Wes Mills is the president of the Apostolic Church of Pentecost of Canada. David Wells is the general superintendent of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.
This article appeared in the April/May/June 2019 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photo © City of Calgary.