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Historic Conference Held by Empowered21 USA in Partnership with the Society for Pentecostal Studies Focused on Future Direction for  The Spirit-Empowered Movement in The United States along with Social Justice and Peacemaking Virginia Beach, VA– Empowered21 USA, in partnership with the Society for Pentecostal Studies, brought select leaders, scholars and next generation voices together atConverge21 USA at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. They convened Wednesday, February 29-Saturday, March 3, 2012 for four days of presentations, over 100 practical learning conversations and dynamic general sessions to discuss and chart the future direction of the Spirit-Empowered movement in the United States, which began over 100 years ago. Billy Wilson, Executive Director for the International Center for Spiritual Renewal and Empowered21 and Chair of the E21 USA cabinet, said, “Converge21 USA was a history-making event. The Society for Pentecostal Studies’ focus on social justice and peacemaking connected well with the next generation voices present and Empowered21’s focus on the future of Spirit-empowered Christianity connected well with SPS’s continued desire to provide a 21st century hermeneutic for our movement.” Lois E. Olena, Executive Director of Society for Pentecostal Studies, the largest and most influential organization of its kind in the nation, said, “Converge21 provided an excellent opportunity for SPS scholars to navigate the terrain of issues related to the church and the academy and to dialogue with one another about the future of each. We appreciate the support shown by Empowered21 for this scholarly effort, particularly in reference to our 2012 SPS Annual Meeting theme, “Pentecostalism(s), Peacemaking, and Social Justice.” “Significant discussions were held on the challenges facing the Spirit-empowered movement in the United States while other key issues were addressed by some of the strongest leaders in the movement. All of this was done in an atmosphere of love and Holy Spirit empowerment. I am especially hopeful for the future as I see passion, depth, integrity and discipline in a new generation of leaders. In my opinion, God is preparing the United States for a fresh wind of renewal,” Wilson concluded. The conference opened Wednesday evening with a message from Robert Morris, Gateway Church, on the person, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit.  Thursday morning general session speakers, George Wood, Assemblies of God; Nick Hal, Pulse Movement; Cheryl Johns, Author; Jerry Macklin, Founder of Glad Tidings Church;  Alex Hurt, Pastor of Dominion Christian Church , addressed the greatest theological and cultural challenges for evangelism in  the American 21st Century Church. Thursday night’s general session, led by the Society for Pentecostal Studies’ program chair, Paul Alexander, addressed one of the most difficult issues of human conflict in this century.  Ministry leaders Wayne Hilsden of King of Kings Community in Jerusalem and Sami Awad of Holy Land Trust in Bethlehem shared the stage and provided historical and personal insights about the Middle East—mainly Israel and Palestine–and talked about the life-changing impact the Holy Spirit and God’s love can make in light of this conflict. Three Friday morning sessions offered focused conversations for leaders, next generation, and scholars, led by Ron Luce, Teen Mania; Mark Williams, Church of God; Daisy Machado, Union Theological Seminary, Kristopher Gonzalez, 17% Movement; and Jack Hayford, Kings University. Attendance at the Converge21 USA Commissioning service on Friday night included residents from the Virginia Beach area.  This evening of worship, celebration and powerful impartation concentrated on the spiritual need of America and featured Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Timothy Ross, Tim Ross Ministries; Cindy Jacobs, Generals International and Bishop Harry Jackson, Hope Christian Church.  The congregation participated in the recognition of the Empowered 21 USA Resolution and affirmed their commitment in proclaiming that it is not by might,  not by power, but by God’s Spirit that God’s mission is fulfilled. (Zechariah 4:6, Mark 16:17-18, Acts 1:8) Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, America’s largest Christian Hispanic organization, said, “Converge21 provided a historic multi-ethnic and multi-generational platform for the Spirit-empowered American church. I stand convinced that as this generation touches God, He will rise up and touch the next generation. God is not done with America!” Tim Ross, Tim Ross Ministries, said, “Converge21 was an incredible amalgam of wisdom, passion, and intellect. As a Next Gen leader I felt a deep sense of responsibility to honor the Pentecostal tradition of our spiritual fathers/mothers and a very strong conviction to preach and teach sound theology. The unforgettable moment for me was Billy Wilson’s act of humility and transparency in leading his generation to be prayed over by our generation. The Holy Spirit’s presence was so palpable in that moment that both generations watered the seeds we sowed over 3 days in a sea of tears.” Conference activities concluded with Society for Pentecostal Studies business session and banquet. Converge21 USA (www.converge21.orgis an initiative of Empowered21 ( Eleven global leadership teams have formed to pursue initiatives and events in their region of the world.  In October 2011, the Empowered21 Asia Congress was a historic gathering of more than 14,000 people from 49 different nations. Delegations included 700 house church leaders from China, and more than 300 from Vietnam—the largest-ever representation of Christians to attend a Christian event outside of their home nations since the rise of communism. Each regional cabinet, Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, United States, USA Hispanic, Oceania, and the Caribbean operate under the same global vision for Empowered21 in their regions. 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. Empowered21 is helping shape the future of the Global Spirit-empowered movement throughout the world by focusing on crucial issues facing the movement and connecting generations for intergenerational blessing and impartation. Leadership The Empowered21 USA Cabinet includes: Chair, Billy Wilson (ICFSR), Co-Chair, Alton Garrison (Assemblies of God USA),  Paul Alexander (Eastern University), Sarah Bowling(Saving Moses), Sterling Brackett (The Foursquare Church), Carlos A. Campo (Regent University), Robert Canton ( Charismatic Catholic Renewal), Ronald W. Carpenter, Sr.(International Pentecostal Holiness Church), Clifton Clarke (Regent University), David Daniels (McCormick Theological Seminary), Sharon Daugherty  (Victory Christian Center),Craig Dunnagan (Integrity Media),  David Ferguson (Intimate Life Ministries), Anne Gimenez (Rock Church International), Jerry Macklin (COGIC), Tom Madden ( Church of God),Lois Olena (Assemblies of God Theological Seminary), David Roebuck (Dixon Pentecostal Research Center), Tim Ross (The Potter’s House),  Mark Rutland (Oral Roberts University),  Charles Scott (Pentecostal COG), David Shibley (Global Advance), Vinson Synan (Regent University), and Gilberto Velez (National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference).

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