Converging present participle of con·verge (Verb)
1. (of several people or things) Come together from different directions so as eventually to meet.
2. Come from different directions and meet at (a place).
Celebrating beyond, 50 Years Of The Charismatic Movement:
Charismatic Leaders’ Fellowship – 2011
* Historical notes taken and adapted from Francis MacNutt’s written summary
It is time to celebrate what took place over 50 years ago. Noted is described by the Christian Renewal Association:
“Father Dennis Bennett was the Episcopal priest who verbally fired the shot that was heard around the world. On April 3, 1960, he spoke from his pulpit at the thriving St. Mark’s Church, Van Nuys, California and shared with his congregation that he had received a personal Pentecost or Baptism with the Spirit.”
This announcement set into motion the birthing of the charismatic renewal throughout the world. Several years after this pivotal day Bennett assembled a Charismatic Leaders’ Fellowship, CLF (formerly the Charismatic Concerns Committee, CCC), with two primary purposes in mind:
1. To solve various pastoral issues that arose in the charismatic renewal and to talk freely and openly with leaders from different traditions and denominations. In the first years some of the issues were:
“Believer’s baptism”, Derek Prince and Larry Christenson spoke on the different viewpoints.
“Deliverance or exorcism,” with little or no follow-up. The leaders who spoke in this respect were David DuPlessis and Don Bashan.
(In essences the committee pioneered a fatherly leadership approach to the Charismatic Renewal that allowed the movement to continue in a healthy manner but that was not devoid of problems).
2. To evangelize the city. After a series of strategic evangelistic approaches in the Seattle area, Tulsa and eventually Glencoe MO, the CCC became known as the Glencoe group.
That was history! For a more descriptive history summary see the following link.
As time passed CLF’s focus evolved into the following three purposes:
At this years CLF annual meeting, which was hosted at Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Francis MacNutt, now former Chairman of the steering committee honorably retired and Scott Kelso was voted in as the new Chairman. Scott Kelso is pastor of Trinity Family Life Center, United Methodist Church in Pickerington, Ohio. A change in leadership has begun.
Throughout the meeting there was much thought and prayer in trying to hear from God as to where to go from here. We can learn from the past and use it as a launching pad into the future. In Joshua 4:2-3 we find the Lord directing Joshua, representing the second generation who came out of the desert, with a specific act and direction that had intentional purpose, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordon….” These stones stood as perpetual memorial stones. If you read on, you will find that when the succeeding generations asked questions about the purpose behind these stones one of the responses that were given was that this was how God moved in the past. In a similar way we look back at what the Charismatic movement’s history and celebrate the good! Knowing the past serves the future and this movement has brighter years ahead!
In previous years there were discussions regarding inviting new leaders into this group, specifically a newer generation, or as what is referred to as “Timothy’s”, that meet the original criteria set out by the steering committee. As a representative of that new/young generation I feel honored to be part of this legendary group. I grew up in part of the younger days of this movement, so I would not consider myself a Joshua or a Caleb. And yet, just as there has been a change in leadership there was also a “crossing over” and a “passing of the baton” to the next generation. The shift has begun!
Such a rich history! Pat Robertson, founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) was one this years guest speakers. He infused faith into CLF’s future as he shared his early connection to the charismatic movement and the beginnings of CBN. In 1960, the exact same year of Bennett’s announcement, God spoke directly to Robertson about starting a television network. Today CBN is one of the largest television ministries in the world (see www.patrobertson.com or www.cbn.com ). With only $80 dollars in Robertson’s saving account and without owning a personal television, he founded the television ministry of CBN.
Another guest speaker, Professor Matteo Calisi from Bari, Italy brought a current awareness of what is happening globally in regards to reconciliation and unity. On this front, Calisi brought strength and support to CLF as they plan to invite Pentecostal and Catholic speakers next year. The hope is that Father Reniero Cantalamessa, from the order of Capuchin friars minor, a theologian and preacher to the Papal household, will be able to attend from the Catholic side.
There was also a discussion of a consorted effort in evangelism, and so, keeping the communication lines open amongst the CLF attendees throughout the year, is a priority, as they plan to work together. The North American Renewal Service Committee (NARSC) that sprung into existence because of this group’s faithful leadership administered large gatherings. Such gatherings were the famous 1977 meeting of over 40,000 people in Arrowhead Football stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. I have linked rare footage of this event below. Other meetings took place in Indianapolis, New Orleans, St. Louis and other places.
Similar in purpose, it is significant to mention what took place last year at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Spirit empowered movement of the 21st century (Empowered 21) was one of the largest gatherings of Holy Spirit empowered leaders of this century converging together at a massive conference. It is really worth scrolling through Empowered 21’s website.
The purpose of Empowered 21 is:
To unite together in an inter-generational gathering for the purpose of seeking a fresh empowering of the Holy Spirit 21st century life.
To discover contemporary methods and vocabulary needed for engaging new generations in Spirit-empowered living.
To provide a platform for discussion of issues facing the Spirit-empowered church today.
To present an opportunity for greater dialogue and cooperation between new emerging ministries and historic Spirit-empowered movements in hopes of greater Kingdom advancement and impact.
To focus the energy of ministry leaders, scholars and youth from the various streams of the Spirit-empowered church on the harvest and challenges before us.
To witness the convergence of the worldwide streams of the Spirit-empowered movement into a united river of blessing that will flood the earth.
God is empowering His people with oneness in purpose. There is a worldwide CONVERGENCE that is taken place today!
Vinson Synan, Professor of Church History; Dean Emeritus, at Regent University and member of CLF’s steering committee and also cabinet member of Empowered 21 is helping bridge together the efforts of both groups. Next year’s Empowered 21 event and CLF’s meeting are taking place back to back at Regent University.
The Holy Spirit is a masterful planner as He sets into motion a convergence of people, ministries, streams and movements as all part of the plan and preparation of the Bride (the whole body of Christ). The bridegroom, Jesus Christ is longing for the day of His wedding in this betrothal period!
My heart and prayer being born and raised in Toronto, Canada and being part of the leadership of the church has been named and associated with the “Toronto Blessing Movement”, is that this Holy Spirit unified global movement embraces at its core a real Fathering heart, an intimacy with Jesus, a son as opposed to a slave heart condition and a passion to win the lost through the gifts and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Father God, renew and rekindle world revival again in our day as we make a place for the return of Your Son through the work and power of Your Holy Spirit.