10 Sept 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
“We are living in the choice days of our church history. In our day, it is a prophetic sign that God has poured out his spirit all over the world, even in Malaysia!” said Rev William Wilson, plenary speaker of the World Pentecostal Conference 2013 on Aug 29, at the Calvary Convention Center.
The same Holy Spirit that outpoured onto the disciples in the upper room is the same Holy Spirit in 600 million Pentecostals today. In other words, this means that the Holy Spirit is to be continued from generation to generation.
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
2 Timothy 1:5-6
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
2 Timothy 1:14
Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—
“If the movement is strong, it is our grandchildren who should be filled in the Holy Spirit,” said William.
What is the future of Pentecostals, which rests in our young people? The future depends on how we treat the younger generation. Are we more like the narrow-minded King Hezekiah or the farsighted David and Moses in treating them?
In his wealth and glory, King Hezekiah showed off all of his treasures to the envoys from Babylon. Because of that, the Lord told him that not only his treasures would be plundered; his descendents would also be carried off to become eunuchs in Babylon! But how did King Hezekiah respond? He selfishly said, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good (2 Kings 20:19).” Because he had no part in receiving the punishment, he was at ease with the Lord’s judgment.
David on the other hand, prepared his son Solomon thoroughly in completing the building of God’s temple. He envisioned and provided all the necessary materials and skilled workers to build the temple before his death. Moses also prepared Joshua to take over his place. He allowed Joshua to fight the battles while he took the back seat. And because of their visionary minds, both of their successors were able to continue their legacies beyond their life on earth.
“I heard God saying in my spirit, ‘This is what I want to do in the church.’ We got to take the backseat and let the young take over our seats,’” said William.
According to a recent Pentecostal meeting, William shared that the greatest needs of the church are leadership with character, leaders who walk in and teach about the Holy Spirit, more spiritual parents, more resources, and also education.
Before he came to this conference, he also asked a group of young adults in his class, “What would you like to have from your church leaders?”
Amongst the answers were discipleship or mentorship, ways to follow the Spirit and discerning the voice of God, forgetting waging denominational wars and uniting to help the lost, experiencing the Holy Spirit as God, and also being real and loving.
While we know now the needs of the young adults, essential steps need to be taken to see that the Pentecostal movement would continue.
Here are six suggestions to keep that fire burning to the next generation, according to William:
Embrace Acts 2:1-4
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
The LA Times of 1906 described speaking in tongues in the most negative light: ‘weird babel of tongues, new sect of fanatics is breaking loose, wild scene last night at Azusa street, gurgle of wordless talk by a sister.’
Fast-forward to Times magazine recently, people who speak in tongues were found to be happier than people who don’t.
“The new generation struggled in tongues because they struggled with the behavior of those who spoke in tongues,” said William.
Young people need to see the impact of the Holy Spirit in a person’s lives, one that is marked by practical and charitable works.
“God has downloaded a generational gifting to today’s young people. He has put a desire in their heart to make a difference in this world. We should stand back and allow them to manifest their gifts or they will be lost,” said William.
Teach and preach on the Holy Spirit
“The younger generation wants to know about the Holy Spirit but their pastors do not teach about that,” said William.
And the truth is that some pastors are afraid of speaking about the Holy Spirit because they are not familiar with the Holy Spirit.
“You can never take someone to where you never been before. But when you know the Holy Spirit, you can say, ‘Follow me because I am following God, let us experience God together,’” said William.
Give space for experiencing the Holy Spirit
‘The Flip Classroom’ is a classroom, where students get to experience what they learn, which reinforce and add to what they know through experimentation.
“The Flip classroom is how the New Testament should be. Jesus sent his disciples two-by-two first before they wait for ten days for the Holy Spirit to come.”
“There needs to be a paradigm shift in discipleship, where experience comes first, and explanations come second,” said William.
Safe zones need to be created to experience the Holy Spirit, without fear of criticism and embarrassment.
Express you heart
“Tell the younger generation you love them,” said William.
“Our young generation are very perceptive people growing up in the age of scams,” he added. That is why it is important to show an authentic love relationship for God and most importantly, for them.
Pursue the Holy Spirit in deeper dimensions
“Impart to the new generation of what you have in your life,” said William.
A young man was listening to apostle Paul in Troas when he fell asleep and slipped off from the window. Falling to the ground, the young man died. But when Paul immediately went to him and embraced him, the young man came back to life (Acts 20:7-11). Now, that young man’s life was forever changed because he personally experienced the Holy Spirit in deeper dimension.
“Paul can keep preaching or he can get out of his pulpit and experience the power of God. He ran down the stairs and wrapped his hand around the young man, he imparted life on man!” said William.
As a young adult, I agree with William Wilson on my need in knowing more about the Holy Spirit and learning to discern his voice. I also agree very much that a young person should be encouraged to practice moving in the Spirit (i.e. speaking in tongues) in a creative and safe environment. What do you think? What are your views for the youths and young adults for the things you would like to see in your church today?
Note: Dr William (Billy) M. Wilson is an Advisory Committee Member of the PWC. This year, Dr Wilson will be inaugurated as the fourth president of Oral Roberts University. He is also the Executive Director of the International Center for Spiritual Renewal and co-chairs Empowered 21 with Jack Hayford. It is a ministry that brings together leaders and scholars worldwide to address issues in the modern, Spirit-empowered movement.