by Fred May
Aligned hearts, strong relationship, support in ministry and challenging fellowship are vital for the sustained growth and well-being of a church family and we’re privileged to be part of a world-wide Spirit-filled movement that provides all of these vital elements in abundance.
After patiently and prayerfully trusting God for guidance in the matter of finding an overarching ecclesiastical association for our movement, we’re pleased to announce that we have been blessed with such fellowship and partnership with other churches and leaders who share our heart in terms of vision and values. Through Pastor Chris Lodewyk, a mentor and good friend to Shofar for many years, we became involved with Empowered21 (E21) in 2011.
where it started
After the 2006 centennial celebrations of the Azusa Street Revival of 1906 in California, several of the respected ministry leaders who had gathered there sensed that God was saying something which needed further exploration. Subsequently, in 2008, while working on clarifying the vision and mission of the university for 21st century ministry, the Oral Roberts University‘s Board of Trustees realised that they were dealing with questions that affected the global Spirit-filled church. With the assistance of the International Centre for Spiritual Renewal (ICFSR), they launched an initiative called Empowered21, which had as a primary aim the mobilising of coming generations specifically in respect of the activation and engagement of the power of the Holy Spirit.
For the next two years, the ICFSR facilitated conversations with leaders, scholars and new generation voices around the world and the results of these conversations were used to form the basis for the first Empowered21 Global Congress on Holy Spirit Empowerment held in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the USA in April 2010. It was attended by over 10,000 people from 95 different nations.
God is uniting His church
Following the congress, the E21 Global Council was formed to take responsibility for the governance of the movement and they formulated the following vision:
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. (2033 would make the second millenial celebration of the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem.)
To help 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 blessings and impartation.
E21 can only be described as a move of God. Pentecostal and charismatic leaders, churches and organisations from around the world are uniting for global evangelism and discipleship. More than 65 million people are already part of E21 and in June, thousands of church and ministry leaders have attended Continental Congresses in Africa, USA and Asia.
our part to play
We’re privileged to be part of this worldwide body, with Anton Myburgh and I having been elected as members of the African Cabinet of E21, with Anton taking on the role of assistant secretary. I also have the privilege of being a member of the International Discipleship Task Group, which brings with it exciting possibilities for sharing ministry and training resources.
Through Amplified, our involvement also reaches into the E21 youth leaders’ network, known as NGYN21. Gielie Jordaan from Shofar Paarl is chairman of the Southern African NGYN Council, while Christo Pieterse from Shofar Pretoria is chairman of the South African Council and Jan-George Blignaut from Shofar Johannesburg has been elected treasurer for South Africa and Southern Africa.
Relationship with other church leaders is a vital and valuable part of our involvement in E21 and it’s wonderful to be working alongside some of Africa’s most inspiring Christian leaders. (The co-chairs of the African Cabinet are Apostle Opoku Onyina, who heads up over 30,000 Church of Pentecost congregations in 86 countries and Reverend Frank Chikane, who leads over 6,000 AFM International churches.)
Pastor Michael Ouedraogo from Burkina Faso, who had served as Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke’s main interpreter in French-speaking Africa, heads up E21 in Francophone Africa and he has invited us to send mission teams to Burkina Faso and the rest of the Francophone region, with a specific request that we focus on unreached people groups in villages which are often predominantly Islamic. (In the past, outreaches have been less effective owing to insufficient sound and lighting systems for the large crowds of over 10,000 in attendance.)
the way forward
The conversation about E21 in Africa began in 2010 and Cabinet and Council members who were nominated and constituted by the Global Council held meetings between 2011 and 2013 in Ghana, Kenya, Burkina Faso, and South Africa. At present, twelve Regional Cabinets have been formed to pursue initiatives and events in their areas, addressing the future of Spirit-empowered Christianity and finding ways to connect the generations for spiritual impartation.
All members of the Shofar family are warmly invited to join us at the next Global Congress scheduled for 20-25 May 2015 in Jerusalem, location of the first Pentecost in AD33. There’ll be optional tour packages available. For enquiries and bookings please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.