Empowered21, a conference dubbed the “Global Congress on Holy Spirit Empowerment in the 21st Century,” convened on the campus of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., April 8-10. An astounding 9,600 attendees—representing more than 90 nations and various religious, ethnic and generational backgrounds—gathered for three nights and two days of dynamic worship, inspired preaching and practical workshops, with the goal of helping “shape the future of the Spirit-empowered movement around the world.”
The speakers and musical artists included many “big names,” but they all lifted up God’s name, establishing His lordship and focusing on His greatness. The clear purpose was for everyone to receive fresh Holy Spirit empowerment for 21st-century ministry. Sponsored by both Oral Roberts University and the International Center for Spiritual Renewal (ICSR), the conference was the culmination of a year and a half of communication with established leaders, scholars and next-gen leaders around the world.
From the very beginning, it was clear that Empowered21 was committed to international empowerment for the purpose of international evangelism. On the opening evening, invocations were given in nine different languages: Arabic, English, German, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Mandarin, Spanish and Swahili.
Another major emphasis was imparting Holy Spirit empowerment to the next generation. On Friday morning, Oral Roberts University president Mark Rutland honored previous generations of Pentecostal and charismatic leaders. This laid an appropriate foundation for the Saturday morning session, led by Foursquare’s own “Pastor Jack” Hayford, which focused on empowering the new generation of leaders.
The evening sessions continued the emphasis on the empowerment of the new generation. The focus of the first evening was purity. Joyce Rodgers, Timothy Ross and Joel Stockstill issued powerful challenges regarding the necessity of earnestly pursuing and committing to lives of purity. The second evening focused on passion, and speakers Ron Luce, Lou Engle and Jentezen Franklin did not disappoint. Their own fiery passions for prayer and the Word were contagious.
The third evening featured speakers representing the seven continents of the world: E.A. Adeboye, Africa; Arthur Blessit, Antarctica; Niko Njotorahardjo, Asia; Margaret Court, Australia; Ulf Ekman, Europe; Tommy Barnett, North America; and Claudio Freidzon, South America. The conference closed with an anointing service in which all of the attendees had the opportunity to be anointed with oil and prayed for by one of the various speakers or a member of the ministry team.
It was clear that people left Tulsa with a sense of gratitude for what God had done and a sense of expectancy for what He will continue to do among His people.
“Empowered21 clearly and intentionally gathered leaders from around the globe to discuss and empower the next generation with the fullness of the Holy Spirit,” said Kelly Fellows, director of Foursquare’s NextGen Ministries. “It was evident in the structure and format that next-gen leaders were celebrated and released to speak into the process of what God is doing in and through this current generation. There was a deliberate involvement of young voices at every level of this historic gathering. I was encouraged to witness a purposeful passing of the ‘Spirit-filled baton’ to the next generation.”
Foursquare’s Chief Operating Officer, Secretary-Treasurer Sterling Brackett, who also serves as the chair of the board of directors for ICSR, shared Kelly’s excitement about Empowered21: “I have attended many meetings throughout my years of ministry—and many wonderful meetings. But I have never experienced any greater sense of the move of God among people who were hungry to receive a new anointing for empowerment. I expect to see great things in the kingdom as this new, Spirit-empowered generation takes the gospel to the world.”
Empowered21, the event, concluded on April 10. However, the empowerment itself must not end, and The Foursquare Church will continue to do its part to pass the “Spirit-filled baton” to future generations.