In a larg-scale gathering of Christian leaders with the goal of fulfilling the Great Commission, Dr. William Wilson delivered an opening speech that encapsulated the essence of this historic gathering, emphasizing five crucial points that would shape their collective journey.
Dr. William Wilson, president of Oral Roberts University, chairman of the Pentecostal World Fellowship, and global co-chair of Empowered21, opened with a reflection on the journey that led to this historic Amsterdam gathering on June 21.
It all began with the Azusa Street centennial celebration in Los Angeles back in 2006, where the remarkable growth and impact of Spirit-filled Christianity were celebrated. This event catalyzed the formation of Empowered21, the largest global relational network of Spirit-empowered leaders, denominational representatives, and network leaders.
In the network's global council meeting in Hawaii in 2013, a visionary goal was established: to ensure that every person on Earth experiences an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit by 2033, the 2000-year anniversary of Jesus' death on the cross, his resurrection, his Ascension, the giving of the Great Commission, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
In order to support this vision, the Empowered21 network established a Global Evangelist Alliance and made the decision to hold a meeting in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in the same place that Billy Graham had held a historic gathering in 1983.
The meeting is to discuss evangelism in the 21st century and strategize on how to realize this ambitious goal in the next decade. Dr. Wilson highlighted five crucial points: commission, challenge, commitment, cleansing, and courage.
Dr. Wilson emphasizes the universality of the Great Commission as outlined in the Gospels; the message is clear: the gospel is for everyone, and every person on Earth deserves an opportunity to hear and respond to it. The way is to focus on individuals and reach one person at a time to ultimately reach everyone.
The world's population has reached over eight billion, presenting a significant challenge to the commission. Additionally, distractions and diversions can hinder churches’ focus on evangelism. Dr. Wilson conveyed the importance of redirecting efforts and resources toward the personalization of the Great Commission.
A re-commitment to the commission among these challenges is needed. In the past December, a commitment statement called "2033: A Call to the Global Church for a Decade of Great Commission Effort" was formed in New York by 24 leaders from various movements to mobilize the Church and refocus energies, efforts, and resources towards evangelism. He encouraged conference attendees to make a personal commitment and sign the commitment statement to rectify the injustice of millions who have never heard the gospel and make the next 10 years the greatest in terms of Great Commission efforts.
Recognizing the importance of upholding the purity of the gospel message, Dr. Wilson called for personal and collective cleansing. Attendees were encouraged to seek the infilling of the Holy Spirit, allowing God's power to cleanse their lives and become vessels through which the transformative message of Jesus Christ could flow.
In the face of the dramatic drama and trauma of the 21st century, Dr. Wilson emphasized the need for unwavering courage. Attendees were urged to embrace the courage and power of the Holy Spirit, empowering them to confront these obstacles head-on. They were reminded that God's strength far surpasses any adversity encountered in fulfilling the Great Commission.