|Frank Henning Holm
2007 marks 100 years since the Pentecostal movement reached Norway and Europe, and because of that Norway will host a centennial conference for Pentecostal and Charismatic movements all over Europe – in co-operation with – and on behalf of the Pentecostal European Fellowship.
It all started in 1906 in a closed down Methodist Chapel at Azuza Street in Los Angeles. People from all denominations had been reading in the book of Acts in the Bible about what happened to the disciples of Jesus on the day of Pentecost. They started to pray that they too would get a personal experience of the Holy Spirit, who is the third person in the trinity, just like they read in the Bible. Soon things started to happen that were new to them. They experienced great joy, new energy in life, speaking unknown languages, healing from sicknesses and other manifestations. People were drawn to that place, as they wanted the same things to happen in their lives. Then the Pentecostal movement was born.
One of the persons who became curious about this movement was Thomas Ball Barratt, a Norwegian Methodist pastor from Kristiania (today’s Oslo). He had travelled to America trying to raise money to build a home for poor and homeless people in the Capital city. The financial result of the campaign was a great failure. He returned with no money to Kristiania before Christmas in 1906. But instead he had had an encounter with God, which changed both his personal life and his future ministry.
The vision of Thomas Ball Barratt was that the renewal he had experienced would be given to the whole Christianity in Norway. This did not happen. He met great resistance from the established churches of that time. Instead he founded a new denomination, “The Pentecostal Movement”. It had a significant growth rate during the first half of last century, both in Norway, the Nordic countries, Europe and in many other countries. Today approximately 50 000 people belong to Pentecostal and Charismatic churches in Norway, and around 4 millions in all Europe.
Furthermore, the times are changing. Today, 100 years after Baratts spiritual experience, the “classic” Pentecostal movement he started is small compared to all the “friends of Pentecost” within the traditional churches and also different kinds of Charismatic churches and movements. Today it is estimated that out of approximately 2 billion Christians in the world, about 1/3 are Pentecostals/Charismatics, with a strong emphasis on a personal experience of The Holy spirit.
In the year 2007 all of this will be put in focus. In Norway there will be special meetings all over Norway; interdenominational prayer meetings, outreach meetings, concerts and so on. And 18-23 September 2007 all Europe will mark 100 years with a big centennial celebration in Oslo Spektrum, the biggest concert hall in Norway. On our website you can keep updated with what happens and where.
Jesus prayed right before his death for his children to be one, so that the world would believe that God had sent him. (John 17:20-21). This is the vision behind the so called “Azuza Centennials” all over the world in 2006-2007.