This week, I’ve been attending and being renewed at the New Room Conference, hosted by Seedbed (the publishing house of Asbury Seminary). It has been a great gift to hear holiness, sanctification and global Christianity preached by folks who are deeply embedded in and passionate about seeing the Kingdom come.
These three days have been Wesleyan theology at its best. We worshiped lavishly and expressively. We prayed deeply. We talked about the means of grace and mission, about travailing prayer and scriptural holiness. In all the ways you’d want it to be, it was Pentecostal: globally focused, vibrant, Kingdom-minded.
The point of New Room is not to bog down in current denominational issues but to raise ourselves up above the tree line (as J.D. Walt says) to see what connects Wesleyans around the world. By Wesleyans, we are not talking about a single denomination but a theological strain that is orthodox, evangelical and missional. The opportunity to network with and appreciate faithful voices from many Wesleyan tribes was truly a gift.
What most excites me about this room of about 700 Christian leaders is that at least half of them are younger than 35. I am having conversations this week with young adults who are hungry to see a genuine, transparent version of holiness blossom within their generation. They are excited about things like accountability, community-based discipleship and the means of grace. Stanley John, a dynamic young Indian preacher raised in Kuwait, is preaching even as I type, and he is setting this room on fire with stories of moves of the Holy Spirit around the world.
I find myself repenting this week for the hours upon hours of time I’ve wasted in conversations, prayers and angst over the political unrest within my own denomination. Lord, forgive me. For the concern of our own survival, we are missing powerful moves of God happening all around us. The fact is, God will go where God is received.
I leave this conference hopefully, gratefully … reminded that I am not alone. In fact, far from it, I feel surrounded. In my spirit, I am hearing Elijah on the mountain, saying to God, “I alone am left,” while God says, “To the contrary, there are thousands in the valley waiting for you. Get to work.”
Yes, Lord. I hear you. Get to work. The world is hungry, waiting, and ready.