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Pentecostalism and Ecumenism: Past, Present, and Future (Part 5 of 5) by Amos Yong

Second, be intentional about meeting with other Christians. In fact, as pastors and church leaders of Pentecostal churches, we should lead our congregations by example, seeking out opportunities to take our Pentecostal witness to ecumenical circles, especially those involving leadership.25 Of course, we have to earn the right to have our testimonies heard, and this is usually accomplished by listening to what others have to say. Times of mutual worship and prayer should be frequent and central to our meetings with others. And, in this process, genuine koinonia emerges, friendships are established, dialogue is sustained, relationships are solidified, misunderstandings and stereotypes are identified, and trust is built. The personal benefit such will have on our lives cannot be measured. From a pastoral perspective, such experience will enable us to better direct members of our congregation in building their own lay and neighborhood ecumenical networks.

Last but by no means least, the interdenominational relationships that we establish as church leaders will also allow us to plan inter-congregational activities centered around worship, prayer, and the reading and exploration of Scripture. As important will be the opportunities afforded these congregations to take on community or social projects. Relief agencies such as rescue missions, alcoholic and drug rehabilitation programs, and soup kitchens are already centers of ecumenical activity. The Church’s presence in local communities and neighborhoods need to be more pronounced. And, rather than simply touting one congregation or denomination as “superior”—such attitudes are often communicated by Christians without intending to do so—why not convey to the world the truth that Christians love each other and those without the faith in the same way as they are loved by God and in the same way as the Father loves the Son? This comes about by concrete acts of love—the feeding of the hungry, the housing of the homeless, the clothing of the naked, the visiting of those sick and in prison, and so on (Matt. 25:31-46). Churches that comprise the one body of Jesus Christ can do much more together than they can do by themselves.

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Category: Ministry, Pneuma Review, Winter 2002

About the Author: Amos Yong is Professor of Theology & Mission and director of the Center for Missiological Research at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena. His graduate education includes degrees in theology, history, and religious studies from Western Evangelical Seminary and Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, and Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, and an undergraduate degree from Bethany University of the Assemblies of God. He is the author of numerous papers and over 30 books. Facebook

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