Why Every Church Should Be Charismatic
In traditional churches today, it appears that youths’ migration to Pentecostalism is already on-going and gradually attracting concern. On the other hand, church leaders in Pentecostal churches are progressively creating more flexible youth-driven frameworks. But much as this is the case, there is still disconnection between these efforts and understanding the adaptive capacity of the youth. The threat of a complete exodus of the youth from traditional churches is now being correctly addressed as not merely a denominational concern, but a contemporary issue that has tangible effects on youth, family and church life. In this new series I will realistically explore the strongest links to this attraction/migration and how we can maintain a successful youth ministry in our churches without necessarily losing the youth.
We now direct our attention to the recent happenings in our churches today: the attraction/migration of youths to Pentecostal churches, which is an almost completed exit of the youth from our traditional churches. The impact of this increasingly observed exodus is gradually being felt in traditional churches today. Traditional churches have reacted by waging a fierce battle against the Pentecostals. After having conducted this research and generated data as to what might consequently be the cause of this attraction to Pentecostalism, a lot of concerns and recommendations come to mind.
As I can remember, I spent almost my entire years as a Pentecostal. Not until I entered the seminary and did share my church participatory experience with several other friends from different other denominations. Thanks to my seminary for operating an inter-denominational seminary system. Needless to say, I had my reservations concerning other denominations before I entered the seminary – which was almost typical of every Pentecostal. Not until few years ago, as I grew to a more fledged and levelheaded youth that I began to pay keen attention to events, practices and ministries of the Pentecostal communities. Recently, as part of my initiated research endeavor for TMAfrica on Pentecostal and Charismatic movements in the country, I spent a few weeks visiting Pentecostal and Traditional churches around my region, paying attention to their church routine policies, especially with a particular focus on the youth.
Next to conducting a number of interviews, I tried to visit as many Pentecostal and Traditional churches as possible. For my first few Sundays, I went to churches which I will call churches X and Y for the moment. Churches X and Y had an impressive concrete building, quite tall and roomy, as if to compete with Orthodox sacral architecture. The worship service itself, however, was less spectacular in comparison to how my denomination does their worship service. The building filled to barely half of its capacity, and the singing seemed rather quiet and brought under control. People only clapped their hands when asked to do so, nobody prayed in tongues, and spontaneity was rare. Only elders were invited to lead prayers. During the sermon, there was no spontaneous crowd response; and the service ended without one of the typical altar calls.
A few weeks later I visited quite different churches, let’s call them churches A, B and C. Almost all the churches in the A, B and C category met in a small canopied space, which could not hold all the worshipers gathered there. But one thing was uniform in all my visits to churches A, B and C: they shared a common affinity and were less liturgical, very flexible and youth-oriented. Young people actively participated in almost every function and singing was highly energized and loud with spontaneous bursts of praise and tongues. In most cases, what I observed was more of a gathering of like-minded people (that shared a common affinity for one another) filled with a blast of euphoria for the Unknown.
It may be suspected by this comparative characterization, that churches X and Y belong to mainstream/traditional denominations whereas churches A, B and C are Pentecostals. This perception is true.
After having conducted most of my work in these churches, I observed a group of people that shared much common affinity in the Pentecostal churches. It was obvious that they shared situations that created a distinct culture within the larger group of adults. These were mostly youths who shared the same residence (school), occupation (student), class (under adults, not children), communication preference (secondary orality), and jargon.
The relationship between the youth and Pentecostalism seems to just fit in most cases. Pentecostalism looks very youthful in its projections because of some reasons some scholars have demonstrated. One of note is Colin Buchanan’s (1981:39) reply to the rising potential of Pentecostal and Charismatic churches in England: “It is likely that the charismatic movement brings missing dimensions to some of the existing traditions in the church.” Questions that come to mind with such a statement are: “Could Pentecostalism be taking advantage of the church’s ‘missing dimensions’?” “Has the church in the past neglected young people?” “What measures can be taken to fill up these ‘missing dimensions’?”
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 In this series I will use the terms “mainstream,” “mainland,” “traditional,” “Protestant” or “historic” churches interchangeably. In J.D. Payne’s book Missional Home Churches, he describes these churches to tend to be program-oriented, event-oriented, or categorically purpose-oriented in their identities. Pastoral leadership tends to be more positional in orientation and less relational. Evangelism is, many times, one program among many programs of the church and/or is primarily accomplished through the members inviting unbelievers to a worship service where the gospel is shared. The number of members usually far exceeds the number of people who gather weekly for worship and actively use their gifts and talents to build up the church. Many of these churches identify themselves primarily in terms of their services, events, structures, buildings, and organizations.
 Leonildo Silveira (1996), Why Historic Churches are Declining and Pentecostal Churches are growing in Brazil, p.¶5
 TMAfrica is fully known as the Third Millennium Africa Initiative. It is an Africa-led initiative with the mandate to build, develop and ensure an informed leadership model with Africa leadership populations by addressing the present and future challenges facing leadership and community roles in the new millennium Africa and through research and practical actions, address these challenges. I presently serve as TMAfrica Director General and you can visit our website at www.tmafrica.net
 Haustein, Jörg, Charismatic Renewal, Denominational Tradition and the Transformation of Ethiopian Society. In: Evangelisches Missionswerk Deutschland (Hrsg.): Encounter Beyond Routine. Cultural Roots, Cultural Transition, Understanding of Faith and Cooperation in Development. International Consultation, Academy of Mission, Hamburg, 17th-23rd January 2011. Hamburg: EMW, 2011. S. 45-52. (EMW Dokumentation; 5)
 Colin Buchanan, p.39, The ecumenical potential of the Charismatic Movement in the Church of England