Technology, ethnic diversity and outreach to the disenfranchised are key concerns of a new generation of leaders in the charismatic movement, according to the 30th anniversary issue of Charisma magazine (August), the leading publication of the American charismatic and Pentecostal movements.
In profiling 30 up-and-coming charismatic leaders, the magazine finds that they tend to be “burned out on denominationalism, they avoid labels and aren’t comfortable with old church models.” Not hesitant to use technology as an outreach tool, they (often because many themselves have experienced broken and dysfunctional homes) minister to those outside the mainstream of church life–singles, the poor and those with various addictions.
An example of this is Matthew Barnett, who started Los Angeles’ Dream Center, which offers practical and spiritual assistance to addicts and the poor and has now been duplicated in 130 cities worldwide. About one-third of those profiled are racial minorities and most of 30 leaders stress racial and cultural diversity, such as Ron and Hope Carpenter, who started the interracial 7,300-member Redemption World Outreach Center in Greenville, SC.
Another article in this issue looks at broader trends unfolding in the charismatic movement. As with the younger generation, charismatics in general are moving away from “main event megachurches,” where stress is placed on impersonal, concert-like performances. Instead, the emphasis will be on “smaller venues that are more interactive, intense and tailored,” writes M. Rex Miller. He also sees a shift away from “fast church growth” toward more sustainable levels and an emerging focus on community development, as congregations seek to connect with their neighborhoods.
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