What is Engaged Pentecostalism?

There are many ways to define both “Engaged” and “Pentecostalism.” Consequently, our version of each is not the fullness or definitive representation of what these words encompass. By “Engaged,” we mean investing in our community socially, economically, politically, academically, ecologically, and practically. Engagement occurs, by our definition, when Spirit-filled people encounter and respond to acts and systems of injustice, ignorance, prejudice, and intolerance. Where the Spirit is, freedom––in every sense of the word––should follow.

“Pentecostalism” is a tougher matter because it is a global movement and tradition that is loosely held together by the emphasis on the Spirit’s active role in creation. Pentecostalism, as we use it, includes Charismatics, neo-Charismatics, and others who understand the Spirit in the same way. Furthermore, since Pentecostalism is global, we believe it is important to listen to our fellow Pentecostals from around the world to ensure we are considering the fullness of our faith. That means that we are not a competing vision for Pentecostalism. Rather, our hope is to feature something already within the tradition: engagement.

In short, Engaged Pentecostalism is about people who believe that the Spirit has empowered them not just for their own good, but for the progressive good of their neighbors and world.

What Do We Do?

Our goal is simply to better help Pentecostals engage in their community and world. There are many Pentecostals, whether raised in the church or newcomers, that are asking questions about where they fit within Pentecostalism. We hope to help people rethink the work of the Spirit by engaging scripture, culture, and society to express how no one is left out of a community led by the Spirit.

How Do We Do It?

In an effort to better engage our community and world, we are purposeful in our method for engagement.

  • Privileging Marginalized Voices. To start, we seek to privilege marginalized and underprivileged voices. Historically, Pentecostalism has focused on ministering to forgotten and discarded populations, emphasizing a message of hope and life in Christ. Somewhere along the way, some forms of Pentecostalism transitioned to a God of prosperity and theatrics. While we do believe that God desires wholeness and peace, the prosperity some peddle is antithetical to Jesus and the work of the Spirit, as the gospels describes it. Thus, we first listen and then highlight the perspective from the marginalized, including but not limited to minority populations, women, the poor, the disabled, and refugees.
  • Following Acts 2. We are also guided by Acts 2 both by the story of those who experienced Pentecost then as well as those who continue to experience it today.
  • Valuing the Church. Connected to this, we value the voice of the church, particularly the proclamation of the Gospel, and believe that people still experience healing within the Church–though we, too, struggle to understand why healing sometimes doesn’t come.
  • Reengaging Healing. Likewise, we understand healing as a Pentecostal paradigm of engagement, meaning social and environmental healing, not just miraculous physical healing.
  • Promoting Education. Finally, we believe academic inquiry is integral to faith. We believe it is entirely wrong to view higher education as an opponent to faith, especially Pentecostalism. The Spirit moves wherever the Spirit desires and that includes the academy. That said, we do not claim that Engaged Pentecostalism requires higher education. Each person is led by the Spirit, and the Spirit is present in all things.

Who Are We?

Engaged Pentecostalism is committed to a “we” perspective. To us, Pentecostalism is always an “us” enterprise: our local community, neighbors, friends, co-workers, family, church, city, and world. Consequently, this particular site is communitarian in nature. We believe listening to multiple perspectives makes us stronger. We are not concerned with differing opinions; in fact, we see a diversity of perspectives as engagement in our faith. Indeed, there will be times we disagree with one another’s assessment, and we’ll do our best to display those disagreements in our posts. It is important that we learn to both listen and lovingly respond, especially when we don’t immediately agree.

We are growing everyday. If you feel like your voice represents Engaged Pentecostalism, contact us as info@engagedpentecostalism.com for more information on how to potentially contribute to the conversation.