In a historic event, Christians from 60 nations gathered in Berlin, Germany, at the Maritim Hotel Berlin for the Wittenberg Congress, October 31 – November 1, 2017. Led by the Global Church Network and Dr. James O. Davis, this gathering commemorated the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther writing his 95 theses and the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation, but also focused on finishing the Great Commission by 2030.
Nearly 70 leaders from Hong Kong, Australia, India, Africa, Europe, Canada, and the United States represented the International Pentecostal Holiness Church at this important event. Pastor Joanne Wong from the Wing Kwong Church in Hong Kong said, “The conference challenged us to finish the Great Commission, build our church young and maximize our lives.”
Bishop Randell Drake, who attended this special celebration with the New Horizon Ministries Executive Council, felt this congress was important because, “Worshiping with Christian brothers and sisters from around the world and connecting with them was deeply moving. It touched me to hear their testimonies, to listen to their stories and to enjoy newfound friends in the kingdom.”
General Superintendent Doug Beacham’s message “Reformation Networking for Global Impact: Convergent Synergy”, reminded the church that we must honor the past, but also focus on the mission that lies before us. “Reformation lessons are not merely history, they are new opportunities of what the Holy Spirit seeks to accomplish through the Gospel in our epoch. Reformation provides an opportunity for the fulfillment of divine purposes meant to transform the future.”
Beacham identified five areas of opportunity for the 21st century: Political, Social and Religious Convergence; Hearing the Bible Anew; Technology and Communications; Education; and Transformative Relationships. He concluded by declaring, “This day is a day that we remember the past and thank God for what is going to happen in the future.”
The Global Church Network and founder, Dr. James O. Davis, honored Bishop Beacham with one of eight Martin Luther Leadership Awards for his outstanding leadership and service to the global body of Christ.
On Wednesday, Davis reminded the Congress that even though we are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, there are still over 3,000 people groups that have not heard the gospel message. He challenged attendees to help the Global Church Network fulfill their mission of “A body, a believer and a body of Christ for every people group by 2030.” In order to do this, the church must FINISH: Find, Intercede, Network, Invest, Send and Harvest.
The concluding service of the Wittenberg Congress was held at the historic All Saint’s Church (Castle Church) in Wittenberg, Germany. Oscar Castor and Word of Hope Church (Philippines) opened the service with the Hallelujah Chorus followed by messages from Jan von Campenhausen, Dr. Leonard Sweet, and Dr. James O. Davis.
In his keynote address, Bishop Kenneth Ulmer echoed the sentiment of other speakers that the next reformation will be a reformation of the Spirit. He declared that the church is alive, “The Holy Spirit is on the move throughout the earth and the global church is growing faster than ever before. This is our finest hour!”
In conclusion, the congregation filled the halls of Castle Church with Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”. Dr. Timothy Hill, general overseer of the Church of God, then led the crowd in proclaiming the FINISH Declaration which states, “We commit to HARVEST together until the last person has heard the saving Gospel of Christ.”