Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

A Person with an Experience…

Written by: on December 1, 2016

What comes to mind when you say the word Pentecostal?   Does it bring up images of lively worship with hands raised and the volume level reaching concert levels?   Does the word cell group or community come to mind? Does supernatural signs such as healing or speaking in tongues?  What is it about the word that transcends traditional church and bring visions of God interacting with people’s lives today?  So when does Pentecostal become the answer to your question?


When the question is “why not study growing churches in the Developing World that are involved in significant social ministry?  Donald E Miller and Tetsunao Yamamori posed this question to each other when they were on a Southern World consultation.   They sent out over four hundred letters to mission’s experts, denominational leader and other informed consultants to nominate churches based on this question.  And the answer that came back to them was Pentecostal churches.   The ones that were nominated were Pentecostal or Charismatic.
That is the beginnings of this very engaging book Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement, by Donald E Miller and Tetsunao Yamamori.   This book contains so many stories of the developing global Pentecostal church and how it is affecting the social issues that surround them.  A very in depth and well written experience-based body of research presented by master story tellers.
This is their definition of Pentecostal for the modern day.  A super condensed history of Pentecostalism.  The beginning of the modern day Pentecostal movement was at Bethel Bible School in Topeka, Kansas where under Charles F. Parham’s teaching, students began to speak in tongues.  He took his ministry to Houston, Texas where a young student by the name of William J Seymour experienced Pentecost and became convinced that the Holy Spirit was still in the business of working supernatural miracles.   He took his ministry to Azusa Street in Las Angeles, where he began to preach to an interracial crowd that started to see the acts of the first century apostles replicated: speaking in tongues, healing the infirm and prophesying.  The modern day Pentecostal movement was launched.  (18)


The authors took the research based on their question and visited churches around the world to discover that they that are making a difference.   This is what I found so exciting.  The move of the Holy Spirit translates to there being social change.  They identified Pentecostals as agents of social transformation. These are indirect results of the Pentecostal movement.  This movement sees “loving your neighbor as a mandate from God.”  So that would be the direct cause and then this would be the overflow effect.  Social transformation is something that I have been privileged to be a part of over my thirty years of ministry within the Assemblies of God.  When the message of hope and the Holy Spirit is presented there is going to be change in the culture.  I have seen the same results in Mexico, Honduras, Ireland, Russia and Nicaragua.   I have been able to be a part of this “hands on.”  There is nothing like seeing spiritual change affecting the social, medical and political culture of a location.


The one story from the book that I would like to focus in on, is a place that I have been fortunate enough to visit in person.   In Hong Kong there is a lady by the name of Jackie Pullinger.  She arrived in Hong Kong in 1966 and started to work with the addicts in the Walled City.   When the authors started to read her book “Chasing the Dragon” they determined that either it was a “pack of lies calculated to raise money for St Stephen’s Society, the network of residential treatment centers that had evolved over the years,” or, if it was a true story, then it deserved intensive investigation. (99)   When they arrived and had the opportunity to meet with Jackie personally they encountered not a “church” or a “ministry” but instead a place where people are loved.    The ministry is guided daily by the “Holy Spirit.”  They have kinship with Vineyard Christian Fellowship and use their worship songs for their worship time.  The deliverance from drugs happens from the “infilling” of the Holy Spirit.   This happens when “a seemingly supernatural presence descends on the addict and he or she begins speaking in tongues, unaware of what he is saying but filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.” (101)   This example, that I have seen in person, was one of the most impressive for me for Global Pentecostalism.    I have experienced the “house meeting” where the Holy Spirit is invited to encounter those who are breaking free from addictions.    The presence of God was so intense and the worship was powerfully engaging.   What they write about, I have experienced.  Having a message in tongues and then having it interpreted bilingually on our visit,  just seals the radical nature of what God is doing around the globe.  The greatest thing that I take away from reading all of these stories is that in the middle of an age of sapiens there is still evidence of a very powerful and real God. IMG_8908







After reading this book I have to concur with the authors conclusion.   There are within the Pentecostal realm those who have self-interest and those that have manipulated it, just like those in political office in some of the wealthiest countries of the world.  There may have been fraud, escapism or cultural baggage that has been brought to the experience, but there is a dimension of Pentecostalism the marches to a different drummer. (224)  The experience of the multifaceted Holy Spirit is still engaging people around the globe today.   Just like He did on the day of Pentecost and just like He has since the beginning of this latest move at Topeka.   Here is what I have discovered within the pages of this book through all the varied stories told from around the Globe:  a person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument.  You can be told that God is not real but when you experience Him, in the fullness of his power, it silences the argument.  It affects not only the spirit man but the social side of life. So let this new face of social engagement continue to grow and affect us all.


About the Author


Kevin Norwood

My name is Kevin Norwood and I have been in youth ministry for the past 34 years. On February 14th, 1994, 27 years ago, we moved to Owasso OK and wow what a ride. My wife, Ann, is an RN and specializes in Clinical Documentation working from home. Maci is a my 21 year old daughter and she loves and shows horses. Her horse's name is Charlie. She is currently working with animals and loves to go on trail rides with her horse. London is my 10 year old son and he keeps me young. He absolutely loves life!! Golfing, baseball and Hawaii is his latest adventures. He skied for the first time in Colorado this year. I have started a coaching business for pastors at www.kevinnorwood.com and it is exciting the doors that God is opening. I earned my Doctorate in Leadership and Global Perspectives from George Fox on Feb 10, 2018.

9 responses to “A Person with an Experience…”

  1. Phil Goldsberry says:


    Great post on the relationship between the perception of the Pentecostal/charismatic world and the deliverables in the social sector.

    Do you feel that Miller and Yamamori brought validity to the Pentecostal/charismatic world by showing the involvement in social needs? You have presented well the negative slant that has been given.


    • Kevin Norwood says:

      When the authors mentioned our denomination as a leader in the global leadership of social change, it brought in to focus how much our missions drives what we do as a local church. Sometimes we don’t see the end result when we are the giving component.

      Every where I have been globally in our missions organization, I have discovered the same thing as the authors. Social change is a bi product of the ministry that happens into the world. We partner together to finance what has to happen to reach local people. I believe it does bring validation to the upside of what we are doing missionaly. I like their take aways from around the world.


  2. Pablo Morales says:

    Thank you for passionate blog. I was specially encouraged by your assertion, “The move of the Holy Spirit translates to there being social change.” Social change starts by the transformation of one life at a time. Thus, the one thing that I enjoy the most in my pastoral ministry is when I see a person come to believe in Christ, and I get to observe the transformation that the Holy Spirit begins in their lives. It is truly supernatural to see the mind of Christ being formed in the life of the individual and the fruit of the Spirit transform a heart. It is also a great privilege to be used by God during that process.

    Perhaps the one thing that encouraged me the most about Jackie Pullinger was her resistance to objectify people by reducing them to numbers or statistics. Ministering in the midst of a culture that values measurable results and statistical charts, Jackie reminded me that our call is rather simple yet profound: To love people with the love of Christ and let the Holy Spirit do His transforming work.

    Thank you for your passion in serving the Lord across the globe.


    • Kevin Norwood says:


      How many times have I wanted to make the change instead of waiting on the Holy Spirit to do it. That is the greatest struggle that I feel in youth ministry. I see what students could be if they would just give themselves wholly to Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit. I can lead them to it but I cannot change them.

      I love what I have been able to do around the world and it drives me to continue when I know we as an organization are making a difference.


  3. Marc Andresen says:


    I would like to ask you something of what Phil asked me: Have you seen in the U. S. anything of what the authors described in this book?

  4. Kevin Norwood says:


    The answer is yes. I have seen the experiences of the Holy Spirit in settings where time is not a limitation. Camp is a time where we see this movement happen because the distractions of phones and social media are limited and there is really no where to go. So with a time continuum that lends itself to spiritual experience.
    One of the things that has marked my ministry for years is community/social service. We serve our community and make it a better place because of the simple premise that Jesus declared that a servant is truly the leader of all. We were just recognised by the State of Oklahoma for 679 volunteers and 1389 hours of community service to make our community a better place to live. I never set out to be recognised by the state. We set out to serve our community through practical acts of service. What could we do to make a difference in Owasso? The community leaders nominated us for this honour. I don’t keep track of those things but they have over the past 5 years.

    I find it interesting that spiritual awakening and being Spirit filled lends itself easily to serving others. I can’t make teenagers want to serve others but the infilling of the Holy Spirit can. I can provide the opportunity but the ones who will come and do it with us are the ones who have experienced God in a personal and powerful way.

    It is not me but the Holy Spirit who makes this happen.

    Hope that answers your question.


  5. Rose Anding says:

    Thanks Kevin for a great blog,
    As I was reading your blog , it seem like in today’s church you hear very little about the Holy Spirit and it makes one wonder what is Pentecostal?
    Your blog gave insight into the subject.Thanks for wrapping up our semester with a great blog.
    Rose Maria

  6. Garfield Harvey says:

    Great blog. You suggested that experience is stronger than an argument and I believe this to be true. While Pentecostalism was criticized for being a movement filled with the illiterate, at no point could people argue about the miracles that occurred within the movement. Although miracles are isolated events within our present Pentecostal churches, history suggests that they are stronger when “sings and wonders” are evident.


  7. Great blog Kevin. I’m a little late to the game here so I read all the questions and comments.
    In your response to Marc you mention how you love the “serving” aspect of Pentecostalism. I agree and I think serving is a huge key to engaging youth. You are a great youth leader and friend. Thanks for all your encouragement this semester.

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