Reading Global Pentecostalism was a ‘coming home’ experience for me. I do confess, just as when Miller and Yamamori started their research, I too have held negative preconceived ideas about Pentecostals, as being too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good, and as adherents of that dodgy Health and Wealth theology. Where I got those ideas from, I’m not sure. Whether it was from my über-conservative ministry training in a Reformed Calvinist College, or my good old-fashioned Baptist roots, or even from the influence of the Cape Town Churches we visited, I do not know. But somehow along the way, I picked up the idea that Pentecostals were a branch of Christianity that I probably shouldn’t get too involved with.
However, Global Pentecostalism, has begun to change all that. In fact, while reading this text, I found myself wondering whether I may in fact be one of these aspiring Progressive Pentecostals without even knowing it! From the exuberant worship, holistic gospel message, to the emphasis on healing and spiritual gifts, these are all aspects of a church culture we are trying to create in our church plant.
But more than that, in reading this text, I found myself realising how slow we are in Wales to comprehend how God is working around the world, or more specifically, below the equator. Why is the dynamic and developing holistic gospel of Progressive Pentecostalism burgeoning in the Southern hemisphere, but not in Wales? I ask, how can I encourage these Progressive Pentecostal values to find their way to these Welsh shores? How can I foster this holistic gospel here in my home church?
For a former social worker in India, preaching the gospel alone is not enough: “Material development, he said, is important, but it is not sufficient. People need an internal transformation that realigns their moral compass. When this occurs, there is a lifestyle change that, over time, provides the basis for potential upward social mobility. Economic development programs are not unimportant, he said, but they are not sufficient in his view…Rather, a holistic understanding of personal and social transformation is more likely to succeed.”  As St. Stephen’s ministry to drug addicts in Hong Kong have also found, “The long-term problem is to fill the void that made the individual vulnerable to drugs, and in his mind the solution is spiritual…” 
The holistic focus that Progressive Pentecostalism is centred on is both fascinating and inspiring, especially as in recent months I’ve been thinking and praying about the idea of setting up a Life Centre some time in the future. A place where people in the local community can find practical help in terms of drug prevention, food vouchers, literacy classes, family support and so on, but also a place where healing of the inner person can take place, bringing restoration and wholeness to the mind, heart and soul, not just the body. Global Pentecostalism has served to stoke that desire.
As Miller and Yamamori explain in great detail, the centre of Christianity has indeed shifted from the Northern hemisphere to the Southern, and surely we cannot ignore the fact that the greatest growth within Christianity is taking place among churches who “claim to be inspired by the Holy Spirit and the life of Jesus and seek to holistically address the spiritual, physical, and social needs of people in their community.”  This is where it’s ‘happening’ in God’s universal Church. The question is, what should we at Bethel Community Church do in response? A very inspiring and encouraging read.
 Miller, Donald E. and Tetsunao Yamamori: Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement, (London, England: University of California Press, 2007), 63
 Miller, Donald E. and Tetsunao Yamamori, ibid., 62
 Miller, Donald E. and Tetsunao Yamamori, ibid., 2