“The major engine driving this transformation [of the demographics of Christendom] is Pentecostalism…The engine of Pentecostalism is its worship.” This is the bold claim of Drs. Donald Miller and Tetsunao Yamamori in their book, Global Pentecostalism: The new Face of Christian Social Engagement. 
In a well documented and readable volume these two men present the findings of a four year, twenty nation study of the Pentecostal movement and its holistic ministry. As they trace a brief history of Pentecostals they describe the distinctives of an emergent movement within Pentecostalism. They created “a new term to define ths movement, which is Progressive Pentecostalism,” defining Progressive Pentecostals as, “Christians 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.” 
Miller and Yamamori state, “…the thesis of this book is that some of the most innovative social programs in the world are being initiated by fast-growing Pentecostal churches.”  The authors distinguish this work as being “different from either the Social Gospel or Liberation Theology. With a few exceptions, it is relatively nonpolitical.” 
Their intent in writing is clear. “The central question of this book is whether Pentecostalism in all of its different manifestations can have an impact on the many problems facing our world, and especially developing nations. Our answer to this question is a qualified ‘yes,’…” 
As Miller and Yamamori praise the Progressive Pentecostal movement, one odd aspect of their writing is that at least three times, they repeat a similar phrase: “At the risk of being accused of having gone native [emphasis mine]…”  For some reason they seem to feel the need to make sure their readers don’t think they’ve been swept up into the Pentecostal movement. Whether this is restated defensively, or in order to maintain an air of objectivity is not clear. But they seem to need to be clear on this point.
The authors wrote, “…we see a blend of functional and substantive reasons for the growth of the movement. Some of these explanations fit neatly in the deprivation box of religion as a compensation for the misery and pain of life.” 
Since 2005 I have made four trips to Uganda and two to Liberia and have observed an intriguing ecstacy in the worship life of Christians. I have watched and contemplated what I see, trying to understand their rapture. This past August, during a personally emotionally low period half way through my month in Uganda it became clearer, when I found myself alone and isolated from virtually everything familiar and comfortable. It was then that I realized the down side of living a life filled with material blessing.
My language to describe this phenomenon and analysis of worship would not follow the line of “deprivation” as though God were saying, “you’ve had a tough life and have been good. Here’s your reward; here’s some compensation.” Rather, the spiritually deep connection I observe occurs in life-contexts of few, or no “distractions.” What we might call “deprivation” is also the absence of the myriad of things that vie for our attention in wealthy America. We humans see what is in front of us. If what we see is material blessing, then that is what we look at. Absent the distraction of wealth, we are forced to look beyond material blessing and have less that “gets in the way” of seeing God.
My conclusion is not that the misery is simply replaced with an emotional high or a distraction, but rather that without pleasure and comfort, the worshipers actually experience God at a deeper and more profound level.
A second point of personal connection came in the description of Kampala Pentecostal Church. “…church members have created a series of villages…and the houses were arranged in circular clusters of eight homes, with the doors facing inward toward a large central lawn.” Each home had eight children and a single mom to care for them.  “The formula for healing these children is quite simple: unconditional love offered within a structured environment.” 
In 2006 we saw this exact model in an orphanage outside Kampala, operated by an American missionary couple. Mr. and Mrs. Danger were careful to create a healthy environment that was close to the standard of living likely to be experienced by the children once they “aged out” of the orphanage. Our experience with orphans in Uganda affirms “…and most important, help these children think about their future.” 
It was also gratifying to read of Miller’s and Yamamori’s meeting with Jackie Pullinger. I read Chasing the Dragon perhaps a decade ago. Meeting Jackie Pullinger in Hong Kong last year was a profoundly moving experience.
Our cohort was also treated to a reunion with one of our books from last year. “Max Weber…prepared the way in his classic volume The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.”  Our current authors nicely summarized the work of Weber. They remind us of “two key concepts that emerged out of the Protestant Reformation.” From Matin Luther we gain the value of “calling,” showing that all professions are of value, and from John Calvin the reminder of salvation being a matter of God’s grace and that the reward for hard work can exhibit the signs of election. 
Yamamori and Miller connect Weber to their work by stating, “…the lifestyle of Pentecostals does not differ substantially from Weber’s description of the Puritans…Furthermore, their businesses gain a reputation for honest transactions…”  They add an interesting comment about the life of Pentecostals: “The warmth of their community life compensates for the denial associated with their moral discipline.” 
Throughout this book I was continually reminded of Jeremiah 29:7 and the prophet’s call to seek the welfare of the city and to pray to the Lord on its behalf. What Global Pentecostalism reports is as clear a presentation of Jeremiah as I have seen.
 Donald E. Miller and Tetsunao Yamamori, Global Pentecostalism: The new Face of Christian Social Engagement (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2007) 17, 23.
 Ibid., 2.
 Ibid., 6.
 Ibid., 4.
 Ibid., 31
 Ibid., 219
 Ibid., 22
 Ibid., 69.
 Ibid., 70.
 Ibid., 69.
 Ibid., 28.
 Ibid., 162
 Ibid., 163
 Ibid., 164-165
 Ibid., 172