Today's young Pentecostal and charismatic leaders have a vision for a world that knows Jesus, and they are spreading His fame worldwide.
Via television, the Internet, speaking tours, evangelistic events, concerts, trips abroad and touching people in their own backyards, this group of under-40 leaders are putting hands and feet to the gospel.
Evangelists such as Amy Lambert, 31, are reaching the world for Christ in a variety of venues and styles. Lambert leads City Invasions, which hosts several evangelistic events around the country each year, and Hope Uprising, which offers evangelism training at churches and conferences.
"God saved me and gave me a passion to help people who seem hopeless," says Lambert, who at one time was a heroin addict. She received evangelism training at the St. Louis Dream Center, participated in training with Reinhard Bonnke, and has held evangelistic outreaches in Nigeria and Kenya.
"In 2010, God said it's time to reach my generation," Lambert says. "I would say to people, 'Don't be afraid.' People see others who don't look like them or smell like them, so they think they can't relate. But just share Jesus. You'll be shocked at peoples' responses." (Find out more about Lambert on Facebook.)
Other rising young evangelists include:
- David Abraham and his wife, Rebecca, are founders of Revive, a Florida-based evangelistic ministry whose mission is to "bring revival, renewal and restoration to people around the world." Find them at reviveyourworld.org.
- Moldova native Meesh Fomenko emigrated when he was 6 years old and his family had to flee intense communist persecution because of their faith. Now Fomenko is an itinerant preacher and evangelist. He has traveled to 25 states and 21 countries on four continents. Learn more at meeshfomenko.com.
- Daniel Kolenda also sat under the tutelage of Bonnke, and now this fifth-generation preacher travels the world sharing the gospel. He is president and chief executive officer of Christ for all Nations, which has offices in 10 nations around the world and has held some of the largest evangelistic events in history. Visit cfan.org and danielkolenda.com.
Pastoring and Leading
Today's young leaders are also pastoring churches around the country, reaching people in their neighborhoods and nearby cities. One such leader is Josue Urrutia, pastor of Mizpa, a nondenominational church that began in 2009 and is located in the Washington, D.C., area. The definition of Mizpa is "watch tower," which is what Urrutia wants his church to become.
"Mizpa is a place where people can recapture God's presence and where hearts are turned back to God," says Urrutia, 26. He is also director of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and in that role travels to major cities and talks to pastors about leadership, building a healthy church and creating a church that will still be growing in 20 years.
Other young pastors include:
- Jonathan Stockstill is the third-generation Stockstill to pastor Bethany Church in South Louisiana. He is also a worship leader and prolific songwriter.
- Pastor Frederick Kenneth Price, head pastor of the Crenshaw Christian Center Church in Los Angeles, California, is following in the footsteps of his father, Apostle Frederick K.C. Price. Pastor Fred was installed by his father as head pastor of the 22,000-member church in 2009.
Sending and Reaching Out
Training and sending people into the world to share Christ is an important vision for young leaders. Brian Kim is director of the Antioch Center for Training & Sending (ACTS), founded out of the International House of Prayer in 2011.
"Our primary goal is to train and send college grads to pioneer the work of the gospel in the darkest parts of the world," says Kim, 32.
Kim travels about 150,000 miles a year, visiting 12 teams of at least 10 people in 10 different cities. They work primarily in the Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist majority areas on two-year assignments. "A lot of times they go in as bivocational," Kim says. "They have a reason to be in the country, such as business or teaching."
He wants to make Jesus famous where He isn't known now. "Our goal is to give the Lord 10,000 young pioneers to spread the Word, and I want to be more in love with Jesus than I've ever been," he says.
Another missions-minded couple is Rev. Max Barroso and his wife, Jessica, who launched The Awakening in 2009. The Awakening is the youth and college department of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church's World Missions Ministries Division. He is director of the program, and also spearheads Native Leader, a project of The Awakening that serves young adult leaders across the globe.
Millennials are eager to reach into the culture they inhabit, and none more so than Chelsen Vicari, the evangelical program director at the Institute on Religion & Democracy. The nonprofit, faith-based ecumenical organization monitors and reports on cultural issues affecting the church.
"There are definitely huge and hostile challenges facing our faith, but we cannot give up on our faith because culture is telling us it's no longer acceptable," she says.
Her job is to offer a glimpse to faithful Christians of what it means to be a young person pressured to compromise in today's culture. She writes a column for The Christian Post and visits churches and campuses to talk about the compromises and twisting of values in the church today. "Stand strong for the faith. This is what we are called to do," says Vicari, 27. "Above all, don't cower in the face of culture's hostile pressure to abandon the faith. Stand firm for the gospel." Visit theird.org to learn more.
Several other key leaders are also studying or responding to the culture.
Barnabas Piper works for the Ministry Grid team at LifeWay Christian Resources, and blogs on culture, sports, books, theology, ministry and life at barnabaspiper.com. Clayton Jennings writes short stories and novels, and wrote, directed and starred in the film Strayland. Visit claytonjennings.com.
Hitting Notes of Faith
Young leaders of the faith are appearing on stage in churches and concert venues. Mandisa Hundley, known as Mandisa, jumped into the spotlight when she placed ninth on the fifth season of American Idol. She has received a Grammy Award for her album Overcomer, been nominated for Dove Awards and won K-Love Fan Awards. She appeared with the Women of Joy Stronger 2015 Tour and has toured with tobyMac.
Another well-known musician, Rebecca St. James, has Grammy and Dove awards to her credit, starred in the film Faith of Our Fathers, wrote "One Last Thing," and is an advocate for Jesus and life.
Jason Crabb, who began his singing career as a member of The Crabb Family, went solo in 2009. He received the Male Artist of the Year at the GMA Dove Awards in 2012 and made his film debut in Inspiration Pop 2929.
Kim Walker-Smith is a strong voice in worship music for the Jesus Culture band and serves on the Jesus Culture Senior Leadership Team. Jesus Culture was birthed in 1999 in the youth group at Bethel Church in Redding, California. Jesus Culture held conferences in other cities and began releasing its own albums, with Walker-Smith still leading the way. Visit jesusculture.com.
The Walk of Stars
Several young leaders have platforms as big as the television audiences who see their shows.
David and Jason Benham are real estate and business entrepreneurs, authors of the book Whatever the Cost: Facing Your Fears, Dying to Your Dreams, and Living Powerfully, and powerful voices for Christ. The twins, 39, work together, speak together, and together lost their HGTV show Flip It Forward after activists labeled them "anti-gay, anti-choice extremists."
Duck Dynasty fans have watched Sadie Robertson grow up. Now the 18-year-old has appeared on the runway at New York Fashion Week, and on Dancing With the Stars. Her words were, "All glory to God for this crazy experience." Sadie's book Live Original: How the Duck Commander Teen Keeps It Real and Stays True to Her Values (Howard Books) came out in October 2014.
LeCrae Moore is known as simply LeCrae, 36, in the music world. His seventh studio album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. "People want to feel what you believe and not just hear it," he says on his website.
Basketball fans know Jeremy Lin, a member of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, for his athletic prowess. But he's also creator of the Jeremy Lin Foundation to serve children and youth. The foundation provides hope, empowerment and leadership development. Visit jeremylinfoundation.org.
Ann Byle is a freelance writer for a number of Christian publications, a literary agent with Credo Communications, and author of several books. She and her family live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Watch evangelist Amy Lambert share her testimony of how Jesus saved her from a lifestyle of brokenness and drugs at lambert.charismamag.com.
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