What a question! I wouldn’t blame you if you’ve been recently asking yourself, “How on earth do I find the right Pentecostal church near me?” This article will outline how the Pentecostal church came into existence, why they believe what they do, and ultimately how to find the right Pentecostal church near you. If you’re like me, you don’t want to waste your time, so let’s dive into it!
How do I find a Pentecostal Church Near Me?
The Beginnings of Pentecostalism and How it Became a Church Near Me
Pentecostalism was born out of a charismatic campaign which made its way into American Protestantism during the 20th Century. The Pentecostals’ core signifier, which distinguishes them from other denominations is their emphasis on the need for the converted to undergo a baptism of the Holy Spirit wherein spiritual gifts are embedded into the life of the believer. This has roots in the story of Pentecost in the Scriptural book entitled Acts of the Apostles. During the Pentecostal narrative, the Holy Spirit descends on the people and miracles are experienced and witnessed all around, particularly the ability to interpret and indeed communicate in languages (referred to as tongues) completely foreign to the individual. This is why a Baptism of the Holy Spirit is thought to be coupled with the spiritual gift of tongues, expressing itself in the form of glossolalia or xenoglossia. On top of the gift of tongues, Pentecostals believe that a Baptism of the Holy Spirit would bring with it other Biblical spiritual gifts such as prophecy, divine healing, and the interpretation of tongues. Pentecostalism is similar in belief to that of the Baptists and Methodist-Holiness churches from which they were founded. Pentecostals though, never officially established themselves as an independent organization, but rather individual faith communities brought together to form the mix of churches making up the modern Pentecostal movement.
Pentecostalism Pivots Toward Popularity
The pivotal moment for Pentecostalism occurred at the turn of the 20th Century in Kansas with Charles Fox Parham of Bethel Bible College. Parham thought that the American church had become formalistic and complacent and needed to undergo a renewal of the Holy Spirit. This led him to encourage his students to prepare for the Holy Spirit by way of fasting, praying, and studying the Bible. On the first day of the 20th Century, one of Parham’s students, Agnes Oxnam, was overcome by the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. This was closely followed by others experiencing similar events, which led Parham to believe this was a sign of Baptism of the Holy Spirit. These events were interpreted by Parham and his students as eschatological prophecy signifying the beginning of the end times and it catalyzed them into missionary work.
The First Evangelistic Endeavor
Their evangelistic endeavor was not well received at the beginning, receiving much ridicule and skepticism. It wasn’t until in 1903 that the Pentecostal movement gained traction as Parham began to perform faith healings. This would become a distinguishing characteristic of the Pentecostal church to come. The popularity of these healings gave rise to a doctrine which believes that salvation brings with it healing of earthly illness should one have the required level of faith. With an influx of fresh converts, Pentecostalism spread throughout Texas, Florida, and Alabama seeing 25,000 people converting to the Pentecostal tradition in the first two years. Other places in the South and the Midwest such as Kansas and Missouri also saw a rapid rise in Pentecostal membership. Pentecostalism broke out to the rest of the world largely due to the Azusa Street Revival led by William Seymour. Today, the Assemblies of God represents the greatest Pentecostal collective in the world, boasting over 25 million members including organizations like Planet shakers and up until recently, Hillsong Church.
So How Do I Actually Find a Pentecostal Church Near Me?
Now we get to the question which got us here in the first place: “How on earth do I find the right Pentecostal church near me?” Now that you have a more holistic understanding of what the Pentecostal church is about, you can set your sights on exploring the options for a Pentecostal church near you. For me, this page saved me hours of searching on Google and was user-friendly. Simply tell the search engine the area code of where you want to search, and it will bring up an extensive list of all the Pentecostal church locations near you. If you find yourself thinking, “The Pentecostal church isn’t for me,” continue your search by looking at what other denominations have to offer.