New Room Conference refers to a “new space” where brothers and sisters from across the various expressions of our movement (Wesleyans, Free Methodists, United Methodists, Nazarene, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Salvation Army, Pentecostal, etc.) gather for ministry, equipping, and fellowship. Our fourth gathering was held in Franklin, Tennessee and brought together over 1,500 pastors and leaders for three days.
New Room is a “new” space for those across the entire spectrum of Wesleyan/Holiness denominations to be encouraged to pursue four things: travailing prayer, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, banded discipleship, and church multiplication. This is exactly what happened at New Room. Unlike many evangelical conferences, we devoted hours and hours of time for prayer and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, we are calling all members of our tribe to become part of a “band.” Finally, we had a closing day emphasis on the role of church planting in an increasingly post-Christian context. I am convinced that these four themes—travailing prayer, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, banded discipleship around the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and church planting, are the four elements necessary if we are to effectively “sow for a great awakening.”
I told those gathered at New Room that an examination of church history reveals that the church has faced a major crisis roughly every 500 years. The first was in connection with the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D. and the struggle to eradicate Arianism from the church. It was the fight for high Christology and full-orbed Trinitarianism. That victory led to a massive growth in the church and the first signs that we were going to become a global movement.
A little over 500 years later the church had another major crisis known as The Great Schism (1054 A.D.) which tragically separated the Western and Eastern church. This crisis also led to a major new thrust in church planting and growth in the church.
The third crisis happened 500 years later in 1517 when Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg sparking the Protestant Reformation. Four new strands of Christianity emerged—Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican and Radical—each spawning hundreds of thousands of new Christians and a massive new thrust in church planting. The Wesleyan revivals were an extension of that struggle.
We are now 500 years from the Reformation. The church is again in crisis. It is as if God has a yard sale every 500 years to shake the church free from various besetting attachments and cultural compromises and calls it back to the vibrancy of our beginnings: biblical fidelity, high Christology, Trinitarianism, discipled believers, devoted prayer, global mission; these are the themes which have re-emerged at every major great awakening. We believe we are on the cusp of another great move of God in our time. Let’s pray and cry out, “Come on!!” “Come on!!” “Lord, please deliver us, and make haste to help us!”