Why We Gather

Tom Groot - Director of Student Discipleship - 5/3/2017 10:48:00 AM

History has proven that when people gather, things happen.

People around the world gather every day in various locations. It can be three people having a conversation on the sidewalk, or groups of fans attending a sporting event. Thousands gather in New York’s Central Park regularly, but not always for the same reason.

These events aren’t necessarily enough to make anyone stop and notice, though.

It’s more than just being physically together in the same place, although that is a start. A humorous example of this is shown in Derek Sivers’ TED Talk, How to Start a Movement. A man is seen dancing alone at an outdoor event, and throughout the video a number of people join in.

In this instance, a group of people garnered attention, but it didn’t change history because it lacked two crucial factors: they were not aligned in mission or motivation.

Hebrews 10:25 says, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (NLT).

Something powerful happens when God’s children come together, but it’s the intention of uniting for a common purpose that makes the gathering noteworthy.

Two illustrations in Scripture can be found in Genesis 11 and Acts 2: The Tower of Babel and the day of Pentecost.

In both situations, the people were assembled physically and aligned in mission. Motive is the third component that separates these accounts and significantly impacts the outcome.

Based on the motives of the groups, one story ends in despair and confusion, while the other results in a miracle that alters the course of history. Here’s how it breaks down:

Genesis 11: The Tower of Babel

  • Purpose: Build a tower.
  • Motive: Make a name for themselves.
  • God’s Response: Confused their language and scattered the people.

Acts 2: The Day of Pentecost

  • Purpose: Wait for the promise to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
  • Motive: Obey Jesus.
  • God’s Response: Filled them with the Holy Spirit, thus uniting their hearts and fulfilling His promise.

Again, both stories demonstrate people coming together for a common purpose. But only one demonstrates what can happen when people unite with the common goal to glorify God.

Our motives alter the outcome of every gathering.

One hundred ten years ago, one of the greatest spiritual awakenings took place on Azusa Street. People of all ages and backgrounds packed into a small building daily to seek the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The glory of God filled that place because people gathered together with the intention of encountering Him. That three-year period had an incredible spiritual impact that launched the modern Pentecostal movement and altered the future of the Church.

When people unite with the same mission and motives, it triggers the events that change history.

Now, imagine fifteen thousand students, leaders, and parents gathered in one place to seek the face of God.

What would that look like?

From August 7-11, 2017, the Assemblies of God community is gathering in Southern California, in Anaheim, in the backyard of where the Azusa Street Revival began.

During National Youth Convention, nightly services will provide an opportunity for thousands to gather to unite their hearts and seek the Lord. We are believing that through this event, God will have a significant impact on the hearts of students, leaders, and parents.

As we prepare, will you commit to pray for another spiritual awakening?

As we’ve seen both in Scripture and through the Azusa Street Revival, something powerful happens when God’s children gather with the same mission and motive.

Here’s how one teenager in Kansas is praying and believing God for more:

As we prepare to gather together, we seek to glorify the only name that is worthy: Jesus. Thank you for the opportunity to come together and encounter Your presence. We pray that the body of Christ grows closer and grows stronger, stronger than ever before. We ask for Your power to reach our community, to reach our city, to reach our state, and to reach our nation.

Join us in prayer as we prepare to gather at the place where it all began, and consider one question.

What if it happened again?

Registration is now open to give students the chance to experience the same Holy Spirit at National Youth Convention that was at the Azusa Street Revival. For more information and to register online, visit http://anaheim17.ag.org.