It was ten years ago this year that the Lord began to weave together the lives, hearts, thoughts, and energy of a lot of people to create what we now know as the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium.
After a breakfast meeting in Pasadena, California including Dr. David Bundy, Dr. Donald Dayton, and me in 2003, I began to make individual contact with a few denominational heads. The three of us at breakfast discussed the sad loss of profile and influence of the holiness message in shaping the global church. Having been at the core of the fastest growing segments of the church historically as well as being the catalytic force in some of the most notable historic moments of the American national development, holiness continuously was relegated to the shelf of obscurity. This often because it was a movement among the poor, the disenfranchised, and had become largely sidelined by the chasms of legal boundaries among us.
It seemed the time was right to do something about that. With each phone call there was a positive response to the request for:
- Three thousand dollars each year for three years;
- Three key scholar/leaders from each denomination to attend an annual event;
- Approval of the project at the highest level of the denominational structure.
Thus the Wesleyan Holiness Studies Project met for the first time in the Spring of 2004 and annually for four meetings on the campus of Azusa Pacific University.
With many papers, relationships, statements, and a forthcoming book to show for it, the denominational heads met in Dallas and decided to go beyond the Studies Project and form the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium. Present in that formative meeting were top leaders from the Church of God, Nazarene, Church of God in Christ, Methodist, Free Methodist, Salvation Army, Brethren in Christ, and Christian Missionary Alliance, and a key partner in America’s Christian Credit Union. Soon thereafter, the Wesleyans, Foursquare, Assemblies of God engaged in the unifying movement.
To this day the WHC has made every effort only to respond to the nudge of the Holy Spirit without being driven by an organizational plan. The Steering Committee, Board, and leadership team seek to respond when it is evident the Lord is opening a door of opportunity. The many Regional Networks give evidence of the powerful impact this holiness message is having in bringing unity to our leaders. The Affinity Groups are unifying the efforts of leaders in key social agendas of the church. The National Networks are bringing the realization that nations are influenced when God’s people work in harmony with a common message. The publications arm, Aldersgate Press, is pumping new ideas and fresh authors into the life-stream of the church.
Ten years ago none of us ever conceived of how God may choose to weave hearts, minds, and passion together to give voice to a fresh articulation of holiness in the 21st Century. Yet in the creative imagination of God, we hold loosely, respond faithfully, and partner generously in new ventures that are bringing unity among us – all centered on God’s holy nature being reflected in greater measure through us so that all of creation will be restored to God!
May we with bowed spirits lean forward as the Holy Spirit empowers us.