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Rowlands to Present Azusa Lecture on Revival

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Alumni Hero

Pastor Alec Rowlands will present the eighth annual Azusa Lecture, “Standing at the Crossroads: God’s Guiding Presence in Revival.” The lecture will be Thursday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. in the North Cleveland Church of God’s Bryant Fellowship Hall.

Following Rowlands’ presentation, Dr. R. Hollis Gause will receive the Spirit of Azusa Award for his life-long contribution to the Pentecostal movement as a Bible teacher, scholar, and author.

Rowlands is the senior pastor of Westgate Chapel, in Edmonds, Wash., a suburb of Seattle. Westgate Chapel is a multi-ethnic congregation of over 2,300 members that has experienced spiritual renewal since a sovereign call to corporate prayer in 1992.

Born and raised in a pastor’s home in South Africa, as a teenager, Rowlands witnessed revival in his father’s church that marked his life with a hunger for prayer and for the power of God to transform lives.

Rowlands has served as a senior pastor for 32 years. Before that, he served as a youth pastor and program director for an inner city ministry called Youth Development in East Harlem, N.Y. In both of his senior pastorates, worship and corporate prayer were foundational essentials to dramatically change the culture of the congregations. As a pastor, Rowlands emphasizes spiritual awakening in the lives of congregants through intentional discipleship and their active engagement in the mission of God.

His academic research has been in the areas of discipleship and historical revivals. Following study at Lee University, Rowlands earned a master’s degree in urban studies from Miami University of Ohio and a master’s degree in Biblical literature from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. He completed his Doctor of Ministry at Carey Theological College in Vancouver, British Columbia, with a research project on the theological and historical elements of a Wesleyan-Pentecostal approach to discipleship ministry in the local church. He reports that his work has been especially influenced by scholars at Lee University and the Pentecostal Theological Seminary.

Nine years ago, Rowlands started a ministry in the state of Washington called Church Awakening (churchawakening.com). This ministry exists as a voice to pastors for prayer, the presence of God, and revival.

Rowlands regularly speaks to pastor's groups around the state, convenes conferences with speakers like Jim Cymbala and Ann Graham Lotz, and hosts prayer summits for the spiritual condition of Washington. As part of this ministry, he often shares from his own journey along with stories from historical revivals. When pastors requested resources for their congregations, he produced a six-session video curriculum designed to help churches rekindle their passion for God called “The Presence.” Tyndale is publishing a companion volume in early 2014.

Following the lecture, the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center will honor Biblical scholar and theologian R. Hollis Gause with the Spirit of Azusa Award and a reception. Gause is professor of New Testament Greek and Theology at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, having served for 31 years on that faculty as well as 33 years at Lee University. While at Lee, he served in various administrative roles including Dean of the College. At the seminary, he organized and directed the first Church of God graduate program.

Gause is the author of many books and articles including “Living in the Spirit: The Way of Salvation,” “Women in the Body of Christ” (with Beulah Gause), “Revelation: God’s Stamp of Sovereignty on History,” and “The Preaching of Paul: A Study of Romans.” Author of “Church of God Polity,” Gause also served for 40 years as Parliamentarian of the Church of God International General Council and International General Assembly.

The Azusa Lecture is sponsored by the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center in partnership with the North Cleveland Church of God and the Pentecostal Theological Seminary. The 2013 Azusa Lecture is in conjunction with Heritage Days at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary.

Rowlands will speak in the 11 a.m. chapel service on Thursday, Oct. 24, and Dr. Chris Green will speak on “The Presence of Jesus in Early Pentecostal Sacramental Thought and Practice” during the chapel service on Tuesday, Oct. 29. The public is welcome to attend these services.

Founded by Charles W. Conn on the campus of Lee University, the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center is one of the world’s significant collections of Pentecostal materials as well as the archives of the Church of God. In addition to students at Lee and the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, numerous scholars visit the center to research materials related to the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement. Dr. David G. Roebuck is director of the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center.

North Cleveland Church of God is host of the Azusa Lecture. Established in 1906, the congregation has served as a “mother church” to the denomination and provides ministries for worship, evangelism, education and service. The congregation’s International Prayer Center is a witness to the importance and power of prayer. Mitchell Maloney serves as Senior Pastor.

The purpose of the Azusa Lecture is to highlight the rich heritage of the Pentecostal movement and to provide the Cleveland community an opportunity to celebrate the legacy of the Pentecostal revival. The Dixon Pentecostal Research Center launched the annual lecture in 2006 on the occasion of the centennial of the revival at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles.

Church of God Historian Charles W. Conn noted that the Los Angeles revival, which lasted from 1906 to 1909, “is universally regarded as the beginning of the modern Pentecostal movement.” The revival began when the African-American preacher William J. Seymour preached a message of Spirit baptism following salvation.

What started as a home prayer meeting attracted throngs of seekers and was moved to an abandoned church building at 312 Azusa Street. Hundreds traveled to the Azusa Street Mission, received a personal baptism of the Holy Spirit, and took that message to their homes, churches and communities. The Pentecostal movement quickly became a great missionary movement, and the twentieth century came to be called the “Century of the Holy Spirit.”

The lecture and the reception for Gause are free and open to the public.

For more information about the Azusa Lecture contact the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center at 423-614-8576 or

 Dixon­_research@leeuniversity.edu.