I think He’s bringing all of us into a place of being willing to be vulnerable for the sake of the family and finding liberty in being absolutely authentic in who I am and who you are.

One Year Later: What We Learned from Convergence

by Adam Wittenberg
1 month ago 20th Anniversary

It was remarkable! One thousand Chinese church leaders “converged” with IHOPKC in September of 2018 for three days of prayer, fellowship, and waiting on the Lord. Jesus met us powerfully as tears of repentance fell, many lives were touched, and a new sense of family began to develop—both between IHOPKC and the Chinese, and within the IHOPKC community itself.

In response to what God did at this gathering called Convergence, IHOPKC announced the end of Onething (its 20,000-person annual event) as well as most conferences, and formed the Cultural Renewal Team to help integrate the values the Chinese brought into our community. These values include a renewed focus on family, fellowship, and the second commandment (loving our neighbor)—without losing our commitment to the first (loving God).

Members of the Cultural Renewal Team (CRT) now share how the Chinese gathering impacted them, the changes they’ve witnessed over the last year, and what they still hope to see in our community.

(This is Part 1 of a series looking at one year after the Convergence.)

For background, Chinese believers from China and other nations gather annually for what is called the Homecoming—a time of worship, prayer, and connection, which strengthens the community for the year ahead. The gathering rotates between different cities and nations, and in September of 2018, came to Kansas City to be hosted by IHOPKC, coinciding with IHOPKC’s 19th anniversary. It was called Convergence, since two movements were merging together.

Question: What did the Lord do and speak to you during Convergence?

Diane Bickle, CRT Co-chair
It was beautiful how the Lord interrupted us on our home turf so we could get in touch with that heartbeat of our heavenly Father. Personally, I repented of despising living in a glass house. That was the big stronghold: by nature, I don’t like the limelight, and that’s what I exuded. I said, “There’s too many people out there [to care for].” I didn’t know another way until God showed me, and I repented. Now I’m going to occupy the place that He has positioned me. I’m going to be a mother. I’m going to love all of them.

Communally, I think He’s bringing all of us into a place of being willing to be vulnerable for the sake of the family and finding liberty in being absolutely authentic in who I am and who you are. I don’t have to have it all together, because even if I act like I do, I don’t. And there’s a common grace the Lord’s giving us to be comfortable in our own skins and to be somewhat exposed.

Isaac Bennett, Pastor, Forerunner Church, and Former CRT Member
The Convergence touched on the issue of the heart. When the Chinese leaders came into our midst, they began to demonstrate a love and brotherly affection for one another; and something provoked us. They seemed to emphasize something different from Western ministry models of networking, seminars, and roundtables. Using language like, “No matter what happens, we go together; you are my brother,” they inadvertently began to challenge mindsets of isolation and competition.

I began to see they worked together as one Body. When the Lord was using or highlighting one of them, the others would come around to support and celebrate. Favor on an individual didn’t divide, it stoked unity and selflessness. When one was suffering, the others would come around to support and mourn. What struck me in their stories was that whether in suffering or victory, they were always there for one another—together.

Chi and Lillian Ukpai, CRT Members
Chi
: He chose the Chinese. If somebody would tell me He’s going to use the Chinese, I wouldn’t think that’s the people God’s going to use. But God will use whomever He choses to do it.

Lillian: For me, personally, the takeaway was God putting His finger on something that was significant to Him and something that guarantees our future, which was functioning as a family. We’ve done well in different areas, but that’s the area we’ve really been lacking, and the Lord, in His mercy, sent the Chinese people to put the finger right there, saying, “I need this fixed.”

For me it feels like Gilgal with the Israelites [as they sought to possess] the promised land. So much has been accomplished [so far], but the Lord is not letting us get into the fullness until we get this family-reality going. It took the Chinese to bring us to the realization that we’ve not been functioning as a family. And to see people from different nations, at least 50 nations—God said He’s going to give a grand view of His kingdom, so He brought all these people here—[I think] He’s saying, “You all function as a family and function in the fullness.”

Shady and Ruth Abadir, CRT Members
Shady: I’ve been involved in the Homecoming for a while. I could see beforehand that these two movements [represented by IHOPKC and Homecoming] coming together were going to take the prayer movement to another level. It was a miracle beyond anything I’ve seen happen here at IHOPKC. It was like revival. Everybody was being touched. There was huge repentance and turning [of hearts].

I see it as a strategic step that needed to happen for the global prayer movement expression, not just for the IHOPKC community to be blessed. We needed to be restored and aligned. As we all enter that next level, the nations are really going to be blessed to walk in the unity of the Spirit.

Ruth: We understand who the Lord brought [at the Convergence] and their history of allowing the Lord to tear down dividing walls and teach them how to walk together. One of the powerful things about this group is that there are different ethnic groups represented. Even among the Chinese, there are a lot of subgroups with animosity historically. Yet [this group has] allowed the Lord to work something in their midst that’s supernatural, not cultural. It’s a kingdom value they’ve embraced, a John-17 unity.

This was something the Holy Spirit orchestrated to put on display what the gospel’s really about: bringing people together to exalt Jesus. What stirred in our community afterward was a realization that we need to slow down and dial down, not only to come back to our first love but to the second commandment to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This is not normal, not natural for people to wash each other’s feet, to humble themselves before each other. This was a gift for sure, to be provoked to ask the Lord, “How do we grow up into a new measure of the fullness as a community? How do we work through these things to go to the next level?” These are some of the themes that I’ve seen highlighted over the last year.

Up next, we’ll look at what’s changed in the year since the Convergence and the reset that IHOPKC launched.

Question: What’s an area God is highlighting or changing in your life?

Relive and re-experience what God did at the Convergence with IHOPKC’s YouTube playlist of the event. Watch here >>

Adam Wittenberg

position

A Detroit native who was raised in Vermont and Connecticut, Adam worked as a newspaper journalist until 2012, when he moved to Kansas City to complete the Intro to IHOPKC internship. Afterwards, he earned a four-year certificate in House of Prayer Leadership from IHOPU and is now on full-time staff in the Marketing department at IHOPKC. Adam is also active in evangelism and has a vision to reach people everywhere with the good news of Jesus Christ.

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