Positive characteristics of Pentecostalism

There are many positive characteristics of the Pentecostal movement. J. I. Paker, in Keep in Step with the Spirit, gave 12 positive characteristics of the charismatic movement, providing a good basis for a summary of the key strengths of Pentecostalism. I've taken these and here paraphrased and adapted each from my perspective and for the purpose of providing a short overview of the features of Pentecostalism that we can all learn from.

1. Bible-based

Regardless of the degree to which one individual or another relies upon the Bible, mainstream Pentecostals fiercely believe that the Bible is the Word of God, and sincerely desire to hold to its teaching. Pentecostalism is Trinitarian and holds to all the key elements of the Christian gospel. The stress on the Holy Spirit's ministry does not displace Jesus from centre-stage as God's Son, our redeemer and coming king.

2. Spirit-dependent

Pentecostals stress that the Christian life is supernatural, in that Christ through his Spirit enables believers to do what by nature they could never do themselves. They insist that the Spirit's work did not end at Pentecost. His role is essential in repentance, faith, sanctification and enabling and empowering Christian service.

3. Emotional

Pentecostals believe in the God who can be experienced in his speaking and acting today. They place importance on the emotional element within humanity and Christianity. What makes Pentecostals more demonstrative is not a lack of reverance for God, but a sincere desire to experience God and a passionate love of the Lord Jesus and christian people.

4. Prayerful

Pentecostals are typically devoted to cultivating a constant, wholehearted habit of prayer. Tongues-speaking is often used as a personal prayer language for voicing petitions and praise to God, and generally for long periods at a time. Those who do not pray so much have little right to criticize how Pentecostals pray in this regard.

5. Joyful

Pentecostalism is a movement with celebration at its heart and joy evident in its people. They endeavour to rejoice and praise God at all times and in all places, and their commitment to thanksgiving often shines bright in their behaviour also.

6. Worshipful

Pentecostalism is a movement striving to engage with God, collectively and individually. Their meetings seek to coorporately and actively lift up hearts and minds to God. If raising eyes and hands heavenward helps them do just that, this too should not be disputed. Pentecostals sincerely desire to glorify God in all of their lives, work, rest and play.

7. Ministry-minded

Pentecostalism is renown for its ability to enlist the active service of every part of the church. They deny that preaching alone can grow a church to maturity, but is given to equip every believer to serve the church. Meaningful mutual ministry is the job not only of pastors, leaders and elders, but also of every member of the body of Christ.

8. Evangelistic

From its origin Pentecostalism has been vigorously evangelistic and outreach-orientated. Pentecostals are passionately concerned to share Christ, and their determination, perseverence, faith, boldness, and innovation is exemplary. Massive portions of the world's population today know Christ and would otherwise not if not for the missionary zeal of Pentecostals.

9. Empowering

Pentecostalism has been extremely committed to discipleship and training, and the movement of growing numbers of large communities has maintained its spiritual vitality over the long stretch of time in part thanks to their harnessing the power of small group ministry.

10. Dynamic

Pentecostalism has a long history of empowering leaders who have created a cultural movement of dynamic and innovative leadership. They embrace change to adapt to new trends and create functional church structures. Pentecostalism has been progressive in seeking to stay relevant to contemporary society, demonstrated in their ability to use marketing, technology, music and events management to enhance the appeal of their message.

11. Community minded

Pentecostal communities are more often wholistic in their expression of community life. They are culturally sensitive and express their commitment to the family nucleus, forging new relationships in order to outreach to needy individuals and groups within their neighbourhoods and society.

12. Generous

Sacrificial giving is a predominant aspect of church life and Christian worship in Pentecostalism. Sponteneity, warmth and rich hospitality overflows in relationships with one another. Expectancy to give till it hurts and count the experience as a priviledge is part of what it means to share in true Christian commitment.

Learning from Pentecostalism

None of these strengths are unique to Pentecostalism in practice. Historically, new movements like Pentecostalism emerge as a cultural shift in order to remedy the deficiencies of past movements. Whatever may be said of Pentecostalism, there can be no doubt that any one of its positive characteristics should provide a challenge to many a section or another of the wider church; together they provide a monumental reminder of how far we all have go to live up to all that God would have his Church to be.


Paker, J. I. Keep in Step with the Spirit. IVP, 1984, p. 183-197. | joe towns: christian discussion on pentecost, charisma, pentecostal and charismatic beliefs, the Bible and Jesus; including the origin and history of pentecostalism, baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, gifts and miracles, divine healing and word of faith, prosperity and wealth, praise and worship, guidance and hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit.