Since last year I’ve had the opportunity to write for the Assemblies of God. As the AG celebrates its Centennial, I thought I’d give a peek into some work I’ve been doing.
- George O. Wood bio (Assemblies of God)
- Hand to the Plow: Chicago Pastor Named to TIME’s 100 List Keeps Gaze Fixed on Poor (Enrichment Journal)
- ‘Pastor Choco’ Lands on ‘TIME’s’ 100 List (Charisma)
- Generations Unite, Receive Fresh Outpouring at 7:14 Prayer Conference (Charisma)
THE WRITINGS OF DR. WOOD
On a weekly basis I help manage the blog of General Superintendent Dr. George O. Wood. I also wrote several pieces after interviewing him, including his bio and “Why I’m AG.” Encouragement and inspiration shine through his writing because of his commitment to communicating in the most simple and gracious way.
Read more: GeorgeoWood.com >>
24 YEARS OF GROWTH
In this press release I wrote several weeks ago, the AG describes its 24 years of continual growth—thriving while other denominations are seeing a downturn in attendance, most notably among millennials (54% of the AG’s adherents are under the age of 35 and 34 percent are under age 25).
Today the AG has 12,792 churches, more than at any other time in AG history. Worldwide, the AG grew 1.7 percent to 67,512,302 adherents. There are now 384,205 ministers and 366,105 churches and preaching points.
THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
This weekend delegates from around the globe traveled to Springfield, Mo., where the The Assemblies of God National Leadership and Resource Center is located, to celebrate 100 years of the movement. Evening services are being live-streamed from JQH arena on Missouri State University’s campus. I’m reporting on these services, which honor the past and issue challenges for the future of the fellowship.
Article #1: “GOD IS NOT DONE” — THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION KICKOFF >>
Night #1 featured a 20-minute documentary about how the Assemblies of God came to Springfield, Mo. Perhaps most notable in this historical retelling was the prominent role women played.
After Dr. Wood spoke he introduced a pastor from the Middle East who gave an address I will never forget. He talked about coming out of your comfort zone and instead of running from darkness, running into it. The message was powerful and convicting, and a reminder of what a sanitized, safe and superficial form of Christianity we often practice here in the U.S. “Many Christians have equated the best life with the safe life,” he said. “If we want to continue the Great Commission, we must go to the places no one has gone before.”
He referenced areas that are the most volatile and dangerous today—Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia and more—and quoted statistics about suffering such as human trafficking. Yet, he recounted the testimony of God’s provision and protection over his family and himself, even in vulnerable places. His stories culminated in a plea for believers to find their “there”—the place where God has truly called them—and commit to stay until the work is done.
Night #2 featured a speaker I interviewed and wrote about several times last year, Wilfredo De Jesús, affectionately known as Pastor Choco, Senior Pastor of New Life Covenant Ministries, one of the fastest growing churches in Chicago and the largest Assemblies of God church in the nation. His work transforming the inner-city community where he grew up is always so inspiring.
De Jesús was recognized twice last year by TIME magazine by being featured on the cover for its story on “The Latino Reformation,” which explored the growth of Latinos among Protestant churches across the U.S., and being selected for the 2013 TIME 100, which acknowledges the activism, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals.
He urged the Church’s leadership to “give power away” to the lay people to engage the problems in our communities. To stand “in the gaps” of our society and put our prayers to action by being the hands and feet of Jesus to people who are different than us.
Night #3: FESTIVAL OF PRAISE: THE CENTENNIAL, NIGHT THREE >>
Night #4: THE HUMAN RIGHT: THE CENTENNIAL’S CONCLUSION >>
In addition I wrote a series of articles linking Dr. Wood’s five core values for the Assemblies of God with individuals from history who helped make the movement what it is today:
- AT OUR CORE: PASSIONATE PROCLAMATION
- AT OUR CORE: STRATEGIC INVESTMENT
- AT OUR CORE: VIGOROUS PLANTING AND REVITALIZATION
- AT OUR CORE: SKILLFUL RESOURCING
- AT OUR CORE: FERVENT PRAYER