In the summer of 1906, revival erupted at the small Apostolic Faith Mission at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles, Calif. African-American Holiness preacher, William J. Seymour, preached racial reconciliation and the restoration of biblical spiritual gifts. The revival soon became a local sensation, then attracted thousands of curiosity seekers and pilgrims from around the world.
Seymour had been a student of Charles Parham,who provided the doctrinal framework for the young Pentecostal movement. Parham’s identification in scripture of speaking in tongues as the “Bible evidence” of Spirit baptism became a defining mark of the emerging Pentecostal movement. The revival at Azusa Street catapulted Pentecostalism before a worldwide audience.
A number of organized religious groups were affected by the Holiness revival and some were even spawned, including The Assemblies of God, which began as a Fellowship in 1914 when 300 representatives gathered in Hot Springs, Ark. Today’s it’s considered the largest Pentecostal group in the world, with some 65 million adherents worldwide and 3 million in the United States.
Doctrinally, the church emphasizes personal salvation, water baptism, divine healing, the baptism with the Holy Spirit accompanied by the evidence of speaking in tongues, and the pre-millennial second coming of Jesus Christ. The Bible is recognized as the inspired word of God and provides the rule for faith and practice.
The church’s four-fold mission is expressed through
From the beginning, evangelism and missions have been central to the identity of the Assemblies of God and have resulted in a continuing growth at home and abroad. In 2011, the Assemblies of God claimed a constituency in the United States of 3,041,957 adherents; 12,595 churches; and 35,483 ministers. The General Council supported 2,699 foreign missionaries and associates working with the broader World Assemblies of God Fellowship, whose adherents numbered more than 65 million.
The aggressive missions programs of the church are designed to establish self-supporting and self-propagating national church bodies in every country. Ministers and leaders are trained in 1,976 foreign Bible schools. The Assemblies of God has 18 endorsed Bible colleges, universities and a seminary in the United States.
Church planting has revitalized the church in recent years. In 2012 alone, 391 churches were planted for the Assemblies of God. It’s the second highest growth rate since 1982, when 400 were opened or assimilated into the Assemblies of God.
The new face of the movement is young and ethnically diverse. At a time when church attendance in America is falling rapidly, Assemblies of God numbers have risen every year for 22 years, with 39% growth in adherents since 1990. And most of that growth comes from those under 40 and minorities. In 2011 40.4% of the Assemblies’ constituents were minority (up from 29.4% in 2001). More than half (54%) of AG constituents are 35 years old and younger.
The U.S. Assemblies of God national offices in Springfield, Mo., house the denomination’s executive and administrative offices, service divisions and departments, and a publishing house.
The Assemblies of God belongs to the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), the Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA), the Pentecostal World Fellowship (PWF), and the World Assemblies of God Fellowship (WAGF).
The General Council is the biennial business meeting of the U.S. Assemblies of God. General Council is held to conduct important church business, elect top church officials, and to convene ministries and activities of the church. Voting membership at the General Council consists of all licensed and ordained ministers and a lay delegate elected from each local church. The next General Council meeting will convene in Orlando, Fla., Aug. 5-11, 2013.