The Assemblies of God, formally the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, is a collection of over 140 independent but generally associated national churches which united form the world's biggest Pentecostal denomination. Currently including over 384,000 pastors and congregations in over 212 nations and regions serving roughly 67.9 million followers worldwide, it is the fourth biggest international Christian group of denominations and the biggest Pentecostal denomination worldwide.
Here are 10 things you should know about the Assemblies of God.
1. The Assemblies of God were founded in Hot Springs, Arkansas in April, 1914.
In the aftermath of the Azusa St. Revival, the demand for denominational organization became clear to many when founded Christian churches mostly denied Pentecostal followers. Devotion groups, such as Wesleyan Methodists and the Salvation Army, disassociated themselves with Pentecostals, leaving Pentecostals without acceptance into any kind of religious organization. They then sought to create their own!
In April 1914, the inaugural General Council of the Assemblies of God occurred in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Over 300 Pentecostals met from more than 20 states. In an effort for solidarity, the first three days were dedicated to teaching, devotions, and fraternal bonding. The gathered members adopted the name “Assemblies of God” when relating to the associated groups and would ultimately consolidate under the title “General Council of the Assemblies of God.” Amid the result of the first council was a method by which pastors could be regionally credentialed. Though later gatherings would provide doctrinal declarations and elect supervising leaders, there is no question that in April 1914 the Assemblies of God was created.
2. The World Assembly of God Fellowship was formed in 1988.
Through international missionary efforts and building relationships with other Pentecostal churches, the Assemblies of God grew into a global movement. It was not until 1988, however, that the world fellowship was established. As a Pentecostal denomination, the Assemblies of God adheres to the Pentecostal characteristic of baptism with the Holy Spirit with the tradition of speaking in tongues.
3. The Assemblies of God include Pentecostal and Evangelical beliefs.
The doctrinal view of the Assemblies of God is expressed in a traditional Pentecostal and an evangelical connection. The Assemblies of God is Trinitarian and embraces the Bible as divinely caused and the true sovereign rule of faith and behavior. Baptism by immersion is exercised as a directive initiated by Christ for those who have been saved. Baptism is recognized as an outward symbol of an inward transformation, the change from being fallen in sin to being renewed in Christ.
As a statute, Communion is also utilized. The Assemblies of God accept that the components that are shared are symbols representing the giving of the divine nature of Jesus of Nazareth; a remembrance of His suffering and death; and a prediction of His second coming. The Assemblies of God also sets a strong importance on the achievement of the Great Commission and holds that this is the mission of the church.
4. Baptism of the Holy Spirit
As traditional Pentecostals, the Assemblies of God respects that all Christians are empowered to and should pursue the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The Assemblies of God teaches that this experience is discrete from and subsequent to the occurrence of salvation. The baptism in the Holy Spirit enables the believer for Christian life and worship. The primary indication of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues "as the Spirit gives utterance." Additionally, the Assemblies of God believes in the modern day use of other spiritual abilities and in supernatural, or divine, healing.
5. Statements of Fundamental Truths
Though the World Assemblies of God Fellowship has a statement of faith which describes the basic beliefs which unite the many branches of the movement, each national AG denomination forms its own doctrinal declarations. The Assemblies of God USA, for instance, adheres to the Statement of Fundamental Truths.
The building pictured above is the Assemblies of God USA National Headquarters.
6. The Assemblies of God's International Cooperation
The World Fellowship unites Assemblies of God national assemblies from around the world synchronically in cooperation. Each national council is wholly self-governing and autonomous and association with the World Fellowship does not restrict their independence. The operation of the World Fellowship is conducted by the Executive Council and its members represent different regions of the world and serve three-year terms. Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America/Caribbean, and North America each have four representatives while Europe has three and the Middle East and Southern Asia each has one.
Council members are elected by the General Assembly. Each World Fellowship member is authorized to send one or more delegates to the General Assembly with one vote. The World Assemblies of God Relief Agency conducts its humanitarian work and at the national and local levels, the Assemblies of God are generally organized by a form of Presbyterian sovereignty, joining the independence of the local church with oversight by region and national councils.
Pictured above is an Assemblies of God church located in Fiji.
7. The Assemblies of God's Global Fellowship
With over 384,000 pastors and factions in over 212 countries and areas serving roughly 67.9 million followers globally, it is the fourth biggest international Christian group of denominations and the biggest Pentecostal denomination in the world. From the World Assemblies of God Fellowship website, discover the numerous participating countries of this massive organization.
8. Advocates of Divine Healing
The Assemblies of God have a history of advocating and practicing medicine deemed illegitimate by institutional medical authorities. This mainly pertains to their belief in the power of divine healing, holding a trust in God to cure your sickness. This goes all the way back to 1956, when Jack Coe, an Assemblies of God evangelist, was brought to trial on a charge of practicing medicine without a license.
9. Global Missionary Work
Since its origin, the Assemblies of God has been devoted to missionary work around the world. In addition to widespread foreign missions, the denomination manages a diversified program of nation-wide missions among foreign-language groups in America’s urban centers, on Indian reservations, in prisons, and among the deaf and the blind.
10. World War Two Military Service
During the 1940s, 76,000 members of the Assemblies of God served in the military and 1,093 were killed. The denomination began work with servicemen and the Servicemen's Department was set up in 1944, while thirty-four pastors became military chaplains. They also cooperated with other denominations during the war efforts.
This article is part of our Denomination Series listing historical facts and theological information about different factions within and from the Christian religion. We provide these articles to help you understand the distinctions between denominations including origin, leadership, doctrine, and beliefs. Explore the various characteristics of different denominations from our list below!
Catholic Church: History, Tradition & Beliefs
Jehovah's Witnesses & Their Beliefs
Mormons: The Church of Latter Day Saints & Their Beliefs
Baptist Church: History & Beliefs
Presbyterians: History & Beliefs
Mennonites & Their Beliefs
United Methodist Church: History & Beliefs
Seventh-Day Adventists & Their Beliefs
The Pentecostal Church: History & Beliefs
Lutheran History & Beliefs