By Dan Van Veen
AS the Assemblies of God (AG) emerges from its first 100 years, it’s evident the movement is closer than ever to the founders’ vision of achieving “the greatest evangelism that the world has ever seen.”
The AG has now experienced 24 consecutive years of growth in the U.S.A., according to new stats from AG National Leadership & Resource Center in Springfield, Missouri. This news comes amid recent reports showing declining attendance for many other North American evangelical denominations, with a significant decrease among the Millennial set.
The story is different for the U.S. Assemblies of God. Today the AG has 12,792 churches, more than at any other time in AG history. The priority given to planting new churches has expanded the movement into an unprecedented number of communities. Over the past four years, 1,408 AG churches have been planted, creating a ripple effect across the globe. The impact is especially evident among Latino adherents, who now make up 20 percent of the Fellowship (more than 40 percent of total adherents are ethnic minorities), and Millennials (ages 18-34), who contributed 21 percent of the growth from 2001-2013.
New vital statistics released by the AG this week detail the multiple areas of growth from 2012 to 2013. The largest gain was made among water baptisms, which rose 4.3 percent. Other notable statistics include the following:
— Adherents increased 1.0 percent to 3,127,857
— Membership increased 1.4 percent to 1,805,381
— Major worship service attendance grew 2.0 percent to 1,918,686
— Water baptisms rose 4.3 percent to 137,375
— Spirit baptisms grew 2.9 percent to 83,731
— Conversions increased 0.6 percent to 456,395
— Credentialed ministers grew 1.6 percent to 36,434
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.
Dr. George O. Wood, general superintendent of the General Council of the Assemblies of God, says the growth signals health of the Movement, but the scope of the need remains critical. “I am grateful to the Lord that the Assemblies of God continues to experience growth both nationally and worldwide,” he said. “In the U.S.A., we have now enjoyed 24 straight years of growth. The net growth of the Assemblies of God worldwide would fill over 11 stadiums, each seating 100,000. Truly, the Holy Spirit is at work in our day.
“At the same time, we humbly recognize that there are multiplied millions that have never had an adequate presentation of the gospel or a local church in their community,” Wood says. “Thus, in this our 100th year, we must redouble our efforts to bear witness, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to reach all the world with the gospel.” AG Centennial