General Council of the Assemblies of God of the United States

General Council of the Assemblies of God of the United States

The General Council of the Assemblies of God USA, is a Pentecostal denomination headquartered in Springfield, Missouri. It is the tenth largest and fastest growing denomination in the United States ref|nccyearbook, while internationally a part of the world's largest Pentecostal denomination, the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, which has a global adherence of approximately 56.9 million people ref|agwmresearch.

The Assemblies of God holds to a conservative evangelical Christian and Arminian theology as expressed in the Assemblies of God Statement of Fundamental Truths and the Position Papers ref|agpositionpapers, which emphasize such core Pentecostal doctrines as the baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, and divine, supernatural healing. Congregations are independent and autonomous from each other and the national headquarters. However, only the general and district councils has authority to ordain ministers and revoke their credentials. The ordination of women as head pastors (and all other positions) is allowed and about 17.6% (5817) of clergy are women.ref|statisticalreportsummary Although doctrine holds more closely to the Arminian tradition and its understanding of the role of Free Will, the governmental structure of the church follows a mostly Presbyterian model.


The Assemblies of God has a representative form of government derived from Presbyterian polity composed of the following three levels of administrationref|agstructure :

# Congregation
# District
# General Council

At the congregational level, churches affiliated with the General Council are sovereign and self-governing, to the extent that they adhere to the Statement of Fundamental Truths (see Beliefs section of this article). Each church creates its own constitution and set of bylaws. The pastor is elected by the local congregation and conducts the day-to-day operations of the churchref|agstructure. A board of deacons is elected to assist the pastor.

Churches are organized into districts. Districts are over the ministries in their areas and provide ministry opportunities and ways for ministers and constituents to fellowship with each other. They also recommend ministers for national credentialing and mediate disputes in local congregationsref|agstructure. Districts are either geographical or ethnic. Geographical districts serve areas corresponding to state boundaries, however, ethnic districts are non-geographical and serve an ethnic group, such as African American or Hispanicref|agstructure.

The highest body of the church is the biennial General Council. Congregations are entitled to send one delegate to General Council. All licensed ministers are eligible to participate. The General Council credentials ministers, oversees the national and worldwide missions programs, and directs the church’s colleges and seminaryref|agstructure. In addition, the Council also elects the General Superintendent, the chief executive officer of the national organization. When the General Council is not in session, the General Presbytery is the official policy-making body of the Assemblies of God. This is made up of the Superintendent, other officers, and representatives from each district.

Current and Past Leadership

The current General Superintendent of the General Council is Dr. George O. Wood. Dr. Wood's tenure began October 8, 2007 when the previous General Superintendent, Dr. Thomas A. Trask stepped down after 14 years of leadership. The Following is a list of General Superintendents and their tenures:

- Eudorus N. Bell 1914, 1920-23

- John W. Welch 1914-1919, 1923

- W.T Gaston 1924-1929

- Ernest S. Williams 1929-1949

- Wesley R. Steelberg 1949-1952

- Ralph M Riggs 1953-1959

- Thomas F. Zimmerman 1959-1985

- G. Raymond Carlson 1986-1993

- Thomas A. Trask 1993-2007

- George O. Wood 2007-



The "Assemblies of God" has roots in the Pentecostal revival in early Twentieth century. The Pentecostal aspects of the revival were not generally welcomed by the established churches, and participants in the movement soon found themselves outside existing religious bodies. They were forced to seek their own places of worship, and soon there were hundreds of distinctly Pentecostal congregations.

Because of the rapid spread of these congregations, the need arose for formal recognition of ministers as well as approval and support of missionaries, with full accounting of funds. The "Assemblies of God", or "A/G" for short, was founded in 1914 at Hot Springs, Arkansas. The early founders were licensed white ministers of the Church of God in Christ, the largest African-American Pentecostal body founded by Charles Harrison Mason in 1897 [] . Their affiliation with the Church of God in Christ was short-lived due to the racial climate of the Jim Crow Era in the United States. Subsequently, predominantly white representatives from 20 states and a few foreign countries gathered to form a fellowship of Pentecostal believers. A fellowship emerged that was incorporated as the "General Council of the Assemblies of God". E. N. "(Eudorus Neander)" Bell (1866-1923) was elected the first chairman. "Central Bible College" was started in the basement of the Central Assembly of God church in Springfield, Missouri in 1922.

The "Assemblies of God" has forerunners in groups that existed before its incorporation in 1914. In April 1906, the "Apostolic Faith Movement" began in Orchard, Texas.A group of 20 ministers organized as the Church of God (not connected with the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee movement) near Slocumb, Alabama in February 1911. This Church of God and the Apostolic Faith Movement united around 1912. It was this group, now called Churches of God in Christ (not to be confused with the African-American Pentecostal body led by C.H. Mason), that issued the call for a general council to meet in Hot Springs in 1914. Regardless of these groups that existed before its incorporation, no early African-American denominational leaders were invited to the first meeting of this newly formed assemblies of Pentecostal leaders. The Holiness Baptist Churches of Southwestern Arkansas (org. 1903), under the leadership of William Jethro Walthall (1858-1931), united with the Assemblies of God in 1917. As opposed to other Pentecostal organizations, the A/G was not organized strictly around a Wesleyan view of holiness.

Further Development

The early denomination not only suffered from racial organizational unity in this period, but a major ideological split occurred when the Jesus Only controversy arose. The Oneness teaching was rejected by the A/G, moving the organization as a solid Trinitarian Pentecostal denomination.

Between the World Wars the movement kept a relative isolation from other Pentecostal and Evangelical groups, but after the Second World War the A/G started an approximation with Pentecostal groups overseas, like the Federation of Pentecostal Churches in Germany, at that time many national denominations came to affiliate with the A/G. As well as establishing fellowship within the national borders, through the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America and the National Association of Evangelicals.

The A/G received the influence of the Latter Rain Movement in the 1950s, which the General Council condemned. Certain Latter Rain theology is now accepted by some churches and theologians of the Assemblies of God, such as the restoration of the fivefold ministry and the laying on of hands. The A/G still considers the Latter Rain theology of no Pre-trib rapture and manifested sons of God as being heresy.

Today the fellowship is organized under the General Council of the Assemblies of God (USA), with a constituency of 2.7 million and 12,277 churches. The American AG is very ethnically diverse, reaching people of different races and cultures. The General Council's national headquarters are in Springfield, Missouri, where the administration building, Gospel Publishing House, and International Distribution Center are located. The General Council is a member of the National Association of Evangelicals.


The Assemblies' doctrines are summarized in its Statement of Fundamental Truths. [] Numerous other Christian groups share some or all of these tenets -- and some positions (like the Trinity) are considered more central to the faith than others (like divine healing). These positions are considered non-negotiable [] , although critics have questioned how well doctrinal integrity is maintained.:

*The inspiration of Scripture.
*The Trinity.
*The Deity of Christ.
*Original sin.
*Fellowship with God can be restored by accepting Christ’s offer of forgiveness for sin.
*Two ordinances: Baptism, by immersion after receiving Christ, and the Lord's Supper, as a symbolic remembrance of Christ's suffering and death.
*Baptism in the Holy Spirit following conversion.
*Speaking in tongues as the evidence of Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
*Sanctification is a declaration and progressive lifelong process.
*The Church's mission is to seek and save all who are lost in sin; the Church is the Body of Christ and consists of all people who accept Christ, regardless of Christian denomination.
*Divinely called and Scripturally-ordained ministers serve the Church.
*Divine healing of the sick is provided for in the atonement.
*The Blessed Hope: a Rapture preceding the bodily return of Christ to Earth.
*Premillennial eschatology.
*Final Judgement and eternal damnation of the lost.
*A future New Heaven and New Earth, in which Christ will dwell with his people forever.

U.S. A/G Ethnic Fellowships

The fellowships affiliated with the Assemblies of God of the United States.
* [ Assemblies of God India Fellowship of North America]
*Ethnic Arabic Fellowship of the Assemblies of God
*Filipino-American Christian Fellowship of the Assemblies of God
*Haitian American Fellowship of the Assemblies of God
*Hmong National Fellowship of the Assemblies of God
* [ National Black Fellowship of the Assemblies of God]
*National Chinese Fellowship of the Assemblies of God
* [ National Deaf Culture Fellowship of the Assemblies of God]
* [ National Fijian Fellowship of the Assemblies of God]
*National Indonesian Fellowship of the Assemblies of God
*National Slavic Fellowship of the Assemblies of God
* [ Native American Fellowship of the Assemblies of God]
*Romanian-American Fellowship of the Assemblies of God
*Samoan-American Fellowship of the Assemblies of God
*Tongan-American Fellowship of the Assemblies of God


The Assemblies of God Credit Union is the primary banking service source for the Assemblies of God Ministers, Employees, Ministries, Colleges and other adherents. [ AGCU Online]


*Boys and Girls Missionary Crusade [] children's missions giving program
* [ Pathfinder Missions] extreme Royal Rangers missions sending program
*Ambassadors in Missions [] youth short-term missions sending program
* [ Ultimate AIM] youth extended missions sending program
*Speed the Light youth missions giving program
* [ Chi Alpha Missions] Chi Alpha's missions sending program
*Light for the Lost [] men's missions giving program
* [ Women Touching the World] women's missions giving program
* [ Missions Abroad Placement Services] adult short to mid-term missions sending program

Outreach and Discipleship

*Royal Rangers
*Women's Ministries
* [ Youth Alive] student-led secondary school campus ministry established in 1979. Network overseen by AG National Youth Ministries.
*Teen Challenge
*Masters Commission [] intense hands-on ministry training program for young adults (founded at Phoenix First AG)
*Chi Alpha Campus Ministries
*Dream Center


*Convoy of Hope [] official disaster relief partner
*HealthCare Ministries [] international medical outreach of Assemblies of God World Missions

Mass Media and Publications

*Today's Pentecostal Evangel [] weekly magazine of the General Council USA (weekly circulation of approximately 210,000 worldwide)
*Enrichment Journal [] quarterly ministry journal of the General Council USA
*Gospel Publishing House [] publishing arm of the Assemblies of God. GPH prints 14-16 tons of Gospel Literature every day
* [ Assemblies of God News Service]
* [ AG News Service RSS Feed]
* [ AG Media Ministries] the electronic ministry arm of the Assemblies of God

Megachurches Affiliated with the Assemblies of God

Denominational Post-secondary Educational Institutions


* [ American Indian College] , Phoenix, Arizona (A.A., B.A.) (N.C.A.C.S., Regional Accreditation)
*Caribbean Theological College, Bayamon, Puerto Rico (A.A., B.A.)
*Central Bible College, Springfield, Missouri [] (A.A., B.A.) (N.C.A.C.S., Regional Accreditation; A.B.H.E., Professional Accreditation)
* [ Native American Bible College] , Shannon, North Carolina (B.R.E.)
* [ Ozark Bible College] , Neosho, Missouri (B.B.L., B.B.S., B.C.E.)
* [ Sierra Alta Bible College] , Lakewood, Colorado
* [ Trinity Bible College] , Ellendale, North Dakota (A.A., B.A.) (N.C.A.C.S., Regional Accreditation; A.B.H.E., Professional Accreditation)
*Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville Pennsylvania [] (A.A., B.A., B.S.) (M.S.A.C.S., Regional Accreditation)
* [ Western Bible College] , Phoenix, Arizona (A.A., B.A.)
* [ Zion Bible College] , Barrington, Rhode Island (B.A.) (A.B.H.E., Professional Accreditation)


* [ Latin American Bible Institute] , La Puente, California
* [ Latin American Bible Institute] , San Antonio, Texas
* [ Ozark Bible Institute] , Neosho, Missouri


*Bethany University, Scotts Valley, California (A.A., B.A., M.A., M.S.) (W.A.S.C., Regional Accreditation)
*Evangel University, Springfield, Missouri [] (A.A., B.A., B.B.A., B.F.A., B.M., B.S., B.S.W., M.A., M.Ed., M.S.) (N.C.A.C.S., Regional Accreditation)
* [ Global University] , Springfield, Missouri (A.A., B.A., M.A., M.Div.) (N.C.A.C.S., Regional Candidacy)
*North Central University, Minneapolis, Minnesota [] (A.A., B.A., B.S.) (N.C.A.C.S., Regional Accreditation)
*Northwest University, Kirkland, Washington [] (A.A., B.A., B.F.A., B.M., B.S., M.A., M.B.A.) (N.W.C.C.U., Regional Accreditation)
*Southeastern University, Lakeland, Florida [] (A.A., B.A., B.S., B.S.W., M.A., M.B.A., M.Ed.) (S.A.C.S., Regional Accreditation)
*Southwestern Assemblies of God University, Waxahachie, Texas [] (A.A., B.A., B.S., M.A., M.Div., M.Ed., M.S.) (S.A.C.S., Regional Accreditation)
*Vanguard University of Southern California, Costa Mesa, California [] (B.A., B.S., M.A., M.B.A., M.S.) (W.A.S.C., Regional Accreditation)


*Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Springfield, Missouri [] (M.A., M.Div., D.Min.) (N.C.A.C.S., Regional Accreditation; A.T.S., Professional Accreditation)

List of Assemblies of God people


# National Council of Churches USA - "The Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches" (2005) [] []
# Assemblies of God World Missions Research Office - "AGWM Current Facts and Highlights" (2007)
# Assemblies of God Position Papers (2006) []
# Assemblis of God Structure (2006) [ Assemblies of God Polity]
* Blumhofer, Edith L. "Restoring the Faith: The Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism, and American Culture". Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, c. 1993
* Menzies, William . "Anointed to Serve: The Story of the Assemblies of God"
* [ Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center] (Assemblies of God archives), one of the largest collections of materials documenting the global Pentecostal movement; website contains free research tools, including over 200,000 digitized pages of periodicals and online catalog with over 50,000 entries.
* [ Assemblies of God Constitution and Bylaws]

External links

* [ Official site]

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