You may be wondering where we came from, and you'll be glad to know
we've been around a while. The Assemblies of God has its roots in a
religious revival that began in the late 1800's and swept into the 20th
century with widespread repetition of biblical spiritual experiences.During
that time, many Christians in the United States and other parts of the
world began to feel a need for more of God's power operating in their
lives. Individually and in groups, they began earnestly to pray and to seek
to conform their commitments and experiences to what they believed was
the New Testament pattern.
In response, the Holy Spirit came on large numbers of them, prompting
a joyous, spontaneous worship and an intense desire to spread the
gospel. As in the Bible in the Book of Acts, this experience, called the
"baptism in the Holy Spirit," was universally accompanied by speaking in
unknown languages. It was associated with the coming of the Holy Spirit
on the Jewish holiday of Pentecost (Acts 2), and participants in the
movement were called"Pentecostals."
The beginning of the modern Pentecostal revival is generally traced to
a prayer meeting at Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas, on January 1,
1901. While many others had spoken in tongues previously during almost
every period of spiritual revival, most researchers agree it was here that
recipients of the experience, through study of the Scriptures, came to
believe speaking intongues is the biblical evidence for the baptism in th
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The revival spread rapidly to Missouri and Texas, then to California and
elsewhere. A three year revival meeting at Azusa Street Mission in Los
Angeles attracted believers from across the nation and overseas and
served as a spring board to send the Pentecostal message around the
Reports of what was taking place were carried in scores of periodicals
and other publications that sprang up with the movement. Spontaneous
revivals also began to break out about that time in other parts of the
world and on various mission fields.
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
By 1914, many ministers and laymen alike had begun to realize the
rapid spread of the revival, and the many evangelistic outreaches it
spawned had created a number of practical problems. The need arose for
formal recognition of ministers as well as approval and support of
missionaries, with full accounting of funds. In addition, there was a
growing demand for doctrinal unity, gospel literature, and a permanent
Bible training school.
These concerned leaders realized that to protect and preserve the results
ofthe revival the thousands of newly Spirit-baptized believers should be
united in a cooperative fellowship. In 1914 about 300 preachers and
laymen gathered from 20 states and several foreign countries for a
"general council"in Hot Springs, Arkansas, to discuss and take action on
the growing need.
The five reasons they listed for calling the meeting were: doctrinal
unity, conservation of the work, foreign missions interests, chartering
churches under a common name for legal purposes, and the need for a
Bible training school.
A cooperative fellowship emerged from the meeting and was incorporated
under the name "The General Council of the Assemblies of God." Most of
the delegates had little desire to form a new denomination or sect, and
they structured their organization to unite the assemblies in ministry and
legal identity while leaving each congregation self-governing and
self-supporting.This structure continues to the present.
In 1916 the General Council approved a Statement of Fundamental Truths.
Asimple statement, it remains virtually unchanged and continues to
provide asound basis for the Fellowship, giving a firm position on vital
From the beginning, Assemblies of God ministries have focused on
evangelism and missions and have resulted in a continuing growth at
home and abroad. Ourconstituency has climbed from the founding
convention attendance of 300 to more than 2.6 million in the United
States and over 48 million overseas.
Today, Assemblies of God people worship in over 12,100 churches in the
U.S.and in 236,022 churches and outstations in 191 other nations. The
aggressive missions programs of the church are designed to establish
self-supporting and self-propagating national church bodies in every
country. Ministers and leadersare trained in 1,891 foreign Bible schools -
more than any other U.S. based denomination. The Assemblies of God has
19 endorsed Bible colleges, liberal arts colleges, and a seminary in the
The national headquarters of the Assemblies of God is located in
Springfield,Missouri. The headquarters includes an administration building,
GospelPublishing House is the printing arm of the church turning out more
than 16tons of gospel literature each day.
The Assemblies of God grew out of the Pentecostal revival, which began in the early 1900s in places such as Topeka, Kansas, and the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles. During times of prayer and Bible study, believers received spiritual experiences like those described in the book of Acts. Accompanied by “speaking in tongues,” their religious experiences were associated with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Jewish feast of Pentecost (Acts 2), and participants in the movement were dubbed “Pentecostals.” The Pentecostal movement has grown from a handful of Bible school students in Topeka, Kansas, to an estimated 600 million in the world today.
Many participants who were baptized in the Holy Spirit during revivals and camp meetings in the early 1900s were not welcomed back to their former churches. These believers started many small churches throughout the country and communicated through publications that reported on the revivals. In 1913, a Pentecostal publication, the Word and Witness, called for the independent churches to band together for the purpose of fellowship and doctrinal unity. Other concerns for facilitating missionaries, chartering churches and forming a Bible training school were also on the agenda.
Some 300 Pentecostals met at an opera house in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1914, and agreed to form a new fellowship of loosely knit independent churches. These churches were left with the needed autonomy to develop and govern their own local ministries, yet they were united in their message and efforts to reach the world for Christ. So began the General Council of the Assemblies of God.
Assemblies of God churches form a cooperative fellowship. As a result, the organization operates from the grass roots, allowing the local church to choose and develop ministries and facilities best suited for its local needs.