The Assemblies of God (AG), officially the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, is a group of over 144 autonomous self-governing associated national groupings of churches which together form the world’s largest Pentecostal denomination. It is the fourth largest international Christian group of denominations and the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world.
|Assemblies of God|
|Governance||Cooperative body of 144 self-governing Assemblies of God national fellowships meeting every 3 years in General Assembly. General Assembly elects an executive council to carry out the work of the WAGF.|
|Leader||George O. Wood(2017–2020)|
|Origin||1914 (WAGF formally established 1988)|
As an international fellowship, the member denominations are entirely independent and autonomous; however, they are united by shared beliefs and history. The Assemblies originated from the Azusa Street Revival of the early 20th century. This revival led to the founding of the Assemblies of God in the United States in 1914. Through foreign missionary work and establishing relationships with other Pentecostal churches, the Assemblies of God expanded into a worldwide movement. It was not until 1988, however, that the world fellowship was formed. As a Pentecostal fellowship, the Assemblies of God believes in the Pentecostal distinctive of baptism with the Holy Spiritwith the evidence of speaking in tongues.
The Assemblies of God should not be confused with the Assemblies of God International Fellowship, the International Assemblies of God Fellowship, and the Independent Assemblies of God International, all of which are Pentecostal denominations.
The Assemblies of God has its roots in the Pentecostal Azusa Street Revival of the early 20th century. Established churches generally did not welcome the Pentecostal aspects of the revival, and participants in the new movement soon found themselves forced outside existing religious bodies. These people sought out their own places of worship and founded hundreds of distinctly Pentecostal congregations. By 1914 many ministers and laymen alike began to realize just how far-reaching the spread of the revival and of Pentecostalism had become. Concerned leaders felt the desire to protect and preserve the results of the revival by uniting through cooperative fellowship.
In April 1914, after splitting from the African American dominated Church of God in Christ, about 300 white preachers and laymen from 20 states and several foreign countries met for a general council in Hot Springs, Arkansas, United States. A remaining fellowship emerged from the meeting and was incorporated under the name General Council of the Assemblies of God in the United States of America. In time, self-governing and self-supporting general councils broke off from the original fellowship or formed independently in several nations throughout the world, originating either from indigenous Pentecostal movements or as a direct result of the indigenous missions strategy of the General Council. In 1919 Pentecostals in Canada united to form the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, which formally affiliated with the Assemblies of God USA the next year. The Assemblies of God in Great Britain formed in 1924 and would have an early influence on the Assemblies of God in Australia, now known as Australian Christian Churches. The Australian Assemblies of God formed in 1937 through a merger of the Pentecostal Church of Australia and the Assemblies of God Queensland. The Queensland AG had formed in 1929; though, it was never formally affiliated with the AG in America. The Assemblies of God of South Africa, founded in 1925, like the AG Queensland was also not initially aligned with the US fellowship.
Prior to 1967 the Assemblies of God, along with the majority of other Pentecostal denominations, officially opposed Christian participation in war and considered itself a peace church. The US Assemblies of God continues to give full doctrinal support to members who are led by religious conscience to pacifism.
In 1988, the various Assemblies of God national fellowships united to form the World Pentecostal Assemblies of God Fellowship at the initiative of Dr. J. Philip Hogan, then executive director of the Division of Foreign Missions of the Assemblies of God in the United States. The initial purpose was to coordinate evangelism, but soon developed into a more permanent organism of inter-relation.
Dr. Hogan was elected the first chairman of the Fellowship and served until 1992 when Rev. David Yonggi Cho was elected chairman. In 1993, the name of the Fellowship was changed to the World Assemblies of God Fellowship. In 2000, Thomas E. Trask was elected to succeed Cho. At the 2008 World Congress in Lisbon, Portugal, George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in the United States, was elected chairman. At the 2011 World AG Congress in Chennai, India, D. Mohan, General Superintendent of the All India Assemblies of God, was elected vice chairman.source :assembly of God portal