The roots of the Assemblies of God are in a revival that began in the
late 1800s, when many Christians sensed a need for more of Gods
power in their lives. As they prayed for what they believed was the
New Testament experience, the Holy Spirit came on many of them. As in
the Bible in the Book of Acts, this experience the baptism in
the Holy Spirit was accompanied by speaking in unknown languages.
Recipients were called "Pentecostals," because the Holy Spirit
came on the Jewish holiday of Pentecost (Acts 2). Joyous worship and
a desire to share the good news of Jesus Christ also accompanied this
The beginning of the modern Pentecostal revival is traced to a prayer
meeting on January 1, 1901. Most researchers agree it was at Bethel
Bible College in Topeka, Kan., that those who received this experience,
after studying the Scriptures, came to believe that speaking in tongues
was the initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
The revival spread rapidly to Missouri and Texas, then to California.
A three-year revival at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles served
as a springboard to send the Pentecostal message around the world.
Pentecostals soon had to seek their own places to worship. The many
outreaches created the need for recognizing ministers and supporting
missions. The demand grew for doctrinal unity, literature and a Bible
school. In 1914 laypersons from 20 states and several foreign countries
met in Hot Springs, Ark., and formed a cooperative fellowship that was
incorporated as The General Council of the Assemblies of God. The delegates
structured the organization so each congregation would be self-governing
and self-supporting. In 1916 the General Council adopted a Statement
of Fundamental Truths, defining doctrinal positions.
The Assemblies of God now numbers 2.6 million in the United States
and 35.7 million overseas. People worship in 12,084 Assemblies of God
churches in the U.S. and in 210,435 churches and outstations in more
than 160 nations. In the U.S., the Assemblies of God has 20 endorsed
Bible colleges, liberal arts colleges and a seminary. Ministers and
leaders are trained in 1,845 foreign Bible schools.
The headquarters of the Assemblies of God is in Springfield, Mo.