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Editor's journey

Beyond the headlines of General Council


INDIANAPOLIS — Thousands of Assemblies of God leaders and laity converged on Indianapolis for the 52nd General Council. We heard great preaching, participated in wonderful worship services, conducted important business and reconnected with old friends.

But one memorable moment had nothing to do with what occurred inside the Indiana Convention Center or Conseco Fieldhouse. Instead it was an encounter with a homeless woman and her two children who found themselves stranded on the sidewalk outside the convention center.

Much like the crippled beggar in Acts 3, who pleaded with Peter and John for help outside the temple, this woman was asking the people of the Assemblies of God to help her find her way. Her story of abandonment, betrayal and disappointment was heartbreaking.

Newly elected U.S. Missions Executive Director Zollie Smith and his wife, Phyllis, helped the woman and her children get into a hotel for the night. And the congregation of Lakeview Church, where Ronald Bontrager is pastor, helped her get more permanent housing and a fresh start. Together they were channels of Christ’s compassion to a desperate family.

The episode was a poignant reminder that the Assemblies of God must never become a church so wrapped up in ceremonial activities and constitutional deliberations that we lose sight of our mission. Our mission is not well-crafted resolutions or elaborate coronations. God raised up this Pentecostal Fellowship to reach the world for Christ.

Showing the love of Jesus to a homeless woman in the streets of Indianapolis is not a peripheral matter; it is at the core of who we are in Christ and why we exist as a church.

As the week concluded, the mayor of Indianapolis addressed the crowd of more than 4,000 guests and 1,000 volunteers at an outreach conducted by U.S. Missions, Ambassadors in Mission, and Convoy of Hope. There he saw firsthand the Assemblies of God was as comfortable working for Jesus in the streets of Indianapolis as we were worshipping Him in the convention center.

Hal Donaldson

Editor’s note: This edition is dedicated to reports from the 52nd General Council and conversations with retiring General Superintendent Thomas E. Trask and Assistant General Superintendent Charles T. Crabtree. If you would like to send a word of appreciation to either of these dedicated servants, visit and follow the links provided at the top of the page.

4873 - 9/30/07

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