2008 — A look back: U.S. Fellowship
A busy year for the Assemblies of God
By Christina Quick
Teen Challenge turns 50
Nearly 1,600 people from around the world gathered at Times
Square Church and Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York in June to mark the 50th
anniversary of Teen Challenge.
Among the attendees were David Wilkerson, who founded the
ministry in 1958, and Nicky Cruz, a former gang member featured in the book and
1970 motion picture The Cross and the Switchblade.
Teen Challenge, a faith-based program that helps individuals
struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, operates more than 205 centers in
the U.S. and over 1,000 worldwide.
New leaders cast vision
During the course of 2008, a new Assemblies of God Executive
Leadership Team shared its strategy for fulfilling the Fellowship’s threefold
mission of worship, evangelism and discipleship.
In April, Doug Clay became the newest member of the team,
replacing the retiring James K. Bridges as general treasurer.
General Superintendent George O. Wood, elected to his post
in 2007, identified five core values that sum up his vision for the AG:
passionately proclaim the gospel; strategically invest in the next generation;
vigorously plant new churches; skillfully resource the Fellowship; and fervently
Answering the call to pray, ministry leaders from across the
country gathered in Springfield, Mo., for three days in March for the AG Prayer
In June, the Executive Presbytery voted to launch the Church
Multiplication Network, a service organization that will facilitate the
planting of new churches across the United States.
In August, Wood announced the formation of AG Trust, a
giving initiative that will help fund church multiplication, training for young
leaders, and research and development.
“We have a choice,” Wood said. “We can stay the course and
remain a great Fellowship of believers in its golden years. Or we can make some
strategic adjustments and marvel at what the Holy Spirit does through us and
the new generations we empower.”
The AG outpaced the rest of the country in terms of its
growing diversity, with ethnic minorities now comprising 37 percent of
adherents in the Fellowship. By comparison, ethnic minorities make up 34
percent of the general U.S. population.
Year of changes for TPE
Today’s Pentecostal Evangel entered the blogosphere in
January with new staff blogs written by Ken Horn, Kirk Noonan, Scott Harrup,
John W. Kennedy, Jennifer McClure and Christina Quick. (For links and
information, see tpe.agblogger.org.)
In May, TPE garnered six Higher Goals awards from the
Evangelical Press Association, the most the magazine has received in a year.
Hal Donaldson, who had served as editor-in-chief since 1995,
left the magazine in August to devote his full efforts to leading Convoy of
Hope, the relief organization he co-founded.
Tragedy visited the Evangel staff on Sept. 28 with the death
of Art Director Matt Key, 49, following a boating accident.
Through it all, TPE continued its mission of informing the
church and communicating the gospel. During a single week in September, the
magazine received a record 85 salvation reports from individuals who accepted
Christ as Savior after reading TPE.
Key Bearers, a ministry that provides copies of the Evangel
to incarcerated individuals, set a new giving record for the fifth consecutive
year. More than 7.5 million copies of the magazine have been distributed since
the program started in 1996.
“God has packed 2008 full of blessings, alongside the
challenges,” says Editor Ken Horn. “The staff has been privileged to interact
with hundreds of believers and dozens of churches who have seen the hand of God
at work in dramatic ways.”
From severe storms to rising floodwaters, the Assemblies of
God experienced and responded to a variety of weather crises in 2008.
Spring and early summer brought heavy rains and flooding to
the Midwest, displacing families and damaging numerous AG churches in Missouri,
Arkansas and Indiana. Convoy of Hope responded with more than half a million
pounds of relief supplies.
In July, August and September, Convoy headed to affected
U.S. coastal regions as hurricanes Dolly, Gustav and Ike made landfall.
First Assembly of God in Galveston, Texas, served as a Red
Cross shelter following Hurricane Ike in September. Latin American Bible
Institute, an Assemblies of God school in San Antonio, housed 50 Ike evacuees
in the campus chapel.
CHRISTINA QUICK is staff writer for Today’s Pentecostal
Evangel and blogs at Refrigerator Art (cquick.agblogger.org).
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