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2009 Conversations

2008 Conversations

2007 Conversations

2006 Conversations

2005 Conversations

Benji creator Joe Camp: Moral movies, personal cost (12/26/04)

Gloria Gaither: A Gaither family Christmas(12/19/04)

Allyson Feliz: Olympic medalist  shares passion for following Christ (12/12/04)

Dan Dean: Walking by faith (11/28/04)

J. Don George: Every church can touch the poor (11/21/04)

Brock Gill: Jesus is no illusion (11/14/04)

Ted Dekker: Good, evil and the battle for souls (10/31/04)

Bob Kilpatrick: CCM: Growing and changing (10/17/04)

Eugene H. Peterson: Man with a message (10/10/04)

Caz McCaslin: Fixing kids sports (9/26/04)

Jerry B. Jenkins: A novel approach to evangelism (9/19/04)

Natalie Grant: Living the dream (9/12/04)

Sharon Ellard: A life-changing education (8/29/04)

Steven Curtis Chapman: All things new (8/22/04)

Jim Ryun: Running to Jesus (8/15/04)

George Barna: Today’s church: By the numbers (8/8/04)

Randy Singer: Made to count (7/25/04)

Holly McClure: Morality and the media (7/18/04)

Don Miller and Richard Flory:Taking the Church to today's culture (7/11/04)

Cecil Richardson: Pastoring the Air Force’s 'Pastors' (6/27/04)

Barry Meguiar: Driven by faith (6/20/04)

Thomas E. Trask: Concerned for America (6/13/04)

Dr. David Yonggi Cho: The work of the Holy Spirit (5/30/04)

Tom Greene: High school: A great mission field (5/16/04)

Jennifer Rothschild: Walk by faith, not by sight (5/9/04)

Chaplain Alex Taylor: Forgiveness and restoration (4/25/04)

Joshua Harris: Not even a hint (4/18/04)

Nicky Cruz: Changing America (4/11/04)

Jason Schmidt: Lessons learned on life’s field (3/28/04)

Scott Temple: One church, many colors (3/21/04)

Michael W. Smith: Called to worship (3/14/04)

Representative Jo Ann Davis: Christians in politics (2/29/04)

Darlene Zschech: Sing, shout … just shout the praise the Lord (2/22/04)

Surgeon James W Long: For your heart’s sake, get fit (2/15/04)

Jerry R. Kirk: Battling pornography (2/8/04)

Dr Michael Ferris: A choice to heal (1/18/04)

Chaplain Al Worthley: Outside the four walls of the church (1/11/04)

2003 Conversations

2002 Conversations

2001 Conversations

In a candid interview, General Superintendent Thomas Trask responds to questions about the nation’s spiritual state and the future of the Assemblies of God

Concerned for America

Thomas E. Trask was elected general superintendent of the U.S. Assemblies of God in 1993. During his decade in office, he has watched both the Fellowship and the nation undergo significant change. He spoke with Associate Editor Kirk Noonan about the pressing spiritual need in America and the vital role to which the church is called in our nation.

PE: What are some of the trends in the Assemblies of God that excite you?

TRASK: I see a strong emphasis on prayer. We pattern the Assemblies of God after the Early Church, which was a praying church. God responds to people and to congregations that pray. I see that today. God is working. People are being saved; people are being healed; people are being filled with the Holy Spirit; people are being called to ministry.

This commitment to prayer is re-flected in the number of people who are offering themselves for missionary service. The largest missionary candidate classes in the history of this church are taking place right now. We don’t recruit; we don’t hire. The Spirit of God has to move on the hearts of men and women. The Scripture says to pray that the Lord of the harvest will send forth laborers. So as the church prays there is a ripple effect.

I see a spiritual vitality today within the church. Pastors are giving of themselves and giving opportunities for the congregation to become involved in ministry. That, again, is so New Testament. Look at the Book of Acts. New Testament believers were selling their goods and bringing them and distributing them so that everyone’s needs were met.

PE: What are some things that concern you?

TRASK: Within the local church, opportunity must be given for the Holy Spirit to accomplish His work. The centerpiece of the Old Testament tabernacle was the altar. In the local church there must be a time, a setting, where in response to the preaching of the Word God has opportunity to impress upon people the needs they personally have and the needs of the kingdom of God. We are a church of the Spirit. We believe in being Spirit-led, Spirit-directed, Spirit-filled, Spirit-motivated, Spirit-used — that can only happen when people are introduced to and placed in an atmosphere where the Spirit works.

People need to experience the joy of being used of the Lord. It isn’t just the preacher being used or the ministry staff. I heard one pastor whose church has grown from 2,500 to 4,500 in attendance say, “When I brought to my people the need for them to touch a person, then things began to grow.” People touching people, people bringing people — that really is what the gospel is all about. It’s more than filling a church auditorium on Sunday morning. It’s what happens after the Sunday and midweek services. The church has to have an outlet. God can bless, but you can only stand so much blessing. Churches are channels through which God’s blessing flows.

PE: Let’s take that same track and apply it to youth. What are some of the things that you are excited about and some things you’re concerned about?

TRASK: It’s powerful what God is doing with the Seven Project. I just received a testimony of how many school auditoriums they have given presentations at in recent weeks, and the hundreds of young people saved.

Young people are looking for answers. Our society is chaotic because homes are in crisis. So many young people come out of single-parent homes today. They are looking for something that has meaning; they’re looking for something that will show love so that they, in turn, can love. And wherever that’s happening, the youth of the church are being challenged and God is using them powerfully. They’re passionate; they’re committed; they’re visionary; they’re willing to sacrifice. They’re saying, “Send us to the hard places.” John Bueno, the executive director of World Missions, will tell you that we have missionaries in places today serving by themselves in incredibly difficult circumstances.

I’m concerned that if the church does not provide for the filling of a spiritual vacuum, young people will look to the world to fill it and the world can’t fill it. Only Jesus Christ can satisfy that God/faith vacuum. We must provide resources, the music and the programs that young people relate to. But it all must direct them to Jesus Christ, into a relationship with Him. Otherwise, it’s simply entertainment. The church is never meant to be an entertainment center. We are an agency given by God to confront people with the person of Jesus Christ. Out of that relationship will come the fullness of life, whether it be young, middle-aged adults, older — whatever the age.


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