Conversation: George O. Wood
5 Core Values for a Vibrant Fellowship
Since coming into the general superintendent’s office in
2007, George O. Wood has couched his vision for the continuing effectiveness of
Assemblies of God ministries in terms of five core values built around five
summary action statements: passionately proclaim, strategically invest,
vigorously plant, skillfully resource and fervently pray. Wood recently spoke
with Evangel Editor Ken Horn about the broader ministry goals of each action
statement and about AG Trust, a tool designed to support those goals.
evangel: How would you describe AG Trust and its progress?
WOOD: AG Trust is the funding arm for the initiatives of
vigorous church planting, strategically investing in the next generation and
skillfully resourcing the Fellowship. We are having a tremendous response to
the Trust, both in individual commitments as well as in church commitments. To
date, we have received more than $2 million in the Trust. This has been helping
us tremendously with the initiatives that we have under way.
evangel: At the top of that list, you call on the AG to
“passionately proclaim, at home and abroad, by word and deed, Jesus as Savior,
Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, Healer, and Soon Coming King.”
WOOD: The key word is the adverb passionately, because
unless we do things passionately the work of the Lord doesn’t go forward with
strong progression. The Assemblies of God has grown to 60 million people
worldwide because laypeople, ministers and missionaries have maintained their
passion to see the Word of Jesus extended.
I just met recently with superintendents in Asia, and one of
the things that we’re looking at is, if the Lord tarries until 2020, what will
the Assemblies of God look like? We now have 300,000 churches. Why can’t we
have 500,000 churches? We now have 60 million people. Why not 100 million by
2020? It’s going to take passion and it’s going to take us proclaiming Jesus at
home and abroad by word and by deed.
evangel: The second core value is a commitment to
“strategically invest in the next generation.”
WOOD: We’ve got to recognize our responsibility to the 1.1
million people — or 39 percent of our 2.9 million people in the U.S.
Assemblies of God — who are under the age of 25. We have to be especially
concerned about those who are graduating from high school.
The national statistics indicate to us that there is a
tremendous drop-off of belief among young people when they graduate from high
school. So we need to be strategically thinking on the local church level
— and at every level — of how to conserve this wonderful harvest
that we have in our children’s and youth ministries. When they get to be 18,
19, 20 or 21, they shouldn’t find in those years opportunity to fall away from
evangel: When you speak of “vigorously planting,” you’re
talking about new churches.
WOOD: The Church Multiplication Network has been at work
with us to plant churches with the keen strategy and sensitivity of the Holy
Spirit. Our goal is to ramp up church planting to 500 new churches a year. We
realize that that’s going to require all kinds of planting methods. Church
Multiplication Network provides resources to churches wanting to parent other
churches, to church planters and to districts that want to access the
information, demographics and skill sets that can provide for more viable
Already the results are encouraging. In the last 15 months,
the churches planted under Church Multiplication Network have given more than
$300,000 to missions, have seen more than 2,000 people come to Christ, and have
personally contacted nearly 100,000 people who are unsaved.
We also are making provision at this General Council, if a
by-law amendment passes, to recognize an emerging category of churches in the
Assemblies of God. We have not recognized satellite churches as a church, yet
we have more than 200 satellite churches now in the Assemblies of God that are
connected to their parent church. Up to now, we’ve only had provision for
General Council-affiliated churches and District Council-affiliated churches.
We have a proposal to recognize parent-affiliated churches, which would help us
realize that we’re starting a lot more churches than we’ve been recording on
evangel: Would you talk about your vision to see the AG
“skillfully resource our constituency”?
WOOD: I’m very pleased that at this General Council we’re
rolling out Faith Case, which is our 16 fundamental truths designed for use in
children’s churches. Ministrydirect.com is also being rolled out at this
General Council and will be a fantastic tool for ministers and laity alike in
terms of learning resources. AGTV.ag.org recently began offering all of our
media resources available online. We’ve also revamped our Web site and have a
Spanish Web site. We provide more than 3,000 free Web sites to churches that
are using them. These are all examples of cutting-edge technology used with the
goal of skillfully resourcing the Fellowship through all of our departmental
ministries, programs and discipleship and evangelism outreaches.
evangel: The final core value calls on our Fellowship to
“fervently pray for God’s favor and help as we serve Him with pure hearts and
WOOD: The Pentecostal Movement and the Assemblies of God
were birthed in prayer, and we must be people of prayer. Jesus said, “Without
Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), and nothing means nothing. We must have the
Lord’s help in anything that we do.
It has been said that the Lord will withhold nothing from a
praying church. Wherever you look at church growth in the world today, you will
always see that it is accompanied by a strong emphasis on prayer. We cannot
accomplish God’s purposes through human strategy and human ingenuity; we must
have the help of the Lord. When we wait upon Him in prayer, we give opportunity
for the Holy Spirit to speak to us, our hearts become tender to the Spirit’s
voice, and we end up doing what God wants us to do.
are you looking forward to in this upcoming General Council?
WOOD: I’m excited that, through the Internet, all of the
Assemblies of God can have access to this General Council — not only to
the business sessions, but the evening sessions as well. I believe the events
in Orlando will be a great encouragement to the Assemblies of God family all
over the world.
Of course, there will be business and the election of
officers. We have four officers up for election this year: general
superintendent, general secretary, general treasurer and executive director of
U.S. Missions. There are a lot of resolutions to be considered by the body as
well. But I think the Influence: Leadership in High Definition conference at the beginning will be a
hallmark for many because it provides tremendous motivation and training in
My goal is to make General Council informational, inspirational
and motivational. The evening services, I believe, will be fantastic. On
Thursday and Friday nights we’re combining the youth with the adults. Wednesday
night, instead of a regular service for the adults, will offer a Eurasia
missions experience that will be an incredible walk-through tour. The youth
will have a separate venue on Monday and Wednesday nights for their services.
Multiplied thousands of our people have read Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life, and countless numbers of our churches have used his
books as a resource, so I’ve invited Rick to share a strategic leadership
presentation with us on Friday morning — Taking Your Church to the Next
Level. And I’m looking forward to sharing the general superintendent’s message
on Tuesday night as a tribute and an encouragement to all of the unsung heroes
in the Assemblies of God.
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