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2008 Conversations

2007 Conversations

2006 Conversations

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 the faith.

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 churches.

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 our books.

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. 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. 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 noble purpose.”

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.

evangel:  What 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 leadership.

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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