From highly publicized
to intensely personal, more than 1,500 Assemblies of God churches
hosted a variety of memorial services September 11 honoring public
servants and remembering victims of last years terrorist attacks.
The A/G Commission on Evangelism instituted the program to remember
victims of the 9/11 tragedy, honor civil servants and as an outreach
"We believed people
would come to memorial services who would never come even to Christmas
or Easter services," says A/G Commissioner of Evangelism Randy
Hurst in Springfield, Mo.
In the first month after
the outreach, 638 churches reported more than 32,000 visitors attended
the special services while 280 churches have reported 2,377 salvation
decisions. Because of the nature of the memorial services, many
invitations to receive Christ as Savior were not done publicly at
In Texas, more than 150
people attended the First Assembly of God in El Paso to honor military
personnel, firefighters, police officers and medical staff who lost
their lives helping others a year earlier. The service began with
a reading of President Bushs prayer proclamation and included
presentation of the colors, patriotic songs and Scripture reading
by a retired fireman.
"When an event happens
in the community, its the church that should come to the forefront,"
says Tuuri Sanders, wife of Senior Pastor Phil Sanders. "The
church should be leading the culture."
"We held the service
in our middle school auditorium so that I would be able to reach
more of our community," says Pastor Anthony Baker of Faith
Assembly of God in Roaring Spring, Pa. "It was a fantastic
outreach for our church. What made it successful were the excellent
helps and materials the Evangelism Commission provided."
"We joined with
several other churches in our area and had a 9/11 service at the
high school football field," says Pastor Fred L. Zumalt Jr.,
of New Wine Fellowship Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. "There
were 4,500 to 5,000 people in attendance, and Jesus was exalted
and there was a great sense of unity, patriotism and thanksgiving
"We preached the
Cross and the importance of coming to Jesus, the Source of all Hope
and Peace, and making Him Lord and Savior," says Pastor Anthony
P. Niger of Carthage, N.Y. "We gave everyone an opportunity
to make a personal commitment to Jesus."
Hurst says it is possible
that the greatest results will be seen in the weeks and months to
come as tens of thousands of visitors came to A/G churches. "Contact
was made and relationships begun," he says. "A heightened
awareness in communities across the country of A/G churches and
their ministries will bear fruit that cannot be measured. The hundreds
of phone calls, letters and e-mails weve received all reflect
the passion our A/G pastors have for reaching the lost of their