Connections: George O. Wood and Greg Mundis
What the Holy Spirit Is Doing
George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, and Greg Mundis, Assemblies of God World Missions executive director, recently visited with Randy Hurst, communications director for Assemblies of God World Missions.
evangel: What do you see the Spirit doing around the world?
WOOD: There is an incredible season of fruitfulness and harvest all over the world. I was recently in Brazil for the Assemblies of God’s centennial celebration.
More than 100 years ago, the Lord said in a prophetic word, “Go to Pará,” to two Swedish immigrants living in the U.S. They discovered that “Pará” was a state in northern Brazil. They arrived in Brazil in November 1911. Today there are almost 24 million AG believers in that nation.
Wherever you go, you will find churches in seasons of remarkable growth. China is certainly an example of the seed germinating in the ground during the hard season, and then coming to life when that season passes. It is an encouragement for what God is going to do all over the world, even in the spiritual desert places today.
evangel: What difference does the fullness of the Spirit make in missions?
MUNDIS: In 1900, 80 percent of the Christian world lived in North America and Europe, and 20 percent in the rest of the world. Just five or six years from now, it will be 45 percent north of the equator and 55 percent south of the equator. You cannot disassociate that shift from the move of the Holy Spirit.
The growth of Christianity in Latin America and the Caribbean is absolutely a modern-day testimony to the amazing Pentecostal experience. The poor and disenfranchised people of Latin America and the Caribbean have found hope, direction, guidance and empowerment when they have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Missiologists will acknowledge that it is primarily a Pentecostal revival.
evangel: What do you hear from these churches that you want to relay to American churches?
WOOD: One of the things I have noticed about most of the Assemblies of God churches around the world is that there is a greater sense of belonging. In America we treasure independence and freedom. But you will notice a greater sense of unity and togetherness in other countries.
Another encouraging trend is that Assemblies of God fellowships outside the United States are sending missionaries. They now have over twice as many missionaries working cross-culturally than our U.S. Fellowship.
evangel: Talk about persecution and the suffering church in the world in relation to the Holy Spirit.
MUNDIS: With this incredible outpouring of the Spirit, the church worldwide faces persecution. What else do I do when I’m baptized in the Spirit? I share the gospel. Many of our brothers and sisters are suffering because they just want to share what’s in their hearts.
In some cases, governments will openly and almost maliciously persecute Christians either by not allowing purchases of property, or schooling, or other things. There are also extremists who will physically beat and sometimes even kill our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Spirit’s outpouring is incredible, but it sometimes comes at a high cost. In the last decade, the persecution of Christians has increased tenfold. We could start naming countries like Nigeria, North Korea, several Middle Eastern countries and some African countries where our brothers and sisters in Christ are paying a heavy price to serve the Lord and fulfill His commission to share the gospel.
evangel: What are some challenges we may face as Pentecostals?
WOOD: The Pentecostal Movement faces two dangers. One is the danger of spiritual coldness, which scrutinizes and regulates everything. There’s nothing more organized than a graveyard. And it can be the same in the church that’s very organized, but Spiritless.
The opposite danger is a church engaged in such fanatical things that people with any knowledge of Scripture — including nonbelievers — are totally turned off by it.
You must do things decently and in order. There will be people who come and fancy themselves as God’s gift to the church, but their character and life need to be proven before they are given any kind of platform for ministry. You have to keep spirituality and biblical truth in the same container.
evangel: What can the American church do to participate in the worldwide move of the Spirit in the world?
MUNDIS: If there is one thing I would ask our churches to do during this Pentecost season and beyond, it is that they commit to prayer. We need to reemphasize the fact that we as the Church need intercessors. One of the great benefits of Pentecost and the outpouring of the Spirit is that the Spirit can make intercession in and through us.
As the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, as Pentecostal believers, as Assemblies of God members and adherents, we need to pray as we haven’t prayed in a long time. We must tarry, asking God for the nations, for people to serve, for open doors and for God to bless our missionary family around the world.
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