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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

AGTV video
Connections: George O. Wood and David Grant

Bringing the Nations Together

Dr. George O. Wood, chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship and general superintendent of the U.S. Assemblies of God, and David Grant, co-founder of Project Rescue and director of Eurasia Development, discussed with Editor Ken Horn the historic World Assemblies of God Congress held Feb. 6-9 in Chennai, India.

evangel: What stands out to you about the World AG Congress?

WOOD: This was the sixth Congress and, without a doubt, the most internationally well-attended one we’ve held.

To present the 2020 vision of growing from 63 million to 100 million believers and 335,000 to 500,000 churches worldwide and to have the leadership we had from all over the world was inspiring. It was, for me, probably the most inspiring event that I have attended, especially in an international context.

The most memorable and impactful moment for me was on the last morning. As we were heading into the Communion service, I called up two general superintendents from what we would call restricted countries, where both of those churches have experienced martyrs for the gospel in the last 10 years. What is amazing to me, though, is the courage of these believers who are in these countries where there are such tremendous pressures, and they face martyrdom at any moment. But they are really bearing faithful witness to Jesus Christ. I think one of the things that I carried out of that Congress is a deeper passion and desire to be praying and to encourage and ask others to pray for believers who are experiencing fierce persecution.

GRANT: I think this World Assemblies of God Congress was a connecting point to cause us to pray, believe and stand together. I think the Assemblies of God worldwide is going to focus more on prayer and strengthening the national churches because many of them have connected in the last few weeks. That’s a wonderful thing for the body of Christ.

evangel: David, what did this mean to India?

GRANT: I think at the heart of the Congress was the local church. Host church New Life Assembly of God, which is pastored by David Mohan and averages more than 40,000 in attendance, threw its weight and spirit and prayers behind this. More than 600 volunteers out of that church hosted delegates from all over the world. They held prayer meetings for a solid year before this, and the church was taking up offerings to help underwrite it financially.

On the opening Sunday of the World Congress, more than 50,000 people came through the doors of that church to rejoice and to join with the delegates and the visitors from all over the world. The local church gave a sense of power and passion and excitement — it just energized the Congress.

And what has this done in India? We have 1 million people who attend the 8,000 AG churches in India. This has energized and set some goals for the church in India to move forward. And within India — every district, every general council, every section, every city — they now have goals for the next 10 years that, I think, are going to energize not only India but the surrounding nations as well.

I feel this has created a sense of excitement and momentum that the Lord is going to use in the next years to do some incredible things for the kingdom of God.

evangel: Tell us about the World AG Missions Commission.

WOOD: At this Congress we officially launched the World Assemblies of God Missions Commission. The theme is that every missionary-receiving country becomes a missionary-sending country. Let’s face it; there are some countries that can send missionaries to places where U.S. missionaries cannot go. So we’re seeing this penetration into cultures. I think that’s a phenomenal feat.

evangel:  The World AG Congress is coming to the United States and Springfield, Mo., in 2014. What would you like to see happen then?

WOOD: We decided to have the next World AG Congress in connection with our centennial. We are expecting a huge international delegation plus our own people to come. We’re expecting that the 100th anniversary of the Assemblies of God will celebrate our past but, more critically, orient us to the future. God has blessed the original vision of the leadership that resolved in their second originating convention in the fall of 1914 “to do the greatest work of evangelism the world has ever seen.” We’ve got to reignite that passion.

My trust is, by interfacing with these leaders from around the world, our own leadership here in this country will have a reawakening to the global nature of the pouring out of the Spirit upon all flesh and the interconnectedness of this amazing worldwide Assemblies of God family.

One of the things I would like to see happen in the 2014 meeting is that every district and every willing church become the assigned host for a country that is coming. That way they have a host that is identifiable, meets them at the airport, helps them with the logistics and practical things, gets them from one place to another, and links them with others.

Also, we will have people coming from countries where they, quite frankly, can’t afford to come. So we’re going to need patrons who will step up to the plate and make it possible for the general superintendents or other leaders of these countries to come.

What I would like to do is ask that every national leader and every U.S. district leader or pastor who comes bring a young leader with them. We need to get very intentional and very serious about passing this torch of leadership to the next generation. That needs to be a focus of the centennial and the World AG Congress in 2014.

GRANT: I feel a deep sense of excitement that God is going to do something significant in Springfield, Mo., three years from now. Wouldn’t it be great to experience delegates from 200 nations? As we pray and believe God for the whole world, and especially in light of the convulsions that are going on in nations that are struggling, I believe that we could become an intercessory nation greater than ever before. That characterized our beginning and should characterize us now.


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