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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. ...




Together

By Randy Hurst
Mar. 3, 2013

An African proverb says, ?“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

As a mission, is our goal to go fast? Or go far?

The Assemblies of God was organized 99 years ago by people who were largely against organization. Their natural inclination was to avoid formal organization because of past negative experiences in the churches from which they came. So why did they form our Fellowship? They understood that they could never accomplish what our Lord commanded unless they did it together.

From the beginning, the priority of the Fellowship — to reach the world for Christ — was clearly established. While other advantages for organization were given, the primary reason was world missions. World evangelization was stated as “the chief concern of the church.” Even in the resolution concerning tithes, the Council resolved that after the local ministry was supported, any surplus funds should be spent for “the spread of the gospel throughout the world.”

In the first year of the Fellowship, the word “cooperation” was especially prominent in the formative deliberations. Our leaders resolved “to bring about a more perfect cooperation … in the matter of distribution of missionary funds and the sending out of missionaries, with a view to greater efficiency.” They went on to declare: “We commit ourselves and the Movement to Him for the greatest evangelism that the world has ever seen. We pledge our hearty cooperation, prayers and help to this end.”

“More perfect cooperation” related to efficiency. “Hearty cooperation” related to effectiveness.

Our founders intentionally avoided calling the newly formed Assemblies of God a denomination. Instead, they specifically called it a “voluntary cooperative fellowship.”

That description is still accurate after 99 years. We can accomplish much more when we work together. Cooperation and partnership are indispensable to accomplishing the Great Commission. Cooperation within our U.S. fellowship and partnership with national churches overseas enable us to evangelize a lost world more efficiently and effectively.

I witnessed a vivid example of strength in cooperation while in Singapore as more than 1,000 church members carried their church building 100 feet.

Assemblies of God missionary-pastor Rick Seaward had wondered how to move the 1,200-seat building to make room for a new sanctuary. After calculating the weight of the mammoth, one-piece, quonset-hut-style roof, he determined how many pounds each person could lift with the help of 10-foot steel pipes. They had the strength to carry the building, but could they actually work together and do it?

Sunday morning after the worship service, Pastor Seaward asked the congregation to gather and take hold of the pipes. At the count of three, more than 2,000 hands lifted … and the whole building shuddered as it was carried forward about six inches. In less than half an hour, the building was in its new location 100 feet away.

Teamwork can accomplish what would be impossible to do individually. But the great advantage of working in a team comes at a price. Inevitably, something must be sacrificed individually for the sake of the mission.

Lech Walesa, former president of Poland, was interviewed when he was the leader of the Solidarity movement that became the key to liberating Poland from communism. When asked how he became the leader, he replied, “I never tried to be the leader. If you strive for personal position, you will waste your energy and have nothing left for the cause.”

In the following articles, AG World Missions Executive Director Greg Mundis and Administrator Keith Kidwell provide perspectives on teamwork in relation to the global mission of the Assemblies of God. If anything requires teamwork, it is the greatest cause on earth — the redemption of a lost world.


RANDY HURST is director of AGWM Communications.

Email your comments to pe@ag.org.