Assemblies of God SearchSite GuideStoreContact Us

Daily Boost

  • 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. ...




Frontline Warriors

By Zollie Smith
June 30, 2013

Over the past 5 1/2 years, I have often been asked, “Why do you have missionaries in America? What do missionaries do in America? Do they conflict with the local church?” Some people have even shared with me they see no need for missionaries in the United States.

I am grateful for such questions and comments because they afford me the opportunity to share some of what God is accomplishing through the women and men serving in Assemblies of God U.S. Missions.

AG U.S. Missions has been a division of the General Council of the Assemblies of God for more than 75 years. Over this period, we have transformed into a massive army of frontline warriors. From its humble beginning in 1937 to now, U.S. Missions has become a fortress for reaching the lost in unique people groups, special needs groups, subcultures, and diverse communities throughout America.

To explore and discover the historical background of AG U.S. Missions, I highly recommend you read U.S. Missions ... That None Perish, the historical book published to commemorate our 75th year. You can find out more about the book at gospelpublishing.com.

While serving as executive director of AG U.S. Missions, I have fallen in love with the platform of opportunity God has afforded us to reach this nation for Christ. I call our seven ministry departments “The Seven Windows to America” because through these windows we see a unique combination of ministries executed by some of the greatest men and women in the body of Christ.

I love America. It has been an honor to serve in our military in the fight to maintain our freedom, and to serve as both a police officer and federal agent to protect and provide safety for our citizens. But my greatest love for this country is expressed as I fulfill God’s call to be one of His servants to America — that none perish. That call is being fulfilled through U.S. Missions’ “Seven Windows to America.”

I am awestruck by the tenacity and fortitude our missionaries, chaplains and project volunteers demonstrate in fulfilling the Great Commission in America. Through their committed and compassionate work, Jesus is being glorified and made real to so many people who have never encountered Him before. The challenging circumstances in which our U.S. Missions personnel minister are unique, and this uniqueness defines their callings and solidifies their existence.

The mission statement for AGUSM explains clearly the purpose for missionaries in America: “AGUSM exists to fulfill the Great Commission in the United States through missionaries, chaplains, and project volunteers.”

Missionaries, chaplains and project volunteers are a part of the army of God in fulfilling the Great Commission. They carry the same message mandated to all of the body of Christ — Jesus is the only begotten son of God, come to humankind in the flesh. He was crucified, buried, resurrected, ascended and is soon to return.

The only difference between our missionaries and every layperson in our churches lies in the methods of proclaiming the message. Our missionaries are fulfilling U.S. Missions’ vision by going to every special needs, ethnic, culture and subculture group. They have the heart of God, that none perish, so all can have an opportunity to come to repentance.

In their passion to ensure “that none perish,” they reach out in Christ’s love to everyone, including the poor, the hungry, the prisoners, the confined seniors, the erratic college cultures, the forgotten urban centers, the rural communities, and Native Americans (the original people of our nation). They offer the gospel to those victimized by drugs, alcohol, and human trafficking, to orphans, the disabled, the blind, and the deaf.

They demonstrate Christ’s welcoming love to the foreigners, Muslims, and the refugees. They put hands and feet on the gospel as they volunteer their time and substance to build facilities like churches, schools, colleges, and camps.

Our missionaries go and plant churches where the chances of self-support are difficult and very seldom achieved because the process requires a holistic transformation of the new converts. These “entrepreneurs” are going after the “least of these,” the most challenging groups that are present in our nation.

AG U.S. Missions personnel strive endlessly to replicate themselves so that none perish. The list of needs is as extensive as there are people. U.S. missionaries are fueled by those peoples’ needs and driven with compassion to help alleviate them.

America is such a challenging and unique mission field for the same reason it is such a wonderful nation — it is home to approximately 500 diverse people groups who immeasurably enrich our culture. To successfully communicate the gospel, we must understand each group is different and culturally driven, and there is no one plan of outreach applicable to all.

Our diversely focused missionaries, chaplains and project volunteers see the needs of these groups, and God’s love for these people directs them to meet those needs. They are not concerned about traditional methods; they go where the people are, in most cases under extreme conditions because this may be the only opportunity some people will get to hear a clear presentation of the gospel.

The approach our missionaries take requires patience, relationship building, and trust. This process starts by serving people where they are, beginning by meeting some of their basic needs. That need may be a gentle smile, clothing for children, a hot meal, a place to sleep, an international student lost on campus in need of friendship — the situations are endless.

A great majority of potential converts served by our missionaries are the disenfranchised, the marginalized, the disadvantaged, the physically challenged, the isolated and forgotten, the poor, and those enslaved and abused by their fellow man or woman resulting in alienation, overflowing hatred, and unforgiveness. So many lives are controlled by substance and sexual abuse; so many have simply given up on life because of past failures.

These individuals are God’s children, called the “least of these.” They are not in a position to help build a large facility or underwrite ministry sustainability. But our missionaries, chaplains and volunteers are prepared for a long-term investment with each soul until they become new creations in Christ. These frontline warriors make self-imposed sacrifices as God’s conduits by which Jesus is made great through their unselfish labor. I am better than blessed to be a partner with these unsung heroes.

I describe the missionaries, chaplains, and project volunteers to those who inquire and are curious by explaining they are no different than any other child of God — they simply operate specialized missions. Just as SWAT teams are police officers and the Military Special Operations Teams are soldiers, our U.S. Missions team members are fellow Christ-followers. The difference is in what they are called to do under extreme circumstances and conditions. They do it because they are trained and have the passion to do it.

Our missionaries, our frontline warriors, are part of the bigger body of Christ but on special assignments that require sacrifices to reach the lost and perishing souls who would not be reached otherwise. To appreciate fully the work of our U.S. missionaries, chaplains, and project volunteers, take a look at the havoc sin has wrought upon our great nation.

While our churches, parachurch ministries, and specialized ministries continue to reach out to the lost, we realize we do not have enough laborers. Our frontline warriors are not conflicting with other ministries; in fact, they are complementing them.

We are laborers together. Without our U.S. Missions missionaries, chaplains, and project volunteers, 67,000 fewer people would make commitments to Christ each year. These are souls being reached where they are, and in all likelihood, souls who would not have attended a local church. However, when they are won to Christ, they are directed to the local church. We are in this together. AGUSM is committed to the local church and is working to empower it; human needs demand this level of partnership.

Every visit and conversation I have with a frontline warrior leaves me lifted and filled with encouragement and excitement. The conversations are about the impact being made for the kingdom of God.

They share stories of hurting, lost souls who come with no hope or future. But, by God’s grace, the love of Jesus pours itself into them through our missionaries, and miracles happen. There the stories of sacrifices where the compassion is so great, missionaries move into communities with their families to be where the perishing are. I have seen those communities, and even I would be hard pressed to make some of those sacrifices.

Other stories involve missionaries who are supported by faith promises that may or may not come in, who give of their fixed incomes to share with the less fortunate with no expectation of receiving anything in return but to see that soul reunited to God.

I could share hours of testimonies with you, but it would not be right for me to tell these friends’ stories when they are ready and available to share them with you firsthand. You can read some of these stories in the articles on the pages of this issue.

But there are a wealth of stories beyond these few. I personally extend an invitation to you on behalf of our missionaries, chaplains, and project volunteers to go and visit with them. I assure you that you will leave feeling encouraged and excited about how they are making Jesus great through their callings.

I entreat you to pray for our frontline warriors — they are there that none perish.


ZOLLIE SMITH is executive director of Assemblies of God U.S. Missions.

Email your comments to pe@ag.org.