I believe in the Assemblies of God. Occasionally someone will speak something negative to me about “organized religion” or “denominationalism.” Having seen both sides of that argument played out in vivid color, I’m grateful to be part of a structured fellowship which provides global ministry partnerships, biblical ministry standards, and strict spiritual accountability.
The Assemblies of God provides strong missionary partnerships that enable us, together, to fulfill the great commission of our Lord Jesus to take the gospel to the whole world. The Assemblies of God is comprised of over 67 million people worldwide. That includes over 366,000 churches and over 384,000 ministers. AG ministries add 1 new believer to the Kingdom every 21 seconds.
First Assembly supports 101 missionary units, 86 of which are appointed missionaries with the Assemblies of God who serve in nations around the world and in vital outreaches in the United States. Our monthly commitments to missionaries stand presently at $11,750. Thank you, First Assembly, and thank you, Lord, for enabling this partnership through your faithfulness. And thank you to all of our missionary partners around the world.
In a church world of increasing liberalism, relativism, and departure from plain Bible teaching, the Assemblies of God has remained committed to the authority of the Bible. In the AG, we believe the Bible to be God’s Word–inspired by God–and to be inerrant and infallible in its autographs. We believe the Bible says what it means and means what it says. The AG Statement of Fundamental Truths provides a summary of our commitment to Bible truths as they relate to the One True God, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, sin and salvation, healing, heaven, judgment to come, and the return of Jesus. And, the AG holds to a plain interpretation of Scripture regarding Christian lifestyle and morality. Churches who veer away from Bible doctrine are called to account. When you visit an AG church on vacation across the country or around the world, the style may be dramatically different, but doctrinal consistency is demanded as a prerequisite to AG membership.
The Assemblies of God provides a strong structure of biblical ministry standards for the sake of protecting the body of Christ and preserving sound doctrine. AG ministry credentials are granted to ministers upon the completion of thorough biblical and theological training, testing, background checks, interviews, references, and a rigorous application process. AG ministers must renew their credentials annually after having demonstrated faithfulness to proper doctrine and ethical ministerial lifestyle. And, AG ministers serve under the spiritual authority of district and national leadership. When violations of biblical conduct occur, AG ministers are called to account. Such strict accountability guards the health of the local church.
Having served personally on the Presbytery of this district of the Assemblies of God for nearly 17 years, I’ve been immersed in the processes of credentialing, accountability, and ministerial oversight and relations. I can vouch personally for the integrity of Assemblies of God leadership and processes. Sometimes difficult and painful decisions are made by AG leadership, but those decisions are made in plain obedience to biblical instruction and for the purposes of safeguarding the body of Christ. And, those decisions are made by a group of elders in consultation with each other. Our District Presbytery has 20 members, who meet together to decide cases.
First Assembly’s pastors maintain credentials with the Assemblies of God for the very reasons just mentioned. Presently, our pastoral staff includes four ordained ministers and one certified minister. First Assembly’s Bylaws require its lead pastor to be an ordained minister with the AG. We also have within our congregation a number of retired pastors and other ministers who hold AG credentials. All of these are responsible and accountable to AG leadership in regard to their doctrine and lifestyle. Spiritual accountability is a protective blessing and covering, not a burden.
The Assemblies of God celebrates its 101st anniversary this year, and First Assembly in Jefferson City has served in fellowship with the AG for 82 of those years. I am grateful for the many blessings and ministry opportunities God has provided to us through that ministry fellowship. May the Lord continue to use us together to bring in the harvest, build up the body of Christ, and bring glory and praise to God as we surrender ourselves to Him!