As many of you know I was in Atlanta (Griffin) Ga. Monday and Tuesday. There we met with our General Superintendent Dr. George Wood. On Monday night he shared with us what he called the "state of the church" address. It's been a little over one year since he took office and to be quite honest, he's been busy! But doing what?
Remember a year ago when Dr. Wood published a book about the 5 core values for the Assemblies of God's future? Well if you didn't read the book, get a copy, find it - go to www.ag.org, do what you have to do to read up and discover what they are. I think when Dr. Wood proclaimed these core values, most of us said, "OK, go ahead - we will see!" I know that sounds a bit skeptical, but to be quite honest we have heard this stuff before and it go nowhere.
Well, it's going somewhere people and I think we had better pay attention.
The five core values are:
1) Passionately proclaim, at home and abroad, by word and deed Jesus as Savior, Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, Healer, and Soon Coming King.
2) Strategically invest in the next generation
3) Vigorously plant new churches
4) Skillfully resource our Fellowship
5) Fervently pray for God’s favor and help as we serve Him with pure hearts and noble purpose.
If you are going to go anywhere, what is the first thing you need to know? Where you are at! Having an honest evalutaion of where you or your organization is right now helps you determine what you need to do achieve your goals. So where are we?
In the last 5 years (2003 to 2007) the Assemblies of God has reported::
594,319 Water Baptisms &
450,844 Spirit Baptisms
Not bad huh! But, (you knew this was coming) we only had a net gain in Sunday AM Attendance of 62,854. That averages out to 1 person, per church, per year. That's bad people and there is no way around it.
During that period of time we opened 1450 churches and closed 1221 churches. That is a net gain of 229 churches over 5 YEARS! YTD (January through October 13, 2008), we have opened 175 churches and closed 189 churches.
So what is the point here? Something is broke and it is our responsibility to do something. What you ask? Please refer to the 5 core values above again. That's what we are doing. Don't thing that for one minute that our Executive Leadership Team in Springfield, Missouri is hiding their head in the sand. They are taking action for the purpose of extending the future of this Pentecostal movement another 50 to 100 years! How many of you have thought that far ahead recently!
Over the next few days I am going to continue to share with you some of the specifics of what I learned. But let me bottom line this for you. It isn't business as usual anymore. The future of the Assemblies of God is being reshaped.