Conversation: George O. Wood
Building tomorrow’s church
During his first year in office, General Superintendent
George O. Wood has worked with departmental leadership at Assemblies of God
headquarters in Springfield, Mo., to identify strategies for church growth and
ministry revitalization across the Fellowship. He spoke recently with Evangel Editor Ken Horn about these initiatives.
do you sense God is doing in our Fellowship?
WOOD: He is bringing revival. It’s phenomenal what God is
doing. Conservatively, we’re growing by 3 million a year worldwide. There’s
actually more than that coming to the Lord, because many people transition to
When I look specifically at the U.S. church, I’m concerned.
During the first half of 2008, we opened 103 churches and closed 136, with a
net loss of 33 churches in the first six months. We’ll probably make that up by
year’s end, but we need to be opening far more churches than that and we need
to be focusing on church revitalization issues as well.
To that end, we’ve formed both the Church Multiplication
Network and a Church Transformation Network that are working on the dual issues
of church planting and church transformation. We want to resource districts and
churches to dramatically increase both church planting and church
Could you talk about how those goals will be accomplished?
WOOD: It all boils down to the local level, really; that’s
how the Assemblies of God is formed. The national office can only do so much.
What we can do is resource, motivate and set out broad goals and give people
the tools to work with. But locally we need people called and qualified to
plant churches. We also have to have churches that will take on, as a passion,
the responsibility to plant additional churches. Church growth is directly
associated with church planting.
we have churches in the Fellowship now that are proactive in planting churches?
WOOD: A number of churches are doing this. In fact, under
Brother Thomas Trask’s leadership, a lot of churches
joined in that effort as church planting partners. But we need to see the pace
of church planting increase from 270-280 new churches a year to 500 new
churches a year at a minimum. With the formation of the Church Multiplication
Network, we’ve adopted an aggressive plan to expand our ability to resource
church planters and church planting churches and also to raise matching funds
so we can get new churches started.
Assemblies of God Trust has been established to support these efforts.
WOOD: We developed the matching fund program, and it has
been wonderfully successful on the pilot runs. We’ve had some churches open
with several hundred people the first Sunday.
But the fund will do more than plant churches. We want to
make it possible for more of our 60,000 high school seniors every year to
enroll in one of our Assemblies of God schools. Funds can also be applied to
research and development of new ministry tools.
In many ways, we’re using the same literature tools today we
used 40 years ago. We’ll always have print, because people will always read;
but we’re also in this massive technological change where we’re into the
digital era, the Internet era, the downloadable era.
So we have created the AG Trust as the development arm of
the Assemblies of God, and we’re asking our people and our churches to help us
fund these major initiatives. There will be other initiatives as time goes
along, but these three are at the very top of our priority list right now.
can our readers be involved?
WOOD: We’re asking individuals to make a personal
commitment. Many of our churches have already made commitments of as large as
$1,000 a month to the AG Trust as part of their total missions giving. We’re
asking people to give on an individual level a minimum of $16 a month. Why $16?
Because we have 16 fundamental truths and we want to pass on this treasure of
apostolic doctrine to the next generation. The need is absolutely massive, but
together we can do this.
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