• WHO

     

    • Who We Are

      Early in the last century, the Holy Spirit led our founders to form the Assemblies of God. The fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit resulted in an immediate, Spirit-imparted concern for a lost world. Unlike many church bodies whose mission focused only on certain parts of the world, our early leaders were compelled by the Spirit to take the gospel into all the world.

      How could such a small group even consider attempting to preach the gospel everywhere? Because they believed both Jesus’ command to reach the whole world and His promise that they would receive the Holy Spirit’s power to do it.

      For over 100 years, Assemblies of God missionaries have diligently worked in ministries that reach, plant, train and serve so all can hear the message of Jesus Christ.

    • Executive Committee

       

    • World Missions Board

      Douglas E. Clay – General Superintendent

      James T. Bradford – Resident Executive Presbyter

      Duane P. Durst – Non-Resident Executive Presbyter

      PASTOR REPRESENTATIVES

      E. Wayne Murray – Great Lakes Area

      Michael R. Burnette Jr. – Gulf Area

      Robert Ketterling II – North Central Area

      Scott A. Leib – Northeast Area

      Gary L. Morton – Northwest Area

      Michael D. Purkey – South Central Area

      Mark Haston – Southeast Area

      Perry L. Kallevig – Southwest Area

      LAYPERSON REPRESENTATIVES

      Ian Mead – Great Lakes Area

      Kenton DeVries – Gulf Area

      Socorro Gonzales – North Central Area

      Timothy Carlucci – Northeast Area

      Ron Hastie – Northwest Area

      Michelle Pilcher – South Central Area

      Floretta Green – Southeast Area

      Sharon Jansma – Southwest Area

    • AGWM Missionary Directory

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  • WHY

    • Why? Our Purpose

      Is it fair that some hear the saving message of Jesus again and again — when so many others haven’t heard it even once?

      Everyone deserves the opportunity to hear the gospel, believe in Jesus and call on His name to be saved. We exist as a mission “so all can hear” the saving message of Jesus. At the end of his letter to the Romans, Paul explained the highest priority of his life: “I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation.”

      More than 4 billion lost people wait in darkness for an adequate witness of Jesus as Savior and Lord.

      Our Fellowship is committed to reaching all people in all nations. We can’t bypass any region or people group. However, like Paul, our first priority must be those who have never heard the gospel.

    • Why Are Billions Yet Unreached?

      It is tragic and unacceptable that more than two-thirds of the world’s population has not been given the opportunity to hear the message of Christ. The issue is “access.” Because of tribal, language or social barriers, entire groups of people either do not have a Christian neighbor or anyone willing to become one to share the gospel with them. Any serious contemplation of the billions of unreached must address the reasons why.REMOTE — For centuries, people in the South Pacific couldn’t receive the gospel because their remote islands were virtually inaccessible to the Christian church in Europe. Then a blacksmith, John Williams, sailed on a wooden ship to Polynesia. With his own hands he built another vessel, the Messenger of Peace, and took the gospel to other islands in the Pacific. Williams’ ministry in Samoa was so effective that within a generation virtually the entire population was Christian.

      When missionary Victor Plymire first headed to China 100 years ago, it took almost four months to reach his mission station. He traveled by ship from Seattle to Shanghai, then by river steamer to Hankow, followed by three months up the Yangtze River at a rate of just five miles per day. For the final 300 miles to Taozhow, he rode on horseback.

      Today the challenges in missions are different. Most of the world can be physically reached within a few days. But while modern missionaries do not face the laborious and time-consuming transportation that John Williams and Victor Plymire did, they still deal with daunting challenges to reach people in remote places.

      Bob and Lisa Holloway, missionaries to Venezuela, venture for days up rivers to reach the Yanomami Indians. “We’ve flown in a lot of airplanes and traveled on the river for two days to reach a village, only to hear those people tell us of other villages much farther away,” Bob says. “No matter who we reach, someone else still lives farther down the road.”

      Remoteness can apply to age groups as well as physical distance. The chasms that must be bridged to reach the lost relate not only to space but also to time. Every new generation is an unreached people group, yet in many places the church remains distant to the culture’s spiritually lost youth

      REJECTED — Some people groups today are unreached because of rejection by the major populations of their country. They are marginalized because of prejudice and long-standing intercultural hostilities.

      During a famine in China in the early 1920s, many parents sold their young sons and drowned their infant daughters. Moved with compassion, missionary Marie Stephany started a small orphanage, caring for as many as 30 children at a time. She also established a home to minister to men hopelessly addicted to opium.

      Marie worked in northern China for 26 years — long enough to see many of the orphans she raised become evangelists and pastors. More than 30 of the 40 national workers who assisted in Marie’s ministry were former addicts who had been set free and discipled. She pioneered churches in regions untouched by the gospel. Eventually, one church had a building that seated 1,000 worshippers.

      Gypsies are seen by most of Europe’s population as outcasts. Though accessible, they are still unreached because of their low social status. Clement LeCossec was born in western France and began ministering full time among France’s Gypsies in 1958. Since then the work has grown, and more than 1,500 Gypsy pastors now lead 110,000 born-again Christians in France. In 1978, Clement’s son and daughter-in-law, John and Nancy LeCossec, were appointed as missionaries to the Gypsies in Europe. The Lord opened the door for them to create a Sunday School program for Gypsy women — a groundbreaking ministry considering that, in the Gypsy culture, women have long been prohibited from having a place of ministry. Being in such close community and traveling with the Gypsies helped the LeCossecs enter open doors for the gospel as God moves among this difficult-to-reach group.

      In Mérida, Mexico, missionaries Paul and Sandy Kazim and their family minister to people in an AIDS colony. The response to people with AIDS in Mexico is similar to that in South Africa. In a society where God’s grace is not understood, a disease like AIDS is seen as judgment from an angry God. Consequently, AIDS victims are rejected by their culture, making them unreached in more ways than one. The Kazims reach out to them in compassion, letting them know that there is hope in Christ.

      The Savior is described in Scripture as “despised and rejected by men.”1  He loves us all and calls us to enter into His mission of preaching good news to the poor, proclaiming freedom for the prisoners, and releasing the oppressed. RESISTANT — In 1918, young William E. Simpson, a single Assemblies of God missionary, carried the gospel into the barren land of Tibet. For 14 years he led a lonely life, riding on horseback through rugged, forbidding mountains to share the message of salvation. Through all his years of toil, only a few Tibetans came to Christ. At age 31 he was ambushed and murdered in a mountain pass.

      Nearby villagers buried him in a shallow grave.

      Spiritually resistant people groups have brought great discouragement and even heartbreak to missionaries. Though God uses the arduous toil of faithful missionaries, a breakthrough of God’s Spirit is needed before a spiritual harvest can begin.

      The spiritual climate of cultures is a significant factor in why people are unreached. Across Europe, Christian history and symbolism are abundant, yet many modern Europeans are resistant to the gospel. Their Christian history has seemingly inoculated them against the gospel message that can transform their lives.

      The sovereign working of the Holy Spirit penetrates even the most spiritually resistant cultures. We acknowledge and depend on the Holy Spirit to empower our message so it can bear the fruit God has promised.RESTRICTED — During the Cold War, missionary Bob Mackish traveled extensively in the Soviet Union, helping pastors of underground churches organize into a fellowship. When the Soviet Union crumbled, the Pentecostal Union became a reality. Assemblies of God missions focused primarily on helping to establish Bible schools to train pastors for the rapidly expanding network of churches.

      The strategy of training pastors and encouraging church planting has paid off with solid growth. In 1997, there were 2,358 churches and 324,050 believers in the countries of the former Soviet Union. In 2006, there were 7,580 churches and 823,062 believers.

      Some missionaries are reaching the lost in restricted-access countries without living inside their borders. Some travel in and out as ministry opportunities arise, while others develop resources that empower national believers with creative ways to reach the lost.

      Restricted-access countries are not the same as unreachable populations. God directs His servants in extraordinary ways to make His presence known. Testimonies of how this is taking place today are numerous, but often they can’t be told because of risk to missionaries and those they are working to reach.

      Worldwide, the most significant barrier to reaching the more than 3 billion unreached is government restrictions to missionary activity. Still, restricted access can be transformed to creative access as God opens doors of ministry opportunity.UNREACHED — Human strategies and financial resources will not change spiritual circumstances. But God can. A critical need in our mission is a movement of concentrated intercession for the unreached in countries where access to Christian messengers is restricted. We must fervently and faithfully pray that

      He will open doors for the message, just as the apostle Paul pleaded with the Colossians to pray.

      Neither remoteness, rejection, resistance nor restriction presents an impossible task. Each circumstance can be overcome because of the promise of our Lord concerning the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. But each requires a level of commitment and sacrifice from us equal to the challenge.

      At the core of the issue is individual obedience.

      May the Spirit search our hearts and help us follow our Master’s commitment, “Not my will, but yours be done.”

      More than 3 billion people wait for our response.

    • The Lost

      Our Lord’s priority is the lost. Peter wrote of our Lord’s return: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

      The ultimate objective of our Fellowship is building the eternal kingdom of God. In our first 75 years of missionary ministry, membership in our fraternal churches abroad grew to 16 million. In the last 25 years, this number has quadrupled to more than 66 million. Someday the Assemblies of God will no longer exist. Like scaffolding the Lord has used, when the temple is complete, the scaffolding will come down.

      With focused zeal, we must obey our Lord’s Great Commission to proclaim the good news and make disciples in all the world. Three facts are inescapable: the lostness of humanity, the certainty of eternity and the exclusiveness of Christ.

      God’s inspired Word describes the plight of those who are spiritually lost and blind: “… justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead. We all growl like bears; we moan mournfully like doves. We look for justice, but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away.”

      Each person will face a final lasting judgment. Whatever a person’s destiny, it is for certain eternal. Everlasting reward or punishment waits for every person on earth. The penalty for sin is almost unspeakable — but it must be told.

      Everyone will spend an eternity in heaven or hell. Each will be either a glorious wonder, conformed to Christ’s image — or an everlasting horror, upon which we could not bear to look.

      During a flight over the Pacific I sat next to a famous guru who has advised wealthy celebrities and rock musicians. The swami was surprisingly cordial. As I turned the conversation first to spiritual things and then to Jesus, I was pleasantly surprised at the respect with which he spoke of Christ. I was amazed to discover that he believed in Christ’s bodily resurrection, but said he could not believe the Virgin Birth. At first, I was bewildered by this contradiction. The Virgin Birth is just as critical to the Christian faith as the Resurrection.

      Jesus had no human father. He existed before His incarnation;  is equal with God;  has the power to forgive sins;  has provided the ransom for the sins of all mankind;  and grants eternal life to all who believe.

      The issue is relationship. “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”  Forgiveness of sin and eternal life are not granted merely for believing in God’s existence and distinguishing right from wrong. Peace with God is obtained only through faith in Jesus, who broke down the wall of separation between our holy, loving Creator and sinful man. In Christ’s birth, God came near to us. In His death, He brought us near to Him.

      When time stands still, we will each face the risen Son of God who gave His life for a lost world and commissioned us to go and preach the good news. He will examine and judge our works.

      As the seconds tick away and the calendar pages turn, what really matters is that a million souls slip into eternity every week. In countries such as South Korea, Brazil and Nigeria, conversions to Christ are growing more rapidly than the population. But for most of the world, the opposite is true. In the light of eternity, our priority is to obey Jesus’ Great Commission and accomplish the task He began — the redemption of a world that is lost.

       

    • Eternity

      In the wonder of God’s creation, the most awe-inspiring is the individual human life. Every person on earth is a unique creation with a distinct personality. God has ordained that when life is conceived, a person becomes a living, eternal soul. The truth of God’s Word is clear — once a human life begins, there is no end to its existence.

      From the time of the Early Church, many have wishfully speculated that all people will eventually, somehow, reach heaven. But the prevailing belief among Christians through the centuries is that those who do not receive salvation in Christ will suffer conscious, everlasting torment.

      The influences of moral relativism, pluralism and tolerance in today’s culture have blurred this once-clear truth. An alarming number of Americans who attend church believe Jesus is not the only way of salvation. Even some evangelicals embrace a variety of alternative thoughts about eternity, including the belief that everyone will ultimately be saved, that nonbelievers will pass out of existence like animals, and that the soul of man is not immortal and requires that certain conditions be met before it can receive everlasting personal existence.

      The best-known verse in the Bible — John 3:16 — reveals the magnitude of God’s love for a lost, sinful world. But the shining hope of everlasting life for those who believe is shadowed by those perishing in darkness. “Perish” here does not mean physical death or even the end of existence, but destruction and torment that lasts forever.

      Modern culture seems to have designated tolerance as the primary moral virtue and accepted the idea that anything a person believes can be a pathway to eternal life and ultimate peace. But there is only one way to peace and everlasting life with our Creator. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

      Merely hearing Jesus’ name is not enough. Spiritually lost people must have an adequate witness of the gospel to respond to Christ’s offer of forgiveness of sin and the gift of everlasting life through following Him.

      Forgiveness of sin and eternal life are not granted simply for believing in God’s existence and distinguishing right from wrong. Peace with God is obtained only through personal faith in Jesus. “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

      The gospel calls each hearer to decide and respond to the proclamation of Christ’s message. The eternal destiny of each person is at stake.

      Understanding what the Bible reveals about eternity confronts us with the terrible fact that even those who have not had the opportunity to respond to God’s grace will suffer eternally. The penalty of eternal destruction awaits not only those who are knowingly disobedient to the gospel, but also those who simply do not know God.

      Jesus used the same word — eternal — to describe the destiny of both the righteous and the unrighteous. The difference is that believers will have eternal life; unbelievers will share the same fate as that prepared for Satan and his demonic hosts.

      The apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church that “the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

      As the torments of hell are both unimaginable and indescribable, so are the glories of heaven. Heaven is a place of eternal reward  and being in the Lord’s presence forever.

      Contemplating the truth about eternity should compel us to share the only message of hope for the lost — Jesus. We must tell them about their opportunity to choose eternal life. Our mission is to enter into our Lord’s work of “bringing many sons to glory.”

      We believe the words of Jesus: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”  He challenged His hearers with a choice between only two kingdoms and two possible roads.  Unredeemed humanity is already on the broad road that leads to destruction. The terrible truth is that our world is thronged with lost and perishing multitudes.

      The horrors of hell are so great that no earthly language can do complete justice to them. By using the figure of unquenchable fire and undying worms,  Jesus chose the most horrific descriptions that human language would allow. The reality those images seek to convey should surely be understood by us to be more — not less — than the word pictures they depict.

      Each person will face a final, lasting judgment. Whatever a person’s destiny, it is for certain eternal. Everlasting reward or punishment awaits every person on earth.

      When time stands still, we will each face Jesus — who gave His life for a lost world and commissioned us to proclaim the good news of salvation. Paul said, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.”

      We have been entrusted with the message that will rescue people from the domain of darkness and transfer them to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son.  The promise can be true for them that “entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”

       

    • Access

      Is it fair that some hear the saving message of Jesus again and again — when so many others haven’t heard it even once?

      It has been said that no one should hear the gospel twice until everyone has heard it once. That simply isn’t true. Few people receive Christ after just one presentation of the gospel, so sharing Christ with the spiritually lost is a continual process.

      However, for some to have access to the message of salvation and the hope of everlasting life while others are neglected is tragic beyond description.

      Paul’s priority, given in Romans 15:20, is also ours.

      In Romans 1, Paul expressed his responsibility to proclaim the gospel to all lost people. He wrote, “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

      Paul was obligated. The Greek word Paul used in this passage commonly described a financial liability.  A debt is not an option; it is a firm contract that must either be paid or forgiven. Paul described his debt as “to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish,” which included everyone.

      That same obligation to all spiritually lost people is ours.

      In Romans 10, Paul used a logical sequence to make this poignant assertion: “‘Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!’ However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our report?’ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

      At the end of his letter, Paul explained the highest priority of his life: “I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation. … For this reason I have often been prevented from coming to you; but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you, whenever I go to Spain … I hope to see you in passing.”

      What did Paul mean when he said there was “no further place for him” in the regions where he had been working? Obviously everyone in those regions had not yet become believers or even received an adequate witness of the gospel. Almost certainly he meant that, while work still remained to be done, he had accomplished what the Lord sent him to do. The gospel was introduced, and local churches were established that could complete the task. The people in those regions now had access to the gospel.

      Paul’s description of unreached areas as “where Christ has not been named” makes a powerful point: that they had not even heard His name. But merely hearing the name of Jesus is not an adequate witness of the gospel.

      More than 4 billion lost people wait in darkness — not for the mere mention of Jesus’ name, but for an adequate witness of the gospel to receive Him as their Savior and Lord.

      Like Paul, our first priority must be those who have never heard the gospel. Was he extreme or unbalanced? No. His missionary heart was a reflection of God’s heart — and an example of what ours should be.

      If we believe the apostle Paul that one act of righteousness resulted in justification for all men,  and “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,”  then everyone must know.

      If we believe Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life,”  that “there is no other name under heaven … by which we must be saved,”  and our Lord’s command is to proclaim His salvation in all the world, then everyone should have the opportunity to hear, believe and call upon His name.

      Is getting the truth to those who haven’t heard only the priority of the few who have the heart of an apostle? Or, should it also be the priority of the church?

      Again, is it fair that some hear the saving message of Jesus again and again — when so many others haven’t heard it even once?

    • Unreached People Groups

  • WHAT

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  • WHEN

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