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ELT and EP photo in Hot Springs
Holding a historic picture from the 1914 gathering in Hot Springs, current members of the Assemblies of God Executive Leadership Team and some Executive Presbyters pose in the same place as the original photo.

Approximately 300 people gathered in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on April 10-11, 2014, to celebrate the centennial of the Assemblies of God. Echoes of the statements from the founding general council, where another 300 ministers gathered in the same place exactly 100 years earlier, could be heard throughout the two-day event.

The centennial celebration, sponsored by the AGTrust, featured seven speakers and a night of gospel music and worship. The celebration concluded with a pilgrimage to the site of the former Grand Opera House, where the first general council was held, to re-create the iconic photograph of the founders of the Assemblies of God.

One hundred years ago, Hot Springs had a reputation as a wild town, known for its alcohol, prostitution, gangs and drugs. When the founders of the Assemblies of God met at the Hot Springs Grand Opera House for the first general council, they had to pass by the saloon at the front of the building in order to attend the meetings in the auditorium. The centennial celebration was held in a more sanctified setting — the spacious First Assembly of God, Hot Springs, Arkansas, pastored by Larry Burton.

The centennial celebration drew people from across the United States. Jean and Magalie Rebecca, a husband and wife who pastor Haitian Assembly of God, Dorchester, Massachusetts, were excited to be able to participate: "We grew up in the Assemblies of God in Haiti. The Assemblies of God is a worldwide family, and we wanted to represent Haitians in Hot Springs."

Attendees also included descendants of some of the participants in the first general council, held April 2-12, 1914. Bonnie Olsen, the granddaughter of founding Assemblies of God minister Oliver P. Brann, felt right at home. She commented, "I experienced faith-filled services and the power of God this week. I wish I could experience this every day!"

General Superintendent George O. Wood opened the celebration on Thursday by recounting the five reasons for the formation of the Assemblies of God as enumerated in the century-old "Call to Hot Springs." Each speaker continued in this vein, expounding on why the founding principles of the Assemblies of God remain compelling today. Greg Mundis, executive director of Assemblies of God World Missions, shared about the heritage of missionaries who suffered, sometimes unto death, to bring the gospel around the world. Assistant General Superintendent Alton Garrison preached on the bedrock importance of the Word of God.

Hot Springs prayer
Many men and women came forward for healing during the centennial service held at First Assembly of God in Hot Springs.

True to Pentecostal form, the afternoon service included an extended time at the altar. Hundreds of voices were raised in fervent prayer, and people flooded the altars and aisles in the church. Following a time of prayer for specific areas of ministry, Garrison asked those present in need of healing to come forward for prayer. Vocal spiritual gifts were manifested, and several people later testified of physical healings.

Wilfredo de Jesús, pastor of New Life Covenant Church, Chicago, Illinois, encouraged those who are carrying on the Pentecostal legacy to fight complacency in their spiritual lives. "It is essential to build a bridge," he asserted, "so that the younger generation can learn about the power of the Holy Spirit from the older generation." He illustrated this principle with the biblical example of Elijah, the older prophet, who discipled Elisha, the younger prophet. De Jesús pointedly observed, "Elijah and Elisha were from different generations, but they walked together."

Thursday evening, gospel musicians Johnny Minick and Russ Taff led participants in three hours of rousing worship. The music included songs from each decade of the last 100 years. About 40 people - including Wood and Garrison — even participated in a Jericho March, which is a spirited procession around the church in a single file during the worship service. The practice originated in Kentucky Presbyterian camp meetings during the Second Great Awakening and had been adopted by some early Pentecostals.

On Friday morning, three younger ministers spoke — Rod Loy (First Assembly, North Little Rock, Arkansas), Rob Ketterling (River Valley Church, Apple Valley, Minnesota) and Aaron Cole (Life Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin). They described how Assemblies of God founding ideals are being carried out today and also envisioned the future of the Fellowship.

Following the Footsteps of the AG Founding Members
Attendees of the centennial event make their way up to where the iconic "photo of 300" of the original founders of the Assemblies of God was taken in 1914. Once there, a new centennial photo was taken in the exact same place, re-creating the century-old photo.

The celebration culminated in a pilgrimage to the site where the Hot Springs Grand Opera House once stood. The 300 attendees viewed the new historic marker in honor of the Assemblies of God centennial, which was placed in the sidewalk near Mountain Valley Spring Company, located at 150 Central Avenue. They proceeded to climb the winding trail behind the site of the former Grand Opera House until they reached a small clearing where the iconic photograph from the first general council had been taken.

J. Don George, an Assemblies of God senior statesman and founding pastor of Calvary Church, Irving, Texas, called the centennial event in Hot Springs "a historic occasion that will be long remembered." He noted that the event was relatively small in comparison to the larger centennial celebration slated to be held in Springfield, Missouri, on August 5-10, 2014, in conjunction with the World Assemblies of God Congress. "As a movement we are called to generational, gender, cultural and racial diversity," George stated. When thousands of visitors from across the United States and the world descend on Springfield in August, this diversity will be on full display.

Commemorative Plaque
A historic marker, indicating the historic location of the site of the founding convention of the Assemblies of God, was placed in the sidewalk on Central Avenue in Hot Springs.

The men and women who met in Hot Springs 100 years ago laid a foundation for a cooperative Fellowship that would help Pentecostals to more effectively evangelize the world. One hundred years later, the Assemblies of God has more than 3.1 million adherents in the United States and more than 66 million worldwide.

The centennial gathering offered both a celebration of the past century and a vision for the future. According to George O. Wood, the Assemblies of God, throughout its history, "has been marked by purpose and passion." He explained, "Our purpose is embedded in our doctrine, mission, values and strategies. Our passion comes from the work of the Holy Spirit who continues to empower us to do the greatest work of evangelism the world has ever seen." Wood predicted, "The future for the Assemblies of God is truly as bright as the promises of God."

 

 


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Boards of Directors of three residential schools plan governance matters

Wed, 30 May 2012 - 2:37 PM CST

The Boards of Directors for the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), Central Bible College (CBC) and Evangel University (EU) met Friday, May 25, to consider governance planning for the consolidated university. These plans will be included in the application, which will go next month to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

MISSION STATEMENT

The board approved the submission of a mission statement formulated as a result of an 18-month process, working with various committees and faculties of the three schools - the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Central Bible College, and Evangel University. The adopted mission statement is: "Evangel University is a comprehensive Christian University committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to become Spirit-empowered servants of God who impact the church and society globally."

The core values of Truth, Worship, Discipleship, Evangelism and Compassion were included with the mission statement.

PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH PROCESS

The three boards also approved a presidential opportunity profile, which will guide the presidential search process. There will be a search for the university president and a separate search for the president of AGTS, who will also serve as a vice president of the university.

The Presidential Search Committee will be inclusive of all major publics of the 3 schools (i.e. Board, faculty, alumni, student body, donors, faculty and staff). The Dingman Company, Inc., of Westlake Village, California, will serve as consultants for the university presidential search process.

The boards approved this plan to be included in the application, which now goes to the HLC.

TRANSITION OF CURRENT PRESIDENTS

AGTS - Dr. Byron Klaus was commended for his years of stellar leadership as president of AGTS. Dr. Klaus has expressed his willingness to be a candidate for consideration for that same position by the Presidential Search Committee.

CBC - The Board of Directors of Central Bible College has requested to take the 2012-13 academic year to honor the life and service of Dr. Gary Denbow. They also are being asked to establish the CBC Foundation, which will secure the school's assets and provide financial support to students in ministerial training. It is also recommended to the CBC Board that Denbow be elected to serve as president of the CBC Foundation.

EU - Prior to consolidation planning, Dr. Robert Spence had announced his intentions to retire in the spring of 2014. In keeping with that decision, it has been recommended to the Evangel Board of Directors that they plan celebratory events during the 2012-13 school year to honor the 40 years of outstanding leadership and legacy of Spence. It was further planned that a sabbatical program be offered to Dr. and Mrs. Spence during the first year of consolidation (2013) in which he also will counsel the president-elect of the consolidated university.

At the inauguration of the president-elect in the fall of 2014, Dr. Spence will be inaugurated as chancellor of the Evangel University.

The three boards of directors approved the above plan to become part of the application, which will go to HLC next month.

For more information on the consolidation of the three residential AG schools, click here.

Authors: AG News

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