A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ASSEMBLIES OF GOD
The Christian Church, as we know it today, came into being in the first half of the century, following the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and subsequent to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Within less than 300 years the Christian movement was the most powerful force in the Roman world, and in the year 323 A.D. Christianity became the official religion of the empire. The Roman Catholic Church became the dominant religious organization in that area.
During the Middle Ages, various reform movements developed and in the 16th century the Protestant Reformation, led by Martin Luther and others, exploded calling the Church back to faith in God and not in religion. Along with the message of "justification by faith", a spiritual hunger also spread like wildfire among men everywhere. From this spiritual earthquake that rocked the religious world came many of the great denominations we know today.
In the early 18th century, the Evangelical Revival occurred in England, nurtured chiefly by the ministry of John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield. Their emphasis was upon living a victorious and holy life by the power of the Holy Spirit. Many people turned to God and this period has rightfully been called "The Great Awakening".
As time progressed, many denominations turned from the preaching and teaching of living a holy life before God. The hearts of many grew cold reducing the number of people who had given themselves totally to God.
Then on North Bonnie Brae Street in Los Angeles, California, April 10, 1906, something happened! An event took place that would change the Christian world in the 20th century. God rejuvenated His Church with the same experience that rejuvenated the New Testament Church on the day of Pentecost. This event was the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. Many people claimed this Pentecostal experience along with accounts of healings, prophecies, visions, etc. The meetings quickly moved to an abandoned building on 312 Azusa Street and would continue there for the next 3 years, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. People came from all parts of the world to see this great move of God. During this time thousands of people came to know Jesus in the same way as the Christians did in Acts 2. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said that this encounter with the Holy Spirit gave the Christian "power" to be a "witness". The New Testament Church found themselves traveling the known world to preach the Gospel to people who were without God. So also this 20th century encounter with God burdened the hearts of Christians to tell the whole world that "Jesus saves". From this, the Assemblies of God was formed and held its first General Council in 1914 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. They started a three-fold purpose for being:
1. To be an agency of God for evangelizing the world.
(Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:14-20; Mark 16:15-16)
2. To be a corporate body in which man may worship God.
(I Cor. 12:13)
3. To be a channel of God's purpose to build a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son.
(Eph. 4:11-16; I Cor. 12:28; 14:12)
With this as a purpose, the Assemblies of God has grown tremendously and is the largest Christian missions organization in the world. They now have over 2,000 missionaries in over 200 countries of the world.
Presently in the U.S., the Assemblies of God has near three million members. The Assemblies of God is still dedicated to reaching the whole world with the Gospel before Jesus comes. We as a movement have lived in the past and still live in the shadow of John 9:4, "We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work." (NASB)