At the age of 100, Abraham could have easily settled into a slow pace and welcomed the comforts of retirement. Instead, God brought him into an entirely new season, which fulfilled a promise given to him decades earlier. His wife gave birth to their son, Isaac, and through him, Abraham became a father of many nations. This new season brought new life and new momentum.
Much like Abraham, the Assemblies of God (AG) is emerging from its first 100 years into a vibrant new era of accelerated impact. Thanks to the faithfulness of church planters and the resources provided to them through the AGTrust Matching Funds program, the Assemblies of God is closer than ever to the founders' vision of achieving "the greatest evangelism that the world has ever seen."
Today the U.S. Assemblies of God has 12,792 churches—more churches bringing Jesus to more communities than at any time in AG history. Adding new churches to the Assemblies of God has a tangible impact on communities across the nation.
In just one example of the 324 churches opened last year, Adventure Church, planted by Kyle Hammond in September, took action on the cusp of a cold Ohio winter when a shelter ran out of coats.
Working with a local business, the church was able to donate more than 100 coats—enough to meet the needs of those at the shelter and even beyond. Adventure's reach also extends globally; the new congregation sponsors 65 children every month through Convoy of Hope's Feed One program.
Another church that opened last year is City Reach Philadelphia, which launched a community outreach and feeding program in one of Philadelphia's most dangerous neighborhoods. The church has already established a food bank and a recovery home to help those struggling with addictions. Plans are currently underway for an after-school program to meet the needs of students and families.
Over the past four years, 1,408 AG churches have been planted, going on to influence and impact their local communities and create a ripple effect across the globe.
Steve Pike, director of AG's Church Multiplication Network, points to the AGTrust Matching Funds program as one big reason that new churches can create a big impact so quickly. From 2007 through 2012, 239 U.S. churches became a part of the matching funds program.
In 2012, those new churches gave more than $810,000 to AG World Missions, U.S. Missions and other projects. In addition, those churches reported 3,590 decisions to follow Christ. The numbers prove the support given to planting new churches directly results in lives reached and changed in the name of Jesus.
Just as Abraham in his 100th year stepped into a new season of life, the AG is gaining momentum as it launches into the next 100 years, building the kingdom of God one community, one church and one heart at a time.
"At 100 years of age, the Assemblies of God continues to strengthen through a committed new generation of Spirit-empowered pastors and laity," says George O. Wood, the AG's general superintendent. "New churches mean we're reaching new people with the timeless message of Jesus Christ."