Rev. Thomas E. Trask announced on July 10, 2007 that he would step down as general superintendent of the U.S. Assemblies of God at the denomination’s biennial General Council, slated to convene August 8-11 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Nominations to fill the top office of the Assemblies of God will be accepted at the General Council.
The announcement came as a surprise, and news of the decision spread quickly. Trask conveyed his decision to step down to the AG’s Board of Administration at 9 am on July 10, 2007. He then broke the news to those who work at the Assemblies of God Headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, in a brief statement that he read over the building’s public address system at approximately 2:30 pm. At 4:00 pm, a written statement was sent to Assemblies of God ministers via the AG Minister listserv (the email is reproduced below).
Trask has served as general superintendent since November 15, 1993. He was elected to his third four-year term in 2005. As the chief executive officer of the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world, he is a member of the denomination’s Board of Administration and serves as chairman of the Executive Presbytery. During his tenure, the Assemblies of God has grown significantly. The number of U.S. adherents increased by 25 percent from 2,271,718 in 1993 to 2,836,174 adherents in 2006, and the worldwide constituency of the Assemblies of God increased by 124 percent from 25,448,373 in 1993 to 57,023,562 in 2006.
Trask is the third longest-serving general superintendent, following Thomas F. Zimmerman (1959-1985) and E. S. Williams (1929-1949). Trask is also the first general superintendent to resign before filling out his term. Two previous general superintendents did not serve out their terms because they died in office: E. N. Bell (1914, 1920-1923) and Wesley R. Steelberg (1949-1952).
Trask has served in a variety of capacities since 1956 when he began his ministry in Duluth, Minnesota. A graduate of North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Trask has spent over 50 years in ministry, 25 of which were devoted to the pastorate. He was ordained in 1958. He served as senior pastor at First Assembly of God (Saginaw, Michigan) and Brightmoor Tabernacle (Southfield, Michigan). In addition, he served the Michigan District as district youth and Sunday school director, assistant superintendent and superintendent. His ministry has included a strong emphasis on U.S. and world missions. He and his congregations helped mother seven new churches. Trask was elected to serve as general treasurer of the Assemblies of God in 1989.
Trask serves on the boards of the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Central Bible College and Evangel University. He also serves on several boards and committees for the denomination, including the General Presbytery. He is chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, the Assemblies of God Financial Services Group and Global University. He is a member of the board of administration of the National Association of Evangelicals, and the board of directors of the National Religious Broadcasters.
Trask has coauthored a number of books including Back to the Altar; Back to the Word; The Battle, a book on spiritual warfare; The Blessing, a book on the power of the Holy Spirit today; The Choice, a book embracing God’s vision in the new millennium; and The Fruit of the Spirit. He also is one of the editors for The Pentecostal Pastor.
Children often follow in the footsteps of their parents, and Trask was no exception. His parents, Waldo and Beatrice Trask, were Assemblies of God ministers whose testimony reflected the power of Pentecost. They started out as nominal Christians — Waldo a Presbyterian and Beatrice a Catholic. After their 1933 marriage, Waldo parlayed his avocation of drinking into his vocation — first as a bartender and later as part-owner of a bar in Brainerd, Minnesota. Their lives were changed forever after encountering the saving love of Jesus in revival meetings held by evangelist Guy Shields at the Brainerd Gospel Tabernacle, which Waldo and his chums jokingly called the “holy roller” church. Waldo and Beatrice dedicated their lives to the Lord and became pioneer pastors and evangelists, holding services in 118 of Minnesota’s 138 Assemblies of God churches. The inspiring story of how God’s power changed one family — and by extension touched an entire denomination — was published in the Spring 1994 issue of Assemblies of God Heritage. Thomas Trask and his wife, Shirley, have passed their Pentecostal heritage on to their four children: Kim Mullen, Brad, Todd, and Tom.
Hundreds of additional articles by or about Trask, published in Today’s Pentecostal Evangel, the official magazine of the Assemblies of God, are indexed and accessible for free on the website of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. To access Today’s Pentecostal Evangel articles published after 1969, users must first register (which is free).
Also see the related article from the Assemblies of God News Service.
On July 10, 2007, Rev. Trask released the following statement on the AG Minister email listserv:
Dear Fellow Minister:
One of the many joys that has been mine over these past 51 years of ministry is to have served this Fellowship of the Assemblies of God for these past 19 years (5 as General Treasurer; 14 as General Superintendent).
This has been a most sacred trust that both the Lord and you as credentialed ministers of the Assemblies of God have given to Shirley and me. We are deeply grateful and honored. We have endeavored to serve the Lord to the best of our abilities with joy and commitment.
Many of you have heard me say that I believe it is of utmost importance to know the will of the Lord and to live out His will. As a result of personally living this way for over 50 years, I have taken time to seek the Lord as to His direction concerning the remaining two years of this present term. I have reached a decision to step down as General Superintendent of the General Council of the Assemblies of God at the upcoming General Council that will convene August 8-11, 2007, in Indianapolis.
Shirley and I love the ministry and plan to stay active in the work of the Lord as He gives strength.
Please join us in prayer and fasting as to who should be God’s choice to fill this most important office of General Superintendent. Thank you for your prayers and support.
I close with the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:3, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”
Thomas E. Trask
The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center is one of the largest repositories of Pentecostal historical treasures in the world. As the official archives, museum, and research center of the Assemblies of God, the FPHC assists church leaders, historians, and people in the pew to better understand how Pentecostals arrived at this point on their pilgrimage of faith by documenting how God has moved throughout the Pentecostal movement.
Web surfers are encouraged to discover Pentecostal history for themselves! The FPHC website (www.iFPHC.org) features an online catalog (listing over 55,000 items), over 15,000 digitized photographs, and an index to articles in Pentecostal periodicals (including access to over 200,000 free, downloadable pages of digitized periodicals). In addition, the website showcases streaming audio and video of heroes of the faith such as missionary Lillian Trasher, as well as photo slideshows of the Azusa Street revival and other inspiring people and events, spanning cultures and across time.
Posted by Darrin Rodgers