Photos: Dr. George O. Wood, speaking at the AGTS chapel, September 14, 2007. Used with permission of AGTS.
The Assemblies of God (USA) elected new leadership at its 52nd General Council in Indianapolis, Indiana in August 2007. What does this mean for our Fellowship?
Dr. George O. Wood, General Superintendent-Elect, gave the following acceptance speech at the commissioning service of the new Executive Leadership Team, which took place Tuesday, September 18, 2007 at the national headquarters in Springfield, Missouri. In his message, Dr. Wood identified five “enduring core values” of the Assemblies of God. These values, he promised, will guide him as he seeks to lead the Assemblies of God to fulfill its three-fold mission to worship, evangelize, and make disciples.
ENDURING CORE VALUES
by Dr. George O. Wood
September 18, 2007
At this past General Council, you extended to me the grace of responsibility in serving as the next general superintendent. I am humbled by your confidence in me and ask you to pray for me and the other leaders as we begin this journey of serving you.
People have been asking me, “George, what’s your vision for the Assemblies of God? What are you going to focus on as general superintendent?”
The first answer is that I will do my level best to fulfill our three-fold mission – worship, evangelism, and discipleship; and to serve the entire Assemblies of God.
There are five core values on my heart as we seek to fulfill our mission. You will hear me repeat them often throughout the time the Lord gives me to serve you. As the country preacher said, “I’m going to tell you what I’m going to say, then I’m going to say it, and then I’m going to tell you what I said!”
Acts 2:42-47 lists characteristics of the early church – and first on the list is: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.” My desire for the Assemblies of God is that we as ministers and laity by word and action passionately proclaim Jesus as Savior, Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, Healer, and Soon Coming King.
Our message is not the Assemblies of God. Our focus must not be spent on fads and extremes. We must not be carried about by every wind of doctrine. Our message is Christ! If we exalt Him first, then everything else will fall into its proper place.
The information age has created a new world resulting in an age of skepticism toward any claim to absolute truth. We must speak and demonstrate authentically and powerfully to our culture that Jesus Christ is THE Truth, THE Way, and THE Life.
Our heartbeat has been and must always be missions, at home and abroad. We are debtors to our nation and the whole world in that we owe all people the proclamation of all the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit!
Both the Old and New Testaments reflect over and over a deep concern for the transmission of the Faith (Psalm 71:18, 2 Timothy 2:2). Thus, we must strategically invest in the next generation.
We have over 1.1 million under the age of 25 in our 12,333 churches. National studies indicate that between 50% to 70% of youth from evangelical homes will be lost to the Faith by the time they are four years removed from high school. We must not let this happen in the Assemblies of God! We must carefully watch over transition moments in our youth, while reaching millions of unsaved youth all over the land.
I am also asking that we put support for our endorsed post-secondary schools and Chi Alpha in the first rank of priority.
We are blessed to have a new generation of men and women ministers. They are passionate for Christ but not so sure about ecclesiastical structures. They are looking for encouragement, nurturing relationships and teamwork; not command and control. Let’s listen to their voices, welcome their gifts, and help them reach their fullest capacity.
We know beyond doubt that the most effective way to evangelize and disciple young converts is to plant new churches. There are thousands of unreached communities in the USA that need an Assembly of God, including a multitude of ethnicities and divergent socio-economic groups, suburbs, cities, towns, and rural places.
So, let’s vigorously plant new churches. Every Assembly of God should be a parent or a partner in planting new churches! Let’s pray and work for a rapid increase of new churches in all our geographical and foreign language districts, as well as among our ethnic fellowships!
The national office of the Assemblies of God exists to serve you; therefore we must skillfully resource the Fellowship. Priority attention will be given to ensure that all ministries flowing out of the national office meet the needs of our ministers and laity of all ages, churches and districts, and the broader Christian community.
We must provide resources that are both excellent and relevant so that the Lord is glorified, lives are changed, and believers are built up in the Faith. This is the information age and we must insure that the way we communicate is both missional and relational.
Without prayer our efforts to passionately proclaim, strategically invest, vigorously plant and skillfully resource will be in vain! Therefore, we must fervently pray for God’s favor and help as we serve Him with pure hearts and noble purpose. The early church father, John Chrysostom put it this way, “God can refuse nothing to a praying church.” One of my seminary professors said, “We cannot suppose that God will do for us without prayer what He has promised to do for us only through prayer.” So, we must fervently “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18).
Let me share with you a closing thought. On the Friday afternoon of my election, the Lord dropped a verse in my heart: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I know that many responsibilities await me – but I also believe that the Lord intended all ministry to be a journey of joy. I pray that for you as well. The loads many of you carry are heavy indeed, but I pray that the Lord will grant you refreshing and that the yokes we wear will indeed fit well so that labor for the Lord will not be just a duty, but a delight!
Streaming video of the entire commissioning service is accessible here.
Dr. Wood delivered an extended version of his “enduring core values” message at the chapel service of the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary on September 14, 2007. Audio of the AGTS chapel service is available here. His message at AGTS generated significant discussion on the FutureAG blog. The FutureAG blog was started by young Assemblies of God ministers prior to the 2007 General Council in order “to give AG ministers a forum to openly discuss the future of the Assemblies of God.”
Posted by Darrin Rodgers