This Week in AG History — October 18, 1964
By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 18 October 2019
How important is evangelism? It is absolutely essential to fulfilling the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations.” Evangelism has always been at the forefront of the Assemblies of God and its mission.
At the second General Council in November 1914, the Assemblies of God delegates approved a resolution to achieve “the greatest evangelism that the world has ever seen.” This was quite a goal to set for such a small group. Yet, we could argue that together we have succeeded in reaching that target now with over 69 million people worldwide belonging to an AG church.
What are some of the creative ways that people have done evangelism work? People have used tent meetings, gospel rallies, street witnessing, gospel wagons and cars, tracts dropped from airplanes, gospel ships, various Speed the Light vehicles, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, chalk drawings, ventriloquism puppets, Buddy Barrel, hand puppets, railroad evangelism, motorcycle ministry, rodeo evangelism, etc.
As the AG became more established, it adopted a constitution and bylaws and outlined its purposes as an organization. The first mandate of the four-fold reason for being of the AG is “to seek and to save that which is lost.” Again we see evangelism as paramount to the AG and its mission.
The Assemblies of God has always had ministers, evangelists, missionaries, and lay people actively sharing the gospel. In 1953, a resolution was adopted to create a Department of Evangelism “to emphasize, encourage, and coordinate all phases of evangelism.” This led to the establishment in 1963 of a Spiritual Life Evangelism Commission to help facilitate evangelistic efforts in all areas of the AG. This helped to ensure that individual departments or ministries would have the advancement of evangelism as a main part of their stated purpose.
Today we see evangelistic efforts maintained in every ministry of the AG, especially in such areas as Chi Alpha, Sunday School, church planting, church multiplication efforts, prison ministry, military and institutional chaplaincy, and AG World Missions and U.S. Missions efforts.
Fifty-five years ago, D. V. Hurst, who was coordinator of the Spiritual Life Evangelism Commission, wrote an article called, “It’s Time For Action,” which encouraged everyone to practice personal evangelism. He emphasized that the Early Church was known for action. “In fact,” he said, “the record of its accomplishments is called ‘The Acts.’”
Just as Jesus challenged the disciples to “look to the field,” Hurst admonished Christians to also find a place of harvest, a place of action, to share the gospel.
Hurst said, “The promise of Jesus to the Spirit-filled was not restrictive.” The mandate of “Ye shall be witnesses” was directed to all who experience the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Hurst exhorted the whole Fellowship: “Use everyone you can enlist. The main business of the church is evangelism.” Calling everyone to action, he declared: “All should be totally involved in reaching others with His gospel.”
Read the article, “It’s Time For Action” on pages 24, 25, and 27 of the Oct. 18, 1964, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
• “Great Things He Hath Done,” by Ralph W. Harris
• “Speeding the Light in Latin America,” by Melvin Hodges
• “NAE Now 22 Years Old,” by Jared F. Gerig
And many more!
Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.
Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
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Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
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