Tag Archives: Evangelism

Evangelism is not Optional: Christians will either Evangelize or Apostatize

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This Week in AG History–May 23, 1954
By Darrin Rodgers

Also published in PE News, 21 May 2015

Could there be a task that is more important or more daunting than the evangelization of the world? James Stewart, in a 1954 Pentecostal Evangel article, challenged readers to creatively and proactively fulfill the Great Commission. He wrote, “The magnitude of the unfinished task forces us to witness in unconventional places, at unconventional times, with an unconventional approach. It is our duty to go to the unsaved with the Gospel and not wait until they come to us.”

Stewart appealed to the testimonies of believers from centuries past to inspire the current generation to reach the lost for Christ. He noted that many heralded evangelists ministered outside the walls of church buildings. John Wesley preached in a cemetery, atop his father’s tombstone. The Apostle Paul preached Christ on Mars Hill among the pagan temples and Greek philosophers. Dwight L. Moody accepted Christ in a shoe shop. Stewart implored readers to think of the church not as a building, but as a body of believers. Past revivals, he noted, occurred when Christians shared the gospel “in the market squares, circus tents, village greens, prisons, public houses, and everywhere the unsaved frequented.”

While holding large evangelistic services in public areas has long been important in evangelical and Pentecostal churches, Stewart admonished that evangelism must also be personal. “Mass evangelism,” he wrote, “will never be a substitute for personal evangelism.”

Personal evangelism, according to Stewart, required the involvement of “ordinary, common believers.” The great revivals of the past involved carpenters, farmers, miners, street cleaners, teachers, and men and women from all walks of life who “went forth with flaming fire.” The Bible and church history teach that professional clergy alone cannot bring revival; a true move of God must catch fire at the grassroots.

Evangelism is not optional for Christians. Stewart wrote that Christians will “either evangelize or apostatize.” His concluding remarks encouraged believers to consecrate themselves to God and to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

He wrote, “Let us dedicate our lives, talents, possessions, and time to the sacred task of world-wide witness. We are couriers of the Cross. The task is great but not impossible. The Holy Ghost is here to empower us. Without the baptism of power our ministry is in vain.”

Read the article, “The Church is Challenged!” by James Stewart, on pages 4, 10 and 11 of the May 23, 1954, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:
• “Honor the Holy Spirit!” by P. S. Jones
• “How Spurgeon Found Christ”
And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

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
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org

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Looking Toward the New Year


This Week in AG History–December 29, 1934
By William Molenaar

Also published in PE News, 31 December 2014

“Looking Toward the New Year,” by E. S. Williams was published in the Pentecostal Evangel on December 29, 1934. Williams wrote this article during the Great Depression, and noted how people felt uncertain in regards to the next year ahead. However, he encouraged readers saying, “It is a time for the Church, the Bride of Christ, to trim afresh her lamps, to replenish her vessels with spiritual oil, to look diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble and defile us.”

Ernest Swing Williams (1885-1981), was a participant in the Azusa Street revival in 1906, and ordained with the AG in 1914. Later he became the general superintendent between 1929 and 1949. During his tenure he brought great stability to the Assemblies of God fellowship in the United States, during which the United States faced the Great Depression and WWII.

In the beginning of his article Williams asked, “If we have injured, or wronged any, may we at the beginning of the New Year make restitution?” To begin the New Year right, Williams quoted Matthew 5:23-24, pointing out the need for reconciliation in our relationships.

Williams also mentioned the need for the teaching of sound doctrine and going back to the Bible. He noticed that “many new and strange doctrines are abroad and some of God’s children are sorely perplexed by them.” He also noted that some were seeking some new way or novel path, but he assured his readers that, “We need no new gospel, we need no strange or startling novelty.” He goes on to say that, “While we should not despise prophesying, we should regard the holy Scriptures as of greater importance than all else for building and establishing the soul.”

Looking to the future, Williams was pleased to see the Assemblies of God moving forward and reminded readers that we are pilgrims and strangers on a journey toward “the Celestial City.” Williams said we must look beyond the enemy, temptations, and all hindrances to “Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, seeing in Him our sufficiency even when our faith and our strength seem small.” Williams also casted vision for the Assemblies of God to advance evangelism at home, as well as in the foreign fields for the coming year. “This will require, not only desire, but money, strength, and purpose. No doubt each assembly can establish some new work during the year,” said Williams.

Williams’ final encouragement reads, “The World plunges madly into darkness and despair. To us has been given the light of life. May the New Year take us leagues ahead of where we have ever been before. The blessing of God be with you.”

Read the article, “Looking Toward the New Year,” on pages 1, 6, and 7 of the December 29, 1934, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

* “Communion with God: New Year’s Message,” by an unknown author.

* “The Editor’s Notebook,” by Stanley H. Frodsham.

* “The Passing and the Permanent,” by an unknown author.

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangel, click here.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: Archives@ag.org

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Second AG General Council Marks 100th Anniversary

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By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published in AG-News, Thu, 13 Nov 2014 – 8:41 AM CST

One hundred years ago, hundreds of Assemblies of God pastors, evangelists and missionaries traveled to Chicago to attend the second General Council. Held November 15-29, 1914, at the Stone Church, this meeting’s explicit purpose was “to lay a firm foundation upon which to build the Assemblies of God.”

The Assemblies of God had been organized just seven months earlier in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The young Fellowship grew quickly as existing independent ministers joined its ranks. They appreciated the vision for fellowship, accountability and structure, while maintaining the autonomy of the local congregation. This growth caused founding chairman E. N. Bell to call for a second meeting, in order to make urgent decisions about the future of the new organization.

The Stone Church, one of the largest Pentecostal congregations in America, could easily accommodate the expected 1,000 participants. Delegates to the meeting made several important structural changes. They decided to move the headquarters from Findlay, Ohio, to St. Louis, Missouri, which would provide a more central location in a larger city. Delegates voted to expand the number of executive presbyters from 12 to 16, making the leadership more representative of the constituency. New leadership was also elected and Gospel Publishing House was authorized to expand its operations.

But the most far-reaching decision at the second General Council was one that was not on the original agenda. Assemblies of God leaders planned to take a missionary offering at the conclusion of the General Council. They had written articles encouraging people to bring money to give to missions. But the pastor of the Stone Church decided that the final offering should instead go to his own church, to help defray expenses related to hosting the council. Assemblies of God leaders, although frustrated with this turn of events, did not oppose the pastor’s request. Instead, they decided to issue a strongly-worded resolution in which they committed the Assemblies of God, from that point forward, to the cause of world evangelization. L. C. Hall drafted the resolution, which read:

“As a Council, we hereby express our gratitude to God for His great blessing upon the movement in the past. We are grateful to Him for the results attending this forward movement and we commit ourselves and the movement to Him for the greatest evangelism that the world has ever seen. We pledge our hearty cooperation, prayers and help to this end.”

This iconic resolution, unanimously adopted by the delegates, has been widely quoted as illustrating how support for missions is part of the DNA of the Assemblies of God.

There is more to the story. In the spring of 1915, something shocking was discovered about the Stone Church pastor, R. L. Erickson, who had refused to let the offering go to missions. The May 29, 1915, issue of the “Weekly Evangel” alerted readers that Erickson had been removed from the ministerial list due to moral failure. In a lengthy article, E. N. Bell detailed how Erickson’s “greed” was evidence of poor moral character, which also manifested itself in other harmful ways in his life and ministry. What Satan meant for harm, Bell wrote, God could turn into good. And one hundred years later, the Assemblies of God remains committed to “the greatest evangelism that the world has ever seen.”

Read E. N. Bell’s article, “The Great Outlook,” in which he details the events surrounding the adoption of the resolution regarding missions, on pages 3 and 4 of the May 29, 1915, issue of the Weekly Evangel.

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangel, click here.

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Maria Woodworth-Etter in Salt Lake City in 1916

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This Week in AG History — October 14, 1916

By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on AG-News, Mon, 14 Oct 2013 – 9:08 PM CST

Few early Pentecostal evangelists were as widely known as Maria Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924). She traversed North America, holding services in large churches, auditoriums, and tents. Reports of revivals, including souls saved and bodies healed, regularly followed her ministry. People from a variety of backgrounds, including many non-Pentecostals, crowded into her meetings. Many heard about her reputation and sought to be healed.

Woodworth-Etter held an evangelistic campaign in Salt Lake City, Utah, in October 1916. The Pentecostal Evangel issue dated October 7 and 14 promoted the campaign, which began on October 6 and which was expected to continue three weeks or longer. Campaign planners rented an auditorium that seated 1,100, expecting to draw attendees from as far away as Denver, San Francisco, Portland and Los Angeles.

The article noted that the Assembly of God mission in Salt Lake City was small. It had been opened just two years earlier, in August 1914. Several Assemblies of God evangelists, including Samuel and Sadie Finley, Robert Lowe, and Philip and Catherine Stokeley, helped develop the fledgling flock. Their hearts were drawn toward establishing a ministry of compassion. According to an October 24, 1914, Pentecostal Evangel article, they desired to start a “Rescue Home for fallen girls.” They were unaware of the existence of any similar ministry in the city.

It was with the help of these local leaders in Salt Lake City that Woodworth-Etter began her 1916 campaign. Several weeks into the campaign, Woodworth-Etter’s associate August Feick reported that “there is much interest over a good part of this city.” According to Feick, “Many people are under deep conviction, and people surrender daily to God and get saved. Others again get healed and baptized with the Spirit.” The meetings were held in an auditorium that was a regular venue for boxing matches. Feick wrote, “On the same mat where prize fights are staged — stained with blood — sinners weep their way through to God, and saints receive their baptism.”

Feick reported a deeply spiritual atmosphere, noting that some participants could sense the glory of God present in the auditorium. Others saw a “peculiar mist” in the building, and several had visions of Jesus and angels. Bodily healings convinced many of the reality of the Pentecostal message. Feick explained that these healings were “proof” of the gospel that could not be denied.

These early meetings, almost 100 years ago, laid the foundation for the 15 Assemblies of God churches that today share the gospel in Salt Lake City.

Read reports of Maria Woodworth-Etter’s evangelistic 1916 campaign in Salt Lake City in the following issues of the Pentecostal Evangel:

October 7-14, 1916 (page 13).

November 4, 1916 (page 15).

Also featured in these issues:

* “Putting the Enemy to Flight,” by Stanley H. Frodsham

* “What it Costs to be a Missionary,” by Jessie Hertslet

And many more!

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. For current editions of the Evangelclick here.

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
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA

Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free:  877.840.5200
Email: Archives@ag.org

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1919 Assemblies of God Missionary: Compassion Must Accompany Preaching

“A Christianity that coldly sits down, and goes on its routine of formal work, and allows its fellowmen to starve, or to be obliged to go through all the hard sufferings and exposure connected with famine, without effort to help them, might as well quit its preaching.”

This bold statement, which argues that Christian preaching must be accompanied by works of compassion, was written in 1919 by Albert Norton, an Assemblies of God missionary to India.

Norton, who was witnessing an unfolding human tragedy, asked that “all missionaries, Mission Boards and Committees and all Christian Workers to do what they can to save their brothers and sisters in India from dying of starvation or from the kindred train of evils following famine.”

Pentecostal Evangel editor Stanley H. Frodsham responded and devoted the entire front page of the February 22, 1919, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel to the desperate situation in India. He asked readers to send famine relief to Gospel Publishing House, which he promised would “be promptly sent to the field.”

Frodsham provided three justifications for this request to save bodies as well as souls. First, he stated that Scripture required it, quoting Proverbs 19:17 and 24:11-12. Second, he noted that the Methodists were being asked to deny themselves luxuries for a few months and to instead provide money for Indian relief. He challenged Pentecostals to do likewise. Third, he noted that the future of the church depended upon rescuing those who are starving now. He again quoted Norton, “There are young men and women in India today, who were saved as famine orphans several years ago, and now they are filled with the Holy Spirit, and being greatly used in the extension of Christ’s Kingdom. How unutterably sad it would have been if they had been allowed to die of starvation.”

This is one of many examples of how early Pentecostals ministered in both word and deed. When the Assemblies of God, at its 2009 General Council, added compassion as the fourth element for its reason for being – joining worship, evangelism and discipleship – this was an affirmation of a long-standing practice.

Read Frodsham’s entire article, “Plague and Famine Raging in India,” on pages 1-2 of the February 22, 1919, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

By Darrin J. Rodgers

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Review: Ministry to the Disabled

Compel Them to Come In: Reaching People with Disabilities through the Local Church, compiled and edited by Tom Leach. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2010.

Fifty-eight million Americans live with some form of disability. Yet many churches have seemingly ignored this large and diverse population. A new book, Compel Them to Come In, provides a guide to ministry to people with physical and mental disabilities. This book – an anthology of essays by Assemblies of God leaders in disability ministries – is the first of its kind to be written by Pentecostals. Its solid, ministry-tested approach means that it will be welcomed by the broader Christian community.

Compel Them to Come In seeks to introduce pastors and people in the pew to some of the issues and strategies regarding ministry to people with physical and mental disabilities. The book offers practical suggestions regarding the adaptation of specific ministries (e.g., evangelism, Sunday school, the worship service) to the needs of the disabled. It also addresses how to minister to people with specific disabilities (e.g., mild intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, blind and visually impaired). The volume also discusses the importance of providing encouragement to caregivers, and points out that the disabled have a valuable role in ministry to the body.

The authors write from experience. Tom Leach, the editor, was born with mild cerebral palsy. His mother, instead of aborting Tom, gave birth and placed him for adoption. At age 25 while a student at Trinity Bible College (Ellendale, North Dakota), he survived a car wreck that left him paralyzed from the chest down as a C-6, 7 quadriplegic. He is now an Assemblies of God evangelist serving with Special Touch Ministry, a para-church organization that serves the needs of people with disabilities and which helped to develop this book.

Additional contributors include: Charlie Chivers, a nationally appointed Assemblies of God missionary to people with disabilities and founder of Special Touch Ministry; Larry Campbell, also a nationally appointed Assemblies of God missionary to people with disabilities; Paul Weingartner, the executive director of the Assemblies of God Center for the Blind; and Sarah Sykes, who works with the Assemblies of God Center for the Blind.

I had the privilege of meeting Tom Leach in his Ellendale home this summer. Within the course of an hour, Tom changed my views about people with disabilities. He shared his testimony and showed me Compel Them to Come In and another book he had authored. This was the first conversation I can recall having with a quadriplegic. When I previously came into contact with people who had lost use of their limbs, I generally looked away, partly because I did not want to stare and partly because I felt embarrassed. Tom burst my stereotypes and demonstrated an incredible passion for life and for Christ. He was articulate and I clung onto his words. And I still cannot grasp how Tom was able to produce two books – even with a computer adapted to his disabilities and with the assistance of his wife, Gayle, and a handful of ministry colleagues.

Tom completed this book after having spent 26 years as a quadriplegic and 18 years in ministry to people with disabilities. Tom wrestled with the problem of suffering, human weakness, and feeling unlovely and unwanted. He wrote, “People with disabilities live in a raw, harsh reality. They are painfully aware that their conditions and circumstances are often ugly and distasteful to others, and that their lifestyle and behaviors are sometimes interpreted as being weird, abnormal, and bizarre.” Tom then reminded readers that Jesus embraced “the ugly, dirt-encrusted feet of his disciples in His holy hands and washed them” (p. xvii). The book’s title was inspired by a parable of Jesus where the master ordered his servant: “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame…Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full” (Luke 14:21, 23). The message in Compel Them to Come In, and in scripture, is unmistakable – Christ gave a mandate to the church to minister to those with disabilities. This is a message that Pentecostals – and the broader church – need to hear.

Reviewed by Darrin Rodgers

Paperback, 237 pages, illustrated. $29.95 retail. Order from: amazon.com

Tom Leach also wrote Firestorm: State of the Union, a novel about extremists on both sides of the abortion issue who threatened to engulf the United States in a firestorm of violence. Tom has significant credibility when speaking on the value of life because of his life story. For more information or to purchase the book, go to: amazon.com

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George O. Wood on enduring core values

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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.

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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 Continue reading

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Dorothy Ward (1909-2007), widow of C. M. Ward, passes away

Dorothy M. Ward, the widow of Revivaltime speaker, C. M. Ward, passed away on April 17, 2007 at the Bethel Retirement Center in Modesto, California, at the age of 98.

Born on April 3, 1909, in Kansas City, Missouri, she was the daughter of Charles and Hazel Hymes. She met C. M. Ward one summer when he was preaching at Ottawa, Kansas, where she lived. They were married in a double wedding ceremony on December 25, 1929, at Ottawa, Kansas, along with Dorothy’s sister who married Leonard Palmer.

Dorothy Ward assisted her husband as he pastored and evangelized in Canada, taught at North Central Bible College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and pastored again at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Bakersfield, California from 1945-1953. Then came the move to Springfield, Missouri, where Dr. C. M. Ward became the well-recognized voice of the Assemblies of God Revivaltime radio broadcast for 25 years.

She and Dr. Ward moved from Springfield, Missouri, to Scotts Valley, California in 1973, when he was appointed president of Bethany Bible College (Bethany University) until 1978. In 1990 they relocated to Modesto, California, where they resided at Bethel Retirement Center. Dr. Ward preceded her in death on July 12, 1996.

In 1937 one of Dorothy’s sisters-in-law died, leaving a child behind. The Wards became parents to the young girl, now Martha Jane Sherburne of Florence, Oregon. Dorothy is survived by her daughter Martha Jane; four grandchildren, five great-great-grandchildren; and a sister, Ruth Williamson. She is also survived by two sisters-in-law, Barbara and Ruth Hymes; several nieces and nephews; and her devoted friend and caregiver, Ethylene Shannon.

A memorial service was held on April 24th at Bethel Church in Modesto. A final memorial will be held in Springfield, Missouri, on May 11, at 1 p.m. in the chapel at Greenlawn Funeral Home North, with burial to follow in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens, where she will be laid to rest alongside her husband, C. M. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the C. M. Ward Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 7937, Stockton, CA 95267.

Additional information can be found at Assemblies of God News Service, the Santa Cruz (CA) Sentinel, April 22, 2007, and the Springfield News-Leader, May 8, 2007.

Posted by Glenn Gohr

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Don Baldwin (1931-2007) former manager of the Couriers, passes on

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SplashCast with Flickr photos
Produced by iFPHC


Don Baldwin, former Couriers Quartet founder and manager, died February 24, 2007 at his home in Florida. He was 75.

Donald Edward Baldwin was born Nov. 30, 1931 in Hamilton, Ohio, and was raised in Chicago, Illinois. While he was stationed in Las Vegas during the Korean War he developed an appreciation for gospel music. When he enrolled at Central Bible Institute in 1954, then, he parlayed this musical avocation into his vocation. That year, Baldwin rallied several fellow students to form a gospel group — The Couriers Quartet. The Couriers went on to be one of the most successful gospel music groups in the late twentieth century. Significantly, The Couriers helped to shift gospel music from an emphasis on entertainment back toward ministry and evangelism. Don Baldwin — and the other men of The Couriers — were Assemblies of God boys who proceeded to impact an entire generation for Christ.

After leaving the Couriers in 1965, Don established “Baldwin Sound Productions,” a recording studio facility and the home of Hymntone Records. Many of the major gospel groups recorded there over the years. During the 1970s, he also served as an emcee of the National Quartet Convention. In 2002, Don became one of the very first inductees into the Pennsylvania Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame. In 2006 he was awarded the “Living Legend” award by the Grand Old Gospel Reunion.

A memorial service for Don Baldwin is scheduled at 1:00 p.m. Friday, March 9, at Victory Church (Assembly of God), 1401 Griffin Road, Lakeland, Florida.

The Baldwin family authorized a memorial website, which includes articles and photographs.

The Couriers were featured in the cover story for the 2007 edition of Assemblies of God Heritage magazine. Read the article, written by leading gospel music historian Jim Goff, on the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center website.

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