Tag Archives: Sunday School

The Assemblies of God and Sunday School: Regional Conferences Trained Leaders and Fueled Revival

SSConference 1980This Week in AG History —December 14, 1980

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 13 December 2018

Sunday School and Bible training have been a mainstay of the Assemblies of God since its founding in 1914. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the AG made a concerted effort to promote Sunday School training. This resulted in the Gospel Publishing House setting up a promotional office in 1935 to stimulate interest in Sunday School and to advertise Assemblies of God Sunday School curriculum. The AG hosted national Sunday School conventions annually during the 1940s and early 1950s in Springfield, Missouri. After 1953, regional conferences replaced the earlier national meetings.

In the fall of 1980, seven regional Sunday School conferences were held at Orchard Park, New York; Atlanta; Des Moines, Iowa; Fort Worth, Texas; Las Vegas; Portland, Oregon; and Tulsa, Oklahoma. These were reported in the Dec. 14, 1980, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

An estimated 8,500 persons attended these conferences, which centered around the contemporary work of the Holy Spirit. Each session lasted for a couple of days and included Bible study, sermons, worship, testimonies, and open discussion.

At each conference, General Superintendent Thomas F. Zimmerman delivered a keynote address called, “This Is That,” which focused on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He stressed that we are living in the last days and that the working of the Holy Spirit is in accordance with Scripture and gives power for service. “Exciting things are taking place!” reported Zimmerman. “Thousands are responding to the gospel of Christ, and believers around the world are awakening to the power of the Holy Spirit. We want to continue to be an integral part of the growing floodtide of modern Pentecostal revival.”

“At the same time,” he pointed out, “areas of concern and confusion exist in the Church. The renewal of dynamic Christianity is bringing with it various extremes in both preaching and practice in areas such as faith and confession, healing and health, shepherding and discipleship, spiritual gifts and manifestations, and a broad spectrum of activities and excesses. It is time to prayerfully and positively consider and address these issues.”

Much discussion took place concerning these topics, and one of the outcomes was the announcement of a national convocation on the Holy Spirit, which was held in Springfield, Missouri, in August 1982.

Read “Regional Conferences Focus on the Contemporary Outpouring of the Spirit” on pages 6-7 and Thomas F. Zimmerman’s address, “This Is That,” on pages 8-10 of the Dec. 14, 1980, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “6,000 Miles to Find Christ,” by Christine Hosack

• “The Sheep and the Shepherds!” by Evangelist Steven R. Madsen

• “We Can Hide God’s Word in Our Hearts,” by Robert Cunningham

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
Website: http://www.iFPHC.org

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Review: A Desk for Billie

A Desk For Billie DVD

A Desk for Billie. Film produced by the National Education Association, 1956. Rereleased on DVD, 2007.

Dr. Billie Davis, one of the best-known educators in the Assemblies of God, started life in the hopyards of Oregon. She spent her childhood during the Great Depression of the 1930s traversing across America with her parents, who were migrant farm workers. They were “homeless” before the term became fashionable. They lived and traveled in a battered Model A Ford with a makeshift wooden frame constructed on the back to provide shelter. She describes herself as a child as “a small ragged hobo” who would “[sit] on the ground beside a campfire, hungrily licking the fishy oil from the lid of a sardine can” while studying her school lessons.

How was Billie Davis able to rise from her impoverished surroundings? She attributes her success to the discovery, as a young girl, of three ways to better herself: 1) Sunday school; 2) libraries; and 3) public school.

Billie Davis came to work for the Gospel Publishing House in Springfield, Missouri in 1942, serving as the first editor of the Sunday School Counselor magazine. After the Saturday Evening Post featured her story, “I was a Hobo Kid” (published December 13, 1952), Reader’s Digest picked it up. Then, in 1956, the National Education Association produced a film about her life, “A Desk for Billie.” This film, a tribute to the value of education, was widely distributed across America and viewed by generations of teachers and schoolchildren. “A Desk for Billie” encourages viewers to appreciate Sunday school, libraries, and public schools.

Billie Davis went on to earn her Ed.D. from the University of Miami and served as a professor at Evangel University, as an Assemblies of God missionary, and in numerous leadership roles in education, church, and government.

“A Desk for Billie” is now available for purchase on DVD. Proceeds will be given to the Billie Davis scholarship at Evangel University.

DVD, color, 57 minutes. Minimum contribution of $20, postpaid. Order from: Dr. Billie Davis, 3204 N. Wildan Ave., Springfield, MO 65803 (email: sylbil@aol.com ; phone: 417-833-1552).

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