The World Assembly of God Fellowship (WAG) has a new leader with a bold goal: to nearly triple the organization's membership over the next 14 years.Assembly leaders want the fellowship to grow from 35 million in membership to 100 million by 2014, the year of the denomination's 100th anniversary. "It's now time to look ahead and cast vision," Thomas E. Trask said after being named the new WAG chairman in August. At the World Congress and 2000 Celebration in Indianapolis this past summer, Trask joined 35,000 Assembly of God representatives to experience spiritual renewal and discuss effective strategies. Superintendents from 147 countries attended the event.How does Trask plan to gain 65 million new followers? By continuing evangelism efforts with the same "fervor and passion" that have contributed to the denomination's success since its birth 86 years ago. According to World Assembly statistics, 10,000 people daily are being added to the fellowship either by conversion, transfer from other churches, or growth in individual families.Pentecostals say the strategic key to their growth is church autonomy. Local pastors work within their culture to build a church free of interfering influences. The strategy to remain indigenous has paid off. Despite the modest number of foreign missionaries that the U.S. denomination has commissioned, Pentecostals worldwide gained 3 million members and started 14,000 new churches last year alone. In order for the World Assembly to achieve its growth goals, it will need to add 4.65 million new members annually on average, which is more than 50 percent more than its current average annual increase. The specific global plans to achieve such ambitious growth targets have yet to be released publicly.
:Visit the Assemblies of God's official site , and the official site of the World Congress and 2000 Celebration .The World Congress site also offers more news on the meeting.Read the text of the Assemblies of God Vision 2000 Proclamation .Mainstream news coverage of the meeting includes The [Louisville, Ky.] Courier-Journal and the Chicago Tribune .Previous Christianity Today stories involving Assembly of God churches include:Sowing Seed, Growing Churches | Central American farmers gather more than one harvest. (July 27, 2000) Pensacola Outpouring Poised to Cover the Globe | Florida revival to launch mission initiatives. (Feb. 8, 1999) Brownsville Revival Rolls Onward | But success brings intense scrutiny for Pensacola Pentecostal church. (Feb. 9, 1998) Pensacola Outpouring Keeps Gushing | But unlike the bubbly Toronto Blessing, repentance is foremost at this revival. (March 3, 1997) Maximum Security Unlikely Setting for Model Church | Almost half of Buenos Aires prison's inmates are members. (Sept. 4, 1996)
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