| The roots of the Assemblies of God are in a revival that began in the
late 1800s, when many Christians sensed a need for more of God's power
in their lives. As they prayed for what they believed was the New Testament
experience, the Holy Spirit came on many of them. As in the Bible in the
Book of Acts, this experience the baptism in the Holy Spirit
was accompanied by speaking in unknown languages. Recipients were called
"Pentecostals," because the Holy Spirit came on the Jewish holiday of
Pentecost (Acts 2). Joyous worship and a desire to share the good news
of Jesus Christ also accompanied this experience.
The beginning of the modern Pentecostal revival is traced to a prayer meeting on January 1, 1901. Most researchers agree it was at Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas, that those who received this experience, after studying the Scriptures, came to believe that speaking in tongues was the initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The revival spread rapidly to Missouri and Texas, then to California. A three-year revival meeting at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles served as a springboard to send the Pentecostal message around the world.
Pentecostals soon had to seek their own places to worship. The many outreaches created the need for recognizing ministers and supporting missions. The demand grew for doctrinal unity, literature and a Bible school. In 1914 about 300 preachers and laypersons met in Hot Springs, Arkansas, from 20 states and several foreign countries and formed a cooperative fellowship that was incorporated as The General Council of the Assemblies of God. The delegates structured the organization so each congregation would be self-governing and self-supporting. In 1916 the General Council adopted a Statement of Fundamental Truths, defining doctrinal positions.
The Assemblies of God now numbers more than 2.5 million in the United States and over 30 million overseas. People worship in almost 12,000 Assemblies of God churches in the U.S. and in 174,657 churches and outstations in 158 nations. In the U.S. the Assemblies of God has 18 endorsed Bible colleges, liberal arts colleges and a seminary. Ministers and leaders are trained in 1,208 foreign Bible schools.
The headquarters of the Assemblies of God is in Springfield, Missouri.
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