AG Indian Fellowship of North America Sets Expansion Goal
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Within two years, in 1995, the AGIFNA held its first conference at the Martin Van Buren High School in New York City. The conference hosted former Assemblies of God General Superintendent Guy Raymond Carlson and Dr. K. Muralidar as its key speakers.
The Fellowship continued to meet bi-annually for four more years before voting to move to an annual conference in 2000.
As the AGIFNA continued to grow through the first part of the new millennium, there began to grow an even wider network with other Assemblies of God churches and organizations and the AGIFNA became a recognized ethnic fellowship by the General Council of the Assemblies of God. Today, it remains one of 24 recognized ethnic fellowships within the denomination.
Over the past 23 years, the network has branched into three regions, the Eastern region, the Southcentral region, and the Great Lakes region which includes parts of Canada.
“We have about 65 congregations within our fellowship which include the six that are located in Canada,” says Wilson Jose, President of AGIFNA.
He goes on to explain that the AGIFNA is primarily made up of people from Kerala, specifically Malayalam speakers.
Dennis Rivera, the director of Ethnic Relations within the Assemblies of God, states that despite the majority of the fellowship being Malayalam speaking, the AGIFNA is very diverse in their outreach.
Jose says that the leadership have set their sights on exponential growth over the next five years.
“By 2028,” he says, “our goal is to have 100 churches in our fellowship and expand our people group.”
The commitment by the AGIFNA to this initiative stems from their mission statement which states that they, as a Fellowship, will evangelize Indian communities and seek to assist Indian newcomers in adjusting to the American way of life.
Although the goal seems big, Jose reports that there are over 3 million Indians who are not Christian living within the regions of the AGIFNA.
“We desire to reach out to them through this large missional initiative,” says Jose.
“Wilson Jose is a strong, visionary leader,” says Rivera. “He is a solid Pentecostal and is committed to the word of God. He not only continues to diversify the AGIFNA, but he also is also seeking to unify goals and visions with the other ethnic fellowships as well.”
One of the ways Jose hopes to extend and diversify their reach is by using modern technologies such as YouTube and digital articles posted on their website. Additionally, the AGIFNA national conference continues to grow and minister to its members with its annual conference.
Today, the national conference, operated under separately elected leadership from the AGIFNA, is an epicenter of edification, fellowship, and motivation for the next generation to pick up the torch and continue on within the organization as champions for Christ.
According to the conference website, this conference is now one of the largest conferences for those of Malayalee ethnolinguistic group. For those that cannot attend, the conference is streamed online, further expanding the ministry of the AGIFNA.
The AGIFNA continues to forge pathways for ongoing expansion, especially with data from the Pew Research Center which states that India is the third highest ranking birthplace for immigrants who come to the United States.