Ethnic Diversity Increases
The U.S. Assemblies of God continues a gradual long-term trend of increasing its ethnic diversity, according to recently released figures.
Statistics compiled by the Office of General Secretary show that the proportion of ethnic minority adherents in the Fellowship rose to more than 42.5 percent in 2014, the highest on record. A decade earlier, ethnic minority adherents comprised 33.7 percent of U.S. AG adherents. The ratio has increased every year in the past 10 years.
The ratio of Hispanics in the Fellowship has increased to 22.5 percent from 18 percent; blacks have risen to 9.9 percent from 7.2 percent; Asians and Pacific Islanders have grown to 4.7 percent from 4 percent; and Native Americans have expanded to 1.6 percent from 1.4 percent. Mixed race people now make up 3.8 percent of adherents, compared to 3.1 percent in 2004.
The U.S. AG now includes 3,146,741 adherents, marking 25 years of consecutive growth. In the past decade, the number of Hispanics increased to 706,570 adherents from 499,085, and blacks have surged to 312,433 followers from 199,713 in the same period.
The rate of ethnic minority and immigrant congregations within the U.S. body also has reached a record high 35 percent, rising from 30 percent a decade earlier, 23 percent 20 years ago, and just 20 percent a quarter century ago.
Scott Temple, director of the AG Office of Ethnic Relations, says the 22 ethnic and language fellowships in the denomination have helped spur its growth.
"The recognition of these Fellowships and their leaders has brought a greater release of God's Spirit upon our nation," Temple says.
Currently, 21.1 percent of churches (2,705) are considered primarily Hispanic, up from 13.8 percent two decades ago.
"The increase in Hispanic congregations can serve as an indicator that the AG is responding to the demographic trend of the growth of the Hispanic population in the past decade," says Efraim Espinoza, director of the AG Office of Hispanic Relations. "As the Hispanic population grows, we continue to evangelize and plant new Hispanic churches."
A Pew Research Center report issued in July cited the Assemblies of God as the most diverse evangelical denomination in the U.S.
The ages of those in the pews have fluctuated little in the past 10 years. For instance, 30.4 percent of adherents at present are under age 18 compared to 30 percent in 2004. Now, one in 10 attendees is 65 or older, instead of 9.2 percent a decade ago.
The largest districts in the AG are North Texas (536 congregations), Oklahoma (488), Spanish Eastern (445) Northern California-Nevada (444), and Southern California (426).