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Tanzanian Assemblies of God Sets Goals for Spirit Empowerment

Acts 1:8 conferences designed to facilitate evangelism, Holy Spirit baptisms in congregations.

The Tanzanian Assemblies of God (TAG) plans to hold 2,000 Acts 1:8 conferences in the next three years, with the goal of leading 90 percent of church members to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.

These goals resulted from a four-day Acts 1:8 Conference last month in which more than 100 Tanzanian national evangelists and church leaders convened in Morogoro to learn how to conduct Acts 1:8 conferences, with the purpose of empowering the church to win souls.

Denny Miller, AG missionary and director of the Acts in Africa Initiative, led the December conference. He says Acts 1:8 conferences typically consist of a week of intercessory prayer, teaching on God’s mission, and lessons on strategy. Night and Sunday services welcome the public, and the Holy Spirit often moves in powerful ways. Miller and his Acts in Africa team have conducted Acts 1:8 conferences in Tanzania and in 25 other countries across Africa.

“The Tanzania Assemblies of God are possibly the most aggressive and notable church in Africa today,” Miller says.

Charles Porter of the AG Africa Communications Office says the TAG already encourages each Christian to lead one person per year to an opportunity to accept Christ as Savior. He says Spirit-empowered witnessing is the basis of the church’s mission.

“They feel like it’s critical to grow a church that’s not just numerically growing, but spiritually growing, and empowering witnesses through the baptism in the Holy Spirit,” Porter says.

These goals come in the middle of what the African Assemblies of God Alliance has declared a Decade of Pentecost. The effort’s goals include 10 million new Christians to be baptized in the Holy Spirit for empowered witnessing across the continent and engaging the more than 900 unreached people groups in sub-Saharan Africa.

Under the leadership of General Superintendent Barnabas Mtokambali, the TAG has set other measurable goals in recent years. In 2008, it launched a “Tanzania for Jesus” campaign to plant 10,000 new churches by 2018. So far, the TAG has established about 30 permanent church planting schools and, according to Miller, has started nearly 4,000 new congregations in the past seven years, bringing the country’s total to about 6,000.

While the TAG has set lofty objectives, Porter says its strategic and Spirit-led approach makes the goals feasible. He says the leadership is highly strategic in the way it establishes vision and criteria to measure progress.

“It’s less of a revival and more of a whole church getting behind a single mission,” Porter says, “It’s grabbing hold of a Spirit-led vision to reach their nation for the gospel.”

Miller says he is excited for the future of the church not only in Tanzania but also throughout Africa, where there are now nearly 18 million AG adherents in more than 71,000 churches.

Last week, Christianity Today reported the Assemblies of God is the fourth largest “Christian communion” worldwide, after Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Anglicanism.

“I truly believe that this is Africa's time for missions,” Miller says. “The Spirit is moving sovereignly across our churches as never before. Now is the time to invest in training and mobilizing the African church.”

Ian Richardson

Ian Richardson is a 2014 graduate of Evangel University and former intern with the Pentecostal Evangel. He is originally from Afton, Iowa, where he grew up as the son of an Assemblies of God pastor.