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AGNAF Hosts Acts 2 Cohort Sponsored by North Carolina AG

Funded and led by the North Carolina Assemblies of God, the Native American Fellowship recently hosted an Acts 2 cohort that engaged over half of all eligible churches in the region.
In a unique collaboration between the North Carolina Assemblies of God and the Assemblies of God Native American Fellowship, a church revitalization journey took place that has not only impacted a group of Native American Fellowship ministry leaders but additionally brought an unprecedented unity within the region of Lumbee Tribe-affiliated churches. Success of this recent Acts 2 Journey cohort has also birthed a new dream of seeing similar cohorts launched in 2024.

Started in 2010 out of AG Trust, Acts 2 Journey is a church health and revitalization process that aims to grow and strengthen a church both numerically and relationally.

The structure of the initiative is founded on successful yearlong cohorts, made up of local church leaders, who develop and deploy strategic visions to present to their respective congregations for the purposes of renewed engagement and church enthusiasm.

“Churches of all sizes and styles have benefitted from the Acts 2 Journey experience,” says Austin Jacobs, director of operations for the Acts 2 Journey Initiative. “We really want to help plateaued and declining churches that participate find hope and renewed missional focus.”

In 2023, after an attempt at a similar cohort cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, Tim Bell, lead pastor of Power Point Church in North Carolina and general presbyter representative for the Native American Fellowship, desired to see an Acts 2 Journey cohort take place for Native American Fellowship churches in the Robeson county region of North Carolina.

His desire was birthed by a vision originally cast by former AGNAF chief and executive presbyter, John Maracle, who desired to see increased church health among AGNAF churches.

While there are 22 total eligible churches in the region, leadership felt that a goal of four or five churches engaging in the initial cohort would be a realistic goal. Yet as Hedrick Jones, a presbyter for the fellowship and lead pastor of God’s Holy Assembly, began to stir enthusiasm amongst local church leaders, momentum began to build.

To help support the Native American Fellowship churches in their district, the North Carolina AG stepped in to fund the experience for any church who wanted to participate and supplied trained Acts 2 Journey facilitators to lead the cohort.

At the beginning of 2023, with all costs covered, over half of the eligible churches were engaged and committed to the journey. This group, a 12-church cohort, would soon begin seeing unity and church health like they had never before experienced.

“We would literally have leaders come up and share testimonies of how the Holy Spirit was working in their church while weeping in awe and gratitude,” says Bell.

According to Bell, several churches are already reaping the benefits of their participation and seeing increased growth despite just finishing their final Acts 2 weekend in November of 2023.

Beyond the Veil Assembly of God, led by pastor John Walker, is one such church. Beginning the journey with a congregation of 40 average attendees, the church grabbed hold of Walker’s divine vision and, with 100% congregant commitment to participation, has grown to over 90 in weekly attendance.

Another testimony came from Darrell Callahan, pastor of First Assembly of God in Maxton, North Carolina.

Callahan reported to Bell that since taking over leadership of the church several years ago, the church has been stagnant. A historically thriving congregation, Callahan began to ask the Lord to change his heart and his attitude. God began to reveal to Callahan that he needed to empower a team to help him, instead of doing things on his own. Since the completion of the cohort and his continued obedience to this direction, the church is now seeing great revitalization take place.

“Just to hear all the testimonies is great,” says Bell.

Bell credits much of the success of the cohort to the North Carolina Assemblies of God, stating that they helped it be a much bigger event than it would have been without their support.

“It’s the most participation I’ve seen out of our fellowship in the 20 years I have been part of it,” he says. “I’m looking forward to seeing what God is going to do in our ongoing collaboration within the Native American Fellowship.”

Jones echoes the excitement of Bell.

“It has definitely been a great success with our churches, the enthusiasm is over the roof with everyone who participated,” Jones says. “It was like a breath of fresh air for us.”

Due to its success, Bell and other leaders hope to launch additional Native American Fellowship cohorts in 2024, especially targeting the mid-west.

Ashley B. Grant

Ashley B. Grant has a master's degree in Human Services Marriage and Family Counseling from Liberty University and is a credentialed Christian counselor through the American Association of Christian Counselors. Grant also holds certifications in crisis pregnancy counseling and advanced life coaching. Ashley is a fourth generation Assemblies of God preacher’s kid and has one daughter and three sons.