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Reflections on the 110th Anniversary of the Assemblies of God

General Superintendent Doug Clay meets with Thomas Trask and John Zick to reflect on 110 years of ministry for the Assemblies of God.

The Assemblies of God is celebrating its 110th anniversary this year. What started as a founding convention of 300 delegates in 1914, has become a global Fellowship with over 85 million adherents and 444,000 churches.

Doug Clay, general superintendent of the U.S. Assemblies of God, recently met with Thomas E. Trask, the 11th general superintendent of the AG (1993 to 2007), and John Zick, the Assemblies of God’s director of Ministerial Advancement, to evaluate and consider the significance of 110 years of ministry and missional effectiveness of the Assemblies of God.

Doug Clay: I am delighted to have some guests with me to help me unpack the past, the present, and the future. Can we spend some time just reflecting on all that God has done through the Assemblies of God?

Thomas E. Trask: It’s a phenomenal testimony to the goodness and to the grace of God. But it’s because of His favor and the work of the Holy Spirit. And what has set the Assemblies of God apart from other denominations is our Pentecostal heritage — the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Clay: Right. We can look back and see that the work of the Spirit hasn’t changed and He’s at work today. I also think when we look at our history, there have been seasons of revival. How critical is revival to the Assemblies of God’s vitality?

Trask: Well, it’s the key. It really is because the church has to live in the life of the Spirit and the Spirit brings life.

Clay: Yes, and I’m so grateful that revival is not age restricted. John, I’m watching your generation really lean into the things of the Spirit and the move of God. Is that an accurate perception?

John Zick: Absolutely. It has been so cool to see a generation that is hungry for the presence of God. The same Spirit that was there 110 years ago is the same Spirit that is drawing individuals to ministry and to himself. There is an absolute desperation for the presence of God.

Clay: As it relates to present, we certainly want to build upon the foundation that has been laid. We measure ourselves by the unfinished task. However, by pushing forward with the momentum of the Holy Spirit to reach this generation, the potential that we will witness the completion of the Great Commission in this generation stands before us.

I pledge to you that, as the Assemblies of God, we are going to remain Bible engaged, placing a high priority on the power of Scripture; Spirit empowered; and missions focused. But what drives all of this is prayer.

You know, Scripture is very clear: some things only come by prayer and fasting. I believe that we are experiencing the result of a previous generation’s commitment to prayer and fasting. And as I look back over our history, there has not been a let-up on the value and importance of prayer.

Trask: You’re right. It’s through the power of prayer. God said He will do it, and He will respond if we pray.

Clay: John, you represent a ministry that is really important for perpetuating Pentecost. Talk about the ministry of “CALLED.

Zick: As I travel the country and meet individuals who sense a call into the ministry, the verse that comes to mind time and time again is, God is building His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). We want a place for those individuals to feel like they’re part of a family. So, we ask ourselves, what are we doing as a Fellowship to gain, train, and retain those called to vocational ministry?

Clay: I appreciate that. God is building His church. I get so frustrated at those who aren’t pastors that talk about the demise of the Church. I can take you to churches week in and week out that are experiencing the move of God. And I haven’t heard a trumpet blast yet, so that means the Church is still in business — it is still essential.

John, as a younger generation, what do you think your generation is looking for in an Assemblies of God church?

Zick: I think the things that you’ve already outlined: Spirit empowered. I think this generation is also looking for biblical truth in a culture where truth is relative. I think this generation is hungry for someone who is willing to take a stand and say, “This is what truth looks like.” And then that missional focus. What are we doing to actually build the Kingdom here at home and around the world? What’s the mission that I’m part of that’s bigger than myself?

Clay: Brother Trask, I want to thank you for the foundation that you laid that will bear the weight of the growth of generations to come. John, I want to thank you for embracing who we are as a Pentecostal fellowship and helping to perpetuate that.

And to those of you who are part of the Assemblies of God, we remain committed to taking all the gospel to all the world through the power of the Holy Spirit. So, thank you for being part of our God-ordained Movement.