Former U.S. Missions Leader Dies
Charles E. Hackett, former executive director of Assemblies of God U.S. Missions, died July 8 in Springfield, Missouri, at the age of 86 from Parkinson’s disease. During his 14-year tenure at the AG National Office, Hackett became the first AG U.S. Missions executive to serve in an Executive Leadership Team-level position.
In 1991, Hackett became director of what was then called the Division of Home Missions, replacing the retiring Robert W. Pirtle. Initially he oversaw the ministries of Chaplaincy, College Ministries, Intercultural Ministries, New Church Evangelism, and Teen Challenge. He made his vision clear in a Pentecostal Evangel article later that year.
“The Division of Home Missions will serve any person, church, district, or college,” Hackett wrote. “God has called us to serve, and we will do our best to fulfill that call.”
U.S. Missions grew considerably by the time Hackett retired in 2005. The number of appointed missionaries and spouses increased to 1,048 from 532 during the period; chaplains to 452 from 290; and RV volunteers to 1,392 from 800.
“I’m grateful for the leadership and legacy of brother Charles Hackett,” says Malcolm Burleigh, who has been U.S. Missions executive director since 2017. “His 14 years of service proved to be a firm foundation on which we continue to build.”
Hackett, a native of Portland, Arkansas, graduated from Southwestern Assemblies of God University. After a four-year stint as an evangelist, in 1963 he became Indiana District youth director. He served as Indiana District assistant superintendent from 1970-1991. Hackett served as pastor of First Assembly in Lafayette, Indiana, for 29 years.
In People of the Spirit: The Assemblies of God, Hackett told of a revival at the Lafayette church that started in 1975 after two rowdy hippies accepted an altar call invitation.
“They were delivered from drugs and were influential in helping others with life-controlling problems,” Hackett recounted to author Gary B. McGee. “This explosion of power was the beginning of a five-year revival that added over 1,000 people to the Sunday morning attendance.”
Moving to Springfield, Missouri, from Indiana, Hackett in 1991 became leader of the Division of Home Missions (renamed Assemblies of God U.S. Missions in 2003).
In 1991, Mission America Placement Service reorganized and became a department of U.S. Missions, experiencing significant growth during Hackett’s time in office. Under Hackett, U.S. MAPS began overseeing RV volunteers who travel the country helping with building projects for churches, districts, and Teen Challenge Centers.
Hackett worked with Monty Hipp in 1998 to pioneer the partnership between U.S. Missions and Youth Alive that remains in existence today, viewing middle schools and high schools as a mission field.
As he retired from his post, Hackett in a farewell interview in the Pentecostal Evangel explained why he made urban ministry a priority during his leadership. He reflected on how shocked he felt during his early days in leadership about ministry “deserts” in major cities.
“So many congregations had moved out to the suburbs and practically given away their inner-city properties, as if the inner cities didn’t count,” Hackett said. “God gripped my heart with compassion for the needs of the families left behind.”
L. Alton Garrison succeeded Hackett as executive director of U.S. Missions in 2005.
In addition to his wife of 62 years, Dixie, Hackett is survived by his daughter, Annette Marie Thompson of Springfield, Missouri, and his son, Gregory Alan Hackett, pastor of The Bridge Community Church, an AG congregation in Warrenton, Virginia.
IMAGE: Charles Hackett (left) with his pastor son, Greg, in 2014.