This past weekend, Daniel Kolenda of Christ for All Nations spoke at the Centennial Celebration for the Assemblies of God in Peru. It is a reminder that the Assemblies of God is not dying. It is actually growing. This is not just a missions thing either. Assemblies of God in the United States has experienced a 47% growth from 1990 to 2014. (The Assemblies in America is growing twice as fast as the population)
This is important because we live in a world where people think denominations are dying. This simply is not the case. Most Pentecostal movements are seeing growth around the world as well as in the United States. A stat that I have heard several times is that the Assemblies of God is the “second” fastest growing church in America. Only behind the Mormons.
The Assemblies of God is not defined by its’s past revivals. While they have a very important part to play (I was saved in the Brownsville Revival), they are not the only factor leading to the growth of the movement and what will become a great revival that will look very different than it did in Pensacola.
I was on a call with an evangelist friend that he said that “Pentecostal denominations are dying.” This is a commonly hold, but wrong, view on the condition of the Pentecostal movement at large. Many think this is the case. The reason for this is it seems we are in a era that A.A. Allen prophesied would come: the rise of Non-denominational churches. In reality, The Assemblies of God sees a 1% growth every year.
However, the stats present a very different story. What people do not realize that is the an Assembly of God church in Small Town, USA might be growing from 80 to 120 which is 40% growth. This is is happening in thousands of towns all over the country. These churches are able to do it because of support from other Assembly of God churches in the district they are in. The bulk of missionaries going to countries like Peru is still coming from the United States. The Assemblies of God World Missions is very strong and growing. Most of the missionaries that are sent are coming from Assemblies that are a few hundred people in a smaller town.
Then, you have to consider that every city in America has a large Assembly of God church. Many of them several. In my city alone, Sheffield Family Life Center and Lenexa Christian Center both are mega churches. The largest church in Missouri is James River Church, an Assembly of God church.
As you can see, the growth among the Assemblies of God is not just in the megachurches. It is also among the small country churches as well. In fact, many of the large churches started as a small churches for many years. James River was a struggling church for many years before it grown to the 14,000+ members that it is today.
The answer is quite simply NO, the Pentecostal movement is NOT dying.
One of the interesting stats is the growth among the Hispanics, Filipino, and Samoan populations. The largest advances within the Assemblies of God is happening in non-English speaking churches. (This does not count many churches that have a “Spanish service, either.)
Churches that speak a language besides English or Spanish has seen an unbelievable 77% increase in one year. This is massive growth and many of them will have received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit as well. Spanish is quite remarkable as well at 17% and 21.4%. This means a church of 1,000 has become almost 1,300 in just one year!
The good news is this is not just among the actually churches that minister in a foreign language, either. A large growth within our English speaking churches is minorities. Sheffield Family Life Center in Kansas City is a great example. Being white would put you in the minority. This is a megachurch that has more minorities than white people. This is happening across the country. In fact, white people only make up just over 60% of all members in America currently.
In 1989, the churches that were mostly white (Read: all white!) was 4 to 1 to those who was a mostly minorities! It was 8,900 churches to 2,200 churches. In 2018, those numbers are 8,100 to 4,900 churches. While there has a reduction in mostly white churches, the real story is the growth of churches that are mainly made of minorities.
It is safe to assume that a lot of the 300 new churches planted every year are among the minorities.
In the coming years, there is two areas that people who want to understand how revival will come will want to watch: US Missions and the urban cores. Both of them are going to fuel great harvest.
Ministries like Teen Challenge and Chi Alpha will bring a lot of people into the harvest. Teen Challenge reaches tens of thousands of people across America every year with drug addictions. They are directly responsible for leading thousands to Christ and in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Chi Alpha is leading great harvest on our college campus. This is two of many outreaches the US Home Missions does.
The greatest harvest will be in the inner cities of America. We are already seeing this with the Dream Center in Los Angeles. They are impacting up to 30,000 people every week with the gospel. This is happening across the country as well. The next major revival in America will be among the poor and the broken. This means to watch the inner cities for the next move of God.
I firmly believe we will see a move to churches becoming more directly involved in home missions in the next decade or so. It will take a new priority. When this happens, revival is imminent. The watchmen must watch and wait for this change in the attitude of many churches. It will be critical for the condition of the Assemblies of God at large in America.
Peter Vandever is a Pentecostal Evangelist to the nations and a prophetic voice to the American Pentecostal movement. He is currently based in Kansas City, Missouri.