The Assemblies of God, one of the largest Pentecostal denominations, is growing faster than the U.S. population.
AG reported that its U.S. adherents increased four percent in 2010, which is several times higher than the U.S. population growth rate, which is about one percent a year. Adherents of the Assemblies of God USA have surpassed three million followers, 3,030,944 to be exact, in 2010.
This is the largest annual percentage increase since 1983, according to AG records.
In terms of official membership, AG reported a 2.5 percent increase, to 1.75 million members. Attendance at major worship service, water baptism, spirit baptism, and conversions were also up, according to statistics.
The largest decline was seen in the Sunday evening service, where attendance drastically fell 4.1 percent, to 399,728.
“This is a unique moment in the history of our movement,” said Assemblies of God General Superintendent George Wood in a video promoting the denomination’s annual General Council meeting next month in Phoenix.
The Assemblies of God in the U.S. was founded in 1914 after an early 20th century Pentecostal movement. While expanding outreach work and establishing relationships with other Pentecostal churches, Assemblies of God became a worldwide movement. The church believes in baptism in the Holy Spirit and present-day speaking in tongues.
Wood has previously attributed the higher statistical numbers to diversity. More than 38 percent of the U.S. Assemblies of God members are ethnic minorities.
The latest report backs up Wood’s claim, showing that ethnic communities defined by language have the largest percentage net gains. The national Slavic group was up 113.7 percent and the Southern Pacific community was up 25.2 percent, according to the report. The West Spanish language region was up 9.7 percent and the language regions classified as "other" was up 9.4 percent.
Part of the reason for the fellowship’s growth may be the result of Wood’s leadership. Wood was elected to lead the U.S. Assemblies of God in 2007. He quickly established initiatives to emphasize church multiplication, training young leaders and resourcing churches and individuals for more effective ministry, officials stated.
Wood previously served as general secretary for 14 years and has more than 40 years of ministry experience. He was assistant superintendent of the Southern California District from 1988-1993, after pastoring Newport-Mesa Christian Center in Costa Mesa, Calif. for 17 years. Wood was elected chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship in May 2008.
In 2009, officials reported having more than 63 million Assemblies of God followers worldwide. At the U.S. General Council meeting in the same year, Wood encouraged struggling leaders not to be weary in their ministry work, even if the harvest may not come in their lifetime.
"The breakthrough will come," Wood told thousands of Pentecostals in Orlando, Fla., at the 2009 meeting. "God will not forget your work."