Origin and Structural Development of the Assemblies of God

Date of Graduation

Summer 1968


Master of Arts in History



Committee Chair

B. Lightfoot


The purpose of this study is to trace the origin of the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal church group with over 8,500 churches in the United States, and the gradual development of organization and centralized services by this decidedly independent social and intellectual church group in spite of its pronounced distaste for the formalities of ecclesiastical organizations. As a member of the Assemblies of God Gospel Publishing House staff at Springfield, Missouri, for twenty-one years, the author has observed first hand some of the growth of the centralized agency. He has enjoyed the cooperation of all departments of the Assemblies of God headquarters in connection with his research, and has had access to primary sources in the church's archives. Officers of the church have provided information and made suggestions. Several retired executives of the church have shared generously of their memories and impressions of the early days and growth of the church, and even of the era before organization in 1914. This thesis is particularly concerned with developments which contributed to the church's inevitable, if sometimes reluctant, progress toward constitutional government adopted in 1927 and with what has happened since. The seed of departmental organization since 1927 was contained in the Constitution and Bylaws adopted at that time. Their development is traced in the final chapters. The General Council of the Assemblies of God is the largest of the Pentecostal denominations. It was formed early in the twentieth century following a religious awakening which spread throughout the United States and other parts of the world. Although the revival appeared on the surface to be spontaneous, it had its roots in the Holiness Movement of the later nineteenth century. 'Holiness" people, whatever their denominational affiliation, had two things in common: they embraced the Wesleyan doctrine of "entire sanctification," and they believed in the necessity of a "crisis experience" for conversion. Revivalism was the means employed to produce this "crisis experience."

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© Mario G Hoover