AG Leaders Take Part in "The Send Brazil"

Leaders representing several national Assemblies of God fellowships were a part of the massive “The Send Brazil” event that was held on Feb. 8 simultaneously in three stadiums in two of Brazil’s largest cities. More than 140,000 people filled Brasilia National Stadium and Morumbi Stadium in the capital city of Brasilia and Allianz Parque in São Paulo while more than 2.2 million watched the event’s livestream broadcasts.

Taking place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., The Send Brazil featured 180 guest speakers, including Argentinian AG pastor Claudio Freidzon, presenting a clear and inspirational gospel message. According to a Fox News report, thousands made decisions for Jesus and committed to fasting, Bible reading plans, and missions to the nations, colleges, and high schools.

Christ for all Nations, one of the sponsoring ministry partners, reported that the average age of those attending The Send Brazil was 24. The Send events are organized as a show of “profound, Spirit-led unity and an unshakable faith that God is catalyzing an earth-changing missions movement in this generation.”

“I’ve been following The Send events since last year,” states David Ellis, Latin America Caribbean regional director for Assemblies of God World Missions. “They are awesome. I believe they can be a catalyst for revival in nations throughout Latin America Caribbean and around the world.”

Organizers explain that The Send is giving feet to belief, where people are called to not only be Christians, but to go share Christ wherever they are — “a national campaign to catalyze every believer into a lifestyle of Christ-like action.” The Send debuted in Orlando, Florida, in February 2019.

The next The Send event will be held in Argentina in April, with an event in the United States following in October at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
Source: AG News

Replacing Homelessness with Hope

A heroin overdose helped Austin B. Chumbley realize he needed to change.

The 23-year-old man had been homeless in Atlanta for months. He abused drugs every day. Friends wouldn’t let him stay the night with them anymore.

“I was a guy who was literally on my way to the coffin,” he says. “I had hit rock bottom.”

A week after his overdose, Chumbley followed a friend’s recommendation and walked into the Atlanta Dream Center to meet with Andrew Lallerstedt, director of its iAM homeless ministry. Founded in 2003 by Paul V. Palmer, a U.S. missionary with Missionary Church Planters & Developers, the Dream Center has been reaching homeless men, women, and children, at-risk children, and victims of sex trafficking for 17 years.

Lallerstedt offered Chumbley a choice between entering one of two long-term residency programs. Chumbley also had a third less pleasant option: going back to living on the streets, seeking the next high.

“It took Andrew getting real with me,” Chumbley says. “He basically put it to me like this: If you do not do something today to change your future, you’re not going to have a future.”

So Chumbley sold his most valuable possession — his Honda Accord — and spent the next 11 months living at The Blake House, a Georgia-based Christian program for men seeking to recover from addiction. The Dream Center not only connected him with the program, but helped pay his tuition.

Over the past five years, the Atlanta Dream Center has placed 927 homeless men and women like Chumbley into housing or long-term programs to help them find healing from the addictions and other issues that contribute to their homelessness. Staff expect that number will surpass 1,000 this year.

The Dream Center began facilitating program placements after Lallerstedt joined the staff in 2014. For Lallerstedt, who is 36, the mission is personal. He was in a similar position himself a decade ago.

Lallerstedt, an Atlanta native, grew up a rebellious pastor’s kid. He dropped out of school in 10th grade and fell into drug addiction. For 7 years, he drifted in and out of homelessness, running away from family and staying with friends wherever he could find a bed.

After ending up in jail, Lallerstedt entered a 10-month residential regeneration program called No Longer Bound. Lallerstedt says the program forced him to deal with the issues beyond drugs that he needed to confront.

“Drugs really weren’t the problem,” he says. “It’s just what you medicate the problem with. I started seeing how many issues I had with Mom, Dad, myself, and others.”

Lallerstedt completed the program and joined the staff at Atlanta Dream Center three years later. That’s when he started looking at ways to get people into programs like the one that had helped him. The Dream Center placed 99 people in programs that first year.

Since then, the Dream Center has placed willing homeless men, women, and children into existing programs as funding allows. For those entering treatment, the graduation rate is around 12 percent. But Lallerstedt says the success stories like Chumbley’s make it worth it.

“Since we actually have a solution, it makes the volunteers and staff more excited to go out and talk with people,” Lallerstedt says. “It’s like we’re trying to find the one.”

Connecting people to long-term programs and housing is just a segment of the Dream Center’s homeless ministry, which touches thousands of homeless people per year. Once a week, Dream Center staff bring shower and clothes closet trucks into the streets, giving people a chance to clean up and find new clothes. The Dream Center also works with the police department to do strategic outreaches throughout the area.

“Our definition of success is not the placement number,” Lallerstedt says. “It’s just to love someone.”

Chumbley, now 27, graduated from his program four years ago. He now lives in Sandy Springs, Georgia, and works as a gas pipe fitter and is passionate about physical fitness. He married his wife, Reilly, in October.

Chumbley says he keeps in touch with Lallerstedt. Having someone there in his darkest moment who has been through the same situation has been a huge help.

“If you’re serious, they will bend over backward and give you every ounce of help they possibly can,” Chumbley says. “From where I was four years ago, it’s night and day.”

[PhotoGallery path = “/sitecore/Media Library/PENews/Photo Galleries/Andrew Lallerstedt”]

Slide 1: Andrew Lallerstadt is helping others recover as he recovered.Slide

Slide 2: Austin Chumbley is in a much better place than his drug addiction days.



Source: AG News

This Week in AG History — Feb. 18, 1939

Long before Twitter, the Assemblies of God had “Daddy” Welch.

John W. Welch (1859-1939), known affectionately as “Daddy Welch,” was a senior statesman in the Assemblies of God during its early decades. He served as Chairman (1915-1920 and 1923-1925) and Secretary (1920-1923) of the young Fellowship. Welch was known for his wit and wisdom. In the 1930s the Pentecostal Evangel published a regular column titled “Words of Council from Daddy Welch,” which shared his collected short sayings with readers.

The last installment of his column was published in the Feb. 18, 1939,  issue of the Pentecostal Evangel, just several months before his death. His wisdom remains valuable reading today. Several examples of Welch’s sayings are below.

• The closer we get to God the more modest we shall become.

• Consistency and impartiality are needed in every minister.

• Cultivate yielding your mind to the Lord if you are going to preach.

• Be careful of your statements until you know your interpretations of Scripture are water tight.

• God can develop a mushroom overnight, but it takes years to develop an oak.

• As a shepherd, strive to direct the love of the people towards the Lord and not towards yourself.

• Teach tithing; but do not use an unnecessary amount of the income of the church for your personal needs.

• You can afford to make sacrifices for the sake of unity. It is a manly thing to stand up for your own rights, but it is a Christlike thing to surrender them for the sake of others.

• The philosophy of all preaching is first to get the people to think, then to feel, and finally to act.

• Character is the strength of God in the soul of man.

• Faith looks clear past the trouble. It visualizes Christ.

• The better we know Jesus the more readily we yield to Him.

• Beware of revelations and manifestations that are not given to other Spirit-filled believers.

• It is hard to guide a ship until it is in motion. The blessing of God falls on the path of everyday duty. Stay busy and God will lead you on.

For additional sayings read the entire article, “Words of Council from Daddy Welch,” on page 5 of the Feb. 18, 1939, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Trouble: A Servant,” by John Wright Follette

• “Praying Always with All Prayer,” by Thomas Walker

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.
Source: AG News

Stronger Families, Stronger Churches

During dinner at almost any restaurant, an alarming pattern is evident. Younger couples use phones to finish up work while kids check social media. Even older couples often eat with little conversation. For many, the situation is similar at home. A quick internet search produces multiple articles about the detrimental effect of screen time on family relationships. Communication is easier than ever before, but it seems couples are less engaged on a personal level.

Robert C. Crosby, president of Emerge Counseling Services in Akron, Ohio, and his wife, Pamela, believe the Church can change that pattern. During 25 years of pastoring in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio, they realized that strong families make strong churches which in turn bless communities.

“The Church has focused on breadth — reaching lots of people—but sometimes neglected depth — equipping people for relationships,” says Crosby. The Crosbys in 2010 founded Teaming Life in an effort to build stronger couples, families, and church teams.

The Crosbys believe many communication problems in marriage are rooted in gender differences.

“For men, the barrier is usually ego; for women it is expectations,” Crosby says. Men turn to their jobs or man caves, not realizing their wives need security and provision. Women, on the other hand, expect their home, kids, and husband to be a certain way. When expectations aren’t met, married women feel lonely, excluded by the very things that feed their husband’s ego. The gap between expectations and reality fills with stress.

In their new book, The Will of a Man & and the Way of a Woman: Balancing & Blending Better Together, the Crosbys explore differences as part of God’s design. Reflecting on tough periods in their own marriage, they show how differences can actually be complementary strengths, as a couple truly becomes one.

But with many couples, especially wives, suffering in silence or actually headed for divorce, how can the Church help?

“The Church must prioritize the authority of Scripture, using the Bible’s many examples of the strengths of both men and women.” There is a balancing effect to a man’s will and a woman’s way.”

Teaching on gender differences, while obviously valuable to couples, does not exclude singles. The concept can help women come to terms with a previous difficult relationship or prepare for marriage. Others find the information valuable in workplaces and friendships. Single parents learn the importance of mentorship for children, one way families can bless others as their own relationships improve.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline indicates that approximately one in four women experience abuse by an intimate partner at some point. Others deal with spousal substance abuse or infidelity. To help these women, church leaders should know local resources for safety and for capable Christian counseling to address vulnerability and codependency.

Pamela Crosby urges women’s leaders to set a goal that no woman walks a hard path by herself.

“We need women who are mature in their faith investing in new Christ followers,” she says. “And we absolutely must be Spirit-led, discerning when a woman needs someone to ask how she’s doing. Be aware of the woman who comes to church alone.”

Leaders can learn to ask insightful questions. With sensitivity to the appropriate environment —small group, large group, or one-on-one — the right question can encourage a woman to open up.

Source: AG News

Former Evangel President Robert H. Spence Dies

Following an incapacitating stroke on Sunday, Robert H. Spence, who had led Evangel University for 40 years prior to his retirement in 2014, passed away peacefully this morning, surrounded by family and friends. He was 84 years old.

Spence, whose service was recognized with an honorary key to the city of Springfield, Missouri, last week, served as chancellor of Evangel following his retirement. His many accomplishments, volunteer work, and service in and to the school and community were widely recognized by the Assemblies of God as well as local school, government, state, and national officials.

“The family has asked me to extend its gratitude to you for your love and support,” states Carol Taylor, president of Evangel. “Please continue to keep the Spence family, and especially Dr. Spence’s beloved wife, Anne, in your prayers.”

A public memorial service will be held on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, at Evangel in the Robert H. Spence Chapel. A visitation will be held between 1:30 and 2:45 p.m., and the service will be at 3 p.m. The memorial service will be livestreamed on the Evangel website for people who are unable to travel.

Evangel University has created a memorial page for Spence that will be updated with memorial comments. It can be found at:

Those desiring to send cards to the family may mail them to Evangel University Office of the President at 1111 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, MO 65802, and they will be delivered to the family. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested contributions to the Robert H. Spence Evangel University Memorial Fund.

“President Spence lived his life with great integrity and dignity in service of the King of kings,” Taylor states. “His service to Evangel and Springfield cannot be overstated. I am reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 25, in which He says: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”
Source: AG News

Multigenerational Ministry

Periodicals, educational institutions, and spiritual leaders are weighing in on an up-and-coming approach to discipleship and evangelism. But is a multigenerational approach to ministry in fact a new idea and is it an important angle in ministry? Or is it just another fad that will come and then be gone?

While the term multigenerational is not specifically used in the Bible, there are countless examples of intergenerational ministry. A command from the Lord for this approach is found as early in Scripture as Deuteronomy 4:9 to teach and instruct “your children and your children’s children.” In addition, Titus 2:3–5 guides older women to teach and encourage younger women.

While it can be easy to target a specific age group, thinking about ways to incorporate several different generations in ministry while maintaining relevance to each can seem like a daunting task. One of the easiest ways to begin introducing a multigenerational approach to ministry to women in church is with group discipleship.

Jane Heeke, Assemblies of God Kansas Ministry Network Women’s Ministries women director, created a 9-month discipleship program, Women of Valor, that has recently yielded results. The program utilizes a group discipleship approach mixed with individual mentorship. Women of Valor has reached girls just entering their teenage years all the way up to women in their mid-80s.

“Every woman, despite her age, has a hunger to know the deep things of God,” Heeke says. “Biblical truths and scriptural fundamentals feed the God-given desires that all women have from childhood through our senior years.”

Likewise, church planter Loralie Crabtree has witnessed incredible collaboration between women of different generations in her most recent pastorate, Hope Church in Haverhill, Massachusetts.

“One thing that was really important to us as we started the church plant was to have a multiplicity of voices at the table to feed into what we call group discernment,” Crabtree says. Her approach to church planting called for a collaborative team of diverse men and women to help mold and shape the congregation. Crabtree has elicited the help of women in their 20s to women in their 70s.

“It is important to understand how those from different generations feel because when we forge the way together, it lasts longer and takes us further,” Crabtree says.

While often it seems as though only older generations pass along knowledge to younger Christians, AG General Superintendent Doug Clay says people of different ages can learn and benefit from each another.

“In a multigenerational approach to ministry, it is not just good for a younger attendee to be around a seasoned saint,” Clay says. “The passion of the younger generation can have a positive influence on the older group.”

More resources on ministering to women are available at AG Women.

Source: AG News

Sober Peer to Enhance Addiction Treatment

“What would it look like to put hope within reach of every addict — online?” That’s the question Global Teen Challenge President Jerry Nance challenged leaders with more than seven years ago. Today, Sober Peer Enterprise and its social media Sober Peer App are just weeks away from going live — having been in beta testing for several months.

Gary Blackard, president and CEO of U.S. Missions Adult and Teen Challenge USA, explains that Sober Peer Enterprise is a measurement platform for addiction centers. The on-demand Sober Peer App is designed for individuals struggling with addiction to be able to quickly and easily access online, community, and even professional help.

Another key component of Sober Peer is that through its measurement platform it continues to quantitatively verify that faith plays a significant role in positive recovery outcomes.

Although Sober Peer might be viewed as “software,” science is what is taking place. Through ongoing daily surveys of students, it identifies how psychological, emotional, and social issues are interconnected, and influence the recovery process. In short, when a user enters his or her information/responses, the Sober Peer program examines hundreds of variables across the information of thousands of users, easily identifying patterns, which leads to recommended treatment for a successful outcome.

“Beta testing began in October with two centers,” Blackard says. “We now have 22 centers beta testing the enterprise portion of Sober Peer. The app has been in beta testing on a more limited scale with individuals for several months as well.”

Sober Peer Enterprise will go live in March in the United States, with the app going live in April. Nance expects the app to be available globally within 24 months.

“In the United States,” observed Nance in a recent newsletter, “we have multiple state and drug agencies watching and waiting to see how they might utilize the Sober Peer technology in other programs that are seeking innovative ways to combat substance abuse and treat addiction.”

In addition to enabling centers to more easily identify challenges certain students likely will face due to their past experiences and current states of mind, Sober Peer will enable millions of people, who would never consider entering a residential program, to get access to help.

Steve Trader, CEO of Global Teen Challenge, observes that another powerful benefit of the Sober Peer App is that it allows for individuals to stay connected even after they complete the program.

“The ability to stay connected is critical,” Trader states. “We still have too many graduates and folks who complete our programs who stumble and fall because they cannot stay connected. Sober Peer allows them to stay in almost constant contact with the same coaches and counselors who helped them from the beginning. Even in Beta testing we have seen how this can keep individuals from falling back into the difficult challenges of addiction.”

Nance says that Sober Peer is launching in English, but a Spanish version is not far behind. Other languages will be added on a regular basis as Global Teen Challenge addresses the needs of Teen Challenge programs in 129 nations around the world.

Source: AG News

Mistake Leads to God's Promise Being Fulfilled

It really never should have happened, but it did. A small mistake was made at the national Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC) office . . . a small mistake that was nothing short of providential.

When Cortney Ostrander, children’s pastor of New Hope Assembly of God in Urbandale, Iowa, contacted the national BGMC office asking for projects for Iowa for her kids church to consider raising funds for, she was accidentally sent project pages for Indiana and Idaho.

“I emailed them back, and we joked about them being similar, but not the same,” Ostrander says, “and then they sent me all the Iowa projects.”

But when Ostrander, who has been leading New Hope’s children’s program for the past 12 years, received the Iowa BGMC projects, she discovered the church had already participated in many of them. She was looking for a different and “big” project to challenge the 250 K-5 kids who attend New Hope.

Out of curiosity, Ostrander looked at the projects mistakenly sent to her — one of them caught her eye.

Darrell and Sandy Blatchley have been missionaries to the Philippines for the past 24 years. In March 2019, their ministry tent was destroyed during a typhoon, so they decided to build a permanent structure. BGMC originally sent money to help them launch the project, but more funds were needed.

“I saw the roof project and it immediately resonated in my heart,” Ostrander says, “so I asked pastor [James] Weaver if it would be okay to contact them [the Blatchleys] about this, and he was all for it.”

Ostrander messaged Darrell Blatchley immediately, and despite the 14-hour time difference, within five minutes he had messaged back. They had the beams in place for the roof, but it would take $17,000 to finish it. When Ostrander informed Weaver, who consulted with the church’s missions board, he said to let Darrell know the church would cover the cost.

“We try to match or double any BGMC or Speed the Light giving as it encourages our kids,” explains Weaver, who founded the church in 1990. “Missionaries have monthly support, but it’s typically not enough to effectively do all the things they’re called to do — that’s why we’re pretty passionate about BGMC and Speed the Light.”

“When pastor Weaver told me that I could tell the Blatchleys that we would cover the cost of the whole roof, it was one of the highlights of my life,” Ostrander says, the excitement of the moment still evident in her voice. “He was so thankful, so appreciative!”

BGMC was able to fast-track the money to the Blatchleys who finished the roof in about a month’s time — and a day before a tropical storm hit the southern Philippines. People from all around the area gathered under the protection of the new, solidly built roof, even though the building did not have walls or a floor yet.

Although the Blatchleys’ prayers were answered with the roof, God wasn’t done yet. Ostrander says that the church missions board became aware that the Blatchleys’ new building did not have walls or a floor — they wanted to know how much that would cost to provide.

Darrell calculated the cost — $79,000. When Ostrander told the board how much it would be, the response that ultimately came back was, “Tell him we’re going to give him $80,000.”

“It was a Sunday night that the missions board was meeting and I was video chatting with Darrell on Facebook,” Ostrander recalls. “He was still just so excited about the roof, and then I told him we wanted to help with the walls and floor, but the connection wasn’t very good and he thought I said we were giving him $8,000 — and he was so excited.”

When Ostrander explained the church was giving $80,000, she says she and Darrell both broke out in tears and they started crying and laughing together, celebrating God’s goodness.

Ostrander then learned that the church had been part of God keeping His promise to the Blatchleys. Darrell shared he felt God tell them that within a year of the tent being destroyed, they would have a new building in place. The problem was, no churches in his district (Idaho) had that kind of money to give in such a relatively short amount of time. And without a covered place to meet, the Family Circus Children’s Ministries the Blatchleys have in Mindanao was struggling. But then, first, came the money for the roof, and then, several weeks later, the $80,000 commitment for the walls and floor.

“He was just believing that the Lord would bring it in — such a man of faith!” Ostrander states. “It just blew us all away, that we would be able to a part of that, that God would make it happen (through us).”

David Boyd, national BGMC director, has personally attended a Family Circus Ministry event in the Philippines.

“I have witnessed 5,000 kids arriving and jamming themselves into the tent,” he says. “To much of the world, these kids are considered the poorest of the poor, but in God’s heart they are His precious joy. What a joy it is to know that this ministry will now continue greater than ever.”

Ostrander says that when she shared with her children’s church kids everything God had done, they were happy, but not as excited as she initially expected.

“The adults were all like, ‘Oh, wow! So cool! What a miracle!’ but the kids weren’t a bit surprised,” Ostrander says, then explains: “The kids have faith that God is who He says He is and He’s going to do what He says He’s going to. One of the kids said, ‘Well, of course! God is so big, He can do whatever He wants to do and He’s going to do it.’”

“God owns the cattle on a thousand hills,” Boyd agrees. “He sold some in Iowa!”

Weaver says that the church has a focus on BGMC and STL because giving to missions creates within the children and youth a heart for missions, a heart for the lost, and a heart for the work of God.

“The Bible says, and I’m paraphrasing, the heart always follows your money — start putting your treasure toward something, and your heart will follow [Matthew 6:21],” Weaver observes. “So, start putting your treasure toward the lost, and your heart will be toward winning the lost.”

Having just completed a challenge for each child to raise $31 during the 31 days of January, Ostrander says they have all kinds of events planned for the upcoming year, from city-wide lemonade stands to craft sales.

But one thing is for certain, her K-5 kids and the church are going to continue to make missions their priority.
Source: AG News


Editor’s note: Tommy J. Barnett has been preaching since the age of 16 and in the ensuing 66 years he has developed some of the most innovative ministries in the U.S. Assemblies of God. Although his son Luke became senior pastor at Dream City Church in Phoenix in 2013 after Tommy experienced heart troubles, Tommy officially remains as co-pastor of the church. He co-founded the LA Dream Center with his younger son, Matthew. His daughter, Kristie Barnett Sexton, is involved in human trafficking rescue and rehabilitation ministry at Dream City Church. Barnett also is chancellor of Southeastern University, which named its ministry school the Barnett College of Ministry & Theology.

The energetic and congenial Barnett recently sat down for an interview with AG News in Springfield, Missouri.

AG NEWS: You’ve initiated such staples in the Fellowship as Dream Centers, annual pastor training conferences, and Masters Commission. What do you think your most lasting legacy will be?

TOMMY J. BARNETT: When I travel all over the world at the age of 82, the great joy I have is running into people who were in Masters Commission, or at the pastors’ conferences, or who have rehabbed at a Dream Center, or who were saved at an evangelistic meeting we had. Without a doubt, the legacy will be the people who have been saved and the leaders who came out of the pastors school, people like Chris Hodges in Birmingham, John Hannah of Chicago, or Jentezen Franklin. Everything I’ve done has been tied to soul-winning.

AG NEWS: How have you seen the hand of God move most in your ministry?

BARNETT: I prepare my sermons thoroughly, but there have been times when I’ve laid an egg as big as an ostrich egg in sermons. While I never plan what I’m going to say at the altar call, the anointing is there. I know people are going to be saved after the invitation. I’ve always had an affinity for the unreached, the hurting, and the needy.

In Los Angeles we were trying to build the Dream Center, but it was sputtering. The people on the streets — the insane people, people who smelled, families that had been deserted by fathers — there were no jobs, no money, it was anarchy. I thought, How can we build a church here? Then God spoke: If you will reach people no one else wants, I will give you people everyone wants. So today at the Dream Center you will see the untouchables, but if you squint your eyes, you will also see the “beautiful people,” Hollywood movie stars.

AG NEWS: Why do you think the Dream Center model, which you established 25 years ago, has been copied so often?

BARNETT: There is an innate desire to help other people. We can all help feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and rescue the hurting. So many young people want to do this, they just need to be told how to do it. We have 7,000 young people who visit the Dream Center for a week each year and then go back and build Dream Centers. There are now more than 300 Dream Centers.

AG NEWS: Why do you think your children have flourished in ministry?

BARNETT: Some things are taught, some things are caught. My dad (Hershel) came up with the bus ministry idea. I took my kids on bus routes, on hospital calls. They are taking ministry to another level.

AG NEWS: Why does the Dream City Church Phoenix, now with over 14,000 weekly attendees, keep growing?

BARNETT: We now have eight campuses. What was once the largest Lutheran church in America has been given to us. There are over 200 ministries at Dream City Church. They use some of the methods I used, but they use new methods. They are pursuing new methods and a new identity for what had been called Phoenix First Assembly.

I am interested in numbers. I adopted the slogan, We count people because people count. Everyone who walks in that door is someone I could potentially win to Jesus Christ.

AG NEWS: When you started in ministry, did you foresee some of the issues that would be facing Christians in 2020?

BARNETT: I never did. The families I knew were like The Brady Bunch. But I also never expected to see God move so in combating what is going on. Our nation’s sad condition provides great opportunities for God to do something.

AG NEWS: What does the Assemblies of God have going for it?

BARNETT: In our denomination we know what we believe and we stand by our basic doctrines. I believe in the criteria we’ve set for the ministers. I love the Assemblies of God because I love accountability. If I get out of line, I know they’re going to pull me in. The denomination protects the pastor. We have to uphold integrity or be removed. When I’m an AG pastor, people know I’m the husband of one wife and the business of the church is run right.

AG NEWS: Is there anything left for you to accomplish?

BARNETT: If I had it to do over, I would have taken bigger risks and dreamed bigger dreams. In everything I did, God exceeded what I thought would happen. It takes all my energy to keep the Dream Centers going in L.A. and Phoenix. I prayed to God, It seems like every city in America needs a Dream Center. God said, Why don’t you just ask Me?

So I have one more big dream. I’ve asked God to have someone put a billion dollars in my hand before I die, not keeping a penny for myself, so we can build Dream Centers all over the world. There are a lot of billionaires in the world.
Source: AG News

Community Game Changer

A faith-based nonprofit organization in New Orleans launched by an ordained Assemblies of God pastor is being praised as a game changer for its efforts focused on violence reduction, youth education and training, drug abuse counseling, decreasing blight, and Christian community development initiatives.

In 2008, Robert E. Burnside Sr. started Compassion Outreach of America (COA) from Journey Ninth Ward Assembly of God in an effort to provide a holistic approach after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.

The neighborhood was thrust into the nation’s spotlight in the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, as much of the area experienced catastrophic flooding.

Jonathan L. Burton, a Southeastern University graduate and church planter in the Ninth Ward, says COA has been a tremendous blessing by providing valuable connections in the predominantly African-American community.

“COA has allowed us to utilize their facility to meet twice a week for events that are geared toward reaching our community and building our launch team,” explains the 39-year-old Burton, a U.S. Missions missionary associate serving with Missionary Church Planters & Developers. “Partnering with COA has been a game changer. Because of their help, we are in a position to launch Regeneration Church this fall.”

Burnside, 47, pastored Journey Ninth Ward AG until 2017. As the new southern region director for the AG’s National Black Fellowship, Burnside sees COA as one of the leading urban church planting trainers and curriculum builders in the country.

COA also has made an impact in violence-prone New Orleans. Through the organization, nearly 300 have participated in the Project Reach NOLA summer employment program.

Additionally, more than 100 homes in the St. Claude community have been painted by volunteers, with nearly $650,000 in labor and materials donated. Also, more than 50 churches and faith-based organizations have sent 6,000 volunteers to provide 100,000-plus hours of community service.

“We have seen positive educational and life outcomes for children and families as we provided them with the tools needed to take ownership of their learning, become advocates for peaceful coexistence, and manifest their divine purpose,” says Burnside.

Tom Brink, director of global engagement for InterVarsity in New England, has brought mission teams to work with COA for four years. In September 2017, he attended a faith-based antiracism training, which COA coordinated in partnership with Trinity Episcopal Church and The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond.

“Our curriculum for the past number of years has focused on racial reconciliation and the gospel,” says Brink, 64. “The Undoing Racism training helped me to understand more what the root issues are and thus where to focus our work. It helped me to ask for more help from our staff of color to create our program for the future in how we will send students cross culturally.”

COA collaborated with Debra Copeland of Loyola University New Orleans to assist with her research for the Fathers Matter and Social Support Study. The collaborative initiative aims to help men become more engaged fathers through Fathers Matters gatherings.

“God has used Fathers Matter to help me in so many ways,” says Joshua Leavell, 30. “Last year I lost my job, my home was foreclosed, and I was engulfed in a custody battle, which caused me to miss out on some of my son’s first milestones. Being able to have the Fathers Matter guys alongside me kept me in the race.”

Burnside, who has been married to his wife, Sherdren, for 22 years and has four adult children, never met his biological father.

“I never received any financial, social, or emotional support from him,” Burnside says. “Given this disconnect from my father, I had to learn how to father my children through other sources. Fathers Matter was created for men like me who needed support in learning how to be the father God has called us to be.”
Source: AG News