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T R A N S F O R M   A M E R I C A !
Strengthening Churches


by Alton Garrison
President, AGTrust
Assistant General Superintendent

    Imagine the impact of 1 million evangelists on America. That's how many people worship in the 8,400 (out of 12,800 total) U.S. Assemblies of God churches that are currently plateaued or declining. Either these churches are not evangelizing or their efforts are not working.
    Every church, small or large, needs both the power of the Spirit and a process of growth. Spiritual experiences are wonderful, but without a plan pastors will find themselves wondering how to take the church from where it is, to where it needs to be.
    AGTrust is partnering with Church Transformation Initiative to strengthen our existing AG churches by encouraging districts and their churches to take the one-year Acts 2 Journey, which follows the first-century blueprint outlined in Acts 2:42-47. The Acts 2 healthy church model was birthed in prayer and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
    More than 500 AG churches in 24 AG districts and one overseas country have participated in the Acts 2 Journey. Thanks to AGTrust, at least 280 of those churches received scholarships to help offset their costs during the one-year journey to better health.
    About 95 percent of pastors who have completed the Acts 2 Journey feel better equipped to lead their congregations, and 88 percent see their teams functioning more effectively than ever before. Two out of three churches are seeing a significant impact, and 45 percent of the previously declining churches are experiencing growth.
    Thank you for helping to Transform America by strengthening our churches!

    Check out Alton Garrison's book The Spirit-Empowered Church at: 



"If you want
your congregation
to experience a
spiritual awakening
and renewal in all
leadership, get involved
in the Acts 2 Journey.
 It will be a unique and
unforgettable experience."
—Pastor Oliver Lora-Ovalles

    In early 2013, when Pastor Oliver Lora-Ovalles and his wife, Elizabeth, assumed the senior pastorate of Eternal Rock Assembly of God in Detroit, Mich., they found untapped potential.
    "But without a definition of vision, mission, values and outreach strategies, the congregation wasn't growing," says Pastor Lora-Ovalles. "We needed strengthening in our structure and how we conducted worship."
    When the church leadership team was invited by the Midwest Latin District Presbytery to attend the districts' first Acts 2 seminar, they learned that Acts 2 was just what Eternal Rock needed to find renewal and growth.

    In August 2014, the church started the Acts 2 Journey and they saw a move of God like never before. Church attendance has increased rapidly from 150 active members (in 2013) to 375 active members today, and about 30 people were baptized in water in two baptismal services in 2015.
    Church members are now participating more in outreach activities and missions opportunities. They have started a food bank for the community and they regularly conducted family evangelism activities in the nearby parks. One evening activity drew a crowd of 650 people.

Pastors Oliver and
Elizabeth Lora-Ovalles
Roca Eterna Pentecostal Church
(Eternal Rock Assembly of God)
Detroit, Michigan

   Pastor Oliver adds, "Now that we have defined our vision, mission and values, we are focused on strategies to successfully carry out these purposes. I would encourage any church to participate in the Acts 2 Journey. The resource materials are extremely useful, and the Acts 2 facilitators have extensive knowledge and experience." 

30 people were baptised in two services in 2015.

Community outrech day at a park.



Emerald Coast AG
Takes Acts 2 Journey




Pators Bobby and Chrissy Ward
Emerald Coast Assembly of God
PanamaCity Beach, Florida

    In November 2008, Pastors Bobby and Chrissy Ward accepted the staff position as music pastors at Emerald Coast Assembly of God in Panama City Beach, Fla.
    In 2012, the couple assumed double duty to facilitate the church's staffing needs. Bobby continued as music pastor and accepted the senior pastorate. His wife, Chrissy, the church's secretary and drummer, also became the youth pastor. She is currently completing a bachelor's degree with School of Urban Missions.
    The community surrounding Emerald Coast AG is riddled by drug addiction, sex trafficking and homelessness. Shortly after Pastor Bobby took on the role of senior pastor, he felt crushed by the responsibilities. "I was pastoring a church, working another job to make ends meet, and trying to find the ability to balance the two," Pastor Bobby says. "I later came to realize the pressures were also being felt by other members of our staff."
That was when Pastor Bobby suggested that the church try the Acts 2 Journey.

"The Acts 2 Journey will cause you to think outside the box.
Changing methods does not mean changing our message."

                                                                                                                                                                                 -Pastor Bobby Ward

    "But one of the biggest things I realized is that I do not need to have all the answers. There are people in the body of Christ that have gifts and abilities beneficial to the church as a whole, and they can take some of the burden off my shoulders."
    Through Acts 2 the church has become strategic in its missions-mindedness to meet the needs of the people around them. They participate in an annual neighborhood outreach where they provide games, food and ministry for a local apartment complex that houses lower-income families. They also provide gift cards for the poor to help purchase food as well as resources to help cover the cost of over-the-counter medicines.
    The problems in this community are enormous," Pastor Bobby says. "Although our congregation does outreach ministry without hesitation and gives as best they can, we are saddened that we cannot do more."
    Recently, Pastor Bobby was diagnosed with cancer. The congregation has rallied around their pastor, offered support, and watched as God restores their pastor's health.
    Since Acts 2 the congregation at Emerald Coast AG has grown by 20 members and is seeing an increased number of visitors.


    Thank you, AGTrust donors! You have helped provide Acts 2 Initiative scholarships for 207 churches like Emerald Coast AG. Altogether, more than 450 churches in 22 districts and one overseas country have participated in the Acts 2 Journey sponsored by Church Transformation Initiative (formerly Healthy Church Network).
    To give a gift today to help invest in future AG generations through AGTrust, GIVE NOW!



Giving Churches the Tools to Get Back on Course

Pastor Jeff Fillmore
Northside Assembly of God
Biloxi, Mississippi 

    Northside Assembly of God in Biloxi, Miss., was one of the 8,000 U.S. AG churches experiencing a plateau in their growth — before Pastor Jeff Fillmore decided to embark on the Acts 2 Journey.
    Pastor Fillmore explains: "We weren't facing internal turmoil or outside attacks; we were simply stuck. After listening to and — I emphasize this — prayerfully applying the principles we learned, we began to see results. It was first a revitalized outlook of our church leaders that quickly spread throughout the church. Then we began to see an increase in Salvations and Holy Spirit baptisms."
    Before Acts 2, Northside AG averaged 100 in weekly attendance. Now the church has doubled in size. This increase is also a representation of the church's energized commitment to outreach. Northside AG has increased its major evangelism effort from once every other year to four major events that reach outside the church each year.
    These outreaches include Northside closing one Sunday every year to take 80-plus people out to the parking lot to minister to Mardi Gras parade float attenders (between 800-900 people). The parade starts in front of the church buildling.





One of the four major outreaches at Northside is the annual Mardi Gras parade event which takes place on a Sunday. Pictured here are Christian Motorcyclists Association members, who attend Northside AG, praying with military personnel stationed nearby and participating in the parade.

    On Northside's Biker Sunday outreach, hobbyist and biker clubs attend a special service purposefully geared to fit their lifestyle. According to Pastor Fillmore, the church currently sees two opposing biker clubs consistently attending the event, along with Christian Motorcyclist Association members.
    The church hosts Totes for Teachers, where they have adopted a local middle school staff of 70 and provide them with needed supplies. At its July 4 celebration, the church provides food, music and activities for the children. The church is also in the process of upgrading their gym for a Mega Sports Camp this summer.
    Pastor Fillmore knows that people are drawn to be part of a place where they found Christ and experienced the move of the Holy Spirit. "This can't be equaled by dynamics of song, style of preaching or cosmetic arrangement of architecture or lighting," he says.
    "The key to becoming a healthy church is also not merely the basic Acts 2 teachings and insight along," Pastor Fillmore says. "This whole process was dependent on a soul searching, heart rendering, prayer dependent attention to USING those teachings and insights. I thank God for where the Acts 2 teachings have brought us and look forward to how God is going to use them to take us even further."
    Your gifts to AGTrust have provided Acts 2 Initiative scholarships for 156 churches to help offset their cost to participate in the year-long Acts 2 Journey process to become healthier. More than 400 churches in 20 districts have participated in Acts 2.
    Thank you for your faithful investment in the future of this Fellowship with your AGTrust commitment.
    You can designate your AGTrust one-time or recurring gift by clicking here.

Northside's Biker Sunday outreach attracts
members from two biker clubs plus members
of the Christian Motorcyclist Association.

Attendance at Northside AG
has doubled since the
church participated in the
Acts 2 Journey.

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