The corporate name of the organization is “The General Council of Assemblies of God” which term is reserved for legal use when referring to the legal entity.
The term General Council is used to refer to business sessions of the corporation. The term Assemblies of God is used to refer to the entire constituency.
The business sessions of the organization now takes place once in every four years. Each ordained minister and two delegates from each established section make up the voting constituency. In the event there is no ordained minister residing in an area, one minister can represent the area.
The General Council in session is the highest legislative body of the church. All local churches, sections, areas, and districts are integral part of and constitute the General Council of the Assemblies of God, Nigeria, and are guided in all phases of the work by a Constitution and Bye-Laws, with the Bible as the supreme authority for faith, conduct, and practice.
Between the years 1931 and 1935 a group of young men and women soundly converted and living at Old Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria, were reading various religious periodicals that told of many people in many lands who were receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues, according to Acts 2:4. They became convinced that the Pentecostal experience was for them, too. Within a short while many of them were blessed with the Baptism in the Holy in 1934.
They established a number of churches. At that time they were not affiliated with any overseas Mission. After much prayer they requested the American Assemblies of God to send them a resident missionary.
In June, 1939, Rev. & Mrs. Williams Lloyd Shirer, a Missionary in what was then called Gold Coast (Ghana) was sent to meet the few Pastors and young men of “The Church of Jesus Christ.” They worked out an agreement of affiliation with the Assemblies of God in Springfield, Missouri, U.S.A. and the “Church of Jesus Christ” was officially renamed “Assemblies of God”. Early in July 1939, the Shirers returned to Tamele, Gold Coast (Ghana). Late in August, 1939, the affiliation agreement was officially sanctioned. Rev. Shirer’s recommendation to the American Assemblies of God resulted in Rev. and Mrs. Everrest L. Philips coming to Nigeria in February, 1940. Other Missionaries soon followed.From that beginning both the Nigerian Pastors and the overseas Missionaries found a great response to their preaching of the Gospel and church planting efforts. One of the first projects they embarked on was to establish a Bible School at Old Umuahia, Abia State, where the young pastors could receive training for the Ministry. Later, a Printing Press was established at Aba, Abia State, to provide printed materials for the young, growing and multiplying churches. That Printing Press is still operating and is producing huge amounts of literature not only for the Nigerian Assemblies of God but for other churches, too. And that one Bible School has grow to ten schools strategically located in the country.
1. The General Council:
The Body that holds the entire work of the Assemblies of God Nigeria together into one formidable force.
2. The General Committee:
The General Committee is a body other than the Executive Committee that meets twice a year. Each district and area has the privilege of representation on the committee by at least three members – the district Superintendent together with two others, one of which must be a layman. Together with the Executive Officers of the General Council, the National Departmental Directors, Retired General Superintendents, Heads of Schools, and the General Council Legal Adviser. They meet every six months to discuss problems and needs concerning the General Council, Districts, and Areas.
3. The Executive Committee:
Between General Council Meetings, the affairs of the Church are cared for by an Executive Committee, composed of the General Superintendent, Assistant General Superintendent, General Secretary and General Treasurer, the expatriate missionary representative, and eleven District Superintendents, making a total of sixteen members. All, except the missionary representative, are elected at the General Council Meetings for a four-year term. This committee meets on a quarterly basis.
4. The Board of Administration:
The Executive Officers of the General Council constitute the Board of Administration. The Officers are the General Superintendent, the Assistant General Superintendent, the General Secretary, and the General Treasurer. These Offices are fulltime. The Board of Administration, Chairman by the General Superintendent, oversees the day-to-day affairs of the Secretariat, meets often for the general welfare of the entire constituency and takes important administrative decisions between Executive Committee Meetings. The Board of Administration refers some matters to the Executive Committee for ratification.
5. District Councils:
The district is a creature of the General Council of the Assemblies of God, and therefore amenable to the entire body in matters of doctrine and personal conduct of all ministers, churches and members. Districts are governed by a seven (7) member district presbytery, comprising the District Superintendent, Assistant District Superintendent, District Secretary, District Treasurer and three (3) others elected as Presbyters. These are elected at District triennial Council Meetings, to have supervision over all the activities of the Assemblies of God in its prescribed field. Each district has its own Bye-Laws.
6. Area Fellowships:
Areas are districts in making. They have not reached the standards required of districts. They cannot conduct elections. Their counseling committees are appointed by the Executive Committee, and comprise the Supervisor, The Chairman for the Missionary Area, Secretary, Treasurer and two other members. These have the oversight of the Area Churches. Areas are guided by Policies. The Missionary Areas are administered much the same way as Areas. The difference is that Missionary Areas are much younger. They occupy geographical areas where the work is comparatively new and need much more encouragement. The General Council sponsors national missionaries to missionary fields.
In order to facilitate evangelism and enhance administration in various parts of the district or area, sections are created by the district presbytery, or in the case of an area, by the counseling committee. Each section is headed by a Sectional Leader. With the Leader, the Sectional Committee meets from time to time to take care of the affairs of the section. Those that do not meet the requirements for a section are called “Groups” with group leaders. Factors that inform the creation of sections and groups include growth and administrative convenience.
8. Local Churches:
Each local church is under the shepherdship of a pastor. In some cases, the “bigger ones” have as many as two to three additional pastors, serving as either associates, assistants, or in charge of children.
A local church cooperates in the work and support the programmes of the General Council and District Councils and recognizes the district as having the right to disapprove or approve scriptural doctrine and conduct and to administer.
To fulfill the reason-for-being of the Movement, the General Council:
- » 1. Develops, promotes, and co-ordinates the various programmes or projects.
- » 2. Provides information, training, expertise, through seminars, workshops, conferences or conventions, rallies, etc.
- » 3. Monitors, evaluates and improves on various operations and components of the church to make them more efficient
Empowering Healthy Pentecostal Pastors to grow and conserve healthy Pentecostal Churches in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Assemblies of God Nigeria exists to propagate the gospel of Jesus Christ in Nigeria and beyond by all scriptural means in the power of the Holy Spirit, to encourage worship of God and promote fellowship among believers; to develop educational work in so far as seems necessary for the proper growth and efficiency of the church; and to own, hold in trust, use, sell, convey, mortgage, lease, or otherwise dispose of such property real or chattel, as may be needed for prosecution of its work under God.
OUR THREE-FOLD MISSION
Assemblies of God is committed to fulfilling a three-fold Mission, which is our reason-for-being. Assemblies of God exists expressly:
- » 1. To be an agency for evangelizing the world. (Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16).
- » 2. To be a corporate body in which man may worship God. (I Cor. 12:13), and
- » 3. To be a channel of God’s purpose to build a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son. (Eph. 4:11-16; I Cor. 12:28; 14:12).
A Pentecostal pacesetter in Nigeria, up-reach in worship of God, in- reach in discipleship of believers, and out -reach in Evangelizing the world.
Assemblies of God Nigeria aims to remain;
- » The foremost Pentecostal movement in the country.
- » A Spirit –led movement where all component parts recognize and submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
- » A Christ-centered and Christ-propagating Movement spreading throughout the nooks and crannies of our country and beyond;
- » A Spiritual catalyst dictating the Spiritual tempo of the church community within and beyond our county;
- » A Bible holiness preaching and practicing movement keeping the world out of the church and preparing the saints for the rapture;
- » A power-packed Movement, terrorizing and humiliating the forces of darkness in all facets of this last onslaught against the devil by the church, striking terror in the hearts of Satan.
- » A growth – oriented movement, growing upward in worship, together in brotherly love and fellowship, outward in evangelism, and beyond in missions.
- » A powerful movement, locking and unlocking heaven on her knees, binding and casting out devil where they exist, demolishing strongholds of Satan and bringing to submission all minds that exalt themselves above the knowledge of God.