The Assemblies of God is a Pentecostal denomination with approximately 2.8 million members in the United States and 50 million adherents worldwide. Membership is primarily white, although there are some all-Black congregations as well as mixed-race congregations.

Athens First Assembly of God
Athens First Assembly of God

Photograph by Kate Howard, New Georgia Encyclopedia

Shortly after its founding in 1914, the Assemblies of God moved into Georgia but attained only marginal appeal. Since World War II (1941-45), however, the denomination has slowly increased in membership. As of 2004, 224 congregations in Georgia are members of this denomination. Of these, 56 churches are located in rural areas throughout the state. Atlanta and Columbus have the largest number of urban congregations.

In 1914, 300 Pentecostal leaders from 20 states gathered in in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and formed a cooperative fellowship named the General Council of the Assemblies of God. Two years later, the council approved a Statement of Fundamental Truths, a document that summarizes the denomination’s doctrinal tenets.

Assemblies of God churches continue to ascribe to the statement’s tenets, which assert the authority and inerrancy of the Bible; the deity and atoning work of Jesus Christ; the “free gift” of salvation; the possibility of a “second baptism” in the Holy Spirit; the verity of glossolalia, or speaking in tongues; the possibility of divine healing; and the eventuality of rapture and judgment. Church government typically follows a congregational approach, with pastors and deacons elected by communing members of a self-governing and self-supporting congregation. Though relatively autonomous entities, all churches affiliated with the Assemblies of God must adhere to the Statement of Fundamental Truths and a “biblical pattern of conduct.”

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Athens First Assembly of God

Athens First Assembly of God

The Athens First Assembly of God, located in Athens, is one of more than 200 Assemblies of God congregations across the state. A Pentecostal denomination, the Assemblies of God formed in Arkansas in 1914 and began to grow in Georgia, primarily in rural areas, after 1945.

Photograph by Kate Howard, New Georgia Encyclopedia