An Assemblies of God church is usually a good bet for some good preaching, and the General Superintendent of the denomination did not disappoint Sunday when he visited Central Assembly of God in Haughton. The Rev. George Wood is also a lawyer, so his preaching style was fairly measured with a good bit of scholarly exposition. But being a Pentecostal, he knows how emotions play into developing faith, so he told several moving stories of conversion and redemption.
After the service Wood was kind enough to answer a few questions about his goals for the denomination, since he was just installed as its leader two weeks ago. Here's a few responses that I couldn't fit in the paper:
"One of my goals is investing in the next generation. Of the 2.8 million members, 1.1 million are under the age of 25. This whole matter of transmission of faith is important. We have 60,000 high school seniors - how can we retain them while reaching others?"
And he challenged churches to break outside of their walls to serve the community. He spent three hours on Saturday with a boxcutter working for a local mission project in Missouri.
"The church must get in the street and show the love of Christ. The non-Christian world gets tired of Christians telling them how to behave. We need to use words, but we earn that by our deeds."
Baptisms in the denomination are down slightly from 10 years ago, although attendance and membership is up about 2 percent -- a fact Wood put as "nothing to brag about."
"That's one reason I want to plant new churches. It's the most effective way to grow."
The 66-year-old pastor also mentioned a few of his firsts. He is the first son of missionaries, the first lawyer to be elected general superintendent.