(RNS) — Thousands are expected to attend the U.S. Assemblies of God’s General Council convening this week in Orlando, Florida, where new executive leaders will be elected and where attendees will discuss a range of issues, such as digital ministries and the process of establishing new churches.
The General Council is the biennial business meeting for the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world, with more than 69 million members, according to Mark Forrester, a spokesman for the Assemblies of God. There are more than 3 million adherents in the U.S.
Forrester said 18,000 people registered to attend the Aug. 2-6 gathering at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Participants are encouraged to follow COVID-19 guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local jurisdictions. The General Council is also available in English and Spanish through livestream.
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The event lists a range of social events throughout the week.
The network of women ministers is scheduled to host a Q&A to discuss ministry leadership development, mental health and marriage and singleness. The National Jewish Fellowship, comprised of Assemblies of God ministers who are ethnically Jewish, will highlight works around its ministries. The church is also set to celebrate 25 years of the AG Help Line, an anonymous counseling hotline that serves the immediate mental health needs of pastors and their families.
Attendees will vote on a number of resolutions that aim to better reflect the diversity of the denomination’s members and that would make it easier for leaders of smaller churches to serve on the executive presbytery. Elections for the offices of general superintendent, general treasurer and executive director of U.S. Missions will also take place.
Doug Clay — general superintendent of the Assemblies of God — and JJ Vasquez — who with his wife, Liz, helped plant the church Journey in Winter Park, Florida — will address the General Council convening.
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Featured speakers also include pastors from across the country: Brittany Jones, who with her husband, Travis, started Motivation Church in Richmond, Virginia, known for its ethnic and racial diversity; Aaron Burke, who with his wife Katie, started Radiant Church in Tampa, Florida, which now has five locations; Waleska Ramos-Orellana, who leads the family-based Casa de Amor y Fe in Lakeland, Florida, with her husband, Roberto; and Greg Ford, who with his wife, Shaylyn, moved to Columbus, Ohio, and in 2010 started One Church, which has continued to expand, according to the conference website.
There are nearly 13,000 Assemblies of God churches across the U.S., according to the church, which lauds its diversity across the country. Of the 3.2 million adherents in the U.S., the church said 44% are ethnic minorities, 22% are Latino and 11% are Black.
The Assemblies of God emphasizes personal salvation, water baptism, the baptism in the Holy Spirit accompanied by the evidence of speaking in tongues, and the premillennial second coming of Jesus Christ.