This Week in AG History — Jan. 31, 1954

Church planting has always been part of
the DNA of the Assemblies of God. While specific programs and personnel come
and go, each new generation of leaders has emphasized the importance of
starting new churches. In the 1950s, the National Home Missions Department (now
U.S. Missions) promoted the “Mother
Church Plan.” This program encouraged each Assembly of God congregation to
start a “daughter church.” 

The Jan. 31, 1954, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel highlighted how one
historic congregation, Central Assembly of God in Cumberland, Maryland, had
started four churches in neighboring communities in the previous five years.
Central Assembly of God, established in 1915, experienced a revival in 1939. As
a result of this revival, young people in the church felt stirred to action and
began holding prayer meetings in small towns without Assemblies of God
churches. The prayer meetings developed into “outstations,” where small groups
gathered for services in rented buildings, schoolhouses, or homes. Each
outstation had a superintendent and was under the oversight of the “mother
church.” A carload of people from Central Assembly of God, including speakers
and musicians, would travel to the outstations to help with the services. The
mother church financially and spiritually assisted its daughter churches in
this manner until the new congregations grew and could become self-sustaining.

Central Assembly of God’s first daughter
church to become self-sustaining was in Bedford Valley, Pennsylvania. By 1954
the Bedford Valley Assembly had an average attendance of 140 people. The
Bedford Valley congregation soon mothered its own church in Rainesburg,
Pennsylvania. The mother church, according to the Pentecostal Evangel article, had become a grandparent! Central
Assembly of God planted two additional churches, in Fort Ashby, West Virginia,
and Carpenter’s Addition, West Virginia. 

Initially, some members of the Cumberland
church were concerned that sending some of its best members to other
communities to plant churches would weaken the mother church. However, the
opposite proved true. The daughter churches broadened the mother church’s
sphere of influence, and new leaders stepped up to fill the open ministry
positions. The mother church became a ministry hub for a broader geographic
region. In 1940, approximately 100 people attended Central Assembly of God’s
Sunday School. By 1953, this number had risen to 342. The combined Sunday School
attendance of the mother church and the daughter churches was about 700 people. 

While the National Home Missions
Department began promoting the “Mother Church Plan” in the 1950s, the concept
had already been tried and found successful across the Fellowship. The 2009
General Council approved a similar program, whereby a church would be able to
register its outreaches, which are distinct from the parent church, as “Parent
Affiliated Churches.”

Read the article, “They Exist to
Evangelize!” on pages 10-11 of
the Jan. 31, 1954, issue of the Pentecostal

Also featured in this issue: 

• “A Marvelous Healing,” by
Mrs. Lee Jones

• “Miraculous Healing and
Conversion,” by John C. Jackson 

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.


archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

Source: AG



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