Aaron Aubrey Wilson (1891-1984), better known as A.A. Wilson, was a pastor, evangelist, district superintendent, and executive presbyter with the Assemblies of God. Wilson had a long and fruitful ministry. Historian William Menzies called him a real “war horse” of the Assemblies of God.
In a testimony in 1939, Wilson said, “Like Amos I am not the son of a prophet, I made my start as a farmer. God called me from between a pair of plow handles when I was plowing with a pair of Missouri mules, blessed my life with the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire, spoke to me and said, ‘Go,’ and I have been going now for 18 years.” He was proud to have grown up on a farm, and he felt his upbringing helped him to reach out to all kinds of people. Wilson said he was not blessed with the privilege of going to Bible school, but he spent a lot of time on his knees with his Bible, and he was privileged to see quite a few people pray through to salvation and to the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Wilson was born Oct. 3, 1891, in Farrenburg, Missouri. He married Louise Cruchon on Feb. 8, 1910, in Cairo, Illinois. Wilson’s conversion and baptism in the Spirit came after he was married. He entered the ministry at age 28 and was ordained by the Southern Missouri district on Aug. 25, 1922.
Wilson’s first pastorate was at Puxico, Missouri, from 1923 to 1926, where the church grew to over 200 members. In 1924 he was elected secretary of the Southern Missouri district, and in 1925 he was elected assistant district superintendent. He then served as Southern Missouri district superintendent from 1926 to 1931.
In 1928, Wilson helped start First Assembly of God in Kansas City, Missouri (now Evangel Temple), where he was elected the pastor in April 1930. Sunday School was an important part of Wilson’s ministry. Around 100 people attended Sunday School when he first came to the church. By 1937, the Sunday School was averaging close to 800 people with 1,000 attending on Easter Sunday. He was especially proud to have a large men’s Sunday School class. The church went through several building programs while Wilson was pastor. He spent 31 years with that congregation, retiring in May 1961. During his time as pastor, the church mothered 10 other churches in the area. He also served as a general presbyter (1926-1937) and as an executive presbyter (1937-1963).
In retirement, he was a popular speaker at revivals and camp meetings. In 1969, he was asked to pastor a small group of believers in Springfield, Missouri, which later became Park Crest Assembly of God (now Life360 Church). He continued as pastor until 1972. By then he was 81 years old.
Wilson became a spiritual father to many through his years of pastoral ministry and through the revivals he preached in various places. Stewart H. Robinson, who pastored various churches in Southern Missouri, was saved as a teenager under Wilson’s ministry and counted him as a spiritual father. Robinson said, “I always recognized him, not only as a ‘Prince of Preachers,’ but also as a practicer of what he proclaimed and preached.”
Mark Buntain, well-known missionary to Calcutta, India, received his call to the mission field while attending a camp meeting that Wilson preached at Braeside Camp in Ontario, Canada. Some other pastors and missionaries who counted him as their spiritual father included Bob Mackish, missionary to Austria and Russia; Aaron Rothganger, missionary to the Philippines and the Far East; Bob Crabtree, who became Ohio district superintendent; children’s evangelists, Charles and Irene Senechal; Army chaplain Chuck Adams; and missionary David K. Irwin.
A.A. Wilson passed away on Nov. 6, 1984, in Springfield, Missouri, at the age of 93. Wilson and his wife are both buried in Mount Moriah Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri.
Wilson published some small booklets and two books, The Gospel Reveille and Things Most Surely Believed Among Us. He also wrote a number of articles for the Pentecostal Evangel.
Fifty years ago, A.A. Wilson wrote an article called “Hands That Speak,” found on page 2 of the June 4, 1972, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
• “Miracles Make the Difference,” by Joe Contreras
• “God Had a Better Idea,” by C.M. Ward
And many more!
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.