Apostolic Faith Assembly
The Apostolic Assembly is one of many denominations that grew out of the Azusa Street Revival movement that emphasized unconventional and expressive forms of worship such as glossolalia or speaking in tongues. A novelty of the Azusa Street Revival was its initial multiracial character. Unfortunately, this type of racial integration could not be sustained thereafter within the confines of one organization. This denomination is of all races.
Membership and statistics
As noted above, the Apostolic Assembly arose to meet the need to reach out to Mexican immigrants who were largely ignored by other Pentecostal denominations.(UPCI) Whereas this situation led to the development of a self-governed movement, this history also has presented severe challenges that continue to this day.
One recurrent challenge is connected to the composition of its membership. Since most of its members have historically been Mexican immigrants, Church growth has been subject to fluctuations in migration trends. Because of its mobile nature, immigrant communities are hard to count and keep as stable groups. But while challenging, the reliance on immigration has also helped membership in recent times. The Apostolic Assembly, like most Christian denominations in the United States, has problems retaining members, especially younger generations. A continued flow of immigration has undoubtedly kept membership figures from falling drastically, although there are no figures to actually track membership changes over time.
Another concurrent challenge has been the requirement to minister to both Spanish- and English-speaking members. Historically, Spanish has been the de facto language of the denomination, but newer generations do not always share the same cultural values and language as old and new migrant members. In response, there is an emergent trend of English-speaking congregations, along with a more deliberate attempt to reach Hispanic-Americans who do not speak Spanish.
The denomination is also challenged by its organizational capability. Early leaders supervised a relatively small number of congregations established along migrant routes. As the church has grown, it has become more difficult to oversee a larger number of congregations. A manifestation of this problem is the lack of reliable membership data. A recent official document acknowledges these and other related problems and provides a roadmap of strategies to enhance membership growth (please browse official page for more information)..
Finally, the Apostolic Assembly is challenged to raise its educational and theological levels. This is due to that initiation and ordination rules are not as demanding in this area as they are in other Oneness Pentecostal Denominations, thus raising the probabilities of ministerial unpreparedness to congregational and spiritual needs. To this point, the Apostolic Assembly currently has in most of its districts a CBAN (Colegio Biblico Apostolico Nacional or a National Apostolic Biblical College) College and it is now necessary that all deacons seeking ordination must attend courses in their District's CBAN, if there is one available to attend.
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