JERUSALEM — George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God Church (USA) and chairman of the World AG Fellowship, considered the world's largest Pentecostal denomination with more than 67 million adherents, said Wednesday that young people are leaving traditional churches that have "abandoned a belief in the authority of Scripture."
Wood, who also serves as global co-chair of the Empowered21 global Spirit-empowered movement along with William Wilson, president of Oral Roberts University, made his comments during a press conference at the Empowered21 Global Congress that officially opened in spiritual fanfare in Jerusalem, Israel, on Wednesday.
Responding to a question asking how the Empowered21 movement is doing among young people, considering reports that many are moving away from the church in general, Wood explained that it's not the case for Empowered21.
"All I can do is tell you our statistics in the USA," began Wood.
"We (AG USA) have 3.1 million young people in the USA and 34 percent of them are under the age of 25. … The young people that are moving away from traditional religious structures in the U.S. typically belong to churches which have abandoned a belief in the authority of Scripture and the uniqueness and centrality, and exclusiveness of Jesus Christ," said. "They have no belief to hang on to since that has all been gutted by those who have chosen, under the guise of religion, to reject the very claims of the founder of the religion," he said. Wilson further added that the movement has a strategic plan which focuses on young people. A discussion on the next generation is also expected to take place during a general session on Thursday.
"We have incredible youth movements all across the world, and one of the aspects of Empowered21 … is dealing with the next generation and passing the torch of faith to the next generation," said Wilson.
He explained that the Empowered21 movement has a strong youth arm because it preaches an authentic and personal relationship with God.
"This movement is very attractive to young people around the world because it believes we can experience God. We don't just talk about Him, we don't just think about Him, we actually can experience Him," said Wilson.
"There is a whole generation of young men and women who are looking for purpose and really want their life to count and the radical message of Jesus Christ gives them that opportunity. In an expression, they can experience God in reality, so we're seeing explosive growth in many parts of the movement among young people. It's exciting," said Wilson.