Australian Christian Churches WA


 

THE AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIAN CHURCHES (Assemblies of God in Australia) is unique among Christian movements in the world in that we are unable to trace our origins to any human leader as the Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans and most other Pentecostal movements are able to do. Australian Pentecostalism in the early years was greatly influenced by such figures as Mrs. Janet Lancaster, AC Valdez, Smith Wigglesworth, C L Greenwood and P B Duncan but none of these were individually responsible for the formation of the Assemblies of God in Australia.

 

The Assemblies of God in Australia formed out of a conference of the Assemblies of God - Queensland and the Pentecostal Church of Australia in Sydney, Easter 1937. It was recognised by the leaders of both movements that a more harmonious, co-operative and unified relationship was needed. C.L Greenwood was elected the first Chairman of the Assemblies of God in Australia and every state was granted autonomy in its own affairs as was each registered Assembly.


In Western Australia the foundations of the movement were laid in the early twenties when a small number of people gathered and shared in a common Pentecostal experience. From these early beginnings the Perth Pentecostal Fellowship grew and was later joined by others from the Foursquare movement. The first Assemblies of God in Perth, Western Australia was officially formed in 1942.


In the early years regular meetings were held in various rented facilities in central Perth. In 1941, Pastor Greenwood travelled to the West for a month of ministry and in the following year his son Elviss became Pastor of the newly named fellowship. At around the same time, Pastor Cecil Harris along with his sons Leo and Allen, formed another local Assembly of God Fellowship; however in 1943 the two groups came together and agreed to combine as one. Pastor E C Greenwood was appointed Pastor and meetings were held in William Street, North Perth. In 1944 Sister Emily Stott became Pastor and was followed by Pastor R J Pillifant who led the Perth Assembly through its formative years. It was also around this time that seven of the young people formed the Western Australian branch of “Christ Ambassadors” and met regularly on Saturday evenings. These youth activities became an important outreach vehicle for the new church. Christ Ambassadors was later renamed Youth Alive in the 70s and today regularly holds events for thousands of young people throughout the state.


In 1948 the AOG Commonwealth Bible College was established in Melbourne in order to train men and women for ministry. Various national leaders also arose to bring direction to the movement such as:  Henry Wiggins; Philip Duncan; Edward Irish; James Wallace, Alec Davidson and Ralph Read.


By 1952 the Western Australian AOG was known as the “Full Gospel Church” with a strong focus on evangelism, holding regular "Open Air" Gospel meetings in addition to producing live broadcasts on the public radio such as the “Times of Refreshing” programme. By the mid to late fifties there were AOG outreach works in Queens Park and Cottesloe with a second Church started in Morley. Many people came to know Christ through these initiatives and the local Assemblies continued to expand. By the late fifties the need for a more permanent facility in central Perth was identified by the leadership. Four tennis courts were purchased and a new church building was constructed at Hyde Street Mount Lawley and officially opened on October 8th, 1960.


During the sixties and seventies new fellowships flourished and expanded in influence with many churches planted throughout the state. 1977 became a turning point for growth nationally when Pastor Andrew Evans became the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in Australia. During his term in office from 1977 - 1997 the AOG in Australia experienced great growth multiplying by over 13 times in the number of members and adherents and planting over 700 churches.


In May 1997 Pastor Brian Houston was elected the National President of the Assemblies of God in Australia. Under his leadership, the movement was renamed the Australian Christian Churches in April 2007.

 

Pastor Wayne Alcorn was elected the new National President by the National Conference in April 2009. Today, the ACC represents over 100 local and approximately 1,100 churches nationally with more than 250,000 believers across Australia.