International Assembly of God has had a rich history over the past quarter of a century in the Metropolitan area of Detroit. We gratefully acknowledge the goodness and faithfulness of our living God for anointing the ministers of the Gospel and also for guiding the members, toward the continued growth of this church body, for the past years. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 1:3)”
The following, is a brief account from the pages of the church records and the memories of some of our pioneer believers.
In the late 1980’s, a group of devoted believers, who had emigrated from the southern state of India, were inspired to begin an Assemblies of God Church in their native language.
In 1988, our church was initially named Asia New Life Assembly of God and was formed under the leadership of Pastor Baby Daniel along with a handful of families who were the founders of this new assembly. Pastor Daniel was a dynamic preacher, who was very loving and ever willing to help and minister to his flock, along with his wife and two sons.
The church was established, as a Home Missions church supported by the Assemblies of God, Michigan District. Pastor Jeff Hlavin, Senior Pastor of Warren Assembly of God at the time, graciously allowed us to worship in his building. Our church began to experience growth both spiritually and in membership and Pastor Daniel served the church until 1989.
In 1990, the church worship service relocated to Faith Temple Church of God in Madison Heights, Michigan. Pastor Samuel Peterson of Faith Temple Church of God, kindly agreed to allow our congregation to meet in the fellowship hall of their facility. The church was renamed New Life Christian Assembly in order to be inclusive of all members from various church backgrounds.
During this period of time, for a little over three years, our own spiritually matured members took significant responsibility over administrative duties, teaching, preaching, and overall ministry to the body. Several visiting pastors also ministered in the worship services. Pastor Kunjumon Daniel, Senior Pastor of Full Gospel Assembly of God, Canada, who willingly accepted our invitation to come once a month to conduct Holy Communion and worship services.
Further developments, such as Youth meetings, Children’s ministries, and conventions were added into the church programming. Musical concerts and revival meetings were also hosted, for edification and for outreach to the surrounding Malayalee community. In 1993 the Church once again established as an Assemblies of God Home Mission Church and changed its name to India Assembly of God.
Pastor Manuel Johnson, a very learned, gracious and insightful minister from Chicago began his relationship with our church, initially by ministering during the weekends. He was appointed full time Senior Pastor of the church by January of 1994. Pastor Johnson devoted himself faithfully and was known for his gift of encouragement to our members along with his wife and three boys until the year, 1997
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Pastor Johnson Manuel decided to move with his family to Indiana. The Church decided to appoint Pastor Abraham E. Thomas from New York as the Senior Pastor starting July of 1997.
Pastor Thomas became quickly known and respected for his exceptional spiritual gifting of helping others as well as the ability to relate with people of all backgrounds. Also, having had much experience with missions, evangelism and youth ministries within the United States and in India, Pastor Thomas further committed to meet the needs of our younger generation as well as move towards the inclusion of all peoples beyond the Indian culture. As a result, the important decision was made to conduct the Sunday morning worship service fully in English in order to accommodate everyone’s needs.
As the church proceeded to expand, the congregation relocated to Troy Assembly of God in 1998 with the courtesy of Pastor Robert Cholette. Pastor Thomas, soon after, was given a vision from the Lord to direct our believers towards the emphasis of “A Church for all Language Groups.” The congregation embraced this vision and committed to reaching a wider community of people groups.
In 1999 the church was renamed International Assembly of God (IAG) to reflect our new mission and vision. A friend of Pastor Thomas, Pastor Forrest Spears along with his wife, joined IAG for few years with a heart for missions and campus ministries. During his stay, he was appointed as the Evangelism pastor with special focus on Wayne State University. His presence within our church body was a great blessing and his ministry at Wayne State was a very vital outreach.
In 1999, it was becoming clear that IAG should obtain her own place of worship and thus a building fund was established. For the following few years, as the church continued to grow and develop, Pastor Thomas and the church body’s sacrificial giving and set apart time and efforts with special concerts, and fund raising programs towards this goal of purchasing a building.
Finally, by the wonderful grace of God and the diligence of so many members, IAG was able to acquire the building at 3949 East Nine Mile Road on March 4, 2004. The church was officially dedicated on May 23, 2004. The sacrificial giving of our members, many of the churches in the Detroit community and throughout the United States as well as the contribution of the Assemblies of God Michigan District, is very deeply appreciated.
The church membership experienced rapid growth after the purchase of the church Building. In June of 2004, India Pentecostal Assembly, a local Pentecostal congregation, merged with IAG along with its’ Senior Pastor, late Pastor M. V. George. Pastor George continued to faithfully serve for two more years at IAG, by assisting in various ministries until his home going in 2006.
Soon after, an official church mission statement was established at IAG. After much collaboration and careful review, the church arrived at the mission statement as follows
“Preach the full gospel to all people; Provide a place for spirit filled worship and fellowship; emPower believers to become true disciples of Christ.
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Over the past decade, the Lord blessed our body of believers and allowed us to flourish. The focus on obedience to the great commission and the greatest commandments thrust us forward. The members were challenged to lead souls to Christ, mature in worship, encourage discipleship and prayer as well as minister to those who were in need. IAG has also been very committed in training up the next generation to live a sanctified life for Jesus.
Further developments include: an improvement of the organizational structure within the church leadership. The church constitution and bylaws were also established. The Women’s’ Ministries continued to expand and played a vital part of raising missionary support each month
Adhering to the vision, Hindi and Tamil meetings were integrated, as our body of believers began to represent an increasing number of language groups. Mid -week Cell groups were also established.
Christian Education became more specialized to meet the needs of both the young and old with the applicable Radiant Life Curriculum. The Children’s church, as an adjunct to Sunday school also continued to grow and develop. Here, the focus was on nurturing the character of Christ through God’s Word, as well as ministering to the congregation through drama, skits and song.
Many ministry leaders were appointed to coordinate the various programs at IAG. Also, several new programs were initiated to minister to our Children and Youth. The Pee Wee, Junior Bible Quiz (JBQ), and Teen Bible Quiz (TBQ) program was incorporated at IAG in 2004. Here, participating children, K-6th grade, memorize portions of God’s Word, and teens, entire books of the Bible before proceeding to compete with other churches at the Local, Regional, State and National levels.
In addition, our annual Vacation Bible School (VBS) outreach, initiated in 2007 has progressed into a church wide evangelistic effort.
In 2008 the Fine Arts Program was established. Here, our children are encouraged to develop their gifts and talents in preparation for the Lord’s service.
In 2009, the Missions’ Education Program, Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC) was also implemented. On select Sundays, our children learn of the needs of one country and are encouraged to pray; give and perhaps one day go and minister in an area of the world that cries out for the gospel.
Throughout the years, our youth were encouraged to serve in various ministries including the worship team and assisting leaders as well as mentoring those who were within their sphere of influence.
Special recognition goes to the family of Pastor Thomas, each of whom devoted themselves to serving the church body in numerous capacities within these ministries. As he worked through the process towards ordination, Pastor Alvin Thomas began to minister to the church body and was soon recognized and appreciated for his spiritual gift of preaching and teaching.
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IAG continued to cooperate with the area wide Indian Community for conventions and conferences. In 2000 and 2005, IAG hosted the Assemblies of God India Fellowship of North America (AGIFNA) conferences held in Michigan. Pastor Abraham E. Thomas and the church members were a very vital part of organizing and executing the arrangements of those National Conferences.
The church status had previously been upgraded from a Home Missions church to District Supervised, and in 2007, IAG became recognized as Assemblies of God General Council affiliated church.
Pastor Thomas served our church body at IAG for 14 years as senior pastor, until the year 2011.
Throughout the next 15 months of searching for a Pastor, the church body was privileged to experience much needed support and guidance from the Assemblies of God Michigan District. IAG was provided with wonderfully, seasoned, servants of God who delivered the applicable Word of God every Sunday in our main worship service.
During this period, our Board members and Elders sacrificially and prayerfully spent countless hours to plan, prepare and perform the necessary duties of the church as well as provide spiritual support to the congregation within their capacities.
After many months of prayer and groundwork, in October of 2012, IAG was privileged to receive Pastor Thomas Yohannan to the Senior Pastoral position joined by his wife and two sons. Since then, our church body has been so blessed with Pastor’s love, gentle spiritual guidance and intuitive teaching of God’s Holy Word. The Lord has indeed, dealt wonderfully with us.
Some of the major highlights during the years of 2004 to the present are:
- Five annual family retreats were held to encourage spiritual renewal and fellowship.
- Many members as well as those yearning to obey the Lords command were baptized.
- Annual Outreach efforts such as, Church wide Christmas Programs as well as Church Picnics and Christmas Caroling outreach were organized through our Men’s ministries and Sports ministries.
- Several Christian Music Concerts were also organized as an outreach.
- IAG is very proud of our Bible Quiz teams and celebrates the JBQ team who made it all the way to the national level in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015.
- Many of our members joined the AG Michigan School of Ministries (MISOM) for formal theological studies to equip themselves for ministries and one among them, Pastor Mathew T. Sam got his ordination on 2014.
- Started an outreach ministry at Wayne State University, established Chi Alpha unit led by Pastor Mathew T. Sam.
- Conducted multiple outreach events at Wayne State University.
- IAG once again took the task of hosting the AGIFNA 2016 conference; Pastor Mathew T. Sam. as National Convener.
In remembering who we were and where we have come from as an assembly of believers, we offer our humble gratitude to each and every member over the years, those of whom gave of themselves willingly, those of whom took time from their own families and responsibilities to faithfully dedicate themselves in service for the Lord toward the advancement of His kingdom. God sees and knows the heart of his children.
IAG’s deepest appreciation goes to each and every pastor who shepherded this flock, laboring and interceding daily in love for the spiritual welfare of this church. Our gratitude also extends to each and every department head, board member and elder who has served the members and the pastor over the past years. Collectively, your leadership and obedience to the headship of our Savior has ushered us to the place we are today.
Finally, all glory and honor go to our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, who provided us a living hope through His plan of salvation on the cross of Calvary. May we, as International Assembly of God, daily consecrate ourselves to be a holy people. May we build up one another, and strive to reach the lost together, in love and unity, that we may, as a body, be used to help fulfill the Lord’s redemptive purposes in this world.