Report of Bishop James D. Leggett,
ROADMAP TO DESTINY
With this General Conference, we celebrate 107 years of ministry. Under the
direction of the Holy Spirit, the IPHC has managed to alter its course and redefine its
mission to meet the ever-changing needs of those it seeks to serve. As a result, we have
become one of the most flexible, innovative, and fastest-growing denominations. Many
denominations start declining long before their centennial, but we have experienced our
greatest growth in the past decade. We believe our fellowship has experienced a
sovereign move of God. Jesus said, “I will build my church,” and He is doing that.
PURSUING OUR DESTINY
As remarkable as our recent growth has been, there is still more work to be done.
The Lord has a glorious future and special destiny ahead of us, but to get there, we must
commit ourselves to move with Him as He moves. In spite of recent achievements, our
goals for the end of this decade are still faith goals:
- To have 500,000 members in the United States and 5.5 million members
overseas by the end of this decade.
- To plant 1,000 new churches and move plateaued churches into the harvest
- To have at least 80 percent of our churches showing growth each year. To
accomplish this, we plan to develop consulting teams for churches, mentoring
clusters for pastors, and coaches for pastors and churches.
We rejoice daily for the grace of God at work in our churches, but we need to ask
for strength of heart and boldness to follow His highway on our journey to reach our
The growth trend in global membership continues. Each of the last four years has set
new records of increase. PH members and adherents worldwide now total more than two
million people. When we include our affiliates, the Igreja Metodista Wesleyana of Brazil
and the Iglesia Metodista Pentecostal Church of Chile, the total reaches an amazing 4.1
The decade ending in 2000 was the most significant 10 years in the church’s history.
During the ’90s, more than one million members were added to the church around the
world. That was seven times the growth of any previous decade, and since 2000, the
numbers are on track for another record-setting decade.
The road leads through over 100 nations. For example, new churches have been
reported in the former Soviet states of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Wonderful things are
happening with the church in the Ukraine. They are targeting other Russian- and
Ukrainian-speaking nations (predominantly Muslim) for church planting.
In 2003, the Pentecostal Holiness church in Cuba celebrated its 50th anniversary.
The work there not only has survived under Communism; it has thrived and is a vibrant
testimony to the power of the gospel. It was a joy to be in Cuba for this great celebration.
The World Pentecostal Holiness Fellowship (WPHF) is gaining in significance. The
WPFH held its third global meeting in February 2003 in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Pentecostal Holiness delegates from all around the world gather twice a decade for vision
casting, inspiration, strategizing, and fellowship. It was exciting to hear international
leaders report on God’s wonderful works around the world. Delegates represented the
emerging global, diverse nature of the church.
The WPHF Committee planned the World Fellowship. That committee includes
eight members, each from one of the continents where the Pentecostal Holiness Church
ministers, and one each from our affiliates in Brazil and Chile.
ACCELERATING PROGRESS IN THE U.S.A.
The U.S. church is also accelerating at a record pace in membership and new
churches. During the past quadrennium, we registered the largest gain in members of any
previously recorded four-year period. During this quadrennium, we had the second and
third largest annual gains in our history.
The decade ending in 2000 marked the fastest growing decade for the church in the
U.S. So far in this first decade of the new millennium, the church is growing at a pace
that will easily exceed the previous decade’s record growth. The gain for the last decade
was 72,000, and in the first four years of this decade, we have gained 37,000.
Nearly three quarters of the new members are the result of new church plants.
During this past quadrennium, 493 new churches were reported (an average of 123 a
year). This means the fellowship has started more than two churches each week. The net
increase in total churches this quadrennium is 152. Those new congregations accounted
for 34,540 new members at the end of 2004.
Just a few years ago, our goal was to start 100 new churches in a quadrennium. We
have now quadrupled that number, and our net gain is now more than our original new
A corollary to this recent growth has been an increase in the number of larger
congregations. A decade ago, we had only 23 churches with more than 500 members.
That number has more than doubled to 54 in 2004. The same thing has happened with
churches of more than 1,000 members; that number has also increased from 9 to 19.
During this same period, two new conferences were created. The Ephesians 4
Network, serving churches in several midwestern states, was birthed from the
Appalachian Conference in 2001. The Hawaii Pacific Islands Conference is also new,
with churches in Hawaii and New Zealand. This conference is a daughter of the Home
Missions Conference and was created with the desire to reach across the Pacific islands
with the gospel.
PROVISION FOR THE JOURNEY
The Lord has blessed the church with a spirit of generosity. The IPHC believes
ministry begins at the local church, and we have made a commitment to reduce the
General and conference funds so more monies remain for local church ministry. We are
moving toward a tithe that will be divided between the conference and the General
Even with the reductions of this past quadrennium, the General church had an
increase (albeit much smaller) over the past quadrennium. We thank God for His
provision and the faithful giving of our people and churches.
This report would not be complete without acknowledging the increasing diversity
of our fellowship. According to a 2004 report, members from the various ethnic churches
account for nearly 20 percent of our members. That’s up from only 10 percent just seven
years ago. In 1991, that percentage was only 8 percent of the total church membership.
In recent years, church planting among non-Anglo populations has accounted for 38
percent of all new churches reported. One reason for the increased diversity is the role of
Intercultural Ministries, which sponsors the National Training Institute for Hispanic
ministers and other church leaders, the Hispanic Pastors’ Conference, the Filipino
Pastors’ Conference, and the African-American Fellowship Conference.
A key development during the past few years has been the IPHC Experience
magazine. This publication is the outgrowth of the initial church publication, the
Pentecostal Holiness Advocate, which had been printed since the early days of the
movement. IPHC Experience was unveiled at the National Pastors’ Conference in
Nashville in 2003.
IPHC Experience has a modern, contemporary design and focuses on the story of
what God is doing among His people around the globe. The magazine is provided free to
HITHERTO HATH THE LORD HELPED US
We take a look back as we reach for the future God has promised us. The Lord has
been good to this denomination. Several exciting developments have helped shape our
identity. A key ingredient in the success of our strategy is that it has emerged over time.
Consider these simple road markers:
- 1984 – adopted Target 2000, and growth began at an unprecedented pace.
- 1990 – achieved our first annual gain of 5,000-plus.
- 1997 – Target 2000 became Mission21.
- 1999 – reached the mark of one million members worldwide.
- 2001 – Reach 3•Plant 3 introduced.
- 2004 – trained consulting teams.
These historical landmarks indicate that the process actually began more than 20
years ago. The Lord of the harvest has led us through various means:
- anointed, visionary leadership at every level.
- prophetic words shared at key events over the past several years.
- gifted men and women who have come alongside to offer guidance.
ONWARD TO OUR DESTINY
The Lord has helped us, and by His grace and guidance, we intend to reach our full
Kingdom potential. We are stretching to reach 6 million members worldwide (500,000 in
the U.S.A.). We are moving forward to plant 1,000 churches in the U.S., and we are
pursuing the goal of having 80 percent of our churches registering significant growth.
Our goals are not the product of our imaginations. They developed over time, after
discussions with key leaders, and following days of fasting and prayer. We believe they
represent the task the Lord has laid out before us, and they will require faith on our part
to reach them.
According to Scripture, we play a part in the building of the church. We are laborers
together with God. We may plant and water, but He gives the increase. When we do our
part, we can trust God to honor His Word.
We are moving forward with an intensive training program for planting and
watering seeds that are being planted. During this past quadrennium, we initiated the
most intensive training program in our history as we developed a strategic spiritual plan
to reach our full Kingdom potential. We have started mapping the mission, developing
the road to the destiny to which God has called us.
- Reach 3•Plant 3 – One way we help is by providing training materials such as
Reach 3•Plant 3. Our strategy is to evangelize the lost and plant daughter
congregations for this decade. It is a call for each individual to reach three
people for Christ, and for each church to plant at least three daughter
congregations. The key is for each believer to become a soul winner, and every
congregation a church planter. Disciple 3 has been added to focus the
denomination on the importance of developing disciples.
- Superintendent Consultant Training – Conrad Lowe and George Bullard
have joined us in the journey as consultants. Both of these leaders have met
with superintendents to help them transform their conferences and lead them
- Conference Consultant Training – Some of the most exciting components in
mapping our future were the regional meetings where conference leaders were
trained as consultants. Most conferences now have two or more consulting
teams assigned to work with plateaued or declining churches. We want all of
our churches to grow, be productive, and bear fruit. Our goal is for 80 percent
of our churches to show significant growth.
- Pastoral Mentoring – Another mapping strategy is pastoral mentoring. Conrad
Lowe is now visiting conferences and training mentors who will facilitate
groups of eight pastors. These pastors will help each other develop their skills
to be more effective in ministry. The mentoring process is just getting under
way, but we believe it will pay big dividends in the near future.
- Pastoral Coaching – The next sign on the road to the future is pastoral coaching.
We plan to develop 50 to 75 coaches who will commit to serve three to five
pastors in leadership development and in leading their churches to grow. Since
this coaching can be done by telephone, it will be available to most of our pastors.
- M-Group – Finally, plans are under way to train pastors who have the passion
and potential to break the 1,000 barrier in worship attendance or membership.
We now have several churches at this stage, and we want to do everything
possible to help them stay on track. This will be known as the Millennium
These new resource ministries are seedlings, but I am expecting them to help
produce a great harvest in the years ahead. Two of our objectives are that no pastor be
overlooked and that no church be left behind as we move forward in this first decade of
the 21st century. With God’s help, we will do it.
It’s a wonderful journey of God’s direction and blessing. We pause today to thank
Him for helping us reach this place in His providence. We now look to the future as God
leads us beyond the boundaries of our own ability to dream, down a road we’ve yet to
walk. Today is wonderful, but tomorrow will be even greater.
Bishop James D. Leggett, General Superintendent; ministries in his portfolio include
Publications, New Evangelism Technologies (N.E.T.), World Intercession Network
(WIN), and the Archives and Research Center (ARC).