January 8, 2012
The Assemblies of God, one of the nation's largest Pentecostal denominations, opened 368 new churches in 2011, Christianity Today reports. Denominational officials reported that 230 churches closed in 2011 -- one of the lowest numbers in a decade -- making the overall net gain of churches 138. The number of new churches is the second-highest since the denomination began keeping statistics in 1965, and there are now 12,595 Assemblies of God congregations in the country, the highest ever recorded. "One of our strategic values is to vigorously plant new churches," said general superintendent George O. Wood. He hopes more than 400 U.S. churches will be started in 2012, and eventually at least 500 annually.