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ChurchRight Current Issue: June 2022 - July 2022

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An Invitation to the GC Convention!

Early in His ministry, Jesus saw Philip and issued the invitation “Follow Me.” Philip immediately went to find Nathanael, telling him, “We have found the one that Moses and the prophets wrote about — Jesus of Nazareth.” Skeptical, Nathanael wondered if anything good could come from Nazareth. “Come and see,” Philip told him. Find out for yourself.

This is your invitation to “Come and See” Jesus with fresh eyes at the GC Convention. Be inspired to return home and impact your family with your personal story of Jesus.

Join us in Covington, Kentucky, July 10-15, 2023, for a great gathering. Come and see! 

Have You Not Read?

Dr. Howard Hendricks asked pastors, “Have you not read Ephesians 4:11-16?” He was addressing church leaders who try to do everything themselves, or at least control everything. He was reminding them that Christ “gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,” not to do or control everything but “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service” (NASB). Ephesians 4 goes on to say that this results in all believers becoming stable in doctrine, resistant to false teaching, and loving and honest in their relationships. Each member of the body is to be equipped and unleashed to perform their ministry unto Jesus.

Let me speak the truth in love. Pastors who do not equip and unleash the saints for ministry, leaders who attempt to do everything themselves or micro-manage those they may have delegated to ministries, are violating this portion of God’s Word and the example of team ministry in the New Testament. Have they not read Ephesians 4:11-16?

While the predominant metaphor in the Bible compares the church and her individual members to the human body and its individual parts, let’s compare them to a sports team and its individual players and coaches. Successful coaches don’t run on to the field and attempt to play every position themselves. No, they identify each player’s strengths (gifts) and place each player in the position that requires those strengths. They then instruct as needed, correct as needed, encourage continuously. But for the most part, they get out of the way and allow their players to play their positions.

Though my position is president, can you imagine how ineffective I’d be if I tried to do everything myself? I depend on the members of my team, who depend on the members of their teams, who depend on the members of their teams. Together, with members fulfilling their own ministries, we all succeed and God is glorified. Go team!

— Loren Stacy

GC President

Goodbye to the Lawsons

The district board gathered on Sabbath, March 19, at the St. Paul, Minnesota church to recognize Elder Kenneth Lawson and his wife, Sandra, for their years of service to the district. Ken and Sandra were presented with a plaque of appreciation, along with gifts and cards from many district churches. Overwhelmed by emotion, Ken could hardly speak as he was handed the plaque.

This couple is a great example of service. Brother Ken has helped the churches in the Central District through some difficult times. Though their watch has ended, their words and efforts will continue to stand as examples to us all.

Newly appointed Superintendent Ronald Rousseau (left) speaks of the Lawsons’ faithful ministry.

Transformation of the Heart

On a windy day we drove to the lodge located on one of the few hills in North Dakota for our women’s retreat April 8-10. We enjoyed tasty meals prepared by ladies from our local churches; worship songs sung in one accord; instruction from the Word to transform our hearts; testimonies of women on how the Lord is seeing them through; a special of “How Great Thou Art,” sung while looking out at God’s creation; and other activities.

Mary Jean Knoll gave context of our key verse (Ezekiel 36:26). Using a list of names and attributes of God, she led us in discussions of who God is, finding our identity in Christ, and understanding God’s love for us.

We arrived on a dry spring day and left on a rain-soaked morning. It paired well with our arriving with stony hearts from the world and its troubles and leaving with hearts of flesh as soft and fresh as the morning rain.

— Stephanie Kalinowski

Ordination.

Mike Wallace, who serves members and contacts spread 600 miles across Montana, was ordained by Elder Brian Larson on April 9 in Spokane, WA. Mike is also the senior spiritualadvisor helping the Colorado Springs, CO congregation. Living in Missoula, he and his wife, Bonnie, both have theological degrees and will be a great asset to the work in the Central District.

District board meeting.

The Central District board held its annual meeting in the Twin Cities March 19-20. Elder Kenneth Lawson (front row, center), superintendent for the past six years, is retiring (again). The entire board placed hands on Elder Ronald Rousseau, praying for God’s strength for him and his wife, Maria. They assume leadership of the district on July 1.

Children’s Concert.

On March 12, churches from across the Chicago area gathered at the Elgin church for the first Children’s Concert. The children of Calumet performed on musical instruments for the first time. In addition to singing songs, the Elgin children performed a play themed after the animal kingdom. Let’s pray that occasions like this continue to inspire more generations of Christ’s children to honor Him with music.

Women’s Emphasis Sabbath 2022

If I remember correctly, this special occasion has been celebrated since 2010. This year’s theme, “Living for God’s Glory,” was chosen to match our current quarterlies that have been teaching us to live for God by discipleship and sharing His love. Many groups kept the suggested scripture, 1 Peter 4:7-10, to love one another and share Jesus’ love with those who do not know Him. 

The first Sabbath in March was originally chosen for this event, but it has been expanded to include any Sabbath available for the local churches. It has nothing to do with the secular month of women empowerment but with God welcoming all of us to serve as His disciples, proclaiming the

good news to everyone. 

If you can join in this celebration, think about what would work best for your local congregation. Please enjoy the photos of some groups that participated. You can see by their smiling faces that these ladies live for God’s glory and His glory only!

Ugly quilt.

On April 23, women’s groups from the Lafayette Street and Bowser Avenue churches in Fort Wayne IN, finished an “ugly quilt.” Women donated fabric squares from many churches, and Sister Jacquelyn Scott led the group in completing it. Covered with love and prayers, the quilt will go to someone in need of warmth. 

Baptisms.

On March 7, the Marietta, GA church celebrated the baptisms of seven brothers and sisters, performed by pastors Walter Apen and Ismael Marinez. Also, Pastor Germaine Reece baptized five new brothers and sisters from the NW Atlanta and Grace Fellowship churches on April 9. Welcome to our new family members!

New churches.

On February 26, the Spanish-speaking district churches met in Ocala, FL, to welcome seven new Florida mission churches, located in Bradenton, Davenport, Lakeland, Naranja, Ocala, and Orlando. Approximately 800 members from the entire district were present.

Anniversary.

Grace Fellowship Ministries in Atlanta, GA, celebrated its seventh anniversary on April 23. Sister E. Reece presented the church’s history, and Pastor G. Reece preached. We wish them many more years of service to their community!

Leadership conference.

On March 12, the SWD leadership team gathered in San Antonio, TX, for its annual conference with the theme “Focus on Jesus and Follow His Plan.” GC President Loren Stacy introduced more details about the GC initiatives and evangelistic teams, and he provided an overview of the core principles to lead in each ministry. Objectives, expectations, and goals were revised, and new ministries leaders were presented and prayed over. Triple Tree church hosted the event and blessed the leaders with meals and great fellowship.

Senior service.

The Senior Ministry has provided painting classes on Facebook February-April. Our senior brethren learn a new skill, improve their creativity, and increase their cognitive function. The classes allow them to share their talents with their local churches.

Beautifully Rooted.

During March, Women’s Emphasis Month, the district Women’s Ministry provided resources so all women could lead a service in their churches. The theme “Beautifully Rooted,” based on Jeremiah 17:7, 8, was displayed through worship, fellowship, and God’s Word.

Bread of Life.

Our sister church in Fort Smith, AR, recognized families on April 9 that have been serving with an outreach ministry called Bread of Life. Jan and Judy Hamilton, Randy and Marcia Sanders, and David and Cathy Burrell have been involved for 40 years. Pam Curtis was also praised for her job in the Dorcas ministry, which provides coats and clothes to those in need. 

Lord’s Supper.

On April 14, Lord’s Supper was celebrated in all district churches. Sermons called the Church to understand the sacrifice of Jesus, and they encouraged us to be the bride Jesus wants at His return. This commemoration was a great opportunity to worship together and renew our vows to God. 

Fellowship moments.

On April 23, the Artesia Wells, TX church welcomed The Orchard, a mission of the CoG7. The church started this fellowship partnership last year to strengthen and encourage our brethren and to cultivate spiritual growth in each other. We thank the Lord for the opportunities the church opens up to develop the fruits of the Spirit.