We in the Church of God, The Father’s Call hold the deep belief that God has an essential and very special focus on the family and we see that permeating how He works within His Church in every facet. The body of Christ operates as a family.
The recent ministerial conference held in St. George, Utah, had two main functions: to bring the elders and deacons together and encourage a stronger family bond. Secondly, to do some prep work for next year’s Feast of Tabernacles. We were able to accomplish both goals.
St. George is a beautiful location for the Feast and will serve the needs of God’s people well.
All elders, deacons and deaconesses were invited to attend the conference or to view it on Zoom. The conference served as a timely reminder to those who have service roles in the Church as to who and what we are. One thing that is largely missing in the world is a sense of purpose. The Church of God has a very real sense of purpose and we need to instill that purpose into our lives. Each of the council and committee members gave presentations and brought the areas they are responsible for to our attention.
We began with a brief review of how we began as a group. We were reminded that we do not consider ourselves the one true Church, but that we are a part of the spiritual organism – the body of Christ. This spiritual organism functions based on God’s family model. Government in God’s Church works by conversion.
Our founding documents focused on the need for good shepherding in response to Christ’s direction to feed His flock. This aspect of pastoring was covered in detail by Marshall Stiver with encouragement for all of us to embrace the responsibility of serving God’s flock.
Cliff Veal presented details of the international aspect of the Church. We are a small group and scattered around the globe. We felt closer to the more isolated members because of Cliff’s detailed information.
The feeding of the flock requires technology – probably more than most members realize. Bill Hutchison detailed the work and scope of those managing the technology we use. As one participant commented, “The amount of work done behind the scenes is incredible. I had no concept of the complexity of the tasks and the skill of the individuals involved.”
Without these dedicated people and their contributing skills, along with the depth of technical experience, we would not be able to do what we do.
This technology also flows into the Church website and outreach efforts. Mike McKinney outlined three areas of website development. An exciting new website has been launched at TruthSum.org. A team of enthusiastic men and women are working to bring a summary of points of truth to a non-church audience. “We are aiming to have an online centralized repository of sorts where people can come to search out biblical topics and ideas and find clear and understandable answers from multiple COG sources. The summary would capture the essence of the article or video while allowing each individual that is wanting a deeper look to link back to the main source for the full version of the summarized topic. As they link to the main sources in a new tab, they also remain at the TruthSum.org site.”
Plans are to upgrade sections of TheFathersCall.org site also. As Mike pointed out, there is a wealth of information on the site. But using the analogy of an iceberg, he illustrated how only a small amount is seen “above the water” and a lot is hidden.
He spoke of some of our future plans. “Our first task will be to create links between similar content. All messages, articles, updates, or weekly perspectives, and blog posts on faith, for example, would have links between them. Fortunately, Ruth Myrick has been categorizing all of the messages by topic, making it much easier for us to get started on this task.”
We will also begin to link to other messages, blog posts, and updates from within our current content. Using words as prompts – like the word faith – we would use those words as keywords/concepts to tie our content together.
In this way, users will be better able to create their own Bible studies on a topic by easily pulling together everything we have on that topic.
A third site is also in the works – LeadingtoLife. The challenge is to reach a non-church audience in today’s world. “As we move closer to Christ’s return, it is inevitable and a reality that the world in front of us is and will be radically different from everything behind us.
What we are facing is a challenge that requires us to grow as the body of Christ to be transformed into something more than we have been – without compromising our beliefs – in order to accomplish the job we have been called to do.
This demands new ways of thinking and new ways of behaving that depend entirely on new ways of relating.
We know where we are trying to go, but it is not easy to get there. We have asked a group of dedicated young people to help us with this task of how to approach an audience that is very different from the one we knew.
They are working now to define the most relevant issues and then from that, create a rubric that will guide the approach for the content of the website. When they are done, it will be up to the Council to decide how to proceed. And we really need God’s guidance here.”
Bill Welch gave us a financial update which demonstrated a strong financial position. Due to Covid our expenses such as hall rental and travel have decreased, which provided an increase in savings. In the first ten months of 2020 there has been a small increase in income over 2019. Bill also provided points to help us be faithful stewards in that which is least so that we may be faithful in much.
Further presentations were made on the work we are involved in and the importance of speaking. Ben Orchard provided statistics that surprised us as to the reach of streaming services across the country. The day concluded with practical points from John Prohs as to how the speakers can improve sound and video presentation.
All around it was a very positive and successful conference. Thank you all for your prayers.