International Executive Council Completes January Session

Cleveland, TN—The Church of God International Executive Council completed their regularly-scheduled January session last week, the first of three to take place in 2017.

On Tuesday, January 24, General Overseer Timothy M. Hill invited the Administrative Ministries Council (AMC) to join the Executive Council for a special joint session explaining the meeting was a continuation of the AGREE’17 prayer emphasis as the two bodies came together in a time of intercessory prayer for the FINISH Commitment. Hill shared the scripture from Joshua chapter 5 regarding how the stopping of the manna led God’s people to a new level of their relationship with Him and prepared them for their next victory.

Following his address, Hill called for a session of prayer from various members of the Executive Council and other ministry leaders. At the closing of this special time of prayer, each Executive Committee member had a prayer for the individual emphases of the FINISH Commitment.

General Overseer Hill introduced Bishop Mitch Maloney, USA Missions Director, who has been tasked with Church Planting and Church Revitalization and ask him to greet the body. Dino Rizzo, Executive Director of Association of Related Churches (ARC) was introduced along with other members of the ARC team. Rizzo shared that ARC was excited about developing a partnership with the Church of God to assist in the planting of churches.

Hill, Maloney, Rizzo and Josh Mauney, ARC Director of Church Planting, each signed a Memorandum Of Understanding establishing the ARC/Church of God partnership for assessment, training and coaching of church planters.

Following a lunch break, the Executive Council resumed their agenda in the Council Chambers. Several reports were received, including a financial report given by Director of Business and Records Raymond Hodge; an update on the Smoky Mountain Children’s Home by Dr. Walt and Tammie Mauldin; a report on the Wittenberg 2017 Conference in Germany on October 30-November 1, 2017 ; and the General Assembly 2018 location in Orlando, Florida on July 30-August 3, 2018.

That evening an Executive Council dinner along with the USA Missions Leadership was held in the Conference Center with guest speaker, Alton Garrison, Assemblies of God Assistant Superintendent in Springfield, Missouri. He spoke about church revitalization.

On Wednesday, January 25, the councilors met during a working lunch for breakout groups to discuss General Assembly format and structure, Agree’17 Listening Tours, and the Next Generational Leaders/Contemporary Ministerial Development/Jeremiah Project. Reports were received and were assigned to an Executive Committee liaison to be part of their portfolios and brought back to the Executive Council Meeting in April.

Additional reports were received by te interim director of Pathway Press/Church of God Publishing House, Bishop T. Wayne Dority, who was introduced to the Executive Council. Art Rhodes, President of the Benefits Board, gave a report regarding the current financial health of the Minister’s Retirement Plan, Endowment Fund, and Church Loan Fund. Rhodes also gave a report regarding the Church Planting Bank, which was established at the recent General Assembly. A church planter application, policy manual and agreement between the Church Planter and the Office of Church Planting was approved by the Executive Council.

In his final item to the Council, Rhodes gave an update on the LILLY Foundation. The emphasis on the LILLY Foundation is to provide financial assistance to pastors, practical mentoring in financial matters and to provide education and training in biblical stewardship. Vote was taken and carried to accept the LILLY Foundation documents as presented.

Dr. David M. Griffis, Director of World Missions, and Dr. M. Thomas Propes, Assistant Director of World Missions gave a report on the “Cities of Light” project. “Cities of Light” focuses on 11 strategic cities with the goal of building ministry centers to train church planters in each of these cities. The councilors stood for a time of prayer for Griffis and Propes led by Tim Oldfield.

An exciting announcement of the “Faith Fire Freedom” Women’s conferences slated for the Fall 2017 was announced. More information will be forthcoming.

Vote was taken and carried to continue the current moratorium on loan underwriting and the Council took action on cases presented regarding early ordination, multiple marriages, marital cases for promotion and reinstatement to ministry.

In the September Executive Council session, recommendations were given regarding a suggested plan to assist pastors and churches. A sample “Covenant Agreement” on delinquent reporting was discussed and the document was referred to the Executive Committee for refinement.

In honor of the late Dr. Charles R Beach, the Budget Review Committee recommended that the Articles of Administration of the Charles R. Beach Fund be effected and enabled to allow for the training and preparation of church planters with a focus on the further development and engagement of laity through the church planting process. This item was referred to Executive Committee to further review ways to honor the legacy of witnessing of Dr. Beach, who was a pioneer in witnessing and soul-winning in the Church of God.

Finally, the General Council Agenda Committee met and reviewed items that were submitted to the General Assembly 2016 Motions Committee, but not presented due to time limitations. They also reviewed the items that were referred back to the Executive Council. No action was taken on these items at this time.

The next meeting of the International Executive Council is scheduled for April 25- 28, 2017. Subsequent meetings prior to the 77th General Assembly are set for September 26-29, 2017, January 23-26, 2018, and April 24-27, 2018.

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