General Council Completes Published Agenda Wednesday Afternoon

(The following article appeared in General Assembly TODAY, the daily publication of the International General Assembly of the Church of God meeting this week in Orlando, Florida).

Prior to the morning Business Session on Wednesday, August 1, many members of the International General Council gathered for prayer. A tone of worship and grace filled the room before the Council looked to the business on the Agenda before them.

By Randall Parris

Item 4 of the General Council’s Agenda was a Resolution regarding “Doctrinal Affirmation”. The Resolution principally affirms the Church’s stance on the whole Bible, rightly divided, the Declaration of Faith and Doctrinal Commitments, the Pentecostal distinctive of speaking in tongues as the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and a commitment to instruct the youth in these core beliefs. With minimal amendments, this item passed.

A Resolution on “Structural Acclimation” (item 5) of General Council Business passed. This Resolution provides attention to consistency in tithing and reporting by ministers and churches; consideration of the State Youth and Discipleship Director’s length of tenure; and that a Task Force be appointed to study considerations for greater global missional impact.

Item 6 considering the possible number of members of the International Executive Council was referred for further study. Item 7 that offered two minor linguistic adjustments to some of the General Overseer’s duties swiftly passed. Item 8 quickly passed adjusting the tenure limitation in one state from eight years to four consecutive years for State Youth and Discipleship Directors. Agenda Item #9 regarding maximum tenure limitation of State/Regional Youth and Discipleship Directors was referred for further study.

Item 10’s call for a study commission to review the Election and Appointment Process, including multi-cultural diversity to the International Executive Council passed. Item 11 that recommended the formation of an ethnically diverse Task Force to review and recommend the process of the care and procedures for rehabilitation and enhancement for ministers, standards of ministerial applicants, and enhancement of the credentialing process carried. Item 12 suggesting changing the current process of credentialing for exhorters and ordained ministers outside the United States and Canada was also affirmed.

The somewhat complex issue of the Meaning and Usage of the Term “Bishop” in Item 13 and the presentation of the “Further Study” that was prepared with respect to ministerial rank, qualifications of ministry and women in ministry was briefly addressed. The recommendation that called for Open Ministry Forums, globally, for deliberate and meaningful discussion on the topic carried. The motion in Item 14 recommending that all credentialed ministers be active in both tithing and attendance in a local Church of God congregation within the state/region in which the state overseer vote/evaluation is conducted carried.

Item 15 affirmed that a study commission should be formed for the purpose of exploring a possible scholarship fund for Lee University and Pentecostal Theological Seminary students and that the findings be brought back in 2020. Item 16 passed, recommending that any person placed/appointed/hired for a ministry position in a local congregation should have a criminal background check. Agenda Item 17 recommending that a Study Commission on Pastoral Placement be appointed and offer recommendations carried.

Language of support and structure for the possibility of rest and a time of sabbaticals for pastors in Item 18 carried. Item 19 addressing State Overseer Qualifications by offering that those serving as state overseer should have served as the senior/lead pastor of a local church congregation for a minimum of five years, or after having been elected to an international position, carried. Item 20 requiring on-going Leadership Development for State Overseers carried.

Item 21 recommending that District Overseers annually participate in a church revitalization project and establish goals for church planting every two years carried. Item 22 and Item 23 simply deleted unneeded phrases under the category “Exhorter” in the General Assembly MINUTES. A Resolution on Generational Assimilation was carried as Item 24. Item 25 recommending practical Ministry Life Planning for ministers of all ages and was affirmed.

Item 26 recommending better cooperation at identifying and utilizing “Jeremiah Generation” leaders was quickly affirmed. The establishment of a Generational Task Force was affirmed as Agenda Item 27. Agenda Item 28 asked for an appointed Task Force to review the needs of the aging ministry and to provide both affirmation and recognition for aging ministers was quickly passed. A Resolution on Spiritual Acceleration (Item 29) that affirms ways and means to foster renewed dedication and commitment to the core values of the Church of God carried. Finally, item 30 asking for a Task Force to study ways to renew our commitment to the Church of God Mission and Vision Statement carried.

The general overseer said to the International General Council, “You have completed the published agenda… in lighting speed”. New motions will be considered in Thursday’s Business Session.

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