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What the Global Ministry Forums are NOT


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What the Global Ministry Forums are NOT – By Dr. Timothy M. Hill


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WHAT THE GLOBAL OPEN MINISTRY FORUMS ARE “NOT”

In a few days, I will travel to California to host the first of twenty-three Global Forums, as mandated by the 77th General Assembly. With a break in the Summer for Camp Meetings and Regional Conventions, the Executive Committee will conclude the final Forum next November. Rather than expect our Church of God constituency to travel to any one place such as Cleveland, Tennessee to communicate ideas about church issues, I’m pleased that representatives from the Executive Committee can travel to twenty-three regions, making discussion and dialogue opportunities more accessible. I will attend and host each of the forums, and to keep travel costs to a minimum, in most locations I will be accompanied by only one Executive Committee Member.

The topics of discussion will focus primarily on the four items designated in the adopted measure of the General Assembly. That measure is as follows:


That open Ministry Forums be conducted globally to provide opportunity for deliberate and meaningful discussion, dialogue, questions/ answers and time for spiritual insight regarding the importance and understanding of ministry ranks, qualifications, and women in ministry with attention upon the meaning and usage of the title “bishop.” Following the forums, appropriate motion(s) be formulated by the International Executive Council specifically addressing the stated issues and brought to the 2020 International General Council.


Again the prescribed discussion items are:

1. Understanding Ministry Ranks
2. Qualifications of Ministry 
3. Women in Ministry 
4. The meaning and usage of the title “Bishop.”

To fully understand what the Global Open Forums are, we should begin with an understanding of what the Global Open Forums are not.

First, a Global Open Forum is not a Mini-General Assembly.

No motions concerning any subject will be formulated, nor decisions adopted in these sessions. While I will personally host and direct the sessions, Roberts Rules of Order will not be used. Obviously, time restrictions will need to be imposed on speeches in order to allow for all to have opportunity to address the topics. Of course, Christian and courteous decorum will be expected of all participants. An explanation of our procedure will be given at the beginning of each session to insure everyone’s understanding of protocol.

Second, the Global Ministry Forums are not the Executive Committee’s attempt at persuasion on the topics.

As with any topic of discussion, the members of the Executive Committee have opinions and naturally, in most instances, it’s difficult to speak without those opinions coming forth. However, the Global Open Forums are not the EC’s “traveling road show” for the purpose of promoting an agenda. Rather, the forums are your opportunity to “speak into the process” and assist the Executive Council in studying scripture, praying fervently, and offering insight to some questions that have been a concern to the church for a while. My commitment is to host the conversation in such a way as to be fair and respectful to every individual and opinion.

At the beginning of each session, I will briefly and concisely present an overview of each stated topic in order to establish the subject and hopefully begin healthy conversation among those participating.
 

Third, the Global Ministry Forums are not a “Cleveland Show and Tell.”

I promise you that beyond necessary opening instructions, all of the time allotted to the forums will be spent in hearing from those in attendance. There will be no department promotions or hallway exhibits. The forums are built to be very focused and arranged for leadership to hear from the hearts of our laity and ministers in each location.
 

Fourth, the Global Open Forums will not be the Perfect Format.

The Executive Committee has looked at numerous way to carry out the General Assembly-mandated Global Ministry Forums. There is no perfect way to do these and connect with every demographic nuance. None of them will be as long as any of us wish. While we have attempted to provide a broad schedule allowing for maximum participation, we will still miss many who simply can’t adjust their own schedules to attend.

We have discussed everything from room logistics to media and technology. We have wrestled with the best locations, starting and ending time, WiFi availability, traffic issues, you name it.

Bottom line – the forums are what they are. Pardon me, but this “ain’t” Camp Meeting, Catalyst, an ARC gathering, or anything that will look like Elevation or Hillsong. I’m not preaching, the Youth Choir’s not singing, and the Drama Team isn’t dancing. The forums are solely for the purpose of hearing from our people and collecting thoughts, insights and even data that will assist the Executive Council in its preparation of a General Council agenda for 2020.
 

Finally, the Global Open Forums are not a Waste of Time and Money.

While each forum is designed to last for three hours, if those participating so desire and if merited by strong levels of interest, I will certainly allow for more time for discussion. With twenty-three forums, that’s almost 70 hours of crucial discussion that will be hugely beneficial to the process.

Possibly the most important aspect of the forums is the survey that will be available. Time will be taken in each forum to complete the survey. However the survey is available online (www.globalministryforums) and can be completed at any time.

The success of the forums will not be judged by any decisions made at the next General Assembly. The success, or failure, of the forums will be determined twenty-three different times over the next year. If the issues are clearly articulated, if the discussion is free, open and respectful, if iron truly sharpens iron and we walk away not necessarily seeing eye-to-eye, but walking hand-in-hand, then the forums will be successful. If as a host I can insure a “safe” zone where unhindered and honest dialogue and forward-thinking ideas are welcomed, then the forums will be a success. This is my hope and intent.

The General Assembly believed that this process would be the best way to get participation from the widest cross-section of our church. Hopefully, those who cannot attend will be able to participate in the Internet Livestream Forum planned for April 26.

I hope that you will take time to attend and participate in the forum nearest you. I’m looking forward to seeing you.

God bless,
Tim Hill
 


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A Special Message from Dr. Hill on Abortion


96

A Special Message from Dr. Hill on Abortion



“My Heart and Thoughts about Governor Cuomo’s Announcement Concerning Abortion in New York”

by Dr. Timothy M. Hill
General Overseer of the Church of God

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God help us!

Usually my reflective articles come under the heading “Let’s Talk About It.” However, in considering the heartbreaking matter of abortion and the undeniable value that God and His Holy Word place on human life, I have to ask, “What’s There to Talk About?” Indeed, there is plenty to pray about, and pray we must, but all the talking we do will not change God’s infallible word about the sanctity of human life.

On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court in the infamous Roe v. Wade decision held that a woman has a constitutionally protected right to have an abortion. In subsequent cases before the nation’s highest court, the right to abortion has been further affirmed and defined, specifically in the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In these cases, the U.S. Supreme Court created a protected right that cannot be found in the Constitution. Not only was this act of judicial activism outside the parameters of the court’s authority, it was in direct contradiction to God’s Word and the beliefs of a majority of Americans.

And then just a few days ago on the 46 anniversary of the Roe decision, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced to a cheering crowd that he had signed a law that legalizes abortion basically up until birth. Notably, New York was the first state to legalize early term abortions back in 1970. This updated version of the law, known as the “Reproductive Health Act,” now allows even “non-doctors” to conduct abortions. Further, the new law allows for abortions up until the mother’s due date if the woman’s health is considered to be endangered, or if the fetus is considered “not viable.”  Sadly, in “celebration” of the passage of the new law, Governor Cuomo directed the 408-foot spire on One World Trade Center, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bridge, and the Alfred E. Smith Building in Albany to be lit in pink to “celebrate this achievement and shine a bright light forward for the rest of the nation to follow.”

Most assuredly, the rest of the nation should “not” follow the New York example. The United States is already headed toward judgment for the immoral actions permitted, and even encouraged, in our society.  America must repent of sins already committed and refuse to even consider going down the path taken by New York.

Based on the latest data available, approximately 882,000 abortions took place in the United States in 2017. There were approximately 885,000 abortions in 2016 and 913,000 abortions in 2015. It is reported that since the Roe decision in 1973, an estimated 60 million abortions have been performed in the United States alone. That is 60 million human lives.

According to a 2013 United Nations’ report, only nine countries in the world have a higher abortion rate than the United States.

My goal here is not to participate in a judgmental tirade nor in a vicious verbal spew of religious-sounding rhetoric that exacerbates a problem more than helps it. Instead, I would prefer to magnify and extol the Sanctity of Life and focus on ways the Body of Christ can be a critical and crucial presence in this particular arena of national crises.

An incredible statement concerning the Sanctity of Life is provided by Focus on the Family and contained in what is known as the “Life Ethic.”  (See https://www.focusonthefamily.com.)

The Focus on the Family statement, in part, is as follows:


“Human beings are created by God in His image. Therefore every person, from conception to natural death, possesses inherent dignity and immeasurable worth—including preborn children, elderly individuals, those with special needs and others marginalized by society. Christians, then, are called to defend, protect, and value all human life.

In short, human life is sacred and respect for human life should be at the center of all we do. In order to put the “life ethic” into words and practice, it helps to consider where it comes from, what it looks like and how can we incorporate it into our daily lives.

The Bible establishes that human life is sacred in Genesis 1:27: ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.’ (ESV)

To be created in the likeness of God means that each human bears His image and with it, a value beyond our unique characteristics or individual attributes. Nothing else in God’s created order has the distinction of reflecting His image; it’s a privileged status reserved only for humankind.

This is a bit of a mystery as God’s image in us isn’t something tangible we can see, taste or feel; yet it establishes our significance and worth at the highest level.  The Bible says we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14). From the miracle of life in the womb to the body’s ability to regenerate cells and tissue for healing, we see God’s amazing fingerprint at work.  Humans are breathtaking creatures embodying a touch of the Creator Himself and reflected in the wonder of human life.

Contrary to cultural messages, our value isn’t determined by our ethnicity, race or gender; nor by our age, ability or location.  It’s our divine membership in the human family that sets each of us apart as sacred. Men, women and children (including preborn children in the womb) should be respected, regardless of their mental capacity, physical ability, or social position. Some people may not exhibit attributes of God or behave in ways that recognize their own value yet their intrinsic worth remains.

The concept of human dignity comes from the sanctity of human life.  Since humans are made in God’s image, we hold a distinctive status that sets us apart. Human dignity is bestowed upon us by God.

All around us should be reminded of the value of all human life by speaking out for ‘those who cannot speak for themselves’ (Proverbs 31:8). Look for opportunities to talk about and live out your belief regarding the truth of the Sanctity of Life. Teach your children and grandchildren to respect all human life and demonstrate that respect in your own word and actions.

Together we can live out and communicate the beauty, wonder and reverence our Creator intended for each person in the human family. We must also communicate the message and overwhelming reality of God’s forgiveness and grace to anyone who calls on the Lord’s name, regardless of their sin.“


I applaud Focus on the Family for this statement exemplifying LIFE. In addition, you can find numerous articles, statements, and position papers regarding abortion and the Sanctity of Life on the Church of God website.

I encourage you to CHOOSE LIFE!!

Tim Hill

 


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2019 Engage Winter Issue


96

2019 Engage Winter Issue




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Engage Journal Now Available!
 

Winter 2019 Issue of Engage Released

Church of God Communications has released the Winter 2019 issue of Engage, a journal for Church of God ministries. Engage is published online three times a year (January, May and September) and contains articles of interest to ministers and church staff members on how to minister more effectively in the local church and every day.
 
Engage is available by visiting www.cogengage.org. At the site, you can view the document in a convenient dual-page format, download to your tablet or smartphone, or print it. In addition, any website listed within the publication is a live link to other resources. Archived issues are also available. 
 

VIEW NOW

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