Discussion on Church of God General Assembly Sessions Live Broadcast on the Internet and Social Media

Premise

Historically, the Church of God has been a leader in numerous theological and practical aspects of the Pentecostal faith. Ministry via modern media, unfortunately, has not been a priority until recently. The road of recovery in this area has been established by partnership with Christian TV stations and several social media experiments. Occasional broadcasts, however, have been a part of the Church of God media presence for a long time. The 73rd General Assembly was televised live on the internet with avid success, though not without accidental interruptions and stream overloading. Thousands of Church of God members around the globe, who until that moment had never been at or seen the assembly, were able to watch it from their respective locations. Same was true for the following assemblies even when the broadcast had to be paused when sensitive to secular media issues were discussed or voted.

Historical Developments

The denomination had only intermediate web presence until the spring of 2001 when ChurchofGod.cc was first established. Even then, a virtually uncommon domain extension .CC (TLD for the Cocos Islands) was implemented, generally used for commercial websites and/or credit cards. This choice left a void for other movements to occupy the Church of God name on the internet. As a result, the official ChurchofGod.org domain was obtained around 2008 from the Heritage Community Church, but not until heavily used for non-denominational web presence. Similarly, the ChurchofGod.com was held for a long time by occult groups until recently made available again for purchase for $25,000 – a small price for a web realty representing an international denomination of seven million souls strong.

Statements and Resolutions

1984 Resolution on THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THOSE WHO CONTROL AND USE THE MEDIA

WHEREAS the American people enjoy unparalleled freedoms of communication and expression; and

WHEREAS the responsible exercise of these freedoms is necessary to vital democracy; and

WHEREAS those who control and use the media are uniquely situated to influence the thoughts, opinions, values, and conduct of others; and

WHEREAS the lack of accountability by the media in exercising this privilege not to impinge upon the rights of others; and

WHEREAS there is an obvious lack of objectivity, truthfulness, and responsibility on the part of many who control and use the media in presenting morality in American life; and

WHEREAS the Judeo-Christian values of the American majority are often ignored or ridiculed;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the Church of God does hereby call upon all who control or use the media to be objective, truthful, and morally responsible in the exercise of their freedoms of communication and expression;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT we call upon those who control and use the media to respect the rights of all Americans and to desist from ignoring or ridiculing the Judeo-Christian moral and ethical values held by a majority of Americans (60th A., 1984, p. 57).

The 2012 Church of God International General Assembly added with the newly proposed Motion 18 on the RESPONSIBLE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA. The original text in the agenda read as follows:

We recommend: That we amend pages 156, 157, S63. GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR MINISTERS, by adding the following:

10. Responsible Use of Social Media
Christians are exhorted by Scripture to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), to provide things honest in the sight of all persons (Romans 12:17), and to do all things for the edification of others (Romans 15:2). The use of social media (such as MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites, and so forth) by believers should conform to these and other biblical standards. Church of God ministers, as examples of believers in speech, life, faith, and purity (1 Timothy 4:12), shall at all times agree:
a. To write and post only under their own name.
b. To not attack fellow ministers or members of the Church of God. One may disagree with others, provided the tone is respectful and does not become a personal attack.
c. To not disclose any sensitive, confidential, or financial information about the church, its ministers, or its members, other than what is publically available.
d. To not post any material that is defamatory, libelous, threatening, harassing, abusive, or embarrassing to any person or entity.
e. To uphold the doctrine of the Church of God by not writing or posting anything contrary to the accepted doctrine of the Church of God.

Failure to follow these guidelines on the use of social media shall result in the offending minister being subject to discipline

Item 18 was heavily altered before voted in as follows:

10. Responsible Use of Social Media: Christians are exhorted by Scripture to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), to provide things honest in the sight of all persons (Romans 12:17), and to do all things for the edification of others (Romans 15:2). The use of social media by believers should conform to these and other Biblical standards (74th A., 2012).

Pros & Cons
These above measures recognized for a first time the open presence of the Church of God in all new media venues, including the world of social media. Such recognition does not come without its own challenges.

Cons

  • Larger internet resource, staff and budgeting
  • Scheduled pauses when sensitive issues are discussed and voted
  • Occasional unexpected interruptions mainly due to expressions by members not realizing the global reach of a live broadcast using internet and social media

Pros

  • A larger assembly participation by virtually any and all members of the global Church of God family around the world
  • The necessary investment for needed equipment have already been made
  • Previous live broadcasts have been done with great success
  • Sensitive broadcast segments could be easily limited to a password protected login using a personal ministerial number
  • Denominational stand on various public and social issues will be made in a clear and transparent way

Are these cons worth shutting seven million members off the floor or are they but a small price to pay for all members to participate in a Great General Assembly? Is social broadcasting one step closer to opening the floor for viewing members who are eligible to participate in the discussions and express their preference in an electronic voting for all motions? Would such move make the Church of God General Assembly a truly international one?

Share your thoughts: Should Church of God General Assembly sessions be broadcast live on the internet and social media?

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52 thoughts on “Discussion on Church of God General Assembly Sessions Live Broadcast on the Internet and Social Media

  1. Charles Page says:

    any minister in the know about what the salary of the General Overseer (perhaps any ordained administrative bishop) can be dealt with as unruly and disciplined.

  2. Charles Page says:

    A good example of the control that is exercised over the assembly the “soddy-daisyprophet” made a comment on the floor about buying his wife new underwear to attend the assembly. This was stricken from the record and I would think the minister disciplined.

  3. Jackson Vaughn Plant says:

    Yes and he caught enough hell from the church to worry about discipline. Completely un CHRIST like attitude to him. Did any of you who want to discipline him ever talk to him and see if he realized what he said? I was there in fact same row and could not believe he said it. I didn’t rebuke him I friended him on Facebook and asked him to talk some. I haven’t heard in a while but he should have been told in love what he said not the Lynch mob attitude I’ve seen since.

  4. David Lewayne Porter says:

    “If they can’t control themselves and act any better than that, and conduct themselves in a way to model being God’s ambassadors (then just maybe the days of “”love”” needs some Matt chapter 23 added into the mix and shown.
    What on earth would he say before the Church body if he was that bold in an open forum/public?
    This was not a novice or regular laity we are talking about.
    This is supposed to be God’s man.”

  5. David Lewayne Porter says:

    “I see you noticed that.
    There is a difference between the pulpit and the pew.
    (Luke 12:48
    But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. )”

  6. Jim Price says:

    The G A is a business session and I can’t think of any business that would allow open and unedited sessions to be released to an unsympathetic audience that might well nick pick loose statements to death in the years to come.

  7. Melvin Harter says:

    I too love the Church of God as it relates to what it use to be. For the things that are occurring in this modern church, I am most ashamed and, sorry to say, but beginning to wish that no one ever knew that I was a part of it.

  8. Jim Price says:

    Metamorphosis:” a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.” The church in general and the COG in particular has been and is going through dynamic change. That doesn’t mean that the change isn’t of God. No one has gone through more identities than Christ himself. In the beginning the creator, the fourth man in the fiery furnace, appeared as an angel and came as a human baby, preached to the spirits in hell, was the first to go into space, has served as the great judge and will be transformed even more in the end times. During the metamorphosis things look kind of messy but then comes a beautiful butterfly.

  9. Louise Cummings says:

    So do I love the Church of God. I wasn’t raised in Church of God. I was raised in the Baptist Church. That acted like Church Of God.they shouted , had strict rules. When they changed to more formal ways. My daddy called it the new deal Baptist. The only thing. They didn’t preach The Baptism Of The Holy Ghost. It was many years I never heard of Pentecost. When I was a young teenager. We mover to a place where they had a Church Of God There. I got started going with my niece. And got Filled with The Holy Ghost. Not long after as a teenager girl. The called me into the ministry. That was back when women preachers wasn’t all that popular. My daddy never said a word about The Holy Ghost or my preaching. He did say he believe the Holy Ghost was a gift. Some had the gift. And some didn’t. But I had great strict parents.they was more strict than Church Of God now days. Church Of God was strict when I joined it. I love the Church Of God. I believe its teachings is closer to Bible teachings than any other Church I know.

  10. Jackson Vaughn Plant says:

    Yes and he caught enough hell from the church to worry about discipline. Completely un CHRIST like attitude to him. Did any of you who want to discipline him ever talk to him and see if he realized what he said? I was there in fact same row and could not believe he said it. I didn’t rebuke him I friended him on Facebook and asked him to talk some. I haven’t heard in a while but he should have been told in love what he said not the Lynch mob attitude I’ve seen since.

  11. David Lewayne Porter says:

    “If they can’t control themselves and act any better than that, and conduct themselves in a way to model being God’s ambassadors (then just maybe the days of “”love”” needs some Matt chapter 23 added into the mix and shown.
    What on earth would he say before the Church body if he was that bold in an open forum/public?
    This was not a novice or regular laity we are talking about.
    This is supposed to be God’s man.”

  12. Charles Page says:

    A good example of the control that is exercised over the assembly the “soddy-daisyprophet” made a comment on the floor about buying his wife new underwear to attend the assembly. This was stricken from the record and I would think the minister disciplined.

  13. David Lewayne Porter says:

    “I see you noticed that.
    There is a difference between the pulpit and the pew.
    (Luke 12:48
    But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. )”

  14. Melvin Harter says:

    I too love the Church of God as it relates to what it use to be. For the things that are occurring in this modern church, I am most ashamed and, sorry to say, but beginning to wish that no one ever knew that I was a part of it.

  15. Jim Price says:

    The G A is a business session and I can’t think of any business that would allow open and unedited sessions to be released to an unsympathetic audience that might well nick pick loose statements to death in the years to come.

  16. Charles Page says:

    any minister in the know about what the salary of the General Overseer (perhaps any ordained administrative bishop) can be dealt with as unruly and disciplined.

  17. Jim Price says:

    The one truism is that we can not go back; so we are left to help in the birthing process, to help the church become the best it can be.

  18. Louise Cummings says:

    So do I love the Church of God. I wasn’t raised in Church of God. I was raised in the Baptist Church. That acted like Church Of God.they shouted , had strict rules. When they changed to more formal ways. My daddy called it the new deal Baptist. The only thing. They didn’t preach The Baptism Of The Holy Ghost. It was many years I never heard of Pentecost. When I was a young teenager. We mover to a place where they had a Church Of God There. I got started going with my niece. And got Filled with The Holy Ghost. Not long after as a teenager girl. The called me into the ministry. That was back when women preachers wasn’t all that popular. My daddy never said a word about The Holy Ghost or my preaching. He did say he believe the Holy Ghost was a gift. Some had the gift. And some didn’t. But I had great strict parents.they was more strict than Church Of God now days. Church Of God was strict when I joined it. I love the Church Of God. I believe its teachings is closer to Bible teachings than any other Church I know.

  19. Sharon Davis says:

    I was raised I. The church. Unfortunately. I live where there isn’t one. But I attend the Assembly of God. It is a very good church.

  20. Jim Price says:

    Metamorphosis:” a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.” The church in general and the COG in particular has been and is going through dynamic change. That doesn’t mean that the change isn’t of God. No one has gone through more identities than Christ himself. In the beginning the creator, the fourth man in the fiery furnace, appeared as an angel and came as a human baby, preached to the spirits in hell, was the first to go into space, has served as the great judge and will be transformed even more in the end times. During the metamorphosis things look kind of messy but then comes a beautiful butterfly.

  21. Doyle says:

    CONTROL” can be a wise policy
    Whether one is driving a car, flying in a plane someone else is piloting or grilling a hamburger, CONTROL of speed, altitude or temperature, is an important factor.

    In any organization big or small, CONTROL is not only important but necessary. And that’s true of providing a place for expression. One cannot allow just anybody to say anything. For example, we can’t allow angry people to make threats of physical harm to other posters and we do work diligently to stop any poster from making personalized attacks on individuals.

    CONTROL is at times a difficult situation if one wants to allow others to use a board like this to share their opinions. We want them to share their heart on various issues but to do that, they must accept certain controls such as not using profanity and not posting salacious photos.

    So YES, a discussion board sponsored by the COG, will have to maintain CONTROL of what is allowed to be posted there. The difficult part is trying to maintain some modicum of control while also allowing open discussion. Too much control and people simply stop participating and not enough control and people stop participating.

    They want to participate in discussions but not have to wade through garbage and continuous argumentativeness to do it.

  22. Doyle says:

    CONTROL” can be a wise policy
    Whether one is driving a car, flying in a plane someone else is piloting or grilling a hamburger, CONTROL of speed, altitude or temperature, is an important factor.

    In any organization big or small, CONTROL is not only important but necessary. And that’s true of providing a place for expression. One cannot allow just anybody to say anything. For example, we can’t allow angry people to make threats of physical harm to other posters and we do work diligently to stop any poster from making personalized attacks on individuals.

    CONTROL is at times a difficult situation if one wants to allow others to use a board like this to share their opinions. We want them to share their heart on various issues but to do that, they must accept certain controls such as not using profanity and not posting salacious photos.

    So YES, a discussion board sponsored by the COG, will have to maintain CONTROL of what is allowed to be posted there. The difficult part is trying to maintain some modicum of control while also allowing open discussion. Too much control and people simply stop participating and not enough control and people stop participating.

    They want to participate in discussions but not have to wade through garbage and continuous argumentativeness to do it.

  23. Free Agent says:

    Social Media: Many novice instructors of social media argue the importance of social principles like:
    (a) announce, accelerate, appropriate,
    (b) build, broadcast, brand,
    (c) collaborate, contribute, coordinate,
    (d) determine, deploy, deliver,
    (e) explore, execute, exhilarate,
    (f) face, foresee, facilitate,
    (g) go, grow, ground and so on.

    But all of the above amounts to nothing else than one great loss of time if not rooted in a strong identity and clothed with a vision, which surpasses the singularity of social defragmentation in order to reach the very heart within a movement of people. And there, the meaning of social in social media translates in not excluding the already social active. But let us start with the foundation…

    When a social movement is silenced, it becomes totalized. It is totally cool and awesomely totaling until it results in the totality of being alone in one’s own “totalness” that inevitably results in totalitarian uselessness. Here are three ground rules to prevent reactional totalitarianism in a social media movement.

    1. Make Aware. It is not the announcement or the action that spark reaction, but the self awareness of a group of people that they are embowered by the realization that they have become a movement; and not merely a clan, tribe or even city, but a people and a nation.

    2. Educate how to and how not to use is this essential part where the future of a movement must be foreseen before it reaches its nadir and ultimate nominal disappearance.

    3. Make part of everyday life. When a grassroots movement becomes a household name it has reached its time of fruition. There, a grassroots movement which emerges from within a people is much more effective than any artificially imposed media.

    A lesson learned from the Communist Regime: any social transformation of people is totaled when it becomes totalitarian – that is usurped by the few sitting on the top of the social pyramid where captivating and controlling social media dictates fear from change.

    The power to change culture and create alternative sub cultures emerges from the freedom to liberate within which begins with the freedom to liberate itself from any foreign influence and to stand on its own. Just like in Egypt, Syria and the Arab Spring of 2012. Only then it retains the power of the personal motivation for a change within a culture. Thus, social media is effective only when it is not captured and capsulated by an external agenda. And it is social only when it belongs to the person – not the organization.

  24. Free Agent says:

    Social Media: Many novice instructors of social media argue the importance of social principles like:
    (a) announce, accelerate, appropriate,
    (b) build, broadcast, brand,
    (c) collaborate, contribute, coordinate,
    (d) determine, deploy, deliver,
    (e) explore, execute, exhilarate,
    (f) face, foresee, facilitate,
    (g) go, grow, ground and so on.

    But all of the above amounts to nothing else than one great loss of time if not rooted in a strong identity and clothed with a vision, which surpasses the singularity of social defragmentation in order to reach the very heart within a movement of people. And there, the meaning of social in social media translates in not excluding the already social active. But let us start with the foundation…

    When a social movement is silenced, it becomes totalized. It is totally cool and awesomely totaling until it results in the totality of being alone in one’s own “totalness” that inevitably results in totalitarian uselessness. Here are three ground rules to prevent reactional totalitarianism in a social media movement.

    1. Make Aware. It is not the announcement or the action that spark reaction, but the self awareness of a group of people that they are embowered by the realization that they have become a movement; and not merely a clan, tribe or even city, but a people and a nation.

    2. Educate how to and how not to use is this essential part where the future of a movement must be foreseen before it reaches its nadir and ultimate nominal disappearance.

    3. Make part of everyday life. When a grassroots movement becomes a household name it has reached its time of fruition. There, a grassroots movement which emerges from within a people is much more effective than any artificially imposed media.

    A lesson learned from the Communist Regime: any social transformation of people is totaled when it becomes totalitarian – that is usurped by the few sitting on the top of the social pyramid where captivating and controlling social media dictates fear from change.

    The power to change culture and create alternative sub cultures emerges from the freedom to liberate within which begins with the freedom to liberate itself from any foreign influence and to stand on its own. Just like in Egypt, Syria and the Arab Spring of 2012. Only then it retains the power of the personal motivation for a change within a culture. Thus, social media is effective only when it is not captured and capsulated by an external agenda. And it is social only when it belongs to the person – not the organization.

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