International Executive Council Meets in Historic Session
Cleveland, TN - The International Executive Council of the Church of God met in their regularly-scheduled spring session on Monday, April 20, 2020, where they made the historic decision to postpone the 78th International General Assembly until 2022. In what would have been a session to finalize the agenda for the Assembly, members of the Church’s governing body instead grappled with the fallout of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic that has impacted millions of lives and caused countless deaths around the globe.
From the beginning of the process, General Overseer Tim Hill challenged the Council to follow four clear priorities in making their decision:
- The decision had to be pleasing and honoring to the Lord
- The health and well-being of our church members and participants had to be first and foremost in our thought process - and we had to consider both our national and international delegates potentially from 185 nations
- The financial and economic concerns of the local church, pastors, and delegates had to be factored into the decision, and
- The decision had to be as least intrusive on the Church of God Minutes and Bylaws as possible.
Working from a proposal crafted by a specially appointed General Assembly Task Force, the Council adopted a resolution, stating in part that, “the 78th International General Assembly be postponed until the summer of 2022.” The measure also gave the Executive Committee the authority to continue its negotiations with the City of Indianapolis about an event in that city in the future.
The extensive resolution presented to the Council was the result of hours of discussion and debate by the Task Force, made up of Executive Council members and chaired by Dr. Mark Williams. A second item recommended by the Task Force and presented to the Council dealt with a continuity of governance within the Church of God in the intervening period of 2020 to 2022. The resolution provided that, “persons currently holding general elected positions continue in their positions with full legal and ecclesiastical authority until such time as nominations or elections by the International General Council and elections by the International General Assembly can be properly conducted and successors chosen.”
As stated several times by Council members, the second resolution was necessary to “keep the plane flying.” The resolution cited this “unprecedented period the Church of God, as well as the world is experiencing through the shutdown of economies, churches and businesses and how the continuing worldwide pandemic of the coronavirus is preventing the usual operation of the denomination.”
An overarching sentiment expressed throughout the Council meeting was the concern for the health and well-being of Church of God constituents around the globe. Comments from Task Force members revealed the on-going travel restrictions that are and would likely be in place well into next year and concerns for the timing of an economic recovery worldwide.
“We are in uncharted waters and decisions made by this body may not be pleasing to everyone,” Hill stated in his closing remarks to the Council. “However, we have done our best to be respectful of our Minutes. God knew this was coming.… He knows where we are and that this body would be in place to grapple with this matter. My prayer is for a period of continuing to be ‘the Church on Mission’ as we seek to FINISH the Great Commission.”
Click or Tap the buttons below to view either of the two motions passed by the International Executive Council on Monday, April 20, 2020: