I am returning from the listening tour in Connecticut. We had a fabulous time seeing the the quest for trust brought out of the ideological stage and into practicality. There was no preset agenda, simply an open mic. It was an opportunity for the ministers of the Church of God to voice concerns and ask questions of our general overseer and another member of the executive committee. Dr Culpepper was transparent and forthright with the men. He dodged no questions, even ones it was clear made him uncomfortable.
The topics raised surprised me. Many of the speakers asked about curriculum, resources and letters from HQ in either French or Spanish. One specifically asked for reciprocity in overseers (ie if there is a white overseer in a predominantly black region, there should be a black overseer in a predominantly white region) Gender equality was requested. Retirement for those not involved in a plan. Most of the concerns were regionally driven. Literally no questions were asked and no statements given by the men on the reduction of tithe-of-tithe, although it was referenced in the responses by Dr. Culpepper often. Usually as the reason their concern could not be addressed.
In the afternoon session, many of the questions were about church planting. Teen talent was mentioned and the response was the “probably” teen talent will no longer take place at the general assembly. I have vowed to write a letter to the EC to the effect that though I think removing teen talent from the general assembly may be a valuable decision and perhaps even necessary, it creates or exacerbates another problem. That being the generational disconnect. If we had a venue and opportunity to mitigate the ever widening gap it was the fact that our teens had the chance to participate in our general assembly, esp. the evening services. With this confluence lost, we need a venue to pass on the heritage of our church. Not that having the two together was enough to or even successful in passing on the heritage, but it at least gave the opportunity. Where is that opportunity now?