Why We Are Still Church of God: The General Assembly
As I sit on the floor watching the business of General Council, I feel many different emotions. I feel confused because of the theological and ministerial weight carried by many of the issues considered. I feel embarrassed because many of the statements that have been made on both sides of various issues. I feel frustrated because it seems as though we waste our time on the same two or three issues every Assembly while there are many issues to discuss which greatly affect the ministry of the local church. However, I have one feeling which seems to overwhelm all others: pride. The first time that I remember every going to Assembly was in Indianapolis in 1996. Even at the age of 7 years old, I realized that I was taking part in something that was quite great. Throughout the years, I have not missed an Assembly and that great feeling of pride for my church has grown. When I turned 16 years old, I took part as a voting delegate and realized even more the greatness of our Assembly. As i reflect on the General Assembly, I am struck by a few important aspects of the meeting. First, I believe one of the greatest strengths of the Assembly is the fellowship that it brings for the church. I understand that, in many ways, this is a superficial reason; I get to see old friends and acquaintances. However. I believe that there is something to be said for the Church of God coming together every two years for business, worship, and fellowship. It brings about community and inter-dependance within the church. Second, I greatly enjoy that the General Assembly is the primary agent of systemic change within the Church of God. We have leaders in charge of the church at various levels, many of whom I greatly respect; but many of them can only bring about so much change, rather that be for political reasons or some other reasons. Any and all sweeping change that has ever affected the denomination, rather good or bad, has been ushered in by the General Council/Assembly. Third, the General Assembly provides a greater amount of accountability to the leadership of the denomination. Time has told us that there have been certain individuals who have gone into the leadership and have not done the best job possible. However, the Church of God can rest assured in the fact that every internationally elected official is answerable to the General Assembly every two years. They are not merely accountable to other leaders or to a select group of Bishops, but they are, in fact, accountable to every Bishop and every member of the Church. I remember as a kid, being amazed at the business that took place on the General council floor. I remember studying Robert’s Rules of Order in or that I might better understand what was taking place. Even now, as I sit and listen to the debate on the floor, I feel a sense of love for my denomination, as sickly as it may be becoming, and I feel a sense of anticipation for the day that I may play a larger role as a Bishop within the denomination.