Dr. Harold Bare on The Power of the Executive Committee to Ignore General Assembly Policy

GUEST BLOGGER, Harold Bare, Ph.D., pastor of Covenant Church in Charlottesville, VA

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My thoughts are shared today after 40 years of study and research on Church of God executive structure. These efforts to study and research have been made with the desire to bring about a more positive and effective structure.

The propositions presently being entertained by you in your forum are:

  • Proposition #1: Elect at least 13 pastors to Executive Council.
  • Proposition #2: Reduce funding by local churches to general headquarters to 10% and mandate 1/3 of this amount coming into International Headquarters be designated by the General Assembly for World Missions.

Both are in heart well intended and would potentially bring about some improvement. The problem that would remain is that the system is broken. Even if both of these propositions were to pass, we would still have an endemic flaw that is not General Assembly [GA] mandated.

By fiat the Executive Committee [EC] has commandeered the power of the General Assembly [GA]. The General Overseer/Executive Administrative Bishop [GO] chairs the:

Executive Committee [EC],
Executive Council [EC+18],
Ordained Bishop’s Council [OBC],
General Assembly [GA].

The times and agendas of the meetings of these bodies are fundamentally established by the Executive Committee [EC]. Length of meetings and interventions in meetings are in the power of the chair, who is the General Overseer/Executive Administrative Bishop [GO].

Note that the power of the General Overseer/Executive Administrative Bishop [GO] as practiced is not mandated by General Assembly [GA] polity. The GO is not required to chair all these meetings.

No budget is submitted to Executive Council [EC+18] until it is accepted by liaison of the Executive Committee [EC] and presented to the Executive Committee [EC]. Thus all departmental budgets are effectively controlled by the Executive Committee [EC].

Again, by fiat, the Executive Committee [EC] has developed a procedure that effectively controls all of the various policy bodies chaired by the General Overseer/Executive Administrative Bishop [GO]. Several years ago at the business meetings of the Ordained Bishops Council [OB C] and General Assembly session [GA], I recorded the time spent on actual business and the time spent on the peripherals. In terms of time measured and devoted to discussion it is absurd to even suggest that the General Assembly [GA] is the ruling body of the Church of God.

The minute-by-minute recording of the Ordained Bishops Council [OBC] and General Assembly [GA] confirmed that control of the operations of the Church of God is in the hands of the Executive Committee [EC]. Much of the time designated as “business” sessions is filled with other activities, thus limiting input from members of the body.

Prudence would call for times of prayer, worship, and announcements before set Agenda time. Why do we have to have “church” during every business session? Are business sessions not spiritual? Is discussion by the Body not part of the God-plan? Is debate of issues secular?

Prudence would call for elimination of all acceptance speeches during Ordained Bishop’s Council [OBC] set Agenda time, and only having General Assembly [GA] nominated/elected officials stand and be recognized.

Prudence would call for a professional moderator to chair the voting by the Ordained Bishop’s Council [OBC], thus expediting the procedure and eliminating political overtones.

As part of my research since the 1980’s I have attempted to obtain certain documents that should be accessible to the public domain of the constituency of the Church of God. Many requests for documents from the Pentecostal Research Library have been met with: “I cannot release those documents without permission from the Executive Committee [EC].” This statement has been repeated to me more times than I care to remember. Likewise, refusal to provide documents has been denied multiple times.

Fundamentally, any parishioner who tithes has a legal right to full disclosure of all finances of general headquarters. A class-action suit by a small group could potentially halt all funding by local churches to general headquarters until a proper CPA accounting is made available to the tithing constituency of the Church of God.

My proposal of the motion to construct general executive offices at a cost of $10 million dollars contained two contingencies. It is my conclusion that my motion has not been fulfilled. We have the buildings; however, the two mandates that were part of the motion [and to have been met before construction] have not been fulfilled. As per General Assembly Minutes the mandates were:

  1. An external consultant would study the relationship of general headquarters to the local church and make the results available to constituency.
  2. An external audit of general headquarters finances would be made available to constituency.

An executive of one firm that did some consulting for the general offices shared with me that the company withdrew its contract for lack of cooperation from the Executive Committee (EC).

Neither of the contingencies of the motion to build has been effected. Thus—the power of the Executive Committee [EC] to ignore General Assembly [GA] policy!

I do offer some recommendations for consideration:

1. Hire a professional moderator for the Ordained Bishops Council (OBC) for the nomination of executives and Council of Eighteen.

2. Increase the number of pastors on the Executive Council [EC+18] to 13.

3. Mandate that the Executive Council [EC+18] have its own Chair, either by election of one of its members or the first elected member is the Chair.

4. Mandate that a CPA audit of general headquarters funds be publicly available and on website. This should include details about executive’s salaries and possible funding of extant ministries or support of former executives or ministries of former executives.

5. Delay appointment of executives, boards, committees, etc., until two weeks after the GA, thus allowing full discussion and prayer of the business of the Church.

6. Stop using Ordained Bishops for chauffeurs of executives at the GA. This
is an abominable practice verging on sin—certainly a waste of time, talent and money, considering these fine young future leaders are staying in high class hotels and being paid traveling, etc., expenses. They also have the potential for contributing valuable input into the business sessions.

7. Clarify the power of elected executives. If the General Assembly [GA] elects Youth, Evangelism, and Missions executives, are they subordinates of the Executive Committee [EC] and to serve on the same level as other department heads? The answer is “NO, they are not on the same level of appointed department heads.” Elected executives have a right to operate in their elected positions with all the powers credited to their position by the General Assembly [GA]. The Executive Committee (EC) by General Assembly (GA) polity must dialogue and cooperate with other elected executives within bounds of the integrity of General Assembly (GA) polity.

8. Allow regions to elect their own Administrative Bishops.

There is more, but time does not allow.

I close with a prediction of some things that will happen if a unified budget is approved by the General Assembly [GA] without power and practice of power of the Executive Committee [EC] being altered:

  • Local churches will further disenfranchise themselves from general headquarters.
  • More will divert tithe of tithes.
  • Attendance at GA will continue to decline and become less relevant.
  • Independency will increase. There will be more contests in public courts over church property.

It is prudent that we understand that ecclesiastical law is different from civil law. So long as ecclesiastical law fulfills stated intent and is not a violation of civil law, ecclesiastical law can act independently. Whenever there is a question whether ecclesiastical law has not followed its own polity, or if such polity is in contradiction to civil law, then a member of the ecclesiastical body can ask for civil disposition. Or, in more severe cases civil law can call to task the ecclesiastical body.

Unless the Executive Committee [EC] becomes cooperative and willing to defrock some of its powers nothing we do as a Body will save the day.

We need the Executive Committee [EC] to come to San Antonio in a spirit of humility, entering and exiting through the main doors, shaking hands, listening, being brothers, and being willing to bring us together with a plan to fulfill the Great Commission. From my position I hear no call to mission. There is no blowing of the trumpets that is awakening the missionary heart. We need leadership that understands the “spirit of the times” (I Chronicles 12:32).

We need the Executive Committee [EC] to make the moves that it can make to bring openness to the body and increase trust.

While I have heretofore remained quiet in your forum, I now feel compelled to share. My hope is to in some way bring positive changes to a church body which I love and have consistently supported with prayer and stewardship. As a pastor of 33 years to this date my loyalty has been with integrity.

Finally, if we vote a reduction without other changes it will not heal our pain, reinvigorate our Body, nor renew our passion to reach the lost.

NOTE: Dr. Bare’s dissertation for the University of Virginia was an ethno-historical study: “The Evolution of A Sacred Bureaucracy: A Study of the Executive Structure of the Church of God.” It was published and presented to the Executive Committee with recommendations in 1996. The study established that election to the EC is by a scientifically proven path, i.e., no one gets elected to EC without being in favor with the EC. The visibility provided by being appointed as Camp Meeting speakers and Overseers of large states has been the catalyst which propels to election to the Executive Committee, which virtually controls these appointments.

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19 Responses

  1. Could you add me to the COG Bloggers. I have a couple of interesting blogs I have already posted at billsnewsandnotes.blogspot.com

  2. Thanks for adding me to the blog spot. Blessings to you! I have read your posts on here and on other COG blog sites (AC). Very thought provoking and truthful.

  3. I am absolutely amazed.. Thank you Dr. Bare..

  4. Thanks Dr. Bare for your excellent well studied information. A personal experience I had while in Bulgaria might serve to highlight your point about the relationship between civil and church law. When the Bulgarian State Ministry of Religion heard that an Ordained Bishop of the COG was in the country he summoned me to his office and here is what he said to me: your church is operating outside the bounds of its own bylaws. Please advise leadership that they must either (1) change their bylaws to match their practices or (2) change their practices. He went on to say that he was not trying to control the COG but that complaints were received and that he would have to take legal action against the COG unless the situation was changed. I passed those thoughts on to COG leadership. Now back to the USA, I have wondered how long it would be before this tension between the two laws would surface and how long before a class action suit was filed by someone. Let us pray it never comes to that and let us continue to encourage the appropriate people to take appropriate steps to make such action an impossibility.

  5. Dale, one of the unique aspects of U.S. jurisprudence regarding churches is that courts have been (up to now at least) reluctant to interpret church bylaws for a church. But that may be changing.

    To use an example of from the Episcopal experience (yes, I know I do this a lot, but in this case it’s relevant) in most places courts have said that parishes which attempt to secede cannot take the property, in many cases solely because in 1979 their convention passed a canon (the Dennis Canon) which transferred all property to the central church. (Unlike the CoG, TEC’s practice hadn’t always been consistent, and some parishes date back to the days of John Wesley and before.)

    In California, however, the courts have applied “legal neutral principles,” and said that in many cases, if the parish’s deed says that the parish owns the property, and the parish antedates the Dennis Canon, that canon cannot change the property status after the fact. So some of these parishes have seceded, and now they have an entire diocese in CA trying to do the same.

    Georgia has a case going concering a church where John Wesley preached at is trying to secede. The church not only predates the Dennis Canon but also the Episcopal Church and the American Republic itself! But this is still in the courts.

    If U.S. courts were to shift to a more “legal neutral principle” approach to church cases, our churches would be held more strictly to our own written procedures, and we would be in a similar position as our Bulgarian bretheren.

  6. I really enjoyed some of the points. I only have time to stress one point that I have trouble with. I currently serve in a region where the Admin Bishop is appointed from within the region. And in my time here if only noticed that it dramatically increases the politics within the region not decrease it. Just an observation.
    Be Blessed

  7. Dr. Bare,

    Thanks for the time and effort you invested in sharing with readers of this blog. Your perspective as both scholar/historian and as a long-term effective COG pastor should give you great credibility among your peers on this forum.

    I read your dissertation several years ago as part of some personal research I was doing. I re-read the abstract a few minutes ago (thanks for including the link, btw). I’m reminded that few people have studied this subject with the detail that you have, at least their work was not published as extensively. This makes me careful about daring to offer any further input. I know you shared with a desire to advance learning and stimulate positive change so I too will venture forth.

    I very humbly offer some observations in response to your post.

    1. It was my opinion then and especially since that time that your input with the EC and in open forums had a greater impact than probably even you realized. You did not get the EC or the C-18 to adopt your suggestions in total but I have seen a lot of movement that indicates you had an impact.

    2. Your research was absolutely accurate as recorded up until 1994. I wonder however, if we are not already beginning to see the “path to power change.” Your research showed only one pastor (R. Leonard Carroll) had been elected directly to the EC by 1994. All others had gone thru the paths of overseer and other appointed and elected positions. Since that time we have elected two pastors (Walker & Culpepper) and two more were less than 10 years out of the pastorate when they came to the EC. This fact could just be an anomaly, but I think it could be statistically significant or at least a precursor of a trend.

    3. Another fact your research highlighted was the path to power in the COG had to include both cooperation with the EC as well as opportunities to speak in camp meetings and other large forums. This is indisputable but again I suggest a possible change is afoot. The wide impact of the internet and instant communications is daily having a greater impact upon how we all think and make decisions. We may not be there yet but I think this very forum we are participating in is part of a powerful wave of change. I hope we will always elect leaders that have a track record of co-operating with the EC–not a mindless ‘sucking-up’ kind of submission but a Godly respect for authority.

    4. I agree with you that the problems we face are systemic in nature but I’m not sure if I agree with all of your suggestions for change. I hope we’ll all get to dialogue about this further. In my humble opinion one of the difficulties we have in trying to move forward is the very difficulty of having a broad, inclusive conversation. I’ve never witnessed personally—certainly not in the last 12 years—any attempt by an EC member to stifle legitimate debate or limit communication. I presently don’t think that the problem is due to an abuse of power but rather how do we tap this vast pool of talent, passion and diversity that make up the Church of God while getting us all in alignment with His vision.

    Thanks again Pastor Harold for sharing—not only your wisdom but your passion for your fellow travelers and this great fellowship we call the Church of God.

  8. see you in san antonia

  9. TO: Robert Moore, et al:

    Dear Brothers, Thank you for your responses which are both insightful and encouraging. My hearts desire is that we would walk gently and yet firmly in a directly that brings back the vibrancy and passion for evangelism and missions.

    My work is not inclusive or conclusive. Much study has been done by many others, and much needs to be done. As we keep our hearts united in belief and purpose the opportunity for a dynamic future is yet an open door.

    Harold L. Bare, Sr.

  10. Bro. Bare, Sr.

    I posted a question in another area but had not come upon you and your studies at that time.

    I have a simple question that I need answered. I plan to read through your many materials regarding the structure of the COG but I have one that lurks more prominent.

    Where is it in scripture that we should operate our denomination like a democracy? I though it said, “See ye first the Kingdom” and “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done…” I have such a hard time understanding why the people of God would a complaint against the denominations for not having a voice or say.

    I guess that the General Assembly as the higher governing power makes me think of Moses and the children of Israel in the wilderness! I can’t even imagine Moses calling them altogether and then taking votes to decide which way we’re going to go around this mountain today. (Counterclockwise or clockwise. 🙂

  11. Renee,

    Those are penetrating and appropriate observations and questions. I for one, thank you for bringing them up. I hope men smarter than me will respond.

    I personally don’t find a ‘democracy’ but I do see some NT patterns for involvement of men giving oversight involvement of choosing their leaders.

    In Acts 6 the apostles asked to choose folks to preside over the ministry to the widows. Acts 11 & 15 the apostles convened in Jerusalem to discuss issues regarding the preaching of the gospel to non-jews (report of Peter regarding the revival in Cornelius house from chapter 10) and then about the issues of circumcision and keeping the law. In the wake of Judas death and Jesus ascension to Heaven the disciples cast lots for the successor of Judas to the group of 12.

    More tellng, I think is the observation of the way the early church co-operated with each other to seek out then affirm leadership. Paul became a leader, I suspect by virtue of the miraculous signs that often followed his preaching/teaching.

    In a nut shell, I think democracy is too strong of a word. Apostolic authority linked with a deep love for God, each other, lost souls and a willingness to submit to one another keep them growing and moving in unity. A study of church history gives more insight into how men interpreted the scripture and adapted their ecclesiastical structures over the years. Some adapations worked well and some became downright perversions.

    What is clear, at least in my eyes, is the Lord expected us to be right in motive and attitude. He expected us to submit to our leaders but for the leaders to be above reproach and to be cheif servants. The Biblical model of a leader was described by Jesus in Matthew 5 as one who loved others more than he loved himself.

  12. Thank you for your response Bishop.

    “I personally don’t find a ‘democracy’ but I do see some NT patterns for involvement of men giving oversight involvement of choosing their leaders.”

    I agree. There are NT patterns for how our ‘system’ should be set up. I have studied the references you provided and I agree they give us some patterns. I believe, however that our interpretation of those patterns as our COG government is currently set up is skewed. I’ll explain.

    Acts 6: The Grecians complained (local church members). The apostles (EC) called the disciples (GA) and commissioned them to recommend 7 leaders (specific in their request) to attend to the Grecian complaint. The disciples (GA) “recommended” the ministers to the apostles (EC) and the apostles (EC) laid hands on them and they were appointed (positions established by EC not the GA, but GA had input).

    If the COG government had been in place in those times, it would have been recorded as::
    The Grecians complained (local church). The apostles (EC) gave some recommendations to the disciples (GA), and the disciples (GA) voted on the recommendations and the most popular of the recommendations were selected to occupy the new positions and the apostles (EC) laid hands on them and prayed for them.

    Actually, I don’t think the word democracy is a strong enough. In the American democracy, we the people vote for representation and then that representative is the one that actually carries out legislation on our behalf. If our government was set up like the COG, every town mayor would meet every 2 years in Washington to vote on recommendations from the Presidency (all the while complaining of the expense to do so). Even our own American democracy doesn’t give the local mayor (pastor) that much say in actual vote and legislation.

    Acts 11 (report of Peter regarding the revival in Cornelius house): This would be the same as the Executive Committee questioning and holding accountable one of their own for his actions. The apostles called into question the actions of another apostle. I understand that one of the largest complaints today regarding the EC is it’s assumption of some power that hasn’t been given them (confidentiality agreement as an example) and I agree that if the power has not been established as theirs, it’s not theirs to take. I do not justify those actions against the current policies but I do want to provoke the thought that perhaps this has happened (God driven?) so it can draw our attention to making adjustments in our system that would more accurately reflect a kingdom principled government as our Lord and Savior instructed. I think the hardest part of that adjustment period would be the educationing of kingdom principles. Minds would have to be washed and renewed in their understanding of the kingdom principles themselves.

    Acts 15: Apostles and Elders met, which in my mind are the top two tiers of leadership. “After much disputing,” Peter (an apostle – EC) stood up and gave the case that Gentiles without the old law had received the Holy Ghost. Paul and Barnabas (apostles – EC) gave further witness and stories to support Peter’s statement. James (apostle – EC) stood up and offered the solution (perhaps by revelation through the Holy Spirit within him? or his understanding of the Noahic law; laws required of Gentiles who converted to Judaism). There wasn’t a vote regardless of how many of the local church pastors were present. It refers to ‘the multitude’ so I can accept that the local church pastors may have been present (or at least those that afforded the journey) so they were witness to the proceedings, but no where do I read that they took a vote.

    It’s comical in a way, although gravely not, our government would have the apostles making suggestions and recommendations and the multitude voting. If God set the apostles as the leaders and anointed them as apostles, why would we think that pastors’ votes would override the apostles? Perhaps our view of apostles / pastors is misaligned?

    My studies demonstrate that the five fold ministry gifts are “first apostle” (well, that’s as far as I need to go to demonstrate my point. First apostle…) If the list of these ministries are truly in order of hierarchy, then we’ve got it all backwards that a vote from the GA (pastors) would be a higher authority for implementing legislation than that of apostles. (Now, if we were going to implement an accurate EC according to this model, they would have to be proven true apostles by the fruit of their labor as in 2 Cr 12:12.)

    Am I suggesting that we remove pastoral contribution? Absolutely not.

    When I posted “Kingdom” in another post, I came to the realization that most have probably tucked the term into the basements of their mind wrongly associated with “occult.” You cannot imagine the passion that arose within me that someone would associate the two together and suggest that I was meaning a nut-case be put in complete control to write policy, but at the same time, I must realize that the Jim Jones’ of the world have removed ‘kingdom’ from study materials and dismissed it as some fanatical occultish prototype. Living in a democratic American would also prevent us from seeking out this government system as a model for our denomination. We’ve grown so accustomed to having our voice heard and our ‘right’ to vote, the mere thought of taking any power away from us makes us indignant. The sheer thought of having no power, or control but only mere opportunities of suggestion grinds against the accepted norm.

    A “Kingdom” is not an occult, it’s a government. If you look at Her Majesty’s Government, you’ll find a very complex government that has many checks and balances within it’s hierarchy that enable Her Majesty to rule with success. Her Majesty’s Government is a much more complex form of monarchy than the ones we study from the Old Testament but the principles are very much the same.

    Without going into minute details Kingdom operations, here’s how I would apply Kingdom principles to our COG as we know it.

    Problems arise and the EC determines which problems are to be addressed. The EC issues a statement of the problem and develops a format by which to submit research, discussions, and suggestions. The issue is discussed among the local pastors (district meeting). With the format specified by the EC, the district overseer takes recommendations to the state level, and then the state takes it to national. Once at the national level, the apostles and elders (more than likely the EC and Council of 18) review, seek the Lord, and make final decisions and pass legislation based upon the research and recommendations presented to them – understanding that at times, seeing the issue from the broader perspective, may have to decide in contrast to the popular recommendation. If this happens and would more than likely occur at some point, it is at that moment, the COG in general must have faith in God and in the apostles’ ability to hear God that His perfect Will is done. There is also the part where God snaps the neck of those in leadership that do not walk out righteousness (Eli and his sons’ misuse of position) – so there’s a check / balance as well in these, more than likely, RARE occasions. I would want apostles in office that are more afraid of God than me and my opinion, but I may be the minority.

    This is overly simplified of course, but it seems to me that this process would be more in keeping with the examples that you provided and I have previously studied.

    There are other positives as well: these meetings could occur more frequently, it would involve the local pastor more and without the extreme expense associated with each.

    I find this discussion on our COG government one of extreme importance. I believe we are at a pivotal time in history that our governmental decisions will make a huge impact on the future of our church.

    I have been called controversial many times and I’m ok with that. Jesus was too. I want my motive and heart to be understood. I am not controversial for the purpose of strife and discord but to stir up the gift in others. To give you a more accurate picture of who I am, my Pastor would describe me as “one who spares no expense or sleep to discover absolute truth and then seeks methods of implementing that truth into life whether it be personal or corporate.”

    Bishop Tony Miller said during one of his sermons, “The truth will always offend you before it liberates you.” I would probably coin, “To question what is currently accepted as truth is the beginning offense.”

    It doesn’t surprise me that you would describe my question as ‘penetrating.’ Years ago a lady minister spoke a Word over me, “I see a sharp two edged sword coming out of your mouth and it has honey dripping from it.” The two edged sword part didn’t surprise me, but I’ve been working on the honey part for a few years.

    Thank you so much for this dialogue and I look forward to further discussions.

  13. The smiley at the top is supposed to be an 18.

    Side note: Acts 4:32 to the end also supports the establishment of a kingdom government. A kingdom has a common wealth and in the later half of Acts, it states that they had all things common and the apostles distributed to each of them as they had need.

    I’m not suggesting that people sell off their homes and give it all to the EC and go live in the street or build some COG city where we all have to go live – Jesus will do that soon enough during the millennial reign and through the New Jerusalem – but merely that offerings were given by EVERYONE and then distributed for the common good. “Common good” is termed “commonwealth” in kingdom government.

    For Tom Sterbens if he happens to read this blog: I believe the system was set up to fail in the first place (not pointing accusations to our forefathers, as they did as they felt God lead and perhaps now is the appointed time to shift things into their place.) It was inevitable that the EC would eventually override GA policy, and by so doing, they discouraged the local pastor and which offers temptation to withhold the tithe and offering from God, further complicating issues. By their withholding (for whatever reason justified or unjustified), God is not obligated to bless, and therefore they are now appealing to the COG to reduce their financial requirements, for a situation they brought on themselves (withhold the tithe). (Not all are guilty of this, but some are as the numbers Tom shares with us on his “Heart Check, A Final Examination” blog indicate.) In a sad sort of way, it seems that the EC is now trying to make restitution for the err of their way by reducing the requirements, which will do nothing more than continue us on this downward spiral. Our foundational fathers did many things right and requiring churches to tithe the tithe and offer offerings was one of them. Some people are more responsible than others, that’s just life and fact. And so to are some churches more responsible than others for their obligations. I know this as fact, having done bookkeeping for churches in times past. The forefathers put a security in place for all churches by requiring the 15% to cover the Tot and missions. By doing so, it may have insulted the responsible church who’s heart is to stay on top of business, but it is a safe guard for those less responsible. It has been very much a protection for the COG as a whole so that a little leaven doesn’t leaven the whole lump.

    Be blessed.

  14. Renee:

    The issue of authority in evangelical churches is significant to me personally, especially since I’ve spent the last fifteen years in a church whose pastor is a Gothard Man. I make some observations on this at

    http://www.vulcanhammer.org/?p=417

    From a purely Pentecostal perspective, the biggest drawback to a highly authoritarian church structure is that it assumes that the Holy Spirit is specially resident in a few people in the church, a concept the New Testament doesn’t support.

    Also, overusing Israel as a model puts Evangelicals in the position of edging towards a new “replacement theology,” something they’ve been trying to get away from for the last century.

  15. Note, I meant “cult” not “occult.” My sincere apologies as no one has referenced occult and don’t want to leave that impression.

  16. Sorry to change the subject but very concerned.

    Are evangelical pulpits about to praise Islam?

    The Church of God has aligned itself with the basic statement of faith of NAE (National Association of Evangelicals) the largest association of Evangelicals in the USA. Members of NAE subscribe to a common statement of faith. The Church of God can be described as positioned in the mainstream of Evangelical Protestantism.
    http://www.churchofgod.org/about/church_is.cfm

    Are evangelical pulpits about to praise Islam?

    Can you please help me understand this action by the National Association of Evangelicals and why we are in association with such actions, very curious to learn your reaction to this.

    To read an article on this by Jan Markell check this website.

    http://www.christianworldviewnetwork.com/article.php/3809/Brannon-Howse/By-Jan-Markell

  17. […] had to do was to just sit there and you could see everyone: outgoing and incoming members of the Executive Committee and the Council of 18, pastors and seminary professors, and just about everyone else. If the […]

  18. A couple of things to consider about who should serve on the IEC, and how the reallocation of funds should come down..

    First, who should we elect to the International Executive Committee?

    I have observed that “quotas” for boards and committees may solve one problem, but at the same time create another set of problems. In fact, we may do ourselves more harm than good to increase the ratio of pastors to more than 50%….Think about this:

    Historically, most pastors who are elected to the International Executive Committee have a “one church-life time” ministry experience… They have been in one town and one state, serving one congregation. Yes, I esteem them highly….They have much to contribute…But their input is going to come from their very localized and focused perspective.

    Count for yourself, the majority of them we elect are pastoring our largest churches. Is it likely that a pastor of a mega church will speak to the issues that concern the vast majority of our pastors? How well do they know us? Do they relate to needs and concerns of the average pastor in the Church of God? More than half of our pastors are bivocational.

    I have always voted for creative, missional pastors. I will continue to do so… They have much to offer, and are vital to our future. We have mandated that nine pastors must be elected on the IEC, and it is a good thing.

    It is also a good thing to allow room for those who serve in other capacities…who also are creative and missional, and will broaden the perspective around the table.

    Concerning the reallocation of funds. I have always been 100% in favor of churches tithing the tithe… [10%]. This is a fact.

    One questions is…. does it make sense to distribute the 10% equally among International, World Missions, and States?. When we talk about “world missions” remember that the entire church has been given the Great Commission…In the COG, World Missions is thought of in terms of a department.. [one] extremely important department. But, just one among many other extremely important departments of the church.

    The youth department is important too, and it is forced to raise 10 times the amount of their appropriation to do their work…isn’t their ministry global? Ministerial Development and Ministerial Care are important arms of the church. If we fail to resource ministers where will we be.

    The question is… can we not empower the IEC to determine the amount of funding needed for each department. And. then let the departments grow according to their ability to resource the local church? World Missions has proven that people will give to ministry that matters…

    Yes, the World Missions Department is vitally important, but does it make sense to appropriate the exact same amount to them as we do to operate the entire church? Be reminded that the entire church is called to global evangelism and discipleship…The International Offices are bigger than one department, not equal to one, and it is called to serve the entire church around the world.

    The fact is that “ministry” ebbs and flows through the body of Christ, the church. The International and State Offices [including world and home missions] exist for the sole purpose of serving and resourcing the local church. The stronger we make the local church, the stronger we make the global/universal church. Our job description is given in Ephesians 4:12 ….”for the perfecting of the saint, for the work of ministry, to the edifying of itself in love.”

    It is my prayer that the committees working now, appointed by our General Overseer, will be guided by the Holy Spirit to bring the church together with His plan, and that we will move Forward Together in these changing times.

    Are you aware that the entire COG is global, and that the International Offices are very involved in projects and the world mission as well as what our World Missions Department is doing? The people in this church will support World missions in free-will offerings, which was the original plan from the beginning.

    3. I believe that pastors are needed, but let’s don’t get into quotas.

  19. For those who have read my dissertation and followed events in the Church of God, Cleveland, TN since 1996, please know that my perception is the EC is being elected by different patterns than characterized most of our history. Further, pressures of finances leaves the current executive structure no recourse but to be more sensitive to constituency.

    It seems that a new breed of Administrative Bishops are evolving…i.e., improved administrative skills and more talk of team.

    Loyalty of pastors to the denomination is by research high…about 95%. However, this may not necessarily translate to local churches developing programs and ministries predicated on general headquarters planning. Local churches appear to be developing ethno-centric ministries predicated in local culture.

    My personal energies have been re-focused from research about the executive structure to investing in helps for ministers, e.g., Tuesday Musings of a Pastor, written weekly and archived http://www.haroldbare.com

    I am deeply persuaded that if we fail to provide formation and education for ministers it will be a loss greater than we care to talk about. The Pentecostal Theological Seminary is the flagship of hope for the Church of God…in my estimation.

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