When God Breaks through the Darkness

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by Mark A. Johnson

Matt lost his eyesight when his meth lab exploded. When he came home from the hospital, he learned to cook meth blind. Eventually, through remedial help and drug rehab, Matt left the drug scene and became a spokesperson in schools to promote an antidrug message.

However, the lure of his addiction was too much and he succumbed again to the pull of drugs. David and Steve, chaplains for Life Tabernacle, met Matt in the Elkhart County jail, befriended him, and led him to Christ. When Matt left his old lifestyle, his wife divorced him, wanting nothing to do with his newfound religion. Matt slept under the dining room table at his dad’s house until a loving Apostolic family from Life Tabernacle opened their home to him.

The first two years were a struggle as Matt sought to know Christ and understand the power of faith and its impact in his life. As he grew stronger, he witnessed to people on the streets and became a volunteer chaplain at the same jail where he found the Lord.

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Matt Yeater & Pauline Studt pray with a young girl at Life Tabernacle in Elkhart, Indiana.

Feeling a call to ministry, he enrolled in Indiana Bible College. It was quite a challenge for both Matt and his college instructors: they had to prepare material for a blind person, and Matt had to get the material in a form he could read. The government helped with computers, scanners, software, and Braille tablets to access material. Still, the task was arduous and took hours of work.

After Matt graduated from IBC he longed to further his education. A government program would help him with college costs, but how could he negotiate graduate school? There was no material, especially for ancient languages, in a Braille-readable format.

Matt chose Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Indiana, simply because they accepted him and promised to help him succeed at getting a master’s degree in theology. They also rented him a three-bedroom apartment so he could be directly involved in rearing his three children.

When Paul Keim, professor of Bible and Religion at Goshen (Indiana) College and an instructor of Hebrew and Greek at AMBS, learned he would be teaching Matt to read Koine Greek, the professor asked if he could resign and just be the janitor. He had no idea how to teach a language to a blind person. But Matt was not one to take no for an answer. He began contacting the companies that provided Braille readers and the software creators who convert text into Braille. They instructed him to map out the language so they could convert Greek text to Braille. Matt and his professors and some others went to work and eventually mapped all the characters and punctuation used in Koine Greek and sent it to Duxbury Systems, Inc. Matt told David Holladay, a senior technical staff member, he faced challenges in translating the Hebrew characters. Unbeknownst to Matt, David’s father was Bill Holladay, a well-known biblical scholar who had translated the Hebrew Bible from German to English. David told Bill about Matt’s problem.

With the help of his father, David and his wife, Caryn Navy, also a Duxbury senior technical staff member, created on their own time a new biblical language software profile in Braille that would help Matt and other blind scholars study the ancient languages.

They began building in the Braille software, the critical apparatus that gives scholars information about other manuscripts to find the best reading of a passage. Matt and Loren Johns, professor of New Testament, wrote the code; David and Caryn translated it into the software; and Matt worked through the text and identified needed revisions.

Matt says, “The critical apparatus gave me the opportunity to engage with biblical textual criticism, which has never before been done by a blind person.” Duxberry included it and made it the standard to converting Koine Greek into Braille. Matt then learned to read Koine Greek with his Braille pad and went through several semesters learning Greek. Then he went to the Hebrew professor and asked to learn first-century Hebrew. Discovering it did not exist in Braille, Matt, along with the professor and his helpers, created the mapping for ancient Hebrew and used it as the foundation to create fifteen other Semitic languages in Braille.

Matt donated this work so other blind scholars would have the advantage of reading the biblical text in the original languages. Before, if a student needed an academic book translated into Braille, it might cost $800 for someone to go through it and manually translate the book. With technology and digital books available in Logos, the process can be completed in minutes, and it can be done on a standard laptop and then read with a Braille tablet.

The Pentecostal Publishing House (PPH) has led the way by allowing Matt to translate several of David Bernard’s books into Braille versions. They are available at the same price as a normal book. This is a first for a religious publishing house.

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Pastor Mark Johnson and Matt Yeater eating lunch in Jerusalem

National Recognition
Matt applied for the National Federation for the Blind’s (NFB) Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award, named for a pioneering blind physician, which recognizes “individuals and organizations working in the field of blindness that have demonstrated exemplary leadership and extraordinary accomplishments toward achieving the full integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality.” Matt is also the past president of the NFB’s Michiana chapter.

In his application, Matt named everyone at AMBS and Duxbury who contributed to the work. He also included two other blind participants: Ray McAllister and Sarah Blake LaRose, an adjunct instructor at the School of Theology of Anderson (Indiana) University.

Matt said, “I felt I needed to honor the others’ work; they’re the giants and I’m standing on their shoulders.” He also expressed gratitude to AMBS professors and staff for “not being intimidated” by his needs and for their willingness to invest in learning how to meet them.

Matt, Ray, and Sarah received the 2016 $20,000 first-place award, which was presented July 5, 2016, at the annual NFB convention in Orlando, Florida.

This spring, thanks in part to those who invested in the project, he successfully defended his thesis, which was provisionally titled, “Yeshua Yahwism: The highest Christology in apposition to mono-Yahwism.” Matt graduated with a master’s degree from AMBS in May 2016, and enrolled in Bar-Ilan University just outside Tel Aviv, Israel, to study Hebrew and to understand second Temple perspectives on God, the foundation of New Testament oneness theology. He is seeking a second master’s degree with an eye for a doctorate from Bar-Ilan in the future.

Matt Yeater created something in partnership with others that has forever changed the way blind people access Scripture. You never know how much someone can contribute to society until you believe in and invest in them.

Mark A. Johnson is the senior pastor of Life Tabernacle in Elkhart, Indiana.

This article first appeared in the Pentecostal Herald, May 2017. Published here by permission.

When God Breaks through the Darkness

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 5/3/17

News Bulletin from the General Superintendent
5-3-17

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General Superintendent David K. Bernard

A Call to Prayer from World Network of Prayer
The 66th annual National Day of Prayer will be commemorated on Thursday, May 4, 2017, with the theme “For Your GREAT Name’s Sake: Hear Us … Forgive Us … Heal Us!” (Matthew 1:23, Daniel 9:19). The Global Day of Prayer will be observed on Sunday, June 4, 2017. All churches are encouraged to promote and participate in these important events. In the midst of global crisis and uncertainty, there is a clarion call from the throne of God to intercede fervently more than ever. Please join us in selective days of corporate prayer and fasting on behalf of our nation and our world between May 4 and June 4. Through our united efforts, we can positively shift the course of humanity and make both a temporal and eternal difference in the kingdom of God!

Strategic Plan for Growth
Last year, at the request of the General Board, I appointed a special committee to study our process for the formation of new districts. After receiving the committee’s report, the General Board decided that instead of simply trying to improve the existing procedure, each district needs to develop a strategic growth plan. Such a plan could include regionalization or multiplication of districts as they grow. A new committee has now begun work on the first step, which is the formation of a standing committee to advise and assist the districts, to be called the Strategic District Growth Committee.

Over the past decade, the UPCI has established a strong base for growth through restructuring, strengthening financial operations, developing standard policies and procedures, implementing new information technology, acquiring a new world headquarters, increasing participation at every level, enhancing ministerial training, growing the number of ministers, improving communications, developing more resources for churches, launching a church loan fund, and emphasizing the starting of new works. Now we need to build on this base through church planting and church growth. Global Missions has developed strategic plans for each nation. In North America, we are seeing a small increase in the number of churches, but we need to accelerate our growth through strategic planning in each district.

Revising the Manual
In 2010 a special Restructuring Committee of the General Board solicited a wide range of input and made twelve major recommendations that were adopted by the General Board. Over the past seven years, we have acted on each of them, but one is still a work in progress: namely, revising the UPCI Manual. To date, we have added the General Board Policies section; added to the Position Papers; revised several articles of the General Constitution relating to Education, Media, and Publications, and adopted the new names of Global Missions and North American Missions.

This year, the General Sunday School Division and the General Youth Division are proposing significant revisions to their articles of the General Constitution. The purpose of these revisions is to conform the language to current operations, eliminate outdated provisions, clear up ambiguities, move operational details to separate policies, and implement a few recommendations. The General Board mandated this process of revision and approved the consideration of the two revised policies, but the respective general committees will submit them directly to the Resolutions Committee for presentation to the General Conference. The most significant changes are that the General Sunday School Committee proposes the new name of Children’s Ministries and the General Youth Committee proposes the new name of Youth Ministries. These changes will help each ministry focus on its distinctive mission.

Required Reading for Ministerial Applicants
Another of the twelve recommendations of the Restructuring Committee was to strengthen our ministerial training. In response, a Ministerial Training Committee worked on a plan that was adopted by the General Board. The General Board revised the list of books to be read, added video instruction for each book, and implemented a more robust testing program. The most significant change is that for the first time every book on the required reading list has been written by a UPCI author and published by the UPCI. For example, the Division of Publications has produced the Apostolic Handbook Series of eight books covering the entire Bible to replace books by Trinitarian non-Pentecostals. The required books and videos are available at MinistryCentral.com.

The educational plan for ministerial credentials remains the same. (See General Constitution, Article VI, Section 2, Paragraph 9.) There are still two ways to qualify: (1) Attend one year of Bible college, read the Bible, read the Manual, and complete any additional training required by the district. (2) Complete the required reading list (which includes accompanying videos), read the Bible, read the Manual, and complete any additional training required by the district. Some districts have approved certain training programs. For a training program to fulfill the requirements, it must include the required books, but live instruction on the books can replace the video instruction.

Accountability in Our Operations
It is important for everyone to be accountable, and even the highest leaders must be accountable to one another and to the general body. Every year we present an annual report to the General Conference, which is available to all ministers online. It includes reports from the general superintendent and general secretary (which are also given orally), audited financial statements, detailed financial schedules, and reports from every division.

As general superintendent, I report to the General Board, which meets twice a year, and the Executive Board, which meets three times a year. These boards typically make decisions through discussion, consensus, and voice vote, with secret ballots as requested. Periodically, I ask the General Board for verbal and written evaluations of our operations. Each year, I update the board on work accomplished and work in progress. Over the past several years, we have particularly worked on twelve plans for restructuring adopted by the General Board in 2010 and five priorities adopted at the biennial planning meeting of division heads in 2013. Among these were the elimination of the 4% surcharge on all offerings and the acquisition of a new headquarters building.

Financial accountability is provided by various types of oversight: general superintendent (whom the Constitution designates as the “general overseer and general manager of all divisions”), general secretary-treasurer, chief administrative officer, chief accountant, Finance Committee (composed of divisional representatives), Budget Committee (composed of General Board members), and external auditors. The chief accountant submits monthly financial statements to the Budget Committee and the Executive Committee (top four officials). The Budget Committee meets four times a year, reviews all major financial decisions, receives detailed reports from every division and ministry including Church Administration, approves budgets for the upcoming year, and reports to the General Board.

All operations of World Headquarters are governed by the UPCI Manual, the Executive Policies and Procedures Manual (adopted by the Executive Board), and the Employee Policies and Procedures Manual (adopted by Division Heads). These documents provide spiritual, legal, financial, and operational accountability for each executive and employee.

Sincerely in Christ,
David K. Bernard

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 5/3/17

UPC of Haiti Opens New Medical Clinic

Hands for Healing Medical Clinic in Port-au-Prince, Haiti opened its doors to the public for the first time on Monday. UPCI Missionaries Ron and Terry Brian are excited to celebrate this milestone achievement. Although Ron has organized mobile medical clinics for many years, this is the first brick-and-mortar clinic for the UPC of Haiti.

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Hands for Healing Medical Clinic

Ron explains his passion for ministering to the physical and spiritual needs of Haitians. “Medical care is such a significant need in Haiti. We believe anytime you show the love and compassion of Christianity to the people you are reaching, you strengthen the church overall. It is our desire to use the medical clinic to not only minister to the physical needs of the people, but also to take every opportunity to share the gospel.”

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Prayer for sick patient. Pictured from right to left: Dr. Camra Faulkner, Missionary Ron Brian, Pastor Mark Barrick, and John Palmer. Outstretched arm is Haitian Pastor Erode.

The vision for this medical Clinic was born several years ago in the heart of Pastor Mark Barrick of Cypress Grove Fellowship (CGF) in Orlando, Florida. After CGF sponsored a mobile clinic, Mark saw the need for a stationary clinic that could provide follow-up care. Since that time, CGF has been the primary sponsor of this project.

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New patients wait in line outside the clinic.

Recently, Pastor David Myers, President of Hands for Healing International, and Dr. Camra Faulkner of Calvary Tabernacle in Indianapolis, Indiana, have added their resources and expertise to the effort. Moving forward, Missionary Ron Brian envisions medical mission teams providing full clinics for one week each month. During these intense weeks, more than 150 patients will be treated daily. In the other weeks, Dr. Faulkner and local nursing staff will provide care during regular office hours.

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Dr. Camra Faulkner examines a patient.

Ron is quick to point out that the completion of this medical building is just “phase one of a larger vision for this complex.” A memorial account has been set up through Global Missions for the purchase of property and construction of additional buildings. UPC of Haiti is also partnering with Hands for Healing, a nonprofit organization established by Toby Brazzel of Alexandria, Louisiana and David Myers of Palm Bay, Florida.  The clinic’s Medical Director, Dr. Faulkner, plans to raise a budget through Associates in Missions (AIM).

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Dr. Faulkner speaks with patients at the new clinic.

As with any new ministry, Hands for Healing Medical Clinic needs continuing financial, volunteer, and prayer support. There are many ways churches and individuals can get involved in this vital ministry. Medical professionals and others who wish to help out can contact Haiti Field Superintendent Ron Brian (rbrian5179@aol.com) for more information.

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Candace Gallimore, RN, treats a patient.
UPC of Haiti Opens New Medical Clinic

UPCI Involvement in FBI Chaplaincy

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A few years ago, an FBI agent showed up at Urshan Graduate School of Theology (UGST) to inquire about a recent graduate. This was an unusual event, and it certainly got the attention of the staff. Soon the purpose for this unannounced visit became clear.

After graduating from Apostolic Bible Institute (ABI), Norm Paslay II served in pastoral ministry in the Cincinnati area for two decades, including police chaplaincy. At the age of forty-five, however, he decided to pursue a master’s degree from UGST, the UPCI’s own institution of higher learning. Indeed, Norm’s advanced degree enabled him to apply to join the ranks of approximately one hundred FBI chaplains, who provide pastoral care within the elite US intelligence community. To qualify for top-secret security clearance, Norm had to submit to a rigorous process spanning fifteen months. Preparation and training would include a trip to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, and an extensive array of tutorials and seminars. In November 2015 Norm was approved as an FBI chaplain serving Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, a first for a UPCI minister.

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Norm Paslay II (left) and an Assistant Director of the FBI

In late 2016 another UPCI minister and ABI graduate, Gregg Joki, successfully completed the lengthy qualification process and was hired as the FBI chaplain of Eastern Oklahoma, including the city of Tulsa. Gregg’s more than eight years of volunteer chaplaincy in prisons, jails, fire departments, and police stations provided a solid foundation for his post at the FBI. Gregg was recently selected to speak at a Sunday morning service at Quantico, and has served briefly as chaplain on duty at the FBI Academy. He has also provided training for other chaplains at Quantico.

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Gregg Joki

During a recent interview, Norm Paslay expressed his appreciation for the role UGST played in his personal journey. He was profoundly impacted by the quality and depth of the instruction offered. In addition to the personal benefits, however, Paslay believes the school offers broader advantages for the UPCI. He noted that “the graduate school has put us in a realm of service and acknowledgement that we have not had before.”

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Norm’s certificate on the wall in the Chaplain’s Office at the FBI in Cincinnati

New FBI chaplaincy posts will become available in the future, and qualified UPCI ministers who are willing and able to follow the long and arduous path pioneered by Norm and Gregg may someday fill those roles. Of course, a growing number of UPCI constituents serve as chaplains in other venues, such as hospitals, armed forces, police departments, and businesses. That day at UGST, it turns out, the FBI agent was simply verifying Norm’s education history, a single item on the same background checklist used to qualify every FBI agent. As UPCI men and women continue to follow the call of God, who knows where the FBI will show up next?

UPCI Involvement in FBI Chaplaincy

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 1/11/17

News Bulletin from the General Superintendent
1-11-17

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General Superintendent David K. Bernard

Window of Opportunity
In 2017, we have a window of opportunity for revival. While our culture continues to decline spiritually, the current political and economic environment in North America is favorable for freedom of religion and worldwide proclamation of the gospel. The United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI) is stronger than ever before, is experiencing great revival, and is planning strategically in all areas. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity.

30 Days of Prayer (World Network of Prayer)
To possess the revival that God is giving us, it is important to consecrate ourselves through prayer and fasting. I urge all our churches and ministers to participate in the annual 30 Days of Prayer developed by the World Network of Prayer. To download a printable copy of the 30 Days of Prayer guide (front), click here. To download a color copy of the Prayer Net guide (back), click here.

2017 UPCI Manual and Directory
Credentialed ministers of the United Pentecostal Church International may download the current edition of these publications at upciministers.com.

New Executives
We welcome to headquarters Justin Reinking as director of promotions for the General Youth Division and Brocc Chavis as director-elect of Multicultural Ministries. Bros. Hanscom and Chavis will both serve MCM half time in the calendar year 2017.

Restructuring
Over the past few years we have restructured our operations, including various divisions and ministries, policies and procedures, a new information technology system, and a new headquarters building. Of 12 priorities the General Board identified in 2010, the last major task is to revise and update the Manual. Some portions of the Manual have already been revised, and others are currently under review.

Headquarters Update
We have completely moved from Hazelwood and are fully operational at Weldon Spring (offices) and Wentzville (long-term storage), both in the western St Louis metropolitan area. We are already achieving significant savings in our monthly costs for utilities, maintenance, and building insurance.

New Reading Schedule for Ministerial Applicants
The General Board has adopted a new reading schedule for those seeking ministerial credentials with the UPCI. For each level (local license, general license, and ordination), there are ten books published by the UPCI and two hours of video instruction to accompany each book. These resources are available here.

The Manual states, “All applicants must have completed at least one (1) year in a Bible college endorsed by the United Pentecostal Church International or have completed the required reading schedule established by the General Board. All applicants, including Bible college students, must read the Bible through at each level of ministry and must read the Manual of the United Pentecostal Church International.” For 2017 the District Board has discretion to work with applicants who began studying under the previous reading schedule.

Testimonies
Every division and ministry is reporting progress. Of special note:

  • General Youth Division. North American Youth Congress is on track for a record, with 35,000 room nights requested compared to 10,000 at this time in the past.
  • North American Missions. A total of 25 couples have registered in the new training program for church planters. The goal was to enroll at least 10.
  • Global Missions. Due to the I AM Global offering, the average time of deputational travel for missionaries is now 9 months. This is much better than the 1.5 to 2 years that some experienced in the past.

Sincerely in Christ,
David K. Bernard

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 1/11/17

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 11/28/16

News Bulletin from the General Superintendent
11-28-16

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General Superintendent David K. Bernard

Thoughts on the US Election
From a Christian perspective, both major presidential candidates had significant flaws. Nevertheless, the election gave Republicans control of the Presidency, House, and Senate. They can appoint a majority on the Supreme Court, thereby unifying all three branches of government under a more conservative philosophy. There is the potential for less governmental regulation; greater efficiency; and greater religious, economic, and political freedom.

Regardless of how we voted, we must pray earnestly for our leaders (I Timothy 2:1-2). Let’s pray that they will make the best decisions for our nation and world; keep the door open for Christian churches, schools, and counselors to minister effectively; and lead with integrity, humility, and morality. At the same time, the church must remain an independent voice for righteousness.

The election revealed significant differences along racial, ethnic, and gender lines. The church can’t let politics cause internal division, however. We must promote unity while valuing diversity. Let’s show respect and consideration for the needs of the poor, immigrants, and minorities. We must be a church for all people.

In short, the church has an open door for ministry. Since our culture continues to move away from God, however, we may have only a short time. We must seize this opportunity to plant and grow churches. We must press for end-time revival “while it is day” (John 9:4).

Sale of World Evangelism Center
On November 21 we officially closed on the sale of our previous headquarters, World Evangelism Center. This was the final step of a great miracle. We had completely depreciated the buildings and furnishings and retained an asset on our books of about $1 million for the land. Our real estate agent advised us to expect a selling price of $3 million, but we were able to negotiate a price of $4 million. The inspection period revealed that the building would soon need a new roof for $800,000, so we split this cost with the buyer. Thus, the net price was $3.6 million, which was still significantly higher than we had expected and enough to fulfill our plans. We can apply this amount to the purchase of our new headquarters, including moving costs, additional furnishings, and a new storage building.

World Headquarters
Our new building is called World Headquarters. The move is complete, except for some items in storage that we will move soon. We recently completed the purchase of a new storage building, which is being prepared for occupancy. We will use it for long-term storage such as General Conference equipment and displays. Here is the new address and telephone for our World Headquarters:

United Pentecostal Church International
36 Research Park Court
Weldon Spring, MO 63304
Phone: 636-229-7900

Chinese, Indian, and Eastern Religions Summits
Recently I participated in three international summits along with our director of Global Missions, Bruce Howell, and two regional directors, Lynden Shalm (Asia) and Roger Buckland (Pacific). Missionaries and national workers from 17 nations attended. The focus of these summits was strategic planning to reach the two largest nations of the world: China, with almost 1.4 billion people, and India, with over 1.3 billion people. The population, size, languages, cultures, and governmental regulations in these countries require us to develop a unique approach for each.  Having grown up in Korea, I have a particular awareness and burden for Asia. I have been taking missions trips to India since 1998 and to China since 1999, primarily for conferences and ministerial training. The recent summits could facilitate some the greatest revivals of the future and thus could be some of the most significant steps we have ever taken as an organization.

China
We had previously convened a Chinese Summit, but for the first time we have appointed a committee of leaders to implement plans for growth. Many ministers in various countries are helping to evangelize the Chinese people, and we are working with churches in about half the provinces of China. Due to restrictions and security concerns, we must be extremely careful in all our communications. Therefore, if you have contacts in China or an opportunity to minister in China, please communicate with our regional director, Lynden Shalm, lshalm@upci.org.

India
The Indian Summit was a first for us. In addition to UPCI ministers, a number of other Indian Apostolic Pentecostal leaders attended. We now have United Pentecostal churches in 18 of 29 states and 2 of 7 territories. They are organized in three units: UPC in India, UPC of North East India, and UPC in Andhra Pradesh. We discussed plans to evangelize the unreached states as well as the major cities.  We have established an annual meeting called the General Council of the UPC of India. We are also planning an All India Apostolic Summit with other Apostolic leaders. Due to restrictions and security concerns, we must be careful in our communications. It is also important to coordinate any efforts among independent ministers and other organizations with our own UPC units in India. Therefore, if you have contacts in India or an opportunity to minister in India, please communicate with our regional director, Lynden Shalm, lshalm@upci.org.

Eastern Religions
The Eastern Religions Summit was also a first for us. We heard testimonies of converts from Hinduism and Buddhism and discussed ways to present the gospel to people from these backgrounds. We established two committees to develop resources for South Asian Religions (Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Theravada Buddhism) and East Asian Religions (Mahayana Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, and Animism).

International Ministry
As our efforts in China and India have shown, in order to reap the maximum benefit from ministry efforts overseas and to avoid complications or harm to existing efforts, it is important for all of us to coordinate our efforts with our missionaries and national leaders. Therefore, if you plan to minister overseas or to support an overseas ministry, please communicate with the UPCI leadership for the country. If you don’t know whom to contact or experience any difficulty, please communicate with the Global Missions regional director. I make this request in accordance with the official policy in the UPCI Manual, which is reproduced below for your convenience.

“Any minister affiliated with us who receives an invitation to minister outside the United States and Canada should notify the superintendent or the UPCI missionary of the country. In cases where there is no UPCI missionary, the regional director should be notified. This notification will facilitate the minister receiving information concerning, but not limited to, church teachings, culture, legal and financial obligations. Following the visit the minister should provide information to the missionary or superintendent and regional director that will help them follow up contacts and foster good relationships among ministers.

“Any minister affiliated with us who wishes to extend a ministerial invitation to a minister from outside the United States and Canada should first contact the regional director. The inviting minister should also communicate with the United States or Canadian district superintendent concerning the invitation. This will facilitate the regional director receiving information beneficial to the success of the efforts of the visiting minister. Following the visit, the inviting minister should provide any information to the regional director that will assist in fostering good relationships among ministers.

“Any minister affiliated with us, whether in the United States, Canada, or overseas, who travels on his or her own initiative without having been formally invited should follow the same protocol as those who have received an invitation, as recommended in the two previous paragraphs.”

Urshan College
In addition to the majors in my last news bulletin, Urshan College has announced two new majors:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Services
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies (beginning Fall 2017)

Sincerely in Christ,

David K. Bernard

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 11/28/16

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 11/4/16

News Bulletin from the General Superintendent
11-4-16

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General Superintendent David K. Bernard

Prayer for US Elections
I appeal to everyone to pray for the upcoming US elections on November 8, which will be significant for the direction of our nation and our world over the next four years. As a church we don’t endorse political candidates, but we should pray for leaders who will preserve our political and economic liberty, especially freedom of religion. The story of Abraham’s intercession for Sodom demonstrates that even a small minority of righteous people can make a significant difference. I also urge all citizens to participate in the voting process at every level.

General Conference
We enjoyed great blessings from the Lord at our recent General Conference in Indianapolis. The estimated peak attendance was 8,700 compared to 8,000 in 2015. Global Missions raised funds that were given and pledged to send at least 13 missionary families back to their fields with completed budgets. On Friday and Saturday, North American Missions completed a Church in Day in Cumberland (in the metro area), and I was privileged to preach at the first service in the new building on Sunday.

There was only one major change in office. Matthew Johnson, secretary of the General Youth Division, could not be reelected because of age. Josh Carson, promotional director, was elected in his place. We commend Brother Johnson for his faithful service, and we congratulate Brother Carson on his election.

The General Conference approved a plan to revise the Christian Worker’s License as a new Christian Ministry License to be conferred by the local pastor and church. It also amended policies for ministerial transfers and for Metro Missions. The next issue of the Forward will contain a full report of elections, appointments, and resolutions.

Relocation of World Headquarters
We have moved most of our headquarters employees to our new building, and we will complete this move in the next two weeks. The new building gives us 50 percent more office space. It has less warehouse space, so we have also contracted to purchase a storage building in Wentzville, about 15 minutes away. We are scheduled to close on the sale of our old building on November 21. The purchaser is the Ferguson-Florissant School District, which will use the ground floor as a public school and the upper floors for district offices.

After considering purchase and relocation expenses less rental and sales income, we expect to have a mortgage of less than $4 million, which we are borrowing from the UPCI Loan Fund. Since we owe the money to ourselves, this debt doesn’t appear our consolidated financial statements. After the move is complete, we will experience a significant savings in maintenance and utilities. For example, this past summer the cost of electricity at our old building was $25,000 per month, while at the new building it was $8,000. We project that our operational savings will be sufficient to service our mortgage. Thus, we expect to operate the new building within our current budget.

In essence, we will move from a 46-year-old building in a declining neighborhood to a 9-year-old building in a highly desirable business park location … for free. We will pay interest to our own constituents with the excess being reinvested into our own ministries. I believe this transaction is a miracle from God. As we have placed our priorities on giving to world missions, with record offerings for all our ministries, God has miraculously given us the means to support our necessary overhead costs.

There is still time to get the highest rate of investment the UPCI Loan Fund has to offer by investing in “Relocating For Growth” Loan Certificates, for our new headquarters. You can view the rates at upciloanfund.org/relocation4growth.

I also encourage you to view and to show the presentation of the UPCI’s growth from 1945 to now and projections for our future of over 110,000 churches and preaching points in the next 25 years. The presentation is available here.

New Address and Telephone for World Headquarters
You can still contact us through our old address and telephone number, but here is our new information:

United Pentecostal Church International
36 Research Park Court
Weldon Spring, MO 63304
Phone: 636-229-7900

Ministerial Dues
In 2014 the General Conference approved a change in the process for payment of membership dues. We delayed the implementation one year to wait for the complete replacement of the UPCI’s computer system. After much hard work and extensive testing, we have launched our new payment process and a new website.

Beginning this quarter, ministerial dues will be collected using the new fee structure.
Please note, this does not apply to ministers who are exempt or ministers whose dues are paid by the following districts: Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oregon, and Tennessee. For all others, if you pay annually, there is no fee and consequently no change in your dues. If you pay quarterly or monthly, a small fee will be added to each payment to cover the processing costs. You may make payments by mail, online (upciministers.com), or by phone (636-229-7900). Recently, you should have received a postcard and an email with information on the new process.

There were some difficulties with our website during the transition, so we thank you for your patience and understanding. We believe all issues have been resolved, and the new site is a much better solution to serve our more than 10,000 UPCI ministers going forward. As always, your feedback is welcome via phone or email (ministers@upci.org). Our office team at Church Administration remains ready to assist you as needed.

Urshan System Accreditation Process and New Degree Programs
As previously reported, Urshan College (UC) and Urshan Graduate School of Theology (UGST) are working toward the goal of secular regional accreditation. (UGST is already accredited with the Association of Theological Schools.) In June, Urshan submitted a document of 1,600 pages to show fulfillment of 19 eligibility requirements. In September, the accrediting association approved this submission with commendation and with no requests for change. Therefore, Urshan is now proceeding with a full self-study in preparation for a site visit. While we cannot make any public advertisement about the process, we can inform our constituency that we are on schedule to meet our goal of attaining candidacy in 2018. At candidacy we will begin receiving all the benefits of accreditation while we finish the process. Please pray that this endeavor will be successful.

UC and UGST have added a number of new degree programs and concentrations.

UC now offers the following academic programs. All are available on campus. All but music are available by distance learning in states where UC is allowed to operate. For further information, go to urshancollege.org.

  • Associate of Arts in General Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry
  • Bachelor of Science in Christian Ministry (accredited degree in partnership with St. Louis Christian College)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music Ministry
  • Bachelor of Music

UGST now offers the following academic programs. In accordance with new accrediting guidelines the credit hours have been reduced. All degrees are accredited and are available on campus and by distance learning. For further information, go to ugst.edu.

  • Certificate in Apostolic Theology, 12 hours. Required for UPCI military chaplaincy endorsement.
  • Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM), 48 hours. Concentrations: General Studies, Research Track, Arts and Worship, Intercultural Studies, and Pastoral Counseling
  • Master of Theological Studies (MTS): 48 hours. Concentrations: General Track and Research Track
  • Master of Divinity (MDiv): 72 hours. Meets requirements for chaplaincy. Concentrations: Student Designed, Arts and Worship, Intercultural Studies, Pastoral Counseling, Biblical/Theological, and Historical Studies

 

Sincerely in Christ,

David K. Bernard

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 11/4/16