News Bulletin from the General Superintendent
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