News Bulletin from the General Superintendent
General Superintendent David K. Bernard
General Board: Strategic Growth Plans
The Executive and General Boards of the United Pentecostal Church International met on February 26-28 and March 1, 2018 in St. Louis, MO. In addition to its regular business, the General Board considered the development of a Strategic Growth Plan for each district. The district superintendents participated in four groups based on size of district to discuss best practices, ideas, and strategies for growth. They set a goal of submitting their plans to the Strategic Growth Committee of the General Board by September 2018 if possible but in any case by February 2019.
These plans will cover the following points:
- Assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and trends (SWOTT)
- Recruitment, training, and involvement of new ministers
- Planting of new works, including study of demographics, ethnicities, population centers, counties, and target cities
- Plans to help existing churches to grow
- Plans to help retain churches and ministers
- Benchmarks for new sections, zones or regions, and districts
- Metrics to monitor and evaluate progress, such as attendance, baptisms, and new works
The district superintendents will gather statistics for attendance, water baptisms and Spirit baptisms, which will be reported by district but not by church. I appeal to every church to cooperate with your district in gathering this important information to help us develop and evaluate our plans.
The district directors of Apostolic Man have proposed a resolution for General Conference to change the name of their division to Men’s Ministries. This change will parallel Ladies Ministries, Children’s Ministries, and Youth Ministries.
Executive Global Council
The Executive Global Council of the United Pentecostal Church International met on March 13-15, 2018, in Nairobi, Kenya. The UPCI now has churches in 190 nations and 35 territories. These global mission fields are classified in three categories: works (constituents but no national organization), organized works (national churches under North American missionary leadership), and nationalized works (self-governing churches under national leadership). The Global Council of the UPCI is the structure that unites all these works under the International Articles of Faith.
The full Global Council, consisting of two delegates from every member nation, meets every five years. The Executive Global Council, consisting of seven delegates from each of the seven regions, meets in between the full meetings. The general superintendent of the US and Canada currently serves as the chair of the Global Council. The secretary rotates among the regions and is elected by the delegates. The newly elected secretary is Marcotulio Oviedo, the general superintendent of Colombia.
While each national church governs its own affairs, the Global Council establishes policies for international fellowship and ministry, including regional missionaries, the Global Association of Theological Studies, the transfer of ministerial credentials, international judicial procedure, and ministry from one country to another. As a matter of ministerial ethics and respect for national churches, it is important for all ministers from North America to follow these policies when ministering in other countries or inviting ministry from other countries. (See UPCI Manual, Policies, “International Ministry” and “Ministerial Credential Acceptance,” p. 154.)
The regional missionary program coordinates missionaries who originate outside the US and Canada. Currently, 68 regional missionaries are under appointment. For example, Brazil has sent missionaries to the Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa. Since its inception, the regional missionary program has raised over $3 million.
Family Bible Week Resources
Strong families are built on the principles of God’s Word. Please consider planning a family Bible week for your congregation soon. The UPCI Family Ministries Council has developed a collection of resources for pastors who wish to encourage families to commit to reading and discussing the Bible together. Resources include articles from Apostolic authors, sermons, and recommended books and websites. A promotional poster and graphics that you can adapt for your local church are available on our website.
Bible College Education
The UPCI has six endorsed Bible colleges, one Christian college, and one graduate school in the US and Canada. One of the Bible colleges recently reached an important milestone. For the past three years, Christian Life College (Stockton, CA) has been in the process of becoming regionally accredited with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This has been a daunting challenge that has required diligence, sacrifice, and a tremendous amount of faith. There are three phases in the accreditation process: Eligibility, Candidacy, and Accreditation. In December 2015, WASC granted CLC Eligibility, which allowed the college to begin the work of meeting the criteria for the next stage. On March 9 of this year, CLC received a letter from Dr. Jamienne Studley, President of WASC, in which she congratulated the college for meeting the standards necessary for Candidacy. While much work remains, the staff and faculty of Christian Life College rejoice in the Lord’s favor as CLC is now one step away from being a fully accredited Oneness Pentecostal Bible College.
National Day of Prayer
The Apostolic Fellowship Summit is planning the first-ever National Apostolic Day of Prayer for Friday, May 4, 10 am to 3 pm, on the Ellipsis directly across from the White House in Washington, DC. Everyone is invited. All platform participants, including prayer leaders and singers, will be Apostolic and have been asked to follow Apostolic guidelines for dress. The Apostolic Fellowship Summit is an annual meeting of the leaders of the seven largest Oneness Pentecostal organizations in the US, and it is hosted by Urshan Graduate School of Theology. Information about hotels and location is available here. If you plan to attend it is important to register, as the National Park Service requires an official count of attendees. You may register here.
Join me for my upcoming Facebook Live interview, with Scott Sistrunk April 11 at 2 pm, Central Time. We will be having a conversation on Planting Churches: Methods, Opportunities, Vision. You may access the broadcast at http://www.facebook.com/upci.org.