Annual Conference of UPCI Convenes in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Missouri, September 25, 2017 – Around seven thousand pastors, ministers, and church members are gathering this week (9/26 9/29) in Kansas City at the Kansas City Convention Center for the annual conference of the United Pentecostal Church International. The UPCI is a Oneness Pentecostal organization with over 40,000 churches and nearly four million constituents in 225 nations and territories. Conference attendees will conduct business, receive training, network with colleagues, participate in worship sessions, and raise funds for various ministries.

For more information visit upcigc.com. Press contact: communications@upci.com.

Annual Conference of UPCI Convenes in Kansas City

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 9/1/17

News Bulletin from the General Superintendent
9-1-17

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General Superintendent David K. Bernard

Hurricane Harvey Update
In Texas, 25 UPCI churches and 16 pastors’ homes have been damaged or flooded as well as the homes of many other ministers and saints. Both the South Texas District and the Texas District have set up relief funds and have organized teams to deliver supplies and provide labor for cleanup and rebuilding. Other districts and churches are partnering with them. The UPCI has set up a relief fund and will assist churches in coordination with the districts. The two UPCI-endorsed relief agencies, Reach Out America and Compassion Services International, are aiding the affected communities. District representatives are also coordinating efforts with the Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The UPCI Loan Fund is working with churches to defer loan payments as needed, and Points of Refuge is offering guidance to ministers and their families.

Please continue to pray for those in need, and please consider making a financial contribution. Here are ways you can make tax-deductible contributions through UPCI entities:

  1. UPCI Relief Fund. Click here.
  2. South Texas District. Click here.
  3. Texas District. Click here.
  4. Compassion Services International. Click here.
  5. Reach Out America. Click here.

Annual Report Online
The 2017 UPCI Annual Report is now online at upciministers.com. We will present a summary of the report at General Conference. The full report of over 200 pages includes letters from general officials, minutes of last year’s business meeting, and detailed financial statements and schedules for every division and ministry. Here are some highlights:

  • 10,221 credentialed ministers in the US and Canada, a new record
  • 4,736 churches, daughter works, and preaching points in the US and Canada, a new record
  • Total consolidated increase in net assets of over $6 million
  • Total net assets of over $44 million
  • Works in 224 countries and territories, an increase of three

God has blessed us greatly in our finances over the past decade. Here is a graph showing the net assets at the end of each fiscal year.

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2008             $11,941,982
2009             $10,499,239
2010             $11,183,696
2011             $13,044,805
2012             $15,504,382
2013             $19,347,368
2014             $23,991,132
2015             $31,264,098
2016             $38,028,274
2017             $44,367,106

It is important to understand, however, that we shouldn’t expect a large increase in net assets every year. In the past two years, we have benefited from some large, one-time sources of revenue, including the lease income on our new headquarters prior to occupancy, the net gain on the sale of our old headquarters, and the donation of the Urshan campus. Moreover, our goal is not merely to increase net assets but to use our assets to promote growth. Thus, in some years our expenditures for designated missions and ministry projects may equal our contributions. And in some years these expenditures may even exceed contributions, as we use money raised and saved in prior years.

Resolutions
The resolutions for General Conference have been published online at upciministers.com and in the Forward. However, in the Forward there is a mistake regarding Resolution 6, which was submitted by the Sunday School Division. Some of the formatting was inadvertently removed by the word processing program. Specifically, the sections dealing with scouting, the Christian Educator magazine, and singles ministry should have strike-throughs, showing that the resolution would delete them from the Sunday School policy. (Scouting and the Christian Educator were discontinued in prior years, and the proposal is for singles ministry to operate under Church Administration.) The official online publication of the resolutions is correct.

Former Headquarters
The Ferguson-Florissant School District has officially opened their new district office and public school at the site of the former UPCI headquarters, World Evangelism Center, in Hazelwood, MO. We are thankful that the building is still being used to benefit the community. 

Prayer for General Conference
I urge every minister and church to participate in focused prayer for the 2017 UPCI General Conference this month. Let’s seek the will of God for our business meeting, and let’s ask for a special anointing upon our seminars and services. As I explained in a previous news bulletin, I believe God is preparing and positioning us for unprecedented revival and growth. We need to hear from God, and we need a mighty outpouring of the Holy Ghost.

The World Network of Prayer has designated a special time of fasting for September 19-21 and united prayer to observe the World Day of Prayer on September 20. Conference pre-service prayer will convene in the auditorium on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, September 26-29, 6:30-6:45 pm. On Friday, each attendee will receive a free prayer guide, “Pouring Out for the Outpouring,” with prayer led by Lee Stoneking and Joshua Herring. Please join us in prayer for “Greater” things that are yet to come!

Sincerely in Christ,
David K. Bernard

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Join me for my upcoming Facebook Live interview, September 13 at 2 pm, Central Time. I will give an update on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, share plans for General Conference in Kansas City, and give you a glimpse into my everyday life.
You may access the broadcast at http://www.facebook.com/upci.org.

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 9/1/17

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 8/27/17

News Bulletin from the General Superintendent
8-27-17

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General Superintendent David K. Bernard

Hurricane Relief Efforts
Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas over the greater Houston and Corpus Christi area this weekend. Initially a Category 4 Hurricane, the storm has brought tremendous destruction. As the storm loses power, it is continuing to flood the region with unprecedented amounts of rainfall.

We have received reports that multiple UPCI churches are flooded and that homes of our pastors, ministers, and constituents have been flooded and damaged.

If you would like to help with ongoing relief and recovery efforts, you may give to the following. Donations are tax deductible.

  1. UPCI Relief Fund. We will disburse money to affected churches in coordination with the district. Click here to donate NOW.  Here is the full URL:
    (https://give.upci.org/p-14486-hurricane-harvey-emergency-relief-fund.aspx)
  2. The South Texas District is mobilizing recovery teams to assess damage and assist churches and individuals in recovery. The district will also attempt to find temporary places for church services and housing as may be needed in the days ahead. The online giving portal is here. The full URL: (https://secure.accessacs.com/access/oglogin.aspx?sn=142376&f=614)
  3. The UPCI-endorsed disaster relief organizations, Compassion Services International (compassionservices.org) and Reach Out America
    (www.reachoutamerica.org). Their websites have links to their donation pages.

Please join Sister Bernard and me in prayer that Houston and the surrounding areas will be spared further flooding and destruction. Let’s also pray for the safety of the people affected including first responders and recovery workers.

Sincerely in Christ,
David K. Bernard

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Houston, Texas
GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 8/27/17

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 8/10/17

News Bulletin from the General Superintendent
8-10-17

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General Superintendent David K. Bernard

The Future of the United Pentecostal Church International
As general superintendent I have felt led to emphasize three themes: (1) Apostolic identity, (2) Apostolic unity, (3) Apostolic revival. These themes come directly from Acts 2 and from the purpose statement of the UPCI: “to carry the whole gospel to the whole world by the whole church.”

On Sunday morning, February 26, as I was preparing to preach, God spoke to me for about two hours concerning the future of the United Pentecostal Church International. He gave me a word for General Conference, but I want to share some of these thoughts now. Simply put, we have achieved unprecedented strength in doctrine and unity in purpose; now God wants to give us unprecedented revival and growth. (See Acts 2:17; 6:7.) We are currently experiencing incremental growth, but God wants to give us a breakthrough revival that will shake our world. As if to underscore this message to me, in that Sunday morning service God filled 10 people with the Holy Ghost.

Apostolic Identity
On our core doctrine, we are stronger than ever. When I was growing up, the UPCI had several large geographical pockets and some missionaries that didn’t proclaim Acts 2:38 as the new birth. My first full-time ministry assignment was to help restore one of our Bible colleges that had moved away from our faith. At the same time, we lost another Bible college under the same circumstances. Today, all our districts, mission fields, and colleges firmly support our doctrine. When my family went to Korea as pioneer missionaries, a General Board member informed my parents that those who had never heard the gospel were already saved; my parents were just going so they could earn stars in their crown. I don’t know of any minister, much less a leader, who advocates such a view today.

When my mother and I wrote In Search of Holiness in 1980, it was our movement’s first book on the subject, and the Pentecostal Publishing House rejected it as too controversial. Now PPH publishes it, its sequel is on the required reading list for ministers, and 200,000 copies of the book and its derivatives have been published in 23 languages. In the past decade, some ministers were seemingly waiting for us to compromise areas of practical holiness, but when that didn’t happen, they left. While at any time a few churches and ministers may be struggling with our identity or moving in a different direction, there is now an expectation that they will renew their commitment or else leave our fellowship. Indeed, in our General Board training sessions, we have discussed practical ways to address these situations, provide ethical direction, and take action as needed.

Apostolic Unity
Our Fundamental Doctrine includes an admonition to keep the unity of the Spirit until we all come into the unity of the faith. Despite the negative predictions of some who left us, we have grown stronger and we are more united. To meet the needs of the twenty-first century, we have made major decisions concerning structure, policy, and purchase of a new headquarters. In the past, any of these decisions could have caused major opposition and contention. While we have debated resolutions and expressed different opinions, we haven’t been polarized, but we’ve reached consensus. There is a strong sense that we are all on the same side. We may differ on policies and methods, but we agree on the goals.

Some years ago, we faced a financial crisis, with ten ministries over $100,000 in deficit, the three largest deficits being $3 million, $2.3 million, and $1.8 million. By restructuring, cutting costs, and increasing revenues, today every ministry operates in the black, and those with old deficits are steadily retiring them. At one point, we had cash on hand for less than one month of operation; today, we have cash for five months of operation, which is the ideal for nonprofit organizations. We eliminated the 4% surcharge on Partners in Missions and general offerings, which had been in place since 1969, and we avoided an anticipated increase in ministerial dues. After ten years of losses, several years ago our publishing house began generating net income. All our fundraising divisions have received record offerings for several consecutive years. Global Missions has reduced the average deputational travel in half, to nine months, with a goal of six months. We started a loan fund, which has already helped more than one hundred churches. By using this loan fund and by drastically cutting maintenance and utility costs, we purchased a new headquarters without increasing our monthly operating budget. Our world headquarters was built for $17 million, yet in essence, we have moved into it for free.

These amazing results do not come merely from a few management decisions, divisional promotions, or fortunate circumstances. Instead, they represent the united efforts of many people. As in the Book of Acts, we are seeing the financial blessings of unity. Thousands of ministers and churches are supporting the vision and giving sacrificially. The chart below provides an overview of the last ten years (for the UPCI corporation, excluding affiliates, as of June 30, the fiscal year end).

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Year Total Income Net Income Cash & Investments
2008 $47,069,057 ($2,594,749) $5,462,408
2009 $45,705,001 ($1,076,280) $5,432,428
2010 $45,712,254 $645,627 $5,308,116
2011 $44,699,655 $1,668,020 $6,621,627
2012 $46,281,205 $2,348,369 $9,126,876
2013 $46,532,021 $3,095,722 $12,482,470
2014 $49,719,286 $3,521,574 $14,943,751
2015 $54,584,058 $6,632,200 $21,352,826
2016 $55,757,703 $2,821,424 $18,662,683
*2017 $56,000,000 $5,000,000 $26,000,000

* Rounded down to nearest million, pending audit adjustments

Apostolic Revival
Any one of these achievements would be cause for celebration, but collectively they speak of something far greater than our ability and efforts: they show that God is working miraculously in our midst. God is positioning us for a breakthrough. Although this progress is wonderful, it is not our true goal. It merely prepares us to attain our true goal, which is revival and growth. To see where we have come from and where we are now, below is information for the past ten years (for US and Canada, as of August 1).

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Year Ministers Growth
of Ministers
Churches* Growth in Churches
2008 9,204 -1.10% 4,307 -2.71%
2009 9,160 -0.48% 4,269 -0.88%
2010 9,163 0.03% 4,243 -0.61%
2011 9,193 0.33% 4,294 1.20%
2012 9,234 0.45% 4,363 1.61%
2013 9,414 1.95% 4,458 2.18%
2014 9,605 2.03% 4,493 0.79%
2015 9,746 1.47% 4,602 2.43%
2016 10,003 2.64% 4,631 0.63%
2017 10,221 2.18% 4,736 2.27%

*Includes daughter works and preaching points

After some years of decline we are moving forward. Our growth is starting to accelerate. We should be thankful, but we should not be satisfied. God wants to give us an explosion of church planting and church growth. To this end, the General Board is urging every district to develop a strategic growth plan, and Global Missions is producing similar plans for each nation.

North American Youth Congress8-10-17_004
God has already given us an example of what He wants to do. In 2011 North American Youth Congress had 10,995 registered participants. This year it had 34,151. Two years ago, my session for young ministers had 2,000 attendees. This year it had 4,500. By their behavior and dress, the youth exemplified our teachings on holiness. They were a good witness in the community, and they prepared 200,000 meals for the homeless. NAYC demonstrated that thousands of United Pentecostal youth have great desire for worship and ministry. They want strong preaching, sound doctrine, heartfelt worship, gender distinction, and modesty. NAYC also showed that the UPCI is multiracial, multicultural, and diverse geographically and generationally. When the largest gathering of Apostolic Pentecostals in North America is our youth, it is evident that the church isn’t compromising or declining. The future is bright.

In Conclusion
The General Conference theme is Greater. God is telling the United Pentecostal Church International that our day has arrived. It is time for a breakout revival in your church, your district, and across our fellowship. I urge you to attend General Conference to hear from God and to help us claim what God has promised. I am praying that in this conference God will inspire our faith and impart a special anointing so that the United Pentecostal Church International can inherit the future.

Sincerely in Christ,
David K. Bernard

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You may wish to tune in for my upcoming Facebook Live interview, August 16 at 2 pm, Central Time. I will be discussing various items, including the upcoming General Conference. You may access the broadcast at http://www.facebook.com/upci.org.

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 8/10/17

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 7/10/17

News Bulletin from the General Superintendent
7-10-17

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General Superintendent David K. Bernard

Spanish Evangelism Ministries
In the US and Canada, we now have 800 Spanish-speaking works and 1,150 ministers.

North American Missions
The director of North American Missions, Jimmy Toney, was recently elected as pastor in Gainesville, Florida, and is now working half time at World Headquarters. We will elect a new director at General Conference in September. Under Brother Toney’s leadership NAM has continued to grow, with an increase in new churches, a record Christmas for Christ offering, and a new initiative called Launch to recruit and train home missionaries. We appreciate his excellent service and wish him well in his new ministry.

Urshan Accreditation Process
Urshan College and Urshan Graduate School of Theology are pleased to report significant progress toward regional accreditation by seeking status with the Higher Learning Commission. HLC is one of six regional institutional accreditors in the US and is the largest of the associations, providing accreditation for institutions in 19 states. In addition to peer evaluation and institutional improvement, benefits of accreditation include the possibility of:

• federal student aid
• transfer of credits to other institutions
• recognition of degrees by graduate schools
• matching gifts by corporations
• employee tuition reimbursement
• foundation grants

Many of the above benefits often result from Candidacy, including especially federal student aid. Urshan has already met the first four steps toward Candidacy: Preliminary Evidence, Interview, Eligibility Requirements, and Panel Review. Next is a substantial five-step Assurance Review, due October 2017, and a Comprehensive Evaluation Visit in December 2017. Candidacy is a “preaccreditation status” and could be awarded as early as June 2018. The next step for institutions declared Candidates is to seek Initial Accreditation. HLC requires that institutions make it clear that “a recommendation by an evaluation team is subject to additional levels of Commission review and decision-making and that the award of Candidacy does not assure the eventual award of accreditation.” But it is exciting to know that Urshan is on target and ahead of schedule in seeking regional accreditation and that UPCI students, churches, and other educational institutions may soon benefit from Urshan taking this critically important step. Urshan Graduate School of Theology is already accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, but Candidacy would be a new status for Urshan College.

Urshan needs continued financial support for its pursuit of regional accreditation. The UPCI provides monthly support to Urshan Graduate School of Theology from investment income (not from ministerial dues or divisional funds), but the primary support for the two schools comes from tuition, monthly partnerships, scholarships, and special contributions. In recent years, Urshan has received $2.5 million in outside funding from foundation, estate, and business contributions to acquire and upgrade its campus and to pursue accreditation. In addition, the Missouri District donated equity in the campus of $3 million. Since Urshan is owned and operated by the UPCI, Urshan’s assets of over $7 million appear on the UPCI consolidated financial statements. Urshan has established partnerships or is in process of doing so with many other UPCI entities: with Global Missions and North American Missions to train those who feel a call to missions; with the Global Association of Theological Studies and various Bible colleges for blended programs and degree completion; and with ministerial training programs such as Purpose Institute for recognition and transfer of credits. In this way, Urshan expects to share the benefits of accreditation with all UPCI-endorsed educational institutions.

The Stewardship Group in Canada
The Stewardship Group provides many services for our constituents, but because of national laws it must operate differently in the US and Canada. Below are ways that Canadians can benefit from its services

  • Canadian individuals can set up scholarships, endowments, trusts, and annuities in the United Pentecostal Foundation. Churches cannot.
  • Canadian churches and other entities can receive distributions from funds in the Foundation.
  • Canadian individuals can invest in the Loan Fund and receive interest payments. Churches cannot.
  • Canadian churches can borrow from the Loan Fund, but with the current exchange rates it probably isn’t advantageous for them at present.

General Conference
General Conference 2017 will take place in Kansas City, Missouri, from September 26-29, at the Kansas City Convention Center. The conference begins Tuesday night with the North American Missions service and will conclude on Friday evening with the General Superintendent’s message. For the complete schedule of events click here.

The business session will be held Wednesday, September 27, at 9:00 a.m. at the Kansas City Convention Center, and the ministers session will be held on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. in the same location on the topic of Stress, Burnout, and Self-care.

Early registration is $50.00, but after August 15 registration will be $75.00. Registration fees apply to persons 18 years or older. For more information and to register for the conference please visit www.upcigc.com. We hope you are able to attend!

Sincerely in Christ,
David K. Bernard

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 7/10/17

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