Minority Participation in the UPCI

In recent decades the UPCI has sought to recapture the biblical unity of the apostolic church and the early Oneness movement. In Christ, there are no divisions based on race, culture, socioeconomic status, or sex. (See Galatians 3:28.) In 2012 we conducted a survey, not to establish quotas or make judgments, but to see where we were as a movement in fulfilling the spirit and intent of our 2008 Position Paper entitled “Racial and Ethnic Affirmation.” The paper declares our opposition to racism, prejudice, and segregation, and states that the UPCI “must continue to take deliberate, intentional steps toward inclusion in all areas of the fellowship and at all levels of the organization. . . . [It] is dedicated to overcoming any appearance of racism within the church by making a deliberate effort toward inclusion and a firm, open stand against racial bigotry and segregation.”

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Multicultural Ministries Directors Council at UPCI World Headquarters in March 2018

In June 2018 we completed a follow-up survey examining the composition of our leadership in relationship to the past, to our constituency, and to the general population. We are happy to share the updated statistics with you to communicate what is happening, celebrate what has been accomplished, and consider how to be effective in affirming diversity and participation moving forward.

Of the surveyed districts in the US and Canada, forty-four (80 percent) have at least one leader who identifies as African American or Black, Asian or Native American, or Hispanic, while eleven districts (20 percent) have leaders in all three of those categories.[1] This is a significant increase from 2012 when thirty-nine districts (71 percent) reported at least one minority leader.[2] These leaders include twenty-five African-American or Black, ten Asian or Native American, and twenty-two Hispanic District Board members. (See Table 1.)

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The increase in the total number of nonwhite and women leaders is encouraging. In the 2012 survey, the UPCI had 165 district leaders who identified as African American or Black, Asian or Native American, or Hispanic. In 2018 that number has increased to 261, a 58 percent increase. Women in district leadership numbered eighty-eight in 2012, compared with 148 in 2018.

The UPCI’s Board of General Presbyters (General Board), which is the governing body under the General Conference, has African-American or Black, Asian or Native American, and Hispanic members. The work of the organization is conducted by seven major ministries,[3] and each of them has minority representation on its general committee or board. (See Table 2.) Urshan College and Urshan Graduate School of Theology, the UPCI-owned Christian college and seminary, also have significant minority representation among administration, faculty, and staff.[4]  (See Tables 3 and 4.) These leaders were not chosen on the basis of ethnicity, but they have risen through the ranks and have been elected by their peers based on involvement, qualifications, and abilities.

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In addition to the leaders just mentioned, the UPCI of the US and Canada operates twenty important ministries that focus on the evangelism of minority groups. As of 2018 these ministries have made significant progress and are led by representatives of the various ethnicities. Spanish Evangelism Ministry reports 1,250 Spanish-speaking ministers and 900 Spanish-language congregations. Building the Bridge Ministry develops strategies for cross-cultural ministry, urban ministry, and particularly evangelism in the African-American community. Its leaders estimate that the UPCI has 450 Black ministers and 220 Black pastors. Multicultural Ministries coordinates outreach to seventeen language and ethnic groups, encompassing 290 ministers and at least 174 works.

Based on these statistics, in 2018 about 2,000 ministers were from minority groups, or 19 percent of the total, and about 1,300 churches were ministering primarily to ethnic minorities, or 27 percent of the total. Most UPCI churches continue to have significant involvement by ethnic minorities, especially larger churches, growing churches, and churches in urban areas. This involvement is estimated at 10 to 15 percent. In sum, as of 2018 an estimated 34 percent of UPCI constituents and 19 percent of UPCI credentialed ministers in the US and Canada were nonwhite, while 27 percent of churches and daughter works have nonwhite pastors.[5]

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Check out the archive of our live broadcast of June 27, 2018, Multicultural Ministry in the Twenty-first Century – Methods, Opportunities, Vision, with General Superintendent David K. Bernard & Multicultural Ministries Director Brocc Chavis:

You may also wish to view the archive of a live discussion forum at our recent Multicultural Summit in Dallas.


[1] Fifty-five of the UPCI’s fifty-seven districts submitted a report.

[2] Fifty-five districts were surveyed in 2012.

[3] The seven major ministries are Children’s Ministries, Global Missions, Ladies Ministries, Men’s Ministries, North American Missions, Division of Publication, and Youth Ministries.

[4] Urshan has twenty-nine board members (including honorary members).

[5] This report only considers the US and Canada, but the UPCI has affiliated works in 190 nations and 35 territories. The vast majority of our more than 4 million worldwide constituents are nonwhite, and we have self-governing organizations which elect their own leadership in fifty-six nations outside North America. Delegates from all nations that have organized churches comprise the UPCI Global Council, which establishes international policy and coordinates international efforts.

Minority Participation in the UPCI

David K. Bernard at National Apostolic Day of Prayer, May 4, 2018

General Superintendent David K. Bernard’s Remarks and Prayer
at the National Apostolic Day of Prayer Event in Washington, DC, May 4, 2018

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Opening Remarks
Hallelujah. Praise the Lord, church. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. We welcome the presence of the Lord. Thank you, Bishop Brooks, for organizing this meeting [of] the Apostolic Fellowship Summit of the seven Jesus Name, Apostolic, Pentecostal organizations. Titles are not important, but I think representing the diversity of our fellowship is important, so I’m David K. Bernard, the General Superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church International. I’m the chairman of the [UPCI] Global Council which represents 190 nations and 35 territories [and] chancellor of Urshan Graduate School of Theology and Urshan College. But we’re going to go to God in prayer today, right now. And so, let’s pray together.

Prayer
Our heavenly Father, we thank you so much for your many blessings to us. Thank you, Lord, for freedom of religion that allows us to come right into our nation’s capital and proclaim truth. Thank you, Lord, for economic opportunity that’s given us the provisions. We know this is not a perfect nation, but we are thankful for the many blessings that you have provided to us. Lord we’re thankful for people who believe in the Bible and believe in You, no matter who they are. We know that yesterday was the National Day of Prayer, and this [event] is not in rivalry or opposition but in coordination; we want to add our voice to everyone who calls on the Lord, because we know that you honor faith wherever it is found.

But we do feel, Lord, that we are the people of the Name, that you have called us for this hour, that we have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this. And we’re nothing without You. We’re not great; we’re not talented or capable in our own merit; we do not come boasting or bragging in anything that we could do. But we do feel, Lord, that we need to let our voice be heard as the people of the name of Jesus, as the people who are filled with the Holy Spirit speaking in tongues, as people who know the one true God. And if we know that the one true God has been manifested in the flesh as the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe that we need to let our voice be heard, that we need to participate.

Lord, we are people that are seeking holiness, seeking to manifest You in our daily life by our conduct, our behavior, our dress, our attitude, our spirit, our relationships. So Lord, we believe it’s important for all of us as Apostolic believers from every background, from every walk of life, from every organization, from every race, from every language, to come together and say, we are your people. We are the people of the Name. And we unite our prayer and our faith in calling upon You, Lord, to bless our nation, to give us the continued freedom to preach the gospel, O Lord, to work in our nation to give us an unprecedented, end-time, worldwide revival. Your prophet Joel said in the last days that You would pour out your Spirit upon all flesh. And we’re claiming that promise today. If the apostle Peter could proclaim it on the Day of Pentecost, how much more can we proclaim it two thousand years later! We’re asking for a mighty outpouring the Holy Spirit that would sweep this nation and that would sweep this world.

As You taught us to pray, our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. We want to honor You. We glorify You. And we’re thankful, Lord, that not only do we know your name of Old Testament times, Jehovah or Yahweh, but we know that New Testament name, the name that is above every name, the only name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved, the name that means, Jehovah has become my Savior. We call on the name of Jesus today. We exalt the name of Jesus today. We glorify the name of Jesus. You are Lord and Savior. You are our God. We exalt the name of Jesus. We glorify the name of Jesus. O Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise God. Praise God. Praise God.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done. It’s not about our organization or our ministry or our ego, but truly help us to humble ourselves. Help us to seek your face and your will. I know your will is not that any should perish but all would be saved. I know that your will, even though we have many local churches and many different organizations, I know your will is for us to have a oneness of spirit, not only oneness in doctrine, but oneness in love, oneness in fellowship, oneness in worship, oneness in prayer. Lord, let your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Lord, give us this day our daily bread. We do have needs. There are many different needs represented here today, and so we mention these in passing. Lord, we ask you to supply the needs of each church, each congregation, each saint.

Forgive us our debts and our sins, our trespasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us. We know the church is not perfect. There are times we’ve suffered because of dissension and strife. There are times we’ve been guilty of racism and prejudice. There are times that we’ve been guilty of ego and materialism. There are times we’ve been guilty of pride and there are times we’ve neglected holiness and exalted self. There are times that we’ve pushed for our own agenda instead of your agenda. There are times, Lord, that we’ve seemingly even been willing to compromise truth in order to gain some kind of popularity or significance. But, Lord, forgive us of anything and everything.

Help us to be faithful to You. Help us to be loyal to You. Help us to hold on to the apostolic doctrine. Help us to be people who love holiness. Help us to be people who transcend every difference of color or race or national origin or socio-economic status or language. Whatever categories may divide people, let it not be so among us. But let us truly represent Heaven. Just as we hope to gather around the throne in Heaven, let us gather here on earth and glorify You as one people, as one body, as one church, committed to one name, who has one Spirit. Hallelujah! Praise God. Praise God.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Lord, we do know the devil is attacking. We know the world is getting more and more worldly. There has always been sin, but it seems that sin is being glorified and promoted more than ever before by the media, the entertainment industry, the political society, and in every way. But, Lord, help us not to be harsh or hateful or legalistic or narrow in the sense—we love everyone. Help us to love the people of our world. Help us to respect those who’ve chosen different paths. But at the same time, let us be faithful to truth and let us walk in godliness and righteousness and true holiness. Lord, don’t let us go astray into false doctrine or into compromise of lifestyle, or don’t let us fall prey to the temptations of the world around us or the flesh inside of us or the attack of the devil. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Lord, we can’t stand by our intellect. We can’t stand by our education or our finances or our ability. You’ve blessed many of us with beautiful buildings and beautiful choirs, but we can’t rely upon any of those things. Lord, we need your help; we need your guidance. We need the power of the Holy Ghost. O Lord, we rebuke the devil in the name of Jesus, right here from Washington, DC throughout the whole nation. We rebuke the attack of the devil upon our people. We rebuke the attack of the devil upon our society. We claim power in the name of Jesus. We break every chain. We loose every bond. We set the captives free. In the name of Jesus. In the name of Jesus. In the name of Jesus. Liberty to the captives—deliverance! For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Let all the people praise the Lord. Let all the people say amen. For thine is the kingdom, the power, the glory, forever and ever.

David K. Bernard at National Apostolic Day of Prayer, May 4, 2018

GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 4/4/18

 

News Bulletin from the General Superintendent
4-4-18

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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
Statistics
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.
Men’s Ministries
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.

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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.
GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT’S NEWS BULLETIN – 4/4/18

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

dkb

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