Real, substantive, meaningful change. That’s what we are hoping for, and that’s what we began to see in the Church of God Convention last week in Oklahoma City.
This was the second year in a row that the major CHOG Convention was held outside of our home base in Anderson, Indiana. Attendance was up, excitement was up, unity was up. Mean attitudes or doubting spirits were less present this year, compared to last year when the change was still fresh and not well understood.
We decided to hold this convention not every year, but every other year – another major change from the past century of this denomination’s history. More people will be able to store up money to be able to attend in 2017.
We passed a resolution on race relations, in the wake of police shootings and the Charleston, SC tragedy. We wondered aloud how many more resolutions we will need to pass before we actually do something about the racial divisions and tensions in our communities and churches. We stood in support of the effort to bring about reconciliation in our own neighborhoods and around the country.
We listened to our General Director, Rev. Jim Lyon, as he began to speak with the voice of the movement: Jesus is the most important thing we believe in, and everything we do in our communities and churches should spring from our desire to imitate and proclaim Jesus. This is a refocusing of our energy and attention. We are not moving away from our emphases on salvation, holiness, and unity. Instead, we are shifting our minds, hearts, and hands so that we announce Jesus and his kingdom while we live and move and have our being.
We remembered our profound interest in seeing lives changed for the sake of the kingdom of God. We witnessed testimonies of young women who have been rescued from sex trafficking in India; we heard stories of missionaries who are seeing transformation take place in various parts of Africa and South America. And we realized that our lives, too, need to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that Christ might be formed in us and through us, to change the world for his glory.
We have changed. We are still the same, as the Church of God. But we are interested in moving where God is moving in this world.
Because God is moving.
What if you were to attend the convention in 2017? What would it take for you to go? How can we make that happen? Let’s talk.
What if God were to change your life in the meantime? What would it take for you to follow him more closely? How can we make that happen? Let’s talk.