It is presumptuous for a white man to write about Black History Month, so I ask for grace as I speak of my heart being touched by numerous African-American women and men during my lifetime.
Jalene and I just returned from meetings in New Orleans. While we were there we toured a sugar cane Plantation established in the 1700’s. The Plantation was owned by a man named Roman, and was made profitable by almost 200 slaves that worked for him. Our hearts were broken as we experienced the opulence of the owners house and the meager quarters of the slaves. We received the message loud and clear that in those days, a black man or woman was not considered human. They were required to work and live as animals. Though I am not from that era, my heart cries out, “I am sorry,” no one deserves to be treated the way our African American ancestors were treated. It did not end with abolition, but the evil continued with, segregation, Klan, racial profiling, and the creation of laws that unfairly punished black men. My heart still cries out, “I am sorry,” and I hope that in the remaining years that I have, I can be an instrument of peace and not violence to my African-American brothers and sisters.
In the past month or so we have lost two leaders of the Church of God, who happen to be African American. Rev. Dr. Robert Dulin, and just this past week, Rev. Alfred Carrothers. Dr. Dulin was a peacemaker; always trying to bring together his Caucasian and African American brothers and sisters. His wisdom and influence will be greatly missed by us all. Rev. Carrothers, was not as well known as Pastor Dulin, but he gave the last years of life to Pastor our congregation at Lake Street Church of God in East Pontiac. He regularly brought to me strong opinions, but there was never a doubt that he loved me and His Lord.
Recalling the life of these men made me want to thank others for their service to Christ during my lifetime:
Rev. Dr. James Earl Massey
Rev. Herschel Irons
Rev. Charles Myricks
Rev. Mikki Merritt
Rev. Dr. Robert Colp
Rev. Dr. Diana Swoope
Rev. Clayton Williams
Rev. Dr. Herbert Banks
Rev. Theron Kersey
Rev. Dr. Samuel Hines
Rev. Dr. Benjamin Reid
Rev. Dr. Timothy Clark
Rev. Cynthia Thomas
Revs. Nathaniel and Carol Ligons
Rev. Dr. Ronald Fowler
Revs. Leo and Janell Robinson
Rev. Demetrius Booker
Rev. Dale Turner
I know I am leaving people out of this list as my old brain did a mental survey of my history. But these men and women have been instruments of God’s peace and wisdom to me.
Finally, I will fulfill a promise to my friend and colleague, Dr. Robert Dulin. He kept encouraging me to visit the Museum of African American History in Detroit, and I did not make the time. But I will visit there this year, and I encourage all who read this to learn more about the life and heritage of our African American brothers and Sisters. Visit the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (thewright.org) and take time to read Dr. Massey’s great book, African Americans and the Church of God.
Matthew Derby- February 24, 2019; 3:00 p.m.
Edgewood Church of God, Ithaca, Michigan
Is this weather really feeling like February? Shouldn't we be thinking of springtime and CWC's spring Convention? I hope your answer was yes. I also encourage you to pray for the ladies working and planning our convention. These ladies want to do what the Lord has in mind for us. Also on your prayer list should be worship leader Tonja Henry and speaker Crystal Colp from St. Joseph.
Our Christian Women Connection State Convention is April 26 and 27 at Holiday Inn, Midland. You will soon be receiving a mailing with convention information.
Rev. Brian Spitters, Youth Pastor at North Avenue Church of God, was ordained Sunday, January 27, 2019 at North Avenue Church of God. Participating in the Service were Rev. Jeff Eckman, Senior Pastor; Chris Shattuck, Worship Pastor; Rev. Chris Spitters (Father) and Campus Pastor at First Church Stevensville; and Dr. Jones. We celebrate with the Spitters family on this significant accomplishment. We look forward to Brian significantly impacting the Kingdom of God here in Michigan!
We are so excited to bring you the HGC PreConference Learning Lab at Exponential 2019! We will be starting on Monday, March 4th from 1-5pm and will continue Tuesday, March 5th from 8-11:30am. We have some incredible speakers lined up, and our theme this year is Captivating Church Culture.
We have a block of tickets reserved for both the PreConference Learning Lab and the Exponential Conference together, and our rates are the best and cheapest available. So, do not delay. Find out more information and get yourself and your team registered today by clicking here!
We want this year's theme to challenge us with a few questions:
How do we create a culture that captivates people and deeply engages them? And also...
How do we create a culture in the church that is captivating to the heart of Christ? In other words, how do we move from a consumer-based culture to a disciple-making, multiplication culture?
We have learned from the past and some significant, relevant studies that the Church is changing. Indeed, the Church has always been and will continue to be a living, breathing organism which evolves to reach a lost world for the glory of God. AND God chooses to use us to move His Church along. What it takes is a series of small changes that create a big impact.
Here are a few topics we will discuss together:
Counting the Cost of Changing Culture (and the cost of not changing it)
Creating a Healthy Discipleship and Multiplication Culture
Changing and Improving a Toxic Church Culture
A few of our speakers include Wayne Schmidt, Rich Robinson, and Greg Wiens. There will also be some open times for worship, great conversations, and key takeaways that you can begin to put into place as soon as you get back home!
We want this PreConference to be incredibly meaningful to you, your spouse, and your teams. You will find a community of others who are dealing with the same things you are. It's amazing what having camaraderie in other places can give you the courage to do! Consider this your personal invitation to be a part of something great. We have created a page on our website with the details of our learning lab and a link to get registered today.
If you have any question please let us know.
Tom Planck, Healthy Growing Churches, Chief Catalyst
Ecclesiastes 4:9 – “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor”
Reverend Demetrius Booker, Keynote Speaker
Men's Retreat 2019
March 22-24, 2019 at Lincoln Lake Camp
We are excited to invite you and the men from your Church to the 2019 Church of God Men’s Retreat. Once again this year our host site for the retreat is Lincoln Lake Camp in Gowen, Michigan. Lincoln Lake Camp offers great accommodations, a beautiful chapel for sessions, excellent food and many activities for all ages and interest levels. Some of the activities planned for this year include March Madness watch party, gun range, open gym 3on3 basketball, glow ball and hockey, bon fires, a large game room in the lodge and (weather permitting) the near by and beautiful Links at Bowen Lake for the golf enthusiast.
The dates that we have secured with Lincoln Lake are March 22nd-24th 2019. This year we continue to offer a one or two night retreat. Registration will begin at 4:00 p.m. at the Camp, and then dinner will be on Friday night at 5:30 p.m. followed by our first session. This will require some to take a day off or a half-day off from work, but we believe that this will play a big part in the success of our retreat.
March 10 is set as our advanced pricing deadline. Men that sign up by this date will be able to pay just $70 for the one Night or $85 for the two night retreat. If Men want to attend after this date they will need to pay $80 or $95 at the door. Here is what you will need to do... Collect funds from signed up men leading up to and on March 10. The week following the 10th, please total up your men and send the total number signed up and a check payable to First Church of God Greenville for the total cost (i.e. 12 men @ $80 = $960) to First Church of God, 101 S. Franklin St., Greenville, Michigan 48838. Please also call or email Matt Stone with your total number of men planning to attend. You can still promote the event after the 10th, but please let the men know that they will need to pay when they arrive on March 22nd. We are expecting to reach near maximum capacity this year, so it is encouraged to sign up for the advanced registration in order to guarantee a spot at the retreat!