1 Peter 2:9-10 (NASB): 9 But you are A CHOSEN PEOPLE, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR GOD’S OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once WERE NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.
A man once laid a piece of chocolate candy on a table. Then, picking up an ant, he put it near the delicious bonbon. He was surprised to see it take a single bite and then hurry off to inform the rest of the colony. Soon the little creature returned, followed by a long train of other ants who enjoyed the treat with him. Many Christians who have tasted that the Lord is good can learn a lesson from that little insect. Having found God's rich supply of grace, they ought to spread the glad tidings to others.
I once heard and then read a statement that impacted me greatly in my Christian walk. A dear minister friend in Western PA, Rev. David Bish, who sadly went home to be with the Lord suddenly at age 52 both said and wrote it in a book with that as the title. His statement was, “I don’t go to church; I am the church!” Folks, the reality is that the church is not the buildings in which we gather to worship and work. It is the makeup of the people who gather and claim salvation in Jesus Christ for their lives. We are the Church; we don’t attend a church! As the church, we are in a wonderfully exclusive position to impact the culture around us because of the distinctions we have as the church of the Living God.
Contrasted against the world that doesn’t know Jesus Christ, we have wonderful benefits as Christians. We are born again into a living hope. We have indeed the hope of eternal life with Jesus Christ, a living hope of the resurrection to come. We are inheritors of the glories of heaven with the Lord. We are secure in Him, shielded by His awesome presence and power. We have a genuine faith which is burnished to a bright splendor that is made purer through life’s trials and testimonies. This faith endures and will result in praise, glory, and honor to Jesus Christ when he returns. We have been given agape love for God and for others. We have inexpressible and glorious joy even in our persecutions and pain. There is so much more that we have as the church. We have a reason to be a people of praise.
The Apostle Peter shared some wonderful attributes of who we are in the passage from 1 Peter 2 above. In it, he spells out our distinctions, our purpose because of those distinctions, and our praise because of whom He, through His death, burial, and resurrection has made us. What does that indicate about us? We are unique people of God, distinct because of who we are in Him.
We are a chosen people: We are chosen by Jesus Christ because of the great love of God. It is not based upon our earthly birth or family. It is not based upon our ethnicity or privileges in life. It is based solely upon the fact that we are born again into the newness of life through Jesus Christ. It is based upon Him and what He has done for us. The good news of this is that anyone can be chosen if he or she will be born again in Jesus Christ.
We are a royal priesthood: We are the living fulfillment of God’s promise to Moses that He would raise up a kingdom of priests. We are children of the King, and as such we are royalty through Him. As such, we are called not to bask in the luxuries of royalty, but to serve as priests used by God to bring forth some incredible things to those around us. We exhibit the provisions of God, like access to Him, worship, and offering ourselves as living sacrifices to Him. We exalt the power of God, and experience and share the presence of God as the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit. We have our identity in and through Him.
We are a holy nation: We are separated for God’s own purpose. We are separated from the world, from sin, and from depravity. We are separated to God, conformed to His will, and exemplify His nature of Holiness and truth. We are transformed by His grace, and we are dedicated to His will.
We are a people for God’s own possession: He created us, He cares for us, He covenanted with us for atonement and redemption, and He cherishes us. We are set for life, because, God has invested in us His precious blood, His love, His grace, His mercy, His peace, His patience, His gifts, and His fruit. We stand out because God dwells within us, bringing forth His glorious presence, power, and purpose.
Because of our distinctiveness, the Apostle Peter clearly indicates that we have a clear purpose. Our purpose is to be like the ant that discovered the joyful goodness of the bonbon and told his entire ant colony that he had discovered something wonderful. And, that ant brought the rest of them to that which gave him such joy. We are to tell others about Jesus Christ and declare his excellencies because of what He has done through the cross, the grave, the resurrection, His awesome work on the throne for us, and His immanent return to receive us unto Himself. We are to declare to the world that He has relocated us from the dominion of darkness to the Kingdom of His marvelous light. This is a message that the world needs to hear and see in us. We have a message to share about His transformation in us, and because of it we have a new and eternal identity as the people of God. We can share the wonderful message that before we didn’t have the blessing of mercy but, now we do because of Jesus Christ. This is a reason to praise the Lord.
Dear folks, so much can get in the way of this in our daily living and lives together as God’s people. We can let cultural differences, political leanings, worship styles and preferences, power and control, money and so much more. Yet, the distinctions, purpose, and praise of the Church that Jesus died for, founded, and empowered through the Holy Spirit can still be the Church that brings Him joy. I urge us all to do all we can to elevate above all those things that distract us from what He desires for us and divide us. Let us see each other as those for whom Christ died, and be willing to embrace one another in the love of Jesus Christ. It is not easy, but it is possible and the blessings and rewards are incredible. There is a world around us that really needs to see the difference that Jesus Christ makes in our lives to make us difference makers.
Perhaps your congregation is in need of professional, Christian mediation concerning conflict. Perhaps your church could benefit from training in Crucial Conversations and how to share even difficult information with others without doing damage. We can help with that through Rev. Dr. Chris Cottrell, who is very well trained and experienced in helping churches through these difficult challenges. His information and contacts are included below. Another good thing to keep in mind is that Chris is a native Michigander, and he always loves to come back home.
On Tuesday, August 17, many ministers in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana participated in the Lima Event on Zoom. It was a very interesting and informative gathering with three presenters sharing information on discipleship and church multiplication. There was a lot of good information shared on embracing digital technology in the lifeblood of the church, and some challenging presentations on micro-churches and fresh expressions of the church. We also had some testimonies from pastors who shared how they are doing discipleship and multiplication. Our own Pastor Bill Greiner from Eagle Ridge Church of God, shared a great testimony of what is happening at Eagle Ridge, Cultivate Coffee Shop, and the Beaverton Campus of Eagle Ridge. The information in the Lima Event was shared to inform us of different ways that the church has been multiplying and discipling. We don’t specifically endorse what was shared by all speakers, but we want you to be aware of what is going on in some other places in the church. The event was recorded, and many of the presentations and resources mentioned are provided in links which Rev. Tom Planck from Healthy Growing Churches made available for us. Below is Tom’s memo to us with the links for your review.
Hey LLE Attendee!
It was great to see so many participate in the Lima virtual event today. The presenters were fantastic and we trust it was helpful to each of you. Beyond that, we hope what was shared will continue to spark a movement of churches in the Midwest to courageously ask and answer this question, how will my church multiply?!
We did record the event and our presenters shared shared several resources. There is not a great way to share it all in one place so I am going dump it all below.
Our theme - "Ministry Wives - One Body United in Christ"
Minister Sharon Richardson, Rev. Crystal Colp, and Rev. Chariese Matthews
Minister Sharon RichardsonRev. Crystal ColpRev. Chariese Matthews
"Ministry Wives - One Body United in Christ" is this year's theme for the Ministry Wives Retreat. Our theme is taken from Colossians 3:12-17. Whether you are new to the Church of God in Michigan, whether you live in the city, suburbs, or country; whether your church is large, small, and multicultural or not, ALL of us as ministry wives are vital to the ministry of God's Church. There is diversity among us, but we are united through Christ. We are God's chosen ones, holy and beloved of God. We must put on God's love and let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts to which we are called in one body. The word of Christ in all its richness must live in our hearts and everything we do or say then should be done in the name of Jesus. As one body we must stand together against the evil tides of racism, violence, immorality, injustice and secularism that are permeating the church in this dark, post-Christian era. We are overcomers and we must press the battle on for Truth, Righteousness and the advancement of God's Kingdom! This retreat offers prayer for healing from the wounds we have experience within the church and the admonition to forgive those who have wounded us. With thankful hearts for the position we have in Christ and in the church, let's gather together for fellowship, fun, teaching and praise/worship so we can be refreshed to serve. I would love to you see you there.
November 5-6, 2021 | Crowne Plaza Lansing West, Lansing, Michigan
Registration Packets are Not Being Mailed
Dear Colleague and Member of the Michigan General Assembly,
The 101st General Assembly of the Church of God in Michigan is Friday, November 5 and Saturday, November 6, 2021. We will be meeting, Lord willing, at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West. Our theme is “Pursuing Christ, Demonstrating Unity. We will be focusing on the crucial aspects of unity in the Church, especially in light of the incredible division and discord in the culture.
The Crown Plaza Lansing West, as you have seen in previous General Assembly gatherings, is a beautiful venue for our gathering. It has a state-of-the-art exercise room, pool, game room, and indoor basketball court. We believe your time at the General Assembly will be exciting and inspiring. It will also offer you an opportunity to refresh and recharge while spending quality time with your brothers and sisters from across the Church of God in Michigan. As we have in the past, we are handling both the General Assembly Meeting registration and the hotel accommodations. We will be underwriting the additional costs and eliminating your sales tax. Be sure to register for your hotel room(s) through the online registration process. If you register directly with the hotel you will not get the room discounts. We have negotiated a great price for the hotel accommodations. Even though we have a large number of rooms reserved, we expect them to be taken quickly. Please register with us and get your room(s) reserved before October 15, 2021. Your registration fee includes accommodations, a continental breakfast upon arrival, lunch Friday, and a continental breakfast on Saturday. There are significant discounts if you register early. Register online with the link listed below.
Our assembly time this year will be one of celebration, education, and inspiration. We are excited that two of the key leaders of the Church of God Reformation Movement, Rev. Jim Lyon, our General Director, and Bishop Timothy Clarke, Senior Pastor of the First Church of God in Columbus, OH and most recently the Ministry Council Chair for the Church of God Reformation Movement. State Pastor Rev. Mark K. Richardson will speak on Friday morning, Bishop Clarke will speak on Friday night, and Rev. Jim Lyon will speak on Saturday morning. On Friday afternoon, Rev. Lyon and Bishop Clarke will hold a seminar on the theme Pursuing Christ, Demonstrating Unity with discussion among the group gathered as a part of their presentation.
During the General Assembly Sessions, we will conduct our normal General Assembly activities of honoring those who have served well among us, sharing our ratification ballot for new leaders, presenting ordination candidates, presenting our financial report and budget request, and briefly celebrating again our 100th Anniversary which was cut short last year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We will also have a time of consecration for those candidates who are approved for ordination.
To help emphasize our theme of unity, we will have some combined music ministries providing the worship during our three services. On Friday morning, prior to Rev. Richardson speaking, musicians and singers from the Alma Church of God and the Millington Church of God will lead us in worship. On Friday night, prior to Bishop Clarke speaking, musicians and singers from the Community Church of God in Ypsilanti and Metropolitan Church of God in Detroit will lead in worship. To culminate our exciting time together, on Saturday morning, just prior to Rev. Jim Lyon speaking, musicians and singers from Lighthouse Community Church of God in Redford and Southwestern Church of God in Detroit will lead us in worship. These services, the seminars, and the General Assembly sessions will be a great time to worship, learn, fellowship, and grow together. We believe the Lord will meet us there for a powerful two days of gathering.
If you have new resolutions or business for the Assembly, please direct them to our Business Committee Chair, Harold Lockley, through the State Office at 517-393-7020 or email@example.com for email. We are a delegated Assembly, and below are the prescriptions for who may represent your congregation. It is vital for all of our churches to be fully represented.
One layperson chosen as an official representative of each Michigan Church of God congregation with an average weekly attendance to 100; two laypersons from each congregation with and average weekly attendance of 101-500; three laypersons from each congregation with an average weekly attendance of 501-1000; and four laypersons from each congregation with an average weekly attendance of 1001 and above. All licensed and ordained ministers are also voting members of the Assembly.
We look forward to a great celebration of ministry and growing closer together in the Lord Jesus Christ. Again, please register early, as we expect a great turnout for our 101st General Assembly!
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Mark K. Richardson, State Pastor
E2022:[HER]STORY is a unique opportunity to connect with like-minded women clergy spanning many denominations. This is a place where you will be re-energized, reaffirmed, and re-ignited as you explore and live out our diverse callings.
In Grapevine, you will experience:
Powerful keynotes from gifted preachers and leaders, including Jo Saxton and Kadi Cole.
Practical workshops from experts in their field.
Spirit-filled worship that represents God’s global heart.
Spanish translation of keynotes and workshops.
Formative experiences like prayer spaces and breakfast leadership panels.
Networking opportunities for connecting with peers and creating life-long friendships.
E2022:[HER]STORY promises to be a life changing event for all who attend and we want you to be there!
We know attending a conference can feel like a risky investment of time, money, energy and expectations. With each new opportunity you probably ask yourself, “Will it be worth all the effort and financial investment?” Please know that our conference team is working hard behind the scenes to make sure every attendee finds what they need most at this event.
Register now to take advantage of Super Early Bird pricing and save $110 off the regular registration cost. Discounts are also available for students and first time WHWC conference attendees.
Interested in bringing a group? Register a group of 10 or more and receive a $50 gift card upon arrival at the conference!
REGISTER NOWClick here to register for this value packed event designed by women in ministry for women in ministry.
How many times in the last 15 months did you hear the word unprecedented? It seems like it was used so much that it became a joke. The reality is the last 15 months of our lives have been unprecedented, no matter how cliche that might sound. We have experienced things that none of us could have imagined.
We have lost loved ones, worshiped from living rooms on cell phones, distanced ourselves from our family to keep them safe, and delayed weddings and funerals. Church, school, and work were moved to online and our homes became sanctuaries, classrooms, and offices. On top of all of this we had a very difficult and dividing election cycle. All of this has taken a toll on our mental health.
As we start to come back together and restrictions are being lifted, we will continue to see the ripple effects of this unprecedented year on our mental health and the mental health of our congregants.
The Church Health Ministry team created video resources for you and your congregation to use, as you navigate the effects of the last 15 months. We prayerfully considered how to approach these difficult but important topics. We understand that it is often daunting to speak with someone about their mental health, let alone as a pastor considering caring for oneself during this difficult season.
Pastor Jaime Cervantes, First Church of God Benton Heights Campus Pastor, sat down with Dr. Marcia K. Wiinamaki, PhD, and Richard Watson, LPC to discuss the impact of the last 15 months on our mental health. Both Dr. Wiinamaki and Mr. Watson are Christians who work as professional counselors.
The extensive conversation between Pastor Jaime and Dr. Wiinamaki and Mr. Watson has been edited into three videos to serve as a resource for you and your congregation.
The first video covers the topics of depression, loneliness, and fear. The second video is a conversation about social media and politics. The final video is a discussion on pastoral care and self-care for pastors.
As we begin to heal and recover from the unprecedented nature of the last 15 months let us not neglect the healing and restoration of our mental health. The Church Health Ministry team hopes these videos will serve as a tool to help with that healing and restoration.
Church Health Ministry: Tom Bader; Chris Slosser; Matt Chesney; Jaime Cervantes; Emily Clark; David Colp; Tom Whitesel; and Jerry Lyon, Church Health Minister
Church of God United | Muskegon, Michigan
Job Description of Pastor
The position of Pastor shall be considered a divine call to leadership and servanthood as well as an agreement of mutual responsibility carried out between the congregation and the Pastor. The purpose of the position of Pastor shall be to lead the spiritual development of the congregation; to foster its commitment to Jesus Christ in accordance with the word of God and to represent the congregation and its mission in the local, state and national community.
As a member of the Board of Directors, the Pastor shall support creative, constructive and compassionate approaches that are in accordance with biblical principles and the mission of the church as specified in the church bylaws. The areas outlined below are general responsibilities.
I. Preaching and Teaching
Emphasizes the mission and goal of the church through preaching and teaching ministries
Teaches appropriate and effective use of spiritual gifts
Preaches Sunday morning and as for special services (minimum of 47 Sundays per year)
Provides theological undergirding of church educational programs
Monitors and communicates key theological issues or positions of the Church of God
Plans with Worship leader(s) the worship activities of the congregation.
Coordinates scheduling of guest speakers, revivals, and special services
Develops the vision for the church together with the Board of Directors.
II. Pastoral Care
Organizes and participates in home, hospital and other visitation needs
Officiates at weddings, funerals, and other church functions, as needed
Acts as a confidential resource
Refers needs to appropriate agencies, if requested/needed
Counsels individuals in the following areas:
Coordinates the creation of the yearly church calendar with the Board of Directors
Conducts office hours at times mutually agreed upon with the Board of Directors
Facilitates effective working together and coordination among church boards, committees and ministries
Supervises the employment, evaluation, and duties of other church staff if applicable
Meets with the Board of Directors on a regular basis
IV. Community and Church Relations
Establishes a positive and relevant image of the church to the local community
Maintains spiritual and family life consistent with biblical teachings
Keep informed of community activities of interest to the congregation
Represents our congregations interests on local, state or national committees or boards
May serve on local, state and national Church of God agencies (not to exceed 10% of Pastors work week)
Works with local ministers and ministerial groups consistent with our church mission.
V. Church Health
Promotes the health of our local church by seeking regular intentional assessment and identification of our strengths and areas with the most potential for health improvement.
Setting and orchestrating the execution of time relevant goals, in coordination with the Board of Directors, in harmony with the church health assessments.
These goals may include various degrees of emphasis over time of the following, but are not limited to them:
Evangelism through prayer, life style and creative God led means
Church assimilation of the unchurched
Discipleship development and Christian education
Core leadership development and expansion
Encouraging the identification and use of spiritual gifts
Inspiring personal spiritual growth applied to real life applications
Fostering interpersonal growth and loving relationships
Providing opportunities for confidential personal sharing and mutual support
Ministry to families, children, youth, young adults, middle aged and senior adults
Creating mentoring opportunities in gift use and discipleship
Embracing foreign and local missions based ministries
Motivation to service, visitation and caring based ministries
Establishment of inspiring worship experiences
Improvements to the effectiveness, direction and structure of various committees and boards, information gathering and communications methods within the church.
Worship and Communications Director/Pastor - Job Description
Purpose: The Worship and Communication Director/Pastor (WCD The title is dependent on qualifications) will be tasked with the development, management, and execution of a successful, integrated worship, marketing, and communication strategy for Clarkston Community Church. The chosen candidate will work with employees and volunteers to develop content and coordinate all marketing and communication plans.
Accountability: Reports to the Executive Pastor and works closely with Senior Pastor. Responsible for coordinating with staff members about all church events. Responsible for communicating with church ministry leads for event promotion planning. Responsible for leading all digital church and worship ministry teams.
Primary Duties and Responsibilities (Not comprehensive):
Run weekly rehearsals.
Oversee and develop programs and personnel for all worship teams, choirs, and tech teams.
Sunday service and special service planning and execution.
Interview, audition, and approve qualifications for all new vocalists, instrumentalists, or participants utilized in worship services or events at CCC.
Selection of music and creative elements for each Sunday.
Team follow-ups for encouragement.
Weekly set-up of Proclaim.
Direct, run, and schedule worship teams.
Manage worship subscriptions and technology.
(Please note: The WCD doesn't have to do all of these things themselves but can recruit and oversee volunteers who do them)
Communication Strategy/Plan - Develop and implement a communication strategy to inform congregation members and our community about key events at Clarkston Community Church
Story Telling - Coordinate and develop content to inspire the congregation and community to follow Jesus
Be the gatekeeper for all communications inside and outside the church including such things as:
Weekly eNewsletter (Communicator)
Social Media Accounts
On-stage ministry highlights
Work with external organizations to communicate our message to the community (Clarkston News etc)
Lead the Communication Team that includes CCC employees and volunteers
Branding - Lead the development and implementation of the brand strategy for CCC
Social - Manage and maintain the social accounts for the church (Facebook, Instagram etc) including creating and posting content
Website - Manage the Clarkston Community Church website
Video produce/create inspirational and informative videos to be used during service and on our website/social platforms.
Graphics Develop graphics to be used on our communication tools (eNewsletter, series and event slides, social media, etc). Experience in Photoshop and Publisher, or their equivalent required.
In-house Printing Design and print the weekly bulletin and any other announcements or communications that are needed
Required Qualifications and Minimum Skills:
Bachelors degree in worship from a Bible college or seminary with a minor in communication (Experience can be substituted for the minor).
Strong written and verbal communication and presentation skills
Excellent interpersonal skills to work effectively with others
Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously
Strong computer skills required.
Adobe Suite (i.e. Photoshop, Premiere, InDesign, Illustrator)
Microsoft office (Word, Excel, Publisher)
Social Media Management/Marketing (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
Ability to lead & manage teams
Ability to write great content
Must adhere to the churchs doctrine and policies
Must love Jesus and get fired up about the mission to help people find God and grow in their relationship with Jesus
Organization and Scheduling
Previous Marketing, communication, social media and website experience preferred
Proclaim Presentation Software
New Creation Church of God (NCC) is prayerfully searching for a Lead Pastor. We are a Bible believing, Bible preaching, and Bible practicing church. We are a place where all races worship, for we believe the church should be as diverse as heaven. We are a community of Christians located in Flint Township, Michigan approximately 60 miles north of Detroit. We are committed to intentionally model the life of Christ in every face we see.
New Creation Church of God was established in 2006 under the Church of God - Anderson, Indiana. On-going ministries include a worship team, mid-week Bible study, weekly prayer meetings, men, women, and children’s ministries, as well as a varied host of small groups.
If you feel God is calling you to consider this position, please send your resume to the NCC Pastoral Search Committee at PO Box 1026, Grand Blanc, MI 48480, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a recent photo and recording of your teaching. The position will remain open until filled.
This man or woman must have a passion, “To see every person transformed and mobilized by Jesus.” The ideal candidate will fully embrace and build upon the church’s mission, vision, and values while celebrating the unique DNA that has developed over 15 years. The potential Pastor will have:
An ability to deeply connect with others
A hunger to see the church multiply in the region
A gift of preaching and teaching with power, clarity and spiritual authority
A combination of humility and vulnerability
An absence of ego, embracing a collaborative environment
A high level of emotional intelligence
A desire for teamwork and goodwill
A propensity towards fun and joy
A passion to cast vision
A drive to create and sustain momentum and church health
An overwhelming desire to see people connected in community
An ease and confidence in building bridges between generations
An open-handed posture where generosity is part of discipleship
The Lead Pastor (Presiding Elder) is a servant of God called to pastor the church full time, with their primary responsibilities in teaching and exhortation of the saints and giving their attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word.
S/he is expected to lead persons to Christ and to develop Disciples.
Job responsibilities include but not limited to the following:
Set the Vision for NCC in cooperation with the Elder Board.
Oversee the day to day ministries of NCC to ensure the vision agreed upon by the congregation and the Elder Board is implemented.
Shepherd and supervise the staff and programs of NCC.
Keep the line of communication open as appropriate in regards to all affairs of NCC.
Make suggestions/recommendations to Leadership and others as necessary.
Lead all staff meetings using a prepared agenda.
Always be prepared to preach.
Be flexible in regards to needed changes.
Support the membership as needed in all pastoral areas.
Pray and counsel members as needed.
Conduct baptisms, weddings, funerals, etc.
Oversee the development of programs that meet the needs of the congregation and community.
Support Local, State, and International ministries of the Church of God.
Strategically engage with an ever-changing culture, continually learning and teaching about church’s role locally and globally.
The Senior Pastor shall possess the qualifications set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9 and I Peter 5:1-3; a definite and clear call to the pastoral vocation; and the appropriate training and pastoral experience. They shall subscribe to the By-laws of this church.
The individual is expected to have achieved at least a bachelor’s degree.
The individual shall have some formal biblical training and knowledge.
The individual must be ordained in the Church of God Reformation Movement.
The individual should have (at least 3-5 years) prior pastoral experience in the Church of God.
The individual should have experience in administration and financial management.
The individual is expected to exhibit patience, discernment, integrity, wisdom, innovation, transparency, humility yet also assertive, adaptable and accountable.
The individual is expected to be active within all generations, cultural backgrounds, and ethnicities.
We look forward to receiving and reviewing your application materials.