Little Rock conference aims to build bridges
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.--Building Bridges Renewal, a conference here the Sabbath of May 29, achieved its purpose of "bringing brethren together," according to Charles Green, an organizer. Forty enthusiastic Church of God brethren attended the conference at the Little Rock Hilton Inn.
The audience included Jim and Dot Ussery of the Church of God of Central Arkansas; and Willie Brown, pastor of God Cares, We Care, a Little Rock church of about 100 that changed from Sunday to Sabbath worship in April. It also included Alfred Harrell of the Christian Leadership Academy of Hot Springs, Ark.
"The Building Bridges effort is having the desired effect of bringing brethren together," said Mr. Green, who opened the meeting with prayer and welcomed the group. Gary Pettit of Atkins, Ark., introduced Dave Havir of the independent United Church of God Big Sandy (Texas).
"In his opening statements, Mr. Havir assured us he does not care where we attend or what we believe, that he attacks concepts, not people," Mr. Green said. "Mr. Havir wants to help us be independent. He is not looking to start a satellite or build an empire. He reminded us that the church is a spiritual organism and not a corporate entity. The Holy Spirit is the thing that binds the church together. Mr. Havir advised us to take the Jonah approach if someone says God speaks to them. Ask questions."
"If I end up in a fish's belly, I'll know the guy was right," Mr. Havir said.
"Mr. Havir encouraged us to always use the Bible as our filter and compare it with what men say," reported Mr. Green. "More than once he said try the spirits. Mr. Havir also said, 'Wall builders are causing division, not bridge builders.' "
Mr. Havir said that the two pillars of his sermon title are knowing what the church is and what a minister really is, expounding on both points in detail.
"Mr. Havir read many passages from the Bible, commenting on each one to show a true servant of God is a helper of our joy, not one who has dominion over the brethren," Mr. Green said. "There are no ranking jobs, just functions. Follow men when and only when they follow Christ."
Throughout his sermon, Mr. Havir gave the audience an opportunity to make comments and ask questions.
He engaged Pastor Brown in an open discussion about the organizational plan of God Cares, We Care.
Anyone interested in sponsoring a Building Bridges program in his area can contact Mr. Green at (501) 329-5109 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
He can advise on how the Arkansas program, which has proven successful, works.
The Greens are willing to do a certain amount of travel to assist with these meetings.
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God