Front page: Friends attend CG7 biennial conference
The writer, a longtime Church of God member, is a former member of the Church of God 7th Day and Worldwide Church of God who lives with his wife, Doris, in Tyler, Texas.
By Wayne Cole
SAN ANTONIO, Texas--The Denver, Colo.-based General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day) met for its biennial convention here June 30 through July 5 with the theme "His Promises, Our Hope!"
My wife, Doris, and I had been invited by conference president Whaid G. Rose of Denver, who extended an invitation to me to attend the meetings as a "fraternal delegate" and "a dear friend of the organization."
The conference, which met last in 2001, convened in a Hyatt Regency hotel and the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium.
Officials of the church said they generally deemphasize numbers, including attendance figures, choosing to place greater emphasis on the quality, spirit and enthusiasm of those present.
But, in answer to my question about the maximum estimated number to attend the convention, most agreed that about 2,000 delegates were here.
The roots of both Doris's and my families go back for generations in the Church of God 7th Day. We have many friends of the family and relatives who are members of the church, some of whom we saw at the convention.
Attended three days
Primarily because of this personal background in addition to an identification with the goals and aims of the church, we were honored to attend the last three days of the convention.
The theme of the convention, carefully and in planned detail woven into every function of the six days of meetings, services and seminars, was "His Promises, Our Hope!"
The repeated emphasis was that the hope of every true and believing Christian is based squarely on the promises of a God with the power and integrity to keep His word and fulfill His promises.
No delegate, participate or observer could doubt that the Church of God (Seventh Day) is a Christ-centered church.
In fact, President Rose conducted a series of hour-long seminars Tuesday through Friday titled "Profiles of a Christ-Centered Church."
Each day's session had a specific subject or subtitle. Tuesday's was "A Church That Fully Follows Jesus." Wednesday's and Thursday's subject: "A Church That Embraces Culture."
Mr. Rose concluded his four-part program on Friday with a dynamic and moving presentation, "A Church That Experiences the Power of Vision."
Doris and I could attend only the fourth and concluding seminar, on the power of vision. We were both impressed with the substance of the presentation, the dynamic delivery by Mr. Rose and the obviously enthusiastic reception by the approximately 1,000 people who were in attendance and hanging on every word and thought.
Don't become a monument
Mr. Rose made a powerful point by graphically describing how any church or organization that is not dynamic, active and growing becomes little more than a monument.
If Whaid Rose has anything to do with it, the Church of God (Seventh Day) is not about to become nothing more than a monument.
In his detailed comments about the vision for the church's general conference, Mr. Rose eloquently laid out a well-constructed 10-point description of the church. His points seem to me to be the heart and core of what the CG7 is all about. They are worth briefly noting in this short article.
President Rose explained that the first five points actually describe "what we are"--what the church is--and the last five are a description of functions of the church.
The Church of God (Seventh Day) is:
o Sabbath observing.
o Passionate in worship.
o Compassionate in service.
o Aggressive in witness.
o Strong in fellowship.
o Committed to discipleship.
The CG7 is experiencing solid and sustained growth. William Hicks of Bristol, Tenn. (incidentally, Mr. Hicks' wife, Debbie, is my wife's niece), is an ordained minister and director of the foreign-missions work of the church.
He told us that the growth in numbers and the evangelical work outside the United States are happening by leaps and bounds and present a continuing challenge with which to keep pace and meet the needs of those who look for spiritual guidance and leadership.
Having as a child attended the CG7 congregation near Jefferson, Ore., I can say from experience and observation that the quiet, dignified, sincerely dedicated church I remember has been transformed into a dynamic, visionary, passionate and aggressive body of Christ-centered believers deeply committed to being a witness for Christ.
In John 10:16 Jesus clearly states that not all His sheep are in one fold. In fact, we clearly see that many folds constitute what we call the Church of God.
However, the Church of God 7th Day (of which the Denver conference represents the largest but not the only denomination) has a long history that documents its involvement and participation in the church that Jesus said He would build and that would never die.
In fact, Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God, and hence the many groups and organizations that have broken away from the WCG, came out of the Church of God 7th Day.
May God bless the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day). May He bless the board of directors, President Whaid Rose and others in the leadership and ministry of the church as they prayerfully go about their work day by day, pursuing their dynamic vision for tomorrow and the next tomorrow and next, etc., etc.
May they constantly look for the Kingdom of God, which will one day come to earth from above in fulfillment of one of God's greatest promises, that Jesus Christ will come again and bring with Him the place He has prepared for all who look to Him and trust in Him as Savior and King. This issue of The Journal includes many photos and several other graphics, besides the Connections advertising section. Don't forget to subscribe to the print version of The Journal to read all the news and features previewed here.
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