By Carl Stagner
David Aukerman is no stranger to the Church of God and to the North American Convention. He practically grew up on the camp grounds in Anderson, Indiana. When he was born, his father, John Aukerman, was a senior pastor. But when David was four, his father began teaching at the School of Theology and David would spend much of the year using the campus as a playground. Just a few years ago, he completed his seminary education with a master of divinity from Anderson University School of Theology. Now at age thirty-two, Aukerman serves as the pastor of Mt. Haley Church of God, near Midland, Michigan. On Monday, June 25, during NAC 2012, Aukerman will preach the word in the morning service at 10:30 in Park Place Church of God.
He’s also no stranger to NAC, and he has many fond memories of camp meeting. “I remember several years of Kid’s Place in the old Park Place Elementary School building, which is where I went to school from kindergarten through fourth grade. I always saw a lot of that building outside of the school year. My mother worked on Kid’s Place bulletin boards (and brought me along to “help” when I was young), I was in Kid’s Place as a child, I volunteered to help a few times as a teenager, and more recently I worked alongside several seminary friends to prepare the building for its current use.”
His upbringing, education, and influential family members and mentors have paved the way for Aukerman’s ministry today. When he steps on to the platform at NAC this year, he will speak to the need for renewing our relationship with the Comforter—the Holy Spirit. “Only when we are appropriately connected to the Holy Spirit can we be appropriately connected to each other,” Aukerman explains. “The Spirit brings life, purpose, meaning, and direction to our lives. Any attempt to connect—or to find our identity—without an awareness of the Spirit who unites us, is destined to fail. In this sense, the Holy Spirit is much more than merely a Comforter!”
The overall theme of NAC 2012 is “Refresh! Renewing our efforts toward relational connectivity and identity for every individual, church, and agency of the Church of God (John 17:21–22).” Aukerman is reminded of the need to refresh connection in our lives and communities. “Our North American culture is extremely self-centered and individualistic,” Aukerman explains. “The very idea of refreshing our necessary relationship with the Holy Spirit is countercultural, because our culture teaches us that we are sufficient in and of ourselves. Yet our need to rely constantly on our relationship with the Holy Spirit speaks volumes about how God desires to bring about transformation in our lives and in our communities. As we learn to connect with the Lord and with each other, we have the opportunity to do something transformational in this world. And when we place our identity first and foremost in our relationship to the Lord, we show our culture how the Lord can transform lives for his glory.”
Aukerman encourages the Church of God to make a point of attending this year’s convention. His words: “I live some distance away from central Indiana, and I acknowledge that it is much cheaper to stay at home and watch the services and General Assembly sessions online. Yet there is a difference between watching church on TV and attending church in person. Certainly we can all agree that is true on the local level, but it applies to our annual national gatherings as well. To worship with other believers from other locations and to realize that the same God is being worshiped by believers all over the world—these are great gifts.”
He continues, “Remember that NAC is not just about church services and business meetings. There are conferences on a wide variety of topics through the week which are designed to be helpful to you back at your home church. Take advantage of them!”
David Aukerman will also lead a conference in Decker 231 during NAC on Monday, June 25, titled “Difficult Texts of the Bible” All are welcome to attend—no preregistration necessary. To register for NAC, and to learn more about this year’s convention activities, visit www.chog.org/NAC or call toll free 800-848-2464 ext. 2130.