By Joe Allison
The first worship service of the Global Gathering saw enthusiastic worshipers gather in Kardatzke Wellness Center, of Anderson University, to celebrate the lordship of Jesus Christ. Dr. Timothy J. Clarke, pastor of First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, delivered a keynote message that the church must be “Standing Together.”
The service began with a convention choir singing Into All the World, a new cantata by Jay Rouse and Randy Vader. Colorful visuals highlighted their musical message that “the sun never sets on the praises of the Lord.” Responding to that vibrant theme, Bishop Clark said, “If your bell is not ringing by now, your clapper is broke!”
He commented on the procession of flags that international delegates carried into the auditorium at the start of the service. “As I watched the flag bearers, I thought at first, This is what heaven will be like. But you know what else I thought? This is what the church ought to be.”
Quoting several heritage hymns, Dr. Clark urged the congregation to “live out in an incarnational way what we say and sing: ‘The Church of God one Body is.’” He charged them to demonstrate a common Lord, a common life, and a common love among the diverse cultures of the world.
Acts 2 says that Day of Pentecost began with Jesus’ disciples sitting together in an upper room but culminated with them standing together to proclaim the good news. Dr. Clark charged the Global Gathering crowd to likewise “let your light shine so that the world will know we are one in Christ Jesus.” He urged them to distinguish themselves by lives of sacrifice, service, and sharing as the first Christians did.
The service also recognized the Global Gathering Planning Committee, chaired by Doris Dale. Ronald V. Duncan, general director of Church of God Ministries, said that more than three thousand persons are registered for this event, which culminates three years of the committee’s preparation.