By Mary Baker-Boudissa
What better way to celebrate a year of worship and service, challenge and change, than coming together as brothers and sisters in Christ for a celebration of our commitment to one another! The 2013 Joint Conference of the National Association of the Church of God, held December 27–30, 2013, was the third such event, bringing together the National Men’s Ministry (NMM), the National Association Women of the Church of God (NAWCG), the National Inspirational Youth Convention (NIYC), King’s Kidz Convention, and the National Association Seniors of the Church of God. The theme, “Holiness and Humility,” was the culmination of NACOG’s yearlong focus on “Advancing the Kingdom through Holiness and Humility.” From conferences to worship services, the Joint Conference focused wholly on equipping and encouraging attendees to experience the fullness of life in Christ.
Healthy and holy living was a key message in conferences provided by the NAWCG. In the words of conference leader Sis. Amanda Patterson, a medical student who attends Vernon Park Church of God, in Chicago, Illinois, “The main thing I want [women] to understand is that it is our job to take care of the temples God has blessed us with and that we can find the answers in the holy Scriptures to support our journey to healthy living.” Other conferences offered tips on nurturing ourselves spiritually and planning for our future as a means of financial health.
Dr. Cheryl Sanders, during the Saturday evening service, challenged those present with the question, “Can we be holy and humble?” She reminded us that, as Christ-followers, we cannot lose sight of the purpose of holiness: to get rid of anything and everything that would hinder our getting closer to God. She closed with three important dos for how to be holy: (1) Listen to the call of God. (2) Learn to obey the commanding of God. (3) Love the people of God. “It’s not just about the rules and regulations,” Sanders said. “It’s about the relationship. Love the people of God, for what kind of holiness is it with no love in it?”
In addition to conferences emphasizing ways to be a strong and loving man of God, the NMM invited dynamic preachers to lead services in the afternoon and evening. Among them was Dr. Jerald January, senior pastor of Vernon Park Church of God. On Sunday night, January brought the crowd to their feet, speaking from Job 23, with a message titled “The Gold Is the Goal.” Throughout his message, he emphasized God’s ability to take our trials, turn them to triumph, and use them to bring others into a relationship with Jesus Christ. He shared his own journey to understanding that God knows where we are and where we come from, but he encouraged Christians not to fear trials. “Every test has a purpose, but the test cannot hurt holiness.” He closed with a service of prayer and anointing for those who were looking to break through trials to realize God’s vision for their lives.
The worship services were enhanced by the voices of Jimmy and Joyce Terry and the NIYC Convention Praise Team and, during the final day of services, music from the King’s Kidz Convention choir. Other featured events were the Leadership Enrichment Training Services (LETS) for pastors and the NAWCG and NMM Banquet, with speaker Dr. Reggie Williams, professor of Christian ethics at McCormick Theological Seminary.
Don’t forget to register for the 2014 NACOG Mid-Year Leadership Conference, March 4–6, in Birmingham, Alabama, at www.nacog.com.
View photos from the NACOG Joint Conference on the Church of God Anderson, Indiana Facebook page.