By Carl Stagner
Jesus—Savior and Lord. The way, the truth, and the life. The apostle Paul describes Jesus as the one by whom all things were made and for whom all things were made (Col 1:16). On May 5 and 6, Jesus was the subject through the preaching, teaching, worship, and fellowship at the annual meeting of the Pastors’ Fellowship at First Church of God in Winchester, Kentucky. Their theme clearly illustrated this focus on the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2 NKJV): “When Jesus Does the Preaching.” As they have for forty years, Church of God pastors from near and far met to encourage one another and once again emphasize the theology and doctrine of the Church of God, at which Jesus is the center.
For those first-time visitors to Pastors’ Fellowship, it quickly became clear that the only thing more impassioned than the singing was the preaching that followed in each of the eight worship services over just two days. From the four-part harmony rising from the gathered believers as they sang “I Will Praise Him, Hallelujah!” to the chorus of “Amens” echoing across the resonant space, Pastors’ Fellowship 2014 brought together Church of God people from every age and demographic.
“Forget what is behind and focus on Jesus Christ alone!” Mark Jackson’s words
not only encouraged, but challenged, all who were in earshot of his voice. Jackson, pastor of Larchmont Church of God in Louisville, Kentucky, spoke about Jesus’ message to the church at Smyrna. H. Gerald Rudd, chairman of Pastors’ Fellowship, was especially blessed by the lineup of speakers selected for the 2014 event.
“We have such an eclectic group of speakers, with different styles,” Rudd explains. “Mark Jackson preached a very, very sound theological sermon that was powerful for me. Tommy Walker brought a completely different presentation style, but moved our hearts. And Nick Wilson [a pastor in his thirties] offered a sound theological presentation—and [demonstrated] the range of ages.” Other speakers who faithfully proclaimed God’s word this year were Bill Konstantopoulos, Charles Heater, Garry Bates, Harold Goodpastor, and Richard Bradley.
For hundreds of church leaders, Pastors’ Fellowship is a vital respite each year from the hustle and bustle of everyday ministry. During one of the worship services this year, Frank Curtis, former host pastor of Pastors’ Fellowship, reflected on how “many a weary pastor has come to Pastors’ Fellowship and his spirit’s been lifted.”
Rudd further explains this vitality in terms of friendship. “This group of people meet each other, bump into each other through the years, and develop friendships.” Yet above all, Rudd insists, the major draw for pastors is the theological content of the preaching. “While we’re thankful for other methods and methodologies,” he explains, “we really look for the strong theological content because we believe that God’s Word is what holds us together—that theological truths that have been a part of the Church of God reformation movement, that they have been part of our lives.”
Can’t get enough preaching? Can’t get enough old-time singing of truths that we hold dear? Want more preaching of biblical truth in love? Pastors’ Fellowship isn’t just for pastors. It’s for Jesus people just like you.