What do you think could happen if all of the congregations of the Church of God truly made Jesus the subject of their ministries?
Tom: If all the congregations of the Church of God made Jesus the subject, the gates of heaven would open and we would see revival like never before. One might say, “Well, Pastor, are you seeing revival?” We have seen the Spirit of God work powerfully over the last number of years, baptizing some four hundred people over the last fifteen years—I wish it were four thousand—but God is working, though, like so many churches, we have had ups and downs. But the one constant that remains is that Jesus is the subject, and people are getting it. Working with CHOG TraffickLight has been a powerful time of reminding the church that Jesus is the subject, and that we must teach, proclaim, and count on him to help us help the victims of human trafficking, as well as the other hurting people of our community, and do what we can to bring people to Jesus.
Stephanie: In one simple word: revival. I believe God is looking for individuals, churches, and movements to humble themselves and once again make Jesus the subject. If the Church of God became serious about seeking out Jesus as the subject of all we say and do, the powers of hell could not stop the revival that would take place all across our movement. Lost sheep would come into the kingdom, Christians would be discipled, believers would be equipped to do the work of the ministry, and our world would be a much different place. If the Church of God truly made Jesus the subject of all things, Satan would be shaking in his boots!
Milton: Without Jesus being the subject, the church will continue to live in the wilderness with no commitment to, or strategy for, active evangelism. Since he is the subject, let’s develop training materials for evangelism seminars and equip the saints in as many congregations as possible, for the work of the ministry. Satan always wins when he succeeds in the blurring of our focus by encouraging our preoccupation with the little and minor things.
Steve: If every congregation of the Church of God would truly make Jesus the subject of everything they did, the number of people added to the kingdom of God would increase exponentially, daily! We would be known for our love for one another, and for the world. If congregations made Jesus the subject of everything we did, unity would become our reality, instead of a good idea that we state in our doctrine. If we made Jesus the subject of everything we did, there would be trust between congregations and pastors and leaders, and groups working to help churches become healthy, growing churches. If Jesus was the subject of everything we did, we wouldn’t fight so much; we wouldn’t gossip; we wouldn’t have more pastors leaving the ministry than entering the ministry; and we wouldn’t have more churches closing than being planted.
Mitch: We would become agents that God would use to establish his kingdom in our communities to help bring transformation to our lost families, seeking neighbors, troubled and confused friends, and a hurting world.
Mark: Tremendous growth and unity!
If Jesus is the subject, what then is not the subject? How does this vision work to focus the church? How might it augment, rather than diminish, the important doctrines of the Church of God?
Tom: If Jesus is the subject, then we are not the subject! We must stop doing things in our churches to satisfy us, but to lift up the name of Jesus. A concentrated vision brings a church together. When one knows their church is about knowing the Son of God, it brings unity. Unity occurs when the body of Christ is on the same page, not scattered to and fro, but recognizing the power that Jesus brings to each one of us, personally. Jesus being the subject of the church should augment the doctrine of the church as we accept every believer in Jesus to be a part of the Church of God.
Stephanie: If Jesus, the divine Son of God, is the subject, then opposing subjects will always begin with human nature—egos, money, quarrels, pride, or status. Keeping Jesus the subject of all we say and do helps to encourage those two biblical truths that the Church of God was founded upon: holiness and unity. If we keep Jesus the subject, we will not only be transformed into holy living, we will also be unified with other believers who are living out this biblical mission. If Jesus truly is our subject, we can sing, just as D.S. Warner wrote, “Jesus, my life, and my joy evermore, Jesus forever my heart’s deep store; glory to God for redeeming love, oh, wondrous peace of God that flows from above.”
Milton: The Church of God movement is not united around an organization, but could be united around mission with Jesus being the subject. Mark 16:20 states, “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs” (NKJV). One of the signs that followed was their unity because they had clear leadership, a clear mission, and a Holy Spirit-inspired passion for Jesus.
Steve: If Jesus is the subject, then nothing else is the subject! That doesn’t mean that other things aren’t important things, but they are not the subject. If Jesus is the subject, then everything else is subject to Jesus! Attendance is not the subject. Finances are not the subject. The name on the church sign is not the subject. What songs we sing and how we sing them is not the subject. Where the Church of God holds national and international meetings is not the subject. But when Jesus is the subject, there are implications on every one of these things. How we deal with attendance & finances is based on Jesus being the subject. What songs we sing and how we sing them is based on Jesus being the subject. What name best identifies a local congregation is based on Jesus being the subject. I love our history and heritage, and being third-generation Church of God, I appreciate many of our traditions. But I have observed the plateau and decline of congregations and the Church of God movement due to unintentionally making history, heritage, and tradition the subject. When Jesus is the subject, his mission—and only his mission—becomes the mission of his church. And the mission of Jesus is not the preservation of history, heritage, or tradition. The mission of Jesus is to seek and save the lost, and when owned by his mission, we won’t have time, energy, or even the desire to debate, argue, and split over such things.
Mitch: “Jesus is the Subject” could never diminish any important doctrine of the Church of God. The truth is that Jesus is our unity, Jesus is our justification, Jesus is our sanctification (holiness), Jesus is our salvation, Jesus is our freedom, Jesus is the Lord of the church, Jesus is the King in the kingdom, and Jesus is our soon-coming Redeemer! To remove Jesus as the subject, or to include other things as part of the principle subject, is to diminish all the doctrines of the church.
Mark: If Jesus is the subject, then methods, preferences and the past are not. This kind of vision directs our attention up, and ahead.
Tom Dougherty is the senior pastor of Cloverdale Church of God in Boise, Idaho. Stephanie Collins is the NextGen pastor of The Gathering in Muncie, Indiana. Milton Grannum is bishop and founding co-pastor of New Covenant Church of God in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Steve Nelson is the lead pastor of Oaklawn Church of God in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Mitchell Burch is the lead pastor of Towne Boulevard Church of God in Franklin, Ohio. Mark Fast is the lead pastor of Centralia Community Church in Centralia, Washington.
Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org!