By Carl Stagner
Even pastors need to be ministered to. Every week, they pour their hearts and souls into the proclamation of the truth of Jesus. But in order to keep pressing on, all this emptying of themselves necessitates a stop at the fuel pump every once in a while. As usual, Pastors’ Fellowship convened at First Church of God in Winchester, Kentucky, but this year’s event was especially inspirational. Emblematic of the new wind blowing across the Church of God, their 2015 theme—“Jesus is the Subject”—was met by attendees of Pastors’ Fellowship (May 4–5) with enthusiastic support and renewed hope for the future of the Church of God.
Of course, people-in-the-pew attend Pastors’ Fellowship, too. And why would you expect anything different? Impassioned preaching of God’s Word, four-part singing of the classics, and a sweet, sweet Spirit make Pastors’ Fellowship irresistible for many during the first Monday and Tuesday of May. Since pastors’ weekends typically function as work days (for the gospel, of course), Monday often brings relief, as well as a much-needed day off. So while many Christian retreats and events take place over the weekend, this one—designed with pastors in mind—takes place after their busy weekend.
Back to the basics. Back to the foundation of the Church of God. Back to the blessed old Bible. Back to the Word-made-flesh. Back to the cornerstone, the Author and the Finisher of our faith. Sermon after sermon at Pastors’ Fellowship 2015 brought to light the essence of the truths we hold dear. And that essence is Jesus himself. “The dark world we’re living in now is forcing us to determine what really matters,” Jim Lyon preached. “When you’re surrounded by hostile Jihadists, your theology does a quick scrub-down.”
Jim Lyon’s message kicked off the conference, paving the way for the rest of the event to focus on Jesus. Allan Hutchinson, member of the Pastors’ Fellowship steering committee, was thrilled to welcome Jim as opening speaker. “There’s great value in having the general director really set the keynote for where we are as the church-at-large, where Jesus is the subject,” he explains. “Jim helped us springboard off that topic so that every other sermon could be predicated on that. I think no matter where you are in all fifty states, Canada, and even globally, when you have the same focus, you have a unity to build on, and you have a platform to talk to others. It’s like we as the Church of God are really coming together to speak the same language. It helps us coalesce around one message that really gives us a unity and a thrust forward. Basically, is there any subject other than Jesus?”
For example, Frank Ramey spoke to the joy of salvation as it specifically relates to Jesus. He proclaimed, “Jesus is the core. The centerpiece. Jesus is the essence of our salvation.” And, in a way only he can deliver it, Timothy Clarke cautioned the Church of God to avoid becoming “myopic” as he observed that “very few places can, like the church, major on the minors.” After all, Jesus is the subject.
Eight sermons-in-total were packed into the two-day event. Additionally, five conferences, designed for developing ministers and seasoned pastors alike, formed the bookends of Pastors’ Fellowship. Gerald Rudd, Bruce Wilson, Bill Konstantopoulos, Bobby Morrison, and Willard Wilcox also took to the pulpit to deliver messages that pointed every prominent Church of God doctrine back to its source in Jesus Christ. Times of worship preceded each sermon, each lyrically reinforcing the truth of Jesus and his church. The Spirit’s presence was especially tangible during an early-evening concert with the Townesmen & Shelly (featuring Pastor Mitchell Burch of Towne Boulevard Church of God in Middletown, Ohio).
In the business session of the conference, as well as during the Tuesday afternoon emphasis on the Great Commission, missionaries-elect to Brazil—Jonathan and Beth Todd— were blessed to be featured. As a sign of commitment to fulfilling the Great Commission both at home and abroad, the steering committee of Pastors’ Fellowship made a landmark decision to designate 100 percent of their tithe on all income over the past year to support this Church of God missionary family.
Learn more about Pastors’ Fellowship at www.pastorsfellowshipchog.org. Visit www.JesusIsTheSubject.org to learn more about how the Church of God is making Jesus the subject across the country and around the world.