By Carl Stagner
In 2015, the General Assembly passed a resolution directing the Church of God Convention to “encourage broad participation” by the Church of God around the world every fourth year. The first of these gatherings with an international emphasis is Convention 2019 in Orlando, Florida, June 27–30 (www.chogconvention.org). With Church of God speakers from outside the United States and Canada, approximately 170 international registrants to date, and a variety of missions conferences and events, Convention 2019 and General Assembly is gearing up to be one of the most international experiences of the Church of God in North America.
“Such a large portion of the Church of God is outside the United States and Canada,” Andrew Gale, executive director for Global Strategy, explains. “So, any opportunity we have, to come together as a global movement and hear what God is doing around the world, is an exciting one. We’re anticipating representation from every region in the world at Convention 2019, an occasion where we can talk with one another about what it means to truly be a global movement.”
It all begins bright and early with the Pink Door 5K Run on Thursday, June 27. At 7:30, runners (and walkers!) will line up for an event designed to bless both physically and spiritually, all the while raising awareness and funds for God’s agenda beyond the US and Canada. About 120 participants have signed up to support the life-changing ministry of Pink Door in Berlin, Germany (for more about what Pink Door is doing to fight trafficking, visit www.chogglobal.org/pinkdoor).
Pre-Convention electives with an international focus will follow, beginning at 10 on Thursday morning and continuing throughout the day. Andrew Gale will offer a conference on missions education and trip training. John Johnson will discuss the impact of the Global Strategy initiative, Pentecost Life, on the Church of God. One of the major highlights, however, is expected to be the Pre-Convention elective titled “Missions Issue in the World,” an event also hosted by John Johnson. Immigration, religious violence, poverty, and natural disasters will be covered by those who have dealt directly with these issues across the globe. Special guests include Emmanuel Masamba, national leader of the Church of God in Malawi; Donny Allen, national leader of the Church of God in Honduras; Steven and Peggy Beverly, missionaries to Sri Lanka; and Tim and Kim Wardell, missionaries to Native Americans in South Dakota. Pre-registration is not required, so plan now to attend and learn how the Church of God can continue to be on the cutting edge of global work.
During Convention 2019, Juan Santos, of the Dominican Republic, and Samir Salibi, of France, will serve as featured speakers. There will also be a special presentation about the international impact of Trafficklight 2.0 will highlight happenings from Kansas to Bangladesh. Together, the Church of God will celebrate what God has already accomplished, and will continue to accomplish, through this initiative.
Of course, no Church of God Convention would be complete without the commissioning of missionaries. Nate and Stacy Tatman, along with their children, will be commissioned to Europe and the Middle East during the Saturday evening session of Convention 2019. Their new role as associate regional coordinators will be prayed over and celebrated, not only by pastors and laypeople from across the country and beyond, but also by the Church of God missionary community, most of which will be present in Orlando (praise God!).
Conversation will also take place with international guests about how the Church of God can become more connected globally.