Recap of the 29th General Conference of the
International Pentecostal Holiness Church
By Dr. Doug Beacham
The 29th General Conference of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church was held in Jacksonville, Florida, July 26-29, 2022. The theme of this General Conference was “Arise Together,” placing continued emphasis on the Arise 2033 IPHC vision (https://iphc.org/arise/).
The General Conference was preceded by Discipleship Ministries’ Youth Quest and Fine Arts, Women’s, and Men’s Ministries training, and IPHC Chaplains Retreat.
There were 1,193 people who attended the conference with 984 voting delegates. While most delegates were from the USA, there were many from the IPHC international family who were able to attend. The conference was viewed on web pages and through social media around the world.
The worship music for the conference led by Rev. Tres Ward, with a choir composed of students and alumni from our colleges, was a highlight of the conference. The conference began with a worship service and Holy Communion on Wednesday morning. The evening speakers were Dr. Mark Rutland, Bishop Valeri Reshetinsky, and Dr. Doug Beacham. On Thursday and Friday mornings Dr. Doug Small inspired the delegates with the significance of local congregations being houses of prayer. Youth Quest and General Conference services can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/showcase/9770665.
At the General Conference, the current denominational executives were re-elected to serve another four-year term:
- Presiding Bishop Doug Beacham, General Superintendent
- Bishop Talmadge Gardner, Executive Director of World Missions Ministries and IPHC Vice-Chairman
- Bishop Tommy McGhee, Executive Director of Discipleship Ministries and IPHC Corporate Secretary
- Bishop Garry Bryant, Executive Director of Evangelism USA and IPHC Corporate Treasure
Much of the Bylaws Report focused on changes to the structure and composition of the IPHC Council of Bishops (COB). This group is composed of the USA conference superintendents, the four elected executive directors, three USA senior pastors, and three USA laity. The Council of Bishops Executive Committee is composed of the four elected executive directors, three additional conference superintendents from the COB, one USA senior pastor and one USA lay person. The Strategic Advisory Council will be composed of the four elected executive directors, the three conference superintendents, the three USA senior pastors, and the three USA laity. In addition, the COB will be forming several internal committees to facilitate the operations of the denomination in fulfilling the Arise 2033 vision.
The delegates strengthened the commitment to a biblical understanding of human nature and marriage by affirming that marriage is between one man and one woman. In the gender confusion of our times, the delegates affirmed that language reflecting the biblical order and a supportive position paper will be added by the COB.
The delegates voted that general church level elected officials may only serve three full terms in the same office. The statute of limitations for conference elected offices was deferred to the conferences in their 2023 Quadrennial Conference to determine if they wished to keep the statute of limitations or eliminate it.
Among the spiritual highlights of the General Conference were the Thursday and Friday night services. In the Thursday night service, IPHC Ukraine leader Bishop Valerie Reshetinsky shared how the churches have survived and thrived since the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022. At the close of the service thousands of dollars were raised to help plant churches in Ukraine and in areas of eastern Europe where IPHC refugees have fled. On Friday night following his message, Bishop Beacham invited the USA conference superintendents and international leaders to bring soil representing new areas where the IPHC is present since 2017.
Under miscellaneous business three resolutions were approved that will require completion before the 2026 General Conference:
- The Executive Committee will establish a Study Commission on the role of lay leadership in the Local Church and report back to the next General Conference.
- Members of local congregations, above the age of 16, who have regularly attended church and consistently given tithe to the local church treasury during the previous six months, may vote and serve as a delegate to the General Conference (if approved by the local council and conference executive council). This language will be included in the 2022-2026 IPHC Manual in the appropriate sections of the General, Conference, and Local Church.
- A study commission chaired by a senior pastor will study the finance and structure of the denomination from the local church to the general level. The study commission will look at how the structuring of the Global Ministries Center and our Conferences work with the local church, as well as how the structure of the finances impacts the local church. The committee will be composed of five pastors, three lay leaders, and three conference bishops, and will consult with the General level. The members of this committee will be selected by the COB Nominating Committee. The study commission will begin no later than a year after the 2022 General Conference and will conclude in time for the 2022-2026 Bylaws Committee to be presented ideas for restructuring. This study will be made available to the 2026 General Conference. General Conference delegates will receive the report at the same time that other reports will be made available (General Conference standing committees). Recommendations can also be made by the COB in session by a two-thirds majority vote.