March 25th was a special day for Great Plains Conference pastors and local church leaders who gathered at Christian Heritage Church in Amarillo, Texas. I3 is the name given to Great Plains Conference training events designed to Inspire, Influence, and Invest in pastoral and lay leadership.
According to Conference Superintendent Bishop Scott Hampton, the attendees were encouraged and empowered by the presentations: in particular, a Q&A session led by Bishop Hampton was considered by many to be a highlight of the event. Bishop Hampton interviewed Pastor Willy Adams who shared his sixty years of pastoral experience. At over eighty years old, Pastor Adams was able to share inspirational wisdom, energy, and vision.
IPHC General Superintendent Doug Beacham led in several workshops through the day, focusing on vision, dreams, hearing God’s voice in Scripture, and learning how to cope with life’s difficulties and challenges. Jake Bunn, conference Discipleship Ministries Director, shared that the tough questions posed to Bishops Beacham and Hampton gave everyone an opportunity to think about what the Lord is doing in the IPHC and Great Plains.
A special highlight of the day was that the participants were able to see the “Feed the Need” ministry of Christian Heritage Church. This feeding ministry began during the first year of the Covid pandemic and continues three times a week through this local IPHC congregation. Thousands of people in West Texas are being supplied with food, and that afternoon two large trucks were loaded with food for people in a destitute area of northern Mexico. Senior Pastor Craig Lawlis emphasizes that, in addition to providing food, Christian Heritage ministers to the hundreds of people with prayer and leading many to faith in Jesus Christ.
Jake Bunn, who is also on the staff at Christian Heritage, reported that people start camping at the feeding site overnight before the feeding programs begin the next day. “Feed the Need” is impacting the lives of thousands of people and demonstrating God’s love for everyone.
The second I3 event was held on April 15th in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with Bishop Tommy McGhee and the IPHC Discipleship Ministries staff leading in the training.
This event was held at Adonai Ministry with Pastors David and Sandra Gutierrez. Around 40 leaders from 9 Great Plains Conference churches gathered for a Discipleship Day of Training. Bishop Tommy McGhee and the IPHC Discipleship Ministries team provided a great day of teaching & training for the leaders. Bishop McGhee spoke in two sessions on the topics “The Journey of Discipleship” and “It takes a Church to Raise a Disciple.” The members of the Discipleship Ministries team presented sessions on “Leading Well: Rethinking Ministry to Women Today” (Whitney Davis, Women’s Ministries Director), “Man of Your Word” (W.A. Mills, Men’s Ministries Director), “Parent for the Win” (Tiffany Trainor, Kid’s Ministries Director), “The Importance of Girls Discipleship” (Meredith Light, Girls Ministries Director) and “Godly Mentors” (David Moore, Boys Ministries Director). These sessions had tremendous impact on the leaders who were present. A wide variety of resources from the Discipleship Ministries team were also made available to those in attendance as well. In an added bonus, Steve Cofer and Missionary Ben West represented IPHC World Missions Ministries as the Conference hosted a Great Commission meal for lunch during the event. Both I3 events accomplished their goals to Inspire, Invest, and Influence the Ministry leaders of the Great Plains Conference.