By Bishop D. Chris Thompson
Bishop Manuel Pate planned an excellent agenda for the 2017 Annual Conference of the Tennessee Valley Conference, July 14, 2017. The theme of the conference was the “One Day” Festival from Psalm 84:10: “Better is ONE DAY in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” The meeting was held at the Compassion Church (formerly Christian Heritage) in Germantown, Tennessee (a suburb of Memphis). The pastor is Rev. Derrick Gardner. Some 50+ delegates were present.
I am always blessed and encouraged to be in the presence of Bishop Manuel Pate. I enjoyed the fellowship. On this trip, I was especially blessed to be with Pastor Derrick Gardner. We have known each other for many years. Derrick has a gift of hospitality. He has expertly trained his staff with the same focus.
We were blessed at the Conference with four special people:
David Parker – President of the IPHC Extension Loan Fund
Dr. Terry Tramel – WMM Director of Global Outreach and Leadership Development
Lauren Pickens – Discipleship Ministries Council Member and Director of Hope4Sudan (Memphis is home for her.)
Lemuel Turner – newly appointed missionary to Wales
The Conference began at 9am with worship led by Steven Akindona. He is a second-generation immigrant from Lagos, Nigeria. The worship was excellent. I gave a devotion on “We Prayerfully Value Christ’s Kingdom” after viewing the same titled themed video. Both were well received.
Bishop Pate presented The State of the Conference Report by PowerPoint presentation. The report was excellent. The Conference has 25 churches and 65 clergy. Two new churches were planted last year. These were recognized with EVUSA pins. The conference is expanding. The vision of Bishop Pate is contagious and powerful. Several potential Hispanic pastors were present at the meeting. Bishop Pate has boldly opened the door to other ethnic groups. Dr. Luis Avila from the Global Ministries Center has been of great assistance with Hispanic Ministries.
The Compassion Network led by Director Josh Hannah has been very instrumental in the growth of Tennessee Valley. He is the evangelism director and assistant superintendent of the conference. The Compassion Network approach is phenomenal. Pastor Derrick Gardner is regional director of Compassion. His training and experience in coaching has greatly added to the success of Compassion Network. (Director Josh is available to assist with other conferences. He should be called upon.) Here are some of Compassion’s facts:
- Eight Compassion Churches
- Easter Attendance – 4,097 with 226 salvations
- Director Hannah has raised over $200,000
- Hope Center Ministries (since beginnings)
- 1,771 admissions
- 522 graduates
- 10 Centers (7 in Tennessee, 1 in Texas, 1 in Virginia, 1 in Wales)
I say – Praise the Lord!!!
Treasurer Shonna Scholes gave the Finance Report. The report was a good one with progress. The Conference is on a good foundation.
Three individuals were granted license. These were:
David Parker translated for me. I felt totally at ease with a Parker by my side. John Parker, David’s dad, stood with me for nearly 20 years. David did a phenomenal job. I am always blessed to watch the expressions of Hispanics when David begins to speak Spanish. He speaks as a native. He grew up in Costa Rica.
Several groups gave special reports at the Conference:
Compassion Network – Josh Hannah
Extension Loan Fund – David Parker
Global Outreach – Dr. Terry Tramel
Hope4Sudan – Lauren Pickens
Missionary to Wales – Lemuel Turner
Holmes Bible College – Chris Thompson
The business part of the Conference ended with a Conference-hosted luncheon at Piccadilly Cafeteria. The food and fellowship was outstanding.
In the afternoon, Bishop Pate presented an excellent and anointed teaching on “God’s 3 Great Expectations.” Every Bishop needs a copy of his PowerPoints.
I was blessed and honored to preach in the evening Celebration Service. The Global Outreach Offering was received. A good offering of over $14,000.00 was received. Dr. Tramel spoke on the World Missions GO and I spoke on the EVUSA GO. Both presentations were well received. Dr. Terry Tramel is doing an excellent job for World Missions. He not only makes excellent presentations, but he gets to know the people.
During the morning conference and evening service, soil was placed in a container for prayer. Soil was placed from the four states of Tennessee Valley – Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, and Arkansas. The people responded to the leadership of Bishop Pate. Several anointed prayers were offered. (The Friday night of General Conference will be miraculous.) Thank you, Bishop Beacham, for obeying the Lord.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Conference. As far as I know, this will be my last conference as a sitting general bishop. It has been a real, pleasant, and exciting journey for me to work with the conference bishops and their conferences. I do love this ministry. Bishop Beacham: Should your kingdom continue (and I pray it will), please remember me if you ever need someone to fill in!