By Doug Beacham
After spending a third of the month of July in Orlando, Florida, at the YouthQuest/Fine Arts Festival and the 28th General Conference of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, I have taken a few days to reflect on those days, giving thanks to God for His many blessings and opportunities for our movement.
First, and foremost, I am thankful for those who gave their hearts to Jesus or rededicated themselves to the Lord, especially at Youth Quest. I was told of, then personally met, a female security guard at the convention center who came to faith in Christ through YouthQuest. The Holy Spirit used the YouthQuest music and speakers, then the General Conference worship team as they practiced, to open her heart to the gospel. Staff members of LifeSprings Resources prayed with her and encouraged her. Through the love shown through IPHC people, she came to saving faith in Christ. She told me that she had already been introduced to an IPHC pastor in the Orlando area. The friendliness and kindness of our young people and adults made an impact on many of the convention center personnel.
I want to thank Bishop McGhee and the Discipleship Ministries participants for the way their presence in the convention center was part of the Holy Spirit’s way of touching this woman’s heart. Her coming to Christ is a contemporary illustration that the Holy Spirit continues to seek the lost. Jesus calls us to walk in love, speak with sensitivity to His promptings, and be aware of how our voices and actions reflect God’s love and holy character.
Second, I am grateful for those who spoke in the main services and sessions at YouthQuest and the General Conference. I was so proud of the members of SMAT (Student Ministries Advisory Team) who spoke with such passion and wisdom: Kaleigh Bishop, Brittany Galavin, Josh Lafferty, and Stephen Jones. Saturday and Sunday mornings, IPHC international leaders Ismail Serinken (Turkey) and Michael John (North India) shared the amazing story of God’s love with our young adults. Even in those moments, convention workers from other countries were attracted to these men and sought them out to learn more.
Third, the Men’s Ministries Convention was the largest in our history. Dr. Juaquin Molina inspired us with a serious call to men to take their rightful places as followers of Jesus Christ. Thank you, Rev. Bill Terry, for your love for men and your passion to see IPHC men equipped and released into ministry. At the same time, IPHC Women’s Ministries met to chart a path for the future. We are praying for Samantha Snipes and her team as they work to engage women of all ages.
The Adult Ministries training and banquet on Tuesday were thought provoking as Dr. Michelle Anthony and her husband, Dr. Michael Anthony, led us into an interactive conversation regarding the meta-narrative of the Bible.
Fourth, the General Conference began with over 1200 people gathering for the Lord’s Supper. With our 2018 core value in mind (We Prayerfully Value All Generations), the conference began with a children’s ensemble and over 60 children marching into a dark auditorium with small lights singing, “This Little Light of Mine.” I stood at the back of the convention hall awaiting the processional entrance. As I looked around me, most adult men and women had tears in their eyes as we watched the children show us the way.
We heard the anointed ministry of the worship team that was assembled from across the USA and led by Greg Terry. We felt the impact of the intercessory prayers that surrounded both YouthQuest and the General Conference.
During my homily, twelve men and women arose from the audience at different times and sat at a long table on the platform. They took the posture of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, painted between 1495-1498. On the large screens, the figure of Christ was replaced with a large cross. I encourage you to take time to view the opening service online.
After the bread and cup had been served, we were again reminded by five global voices, “No, Bishop Beacham, not everyone has been served.” They then spoke of the need to reach the lost in Asia/Australia, Europe/Middle East, North America, Africa, and Latin America.
Fifth, as a denomination we are all grateful for the wise and careful deliberations of the Bylaws Committee, chaired by Rev. Bob Ely. The General Conference carried on respectful and intelligent debate as several important governmental issues were presented.
On Wednesday afternoon, the elections began for the four members of the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops. Susan and I were deeply humbled by the acclamation vote allowing me to serve you for another four years. There are many godly leaders among us, and it is a great honor to serve this denomination in the office of the General Superintendent and Presiding Bishop.
With Rev. Chris Thompson leaving Evangelism USA (EVUSA) to serve as president of Holmes Bible College in Greenville, South Carolina, the delegates elected Rev. Garry Bryant as the new executive director of EVUSA. Previously, Bishop Bryant served as conference superintendent of Redemption Ministries and the Eastern Virginia Conference; and most recently, director of Acts2Day and assistant director of EVUSA. We welcome Bishop Bryant and his wife LaDawn to this new role and are excited about the future.
On Thursday morning, Bishop Tommy McGhee was re-elected as executive director of Discipleship Ministries and Bishop Talmadge Gardner was re-elected as executive director of World Missions Ministries.
In a final election, Bishop McGhee was elected vice chairman of the IPHC, Bishop Gardner elected corporate secretary, and Bishop Bryant elected corporate treasurer.
The four of us ask you to faithfully remember us in prayer as we serve Jesus and the IPHC over the next four years. Pray for our wives (Susan Beacham, Beth McGhee, Stephanie Gardner, LaDawn Bryant) and our children and grandchildren. Pray for strength, good health, wisdom and Holy Spirit anointing in all we do.
On Thursday and Friday afternoons, the General Conference paused to prayerfully remember former leaders and missionaries who passed away in the period 2013-1016.
Sixth, I am so thankful for the special speakers through the first two days of General Conference. Beth Moore and Samuel Rodriguez stirred our hearts with passionate calls for repentance, holy fire, and taking steps of faith into the future. John Dawson encouraged us as he reflected on an exhortation he gave the IPHC in 1991. Ed Stetzer brought insight and wisdom to us related to the culture and challenges we face in serving Jesus in this generation. It will be worth your time to view these online (except Beth Moore which could not be recorded due to contract stipulations).
Related to our special speakers, I am also thankful for the representatives from various denominations and groups that were with us Wednesday night. Our affiliate leaders from Chile and Brazil were with us most of the week. We were blessed with the invitation from Bishop Eduardo Duran to come to Santiago, Chile in February 2019 for the Sixth IPHC Global Assembly. Dr. George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, brought a special greeting. Also present were representatives from the Church of God, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Christian Churches Together, the Evangelical Covenant Church, the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, the Billion Soul Network, and Charisma Media.
Seventh, I am grateful for the men and women who spent countless hours of intercessory prayer for YouthQuest and the General Conference. The IPHC World Intercession Network made the convention center a place of prayer for all nations.
Finally, I encourage you to view the Friday night service. Bishop James Leggett led in the installation of the members of the Executive Committee. He reminded us of our duties to the IPHC flock as we serve as under shepherds to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
The General Superintendent shared his vision for the IPHC as we believe the Holy Spirit is calling us to intentional strategies and measurable goals as we focus on the years 2030-2033. Those years will mark the 2000th anniversary of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have a fifteen-year window to reach 75 percent of the counties of the USA with an IPHC congregation. We have 15 years to reach the mega-cities of the world with ministries designed for evangelism, discipleship, and meeting the needs of hurting people. We have 15 years to go into 50 more nations with people willing to pioneer among the lost.
The General Conference closed with presentations from across the USA and around the world of small samples of soil. This soil is being kept in the denominational offices in Oklahoma City as an expression of thanksgiving for where we are and a prayerful claim upon the future of where we are going.
In closing, my heart is overjoyed at what the Holy Spirit did in our midst in recent weeks. But now my mind and heart are set on the future. There is much to be done and it will require all of us to be intentional about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ around the globe.