It was my privilege to serve as the presiding officer for the 109th Conference Session of the Appalachian Conference on June 15, 2019. The conference was hosted at the Appalachian Conference Campgrounds in Dublin, Virginia.
The Appalachian Conference continues to show excellent growth. Bishop Mathena’s State of the Conference Report describes that. Excerpts follow:
“There is a new rise of energy and momentum ever since last year’s camp meeting where we had a wonderful move of God, and there continues to be a marvelous wave of God’s fresh anointing. From that, we continue to get reports of healings, salvations, and various miracles. We are seeing in many places a fresh awakening to the dynamic power of God’s Spirit.
Our church membership is now at 25,415. We are the second largest conference in membership and the third largest in number of churches. We have approximately 160 churches. Salvations reported exceeded 4,000. Church tithe is up almost $82,000. Clergy tithes are up by $51,000. Operation accounts have $410,000; and total reserves, investments, and liquid assets exceed 2.5 million. With the completion of the most recent renovations, our grounds are valued in excess of 5 million. Provident Fund is over 1.1 million. As I stated earlier, it’s your faithfulness in ministry and financial resources that continues to allow our conference to advance.
Missions had a banner year in the quest to become the next million-dollar conference. Overall missions giving was $854,919. Our Global Outreach [GO] offering totaled $158,412. This was the largest GO offering in over a decade.
Training is a vital part of our calendar. Each year about 60+ days are committed to training: Revitalization training-EVUSA, Fall district meetings, Discipleship training events, Maranatha College classes, Ministers’ Summit, Camp meetings & classes, Women’s Ministries, Men’s Ministries, and Girl’s Ministries, etc.
While I am thankful for the good stats, wonderful stories, and a full calendar, we should always be focused on the future – on moving forward. There are five things we must do to continue to move forward:
1. We must continue our church planting emphasis by establishing a ministry presence in 75% of the counties in our four-state region; partner with WMM to develop ministry in 50 new nations globally; and to be a leading part of the 50-church launch that is being planned next year.
2. We must expand the developmental and educational programs for ministerial candidates. We must be on the cutting edge in training and equipping God-called leaders for the task for many years.
3. We must, with great fervor, embrace our heritage of Pentecostalism. The growth factor of Pentecostal churches must be the true dynamic of God in our midst.
4. Recognizing the need to strengthen our districts, we have appointed district directors to help us, serve each local church more effectively, communicate and promote better, and keep stronger connections locally and conference-wide.
5. Creation of a program to recognize emerging leaders in your churches called from Pew to Pulpit. This initiative will recruit, mentor, and train young men and women in their 20’s and 30’s for ministry. Once selected for this three-year program, the participants will be raised up, licensed, and sent out.
These commitments will cost you and me something. As a conference, we are pledging $100,000 over the next five years to implement these programs and to raise up 50 young pastors.
Now would you pray with me as we pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers to our fields.”
Great report and well received by those in attendance!
Rev. Wanda Myers led the conference in memorializing and honoring the lives and ministry legacies of the following conference ministers in the Memoirs Report:
- Delbert Belcher
- Mrs. Frances Jarels
- Kenneth Linkous
- Mrs. Carolyn Wade
Clergy Credentials were issued as follows:
Certificate of Ordination (7) –
- Chris Blackburn
- Nancy Lane
- Joshua Thornton
- John Bradshaw
- Timothy Meadors
- Jason Greene
- Deborah Nall
Minister’s License (10) –
- Barry Absher
- Jerry Furrow
- Adam Wolfe
- Jason Boggs
- Elizabeth Hagee
- Hilda Sutphin
- Charles Byrd
- Richard Kidd
- Jackie Frazier
- Jason Morelock
It was an honor as the presiding officer to recognize the following conference attendees and guests:
- Esther Underwood, wife of beloved Bishop B. E. Underwood, 16TH general superintendent, IPHC
- Edward and Freda Wood, former executive director of the General Stewardship Ministries Division and general secretary/treasurer, GEB, GBA member, and former conference superintendent
- President Chris & Betty Thompson, Holmes Bible College and former vice-chairman and executive director of the General Evangelism USA Ministries
- Walter Lee and Ann Wood, former conference superintendent, GEB, and GBA member
- Glennard and Dorothy Quesenberry, former conference superintendent and GBA member
- Ken and Nigh-Ta Kingrea, former member of the General EVUSA Division Council, former conference superintendent, and GBA member
- Tony and Sharon Atkinson, former conference superintendent, Ephesians 4 Network Ministries conference (a conference which the Appalachian Conference birthed) and GBA member
- Ron White, president, Emmanuel College
- W. A. Mills, general director of Men’s Ministries
- Larry Meadors, member of the General World Missions Ministries Council
- Travis Lowe, member of the IPHC Extension Loan Fund Board
- Elaine Wood, former national director of Children’s Ministries for the General Discipleship Ministries
- David and Michelle Riley, IPHC missionaries to the Southern Region of Africa
- John and Gerry Talmage, retired IPHC missionaries to South Africa
- Carl and Barbara Early, retired IPHC missionaries to South Africa
- Margaret Rogers, retired IPHC missionary to Morocco
- Rick and Latrissa Black, retired IPHC missionaries to Costa Rica
- Jeff and Verna Wilhoite, former IPHC missionaries to Asia, Indo-China
- Steve and Betsy Cofer, former IPHC missionaries to Africa, Europe, and Asia. Steve currently serves as the director of Missionary Care for WMM
- Rhonda Wood, IPHC short-term missionary seconded to LAMP – Life Africa Mission Project in Uganda, Africa
- Timothy Meadors, IPHC missionary seconded to The Jesus Revolution
- Whitney Browning, IPHC short-term missionary. Whitney is currently serving as the coordinator of public relations for The Awakening.
Preston and Kathy Mathena’s ministry vision for the Appalachian Conference of their being a ‘Place of Hope and People of Promise’ is coming to fruition. May the Holy Spirit continue to anoint and empower their leadership and ministry as they tend this part of His vineyard!
It is always a special privilege to be in Appalachian. You will never be honored and treated more kind in any U.S. conference than in Appalachian.
Preston and Kathy, thank you for the honor of serving you and this part of our IPHC faith family. May God give you the desires of your heart as you envision the future of the Appalachian Conference.