I was honored beyond measure to serve Bishop Randell and Michelle Drake and the members of New Horizons Ministries (NHM) as their presiding officer on Saturday, June 22, 2019.
The conference convened at 9 a.m. on the campus of SpiritLife Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. SpiritLife is currently led by Senior Pastor Tommy McLaurin.
Excerpts from Bishop Drake’s State of the Conference Report which was delivered with great passion are:
“Our conference membership is over 8,000 in 78 churches, and 3 satellites. We have the highest percentage of churches and minsters sending in reports and tithes ever for the conference. Our churches are reporting an increase in spiritual experiences.
Our Kingdom Building Fund has provided grants for 6 churches either for satellite plants, restructuring of present church models, or needed assistance in a covenant financial agreement.
NHM has partnered with EVUSA to provide training with Josh Hannah and Compassion Network in church growth/revitalization for 13 NHM churches to date.”
His concluding, ‘Final Remarks’ were particularly relevant… “It has been my distinct honor to serve as your conference superintendent for the past 17 years and to partner with you in ministry. Your trust of me as a leader and support of me as your bishop is humbling and inspiring. I am constantly in awe of all God has done in my life and the many opportunities to serve that He has afforded to me. It is always a joy to have fellowship with the ministers and churches of our great conference. I trust I have been a blessing to you. I know you have blessed me with your support, prayers, and love. I greatly appreciate each of you.
We are in a critical time in the political and spiritual future for our country. We as Christians must pray for our leaders and God’s favor for the days to come. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we as Christians stand firm in our faith and freedom. We must never back down from our biblical beliefs for justice and the sanctity of life.
We are living in a difficult time to be a church leader or pastor. According to recent Barna research, 50% of American pastors say the ministry has been hard on their family and 30% say ministry has been a personal disappointment. Nearly 50% report struggling with depression, 25% with significant marital problems or parenting difficulties, and 20% struggle with an addiction of some kind. Depressing!
In another Barna poll, 40% of Protestant pastors and more than 50% of Catholic priests say they “frequently” or “occasionally” feel limited in their ability to speak about moral or social issues from the pulpit out of concern that people will take offense. Sadly, 67% report greater concern about their congregation’s reactions than about the response of people outside of their congregation. Repeatedly, the media and others warn the church about separation of church and state being a constitutional issue, though this is not true. We have freedom of religion, not freedom FROM religion. Today, it is not easy being a Christian or Christian leader when society thinks we are irrelevant or extreme.
BUT, I have good news. “GO & TELL!” will continue to be our theme. We must tell someone about Jesus. We must GO from our church buildings into our communities to reach people with the gospel of Jesus. We must win this next generation to Jesus so our churches can thrive, grow, flourish and impact our communities for the kingdom. We must see the IPHC Core Values as imperatives in our lives and churches.
With “GO & TELL!” as our focus, mission, and vision, we will experience a renewed understanding and implementation of the words of Jesus as He instructed His disciples to GO into all the world, preaching the Gospel and discipling believers. With “GO & TELL!” in our hearts and minds, we will see the blessings and favor of God & man as we impact our world with good news. With “GO & TELL!” being preached, taught, and learned in our churches, we will have an empowered and equipped people who value ALL GENERATIONS for the kingdom of God.
Our mission and vision statement, “Equipping and Releasing Ministers and Churches into Their Divine Destiny” is more important and relevant than ever. Not only must we assist our church members and potential leaders in their search for training and ministry calling, we must release these equipped individuals of all ages to minister and serve in our churches and communities. Only when we become the powerful army of God full of the Holy Spirit with the purpose of completing the Great Commission will we see our world change through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have good news. We MUST share that salvation message with our world.
As we continue in this quadrennium, let us look forward to our best days of kingdom growth, spiritual births, discipleship of all family and church members, church planting & revitalization and genuine impact in our communities, states, and nation.
I look ahead with great anticipation to the endless opportunities for the future of New Horizons Ministries. I remind you of my life Scripture: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. Proverbs 3:5, 6. Let us Dare to Dream…GO & TELL!”
The Memoirs Report was presented in a video format. Those lovingly memorialized were:
Deceased Ministers (7)
- Rev. James Bradford
- Rev. Donald Busse
- Rev. Jim Huddleston
- Rev. Mae Ingram
- Rev. Doris Malone
- Rev. Donald Posey
- Rev. Boyd Stiles
Clergy credentials were issued as follows:
Ordination (3) –
- Daniel Anthony Harrison
- Cody Gene Neugebauer
- Richard Lee Pugh
Minister’s License (4) –
- Nathan Andrew Buckingham
- Loy Allen Durbin
- Christopher John French
- Donald Aaron Girod
Local Church Minister’s Certificate (2)
- Cody Lee Johnson
- Rocky Paul Ausbrooks
Ministerial Service Awards:
Gold (50 years)
- Rev. L. D. Davis
- Rev. Art Dodd
Silver (25 years)
- Rev. Terry Tatum
Bronze (10 years)
- Rev. Tim Cox
- Rev. Melanie Deemy
- Rev. Archie Jackson
- Rev. Becky Watkins
- Rev. Travis Williams
It was an honor as the presiding officer to recognize the following conference attendees and guests:
- Del Hunnicutt, former conference superintendent & GBA member
- Lin & Marilyn Ice, former conference superintendent of the Ozarks Conference & GBA member
- Dan Beller, former GEB & GBA member
- Renee Ross, former GBA member
- Michelle Drake, former General Women’s Ministries Board member
- Charles Craig, former General WMM Council member
- Gary & Larissa Ackerman, former IPHC career missionaries to Africa and LAMCAR
- Jerry & Terry Morris, IPHC short-term missionaries
- Jason & Catrina Bicket, IPHC missionaries to Peru
As stated, Bishop Drake has served New Horizons Ministries as its conference superintendent for the past 17 years – in 2018 he was elected for his fifth term. He is the most tenured conference superintendent on the Council of Bishops.
May God’s favor and anointing continue to overshadow Randell and Michelle in the days and years to come and may the Lord give them the desires of their hearts as they shepherd New Horizons Ministries into becoming a Place of Hope and People of Promise for the kingdom’s sake.