Celebrate the Past, Seize the Future
Bishop B.E. Underwood
The International Pentecostal Holiness Church has much to celebrate. And, we have much to seize.
Since this is my final “State of the Church” report, I want it to embrace the eight years I have served as General Superintendent. The statistical date covers 1989-1996.
Growth of the Church
This is by far the church’s largest increase in any previous eight year period. We have averaged adding 5,918 new members per year during this time. The annual growth rate (AGR) has been approximately 4 percent, with a total increase of 40.5 percent.
As International Denomination
The international nature of the IPHC has been highlighted during these eight years by two World Conferences, both of which were held in Jerusalem, Israel. The first World Conference convened in 1990, and the second one was in 1995. These events brought a new dimension to the identity or our denomination. We are now planning the third World Conference in the year 2000.
It was out of the First World Conference that the Jerusalem Proclamation was born. This historic statement has provided vision and focus for our churches around the world. We are now confident that the IPHC must be called “a people of destiny.” We have taken our place as a part of Christ’s Great Commission Church.
Target 2000 has given direction to the denomination for more than 12 years, ad we stand now on the brink of a new century. The year 2000 is but a milestone on the journey of this denomination. In fact, the next General Conference (if Jesus tarries His coming), will be in the 21st century. Now, as we stand on the brink of this new century, Target 2000 must give way to Mission 21.
Several steps have brought us to this defining moment.
A Paradigm Shift
First, the General Executive Board (GEB) and the General Board of Administration (GBA) approved this paradigm shift during meetings held in October of 1994. The purpose for the change was to move the denomination away from a hierarchical model to a networking structure and to focus on the primacy of the local church and its pastor as the focal point of ministry.
Then the name of our executive offices changed from “International Headquarters” to “Resource Development Center.” All our flow charts were altered to reflect the networking model with the local church as the focus of the system.
Other name changes helped facilitate the shift. Advocate Press became LifeSprings Resources. The International Pentecostal Holiness Advocate, our denominational magazine became IssacharFile. Many of our conferences also changed the names of their offices to Resource Development Centers.
A major step in this paradigm shift was a series of workshops called “Refocusing Target 2000.” These workshops encouraged local churches to use as many of these ministries as they need to fulfill their God-given wisdom. During these sessions, conference and local church leaders received a “Ministries Menu” listing all the ministries being provided by the RDC. We stressed the fact that the churches do not exist to support the RDC. Rather, the RDC exists to provide resources for the local churches and its leaders.
As part of this paradigm shift, the Target 2000 Committee and the GEB crafted Mission, Vision, and Objectives Statements. These documents provide a compass for the ministries of the denomination.
Emphasis on Equipping
Focus on the Role of Pastors
The Bishop’s Pastors Council has been a platform for the General Superintendent to interact with pastors of churches averaging 300 or more in Sunday morning attendance. For the past eight years, the General Superintendent has met with this group in February. These sessions have included times of teaching and fellowship.
In 1993 and 1994, we provided a series of pastors’ schools across the church. In 1993, we invited pastors of churches averaging above 150 to join in the Bishop’s Pastors Council. Later that year we held two Bishop’s Pastors Schools for pastors of churches averaging between 75 and 149. In 1994, we ministered to pastors of churches averaging less than 75. Four schools for pastors of smaller churches were held in Montgomery, Alabama; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Roanoke, Virginia; and San Jose, California.
Our first National Pastors Conference was conducted March 20 – 23, 1995, at the Heritage Grand Hotel near Charlotte, North Carolina. More than 400 pastors attended this conference.
Many pastors have reported that these events have changed their lives and given new direction to their ministries. They have expressed our commitment to pastors. During this time, I also wrote a series of articles that have been compiled into a book, entitled The Biblical Role of the Pastor. This book highlights the leadership role of the pastor according to the Scriptures.
Seize the Future Summit
Prayer and Intercession
We held our first GEB meeting by computer in 1996. Besides saving significantly in travel expenses, we accomplished in an hour and a half what otherwise would have taken a full day. Our goal is to use the advances in communication technology to the fullest degree possible in carrying out the Great Commission.
Projects Under Construction
Several major projects are still in process. These include: