Welcome to Connections!

Dear Dr. E.C.,

Thank you for signing up to receive Connections, an e-newsletter from the Church of God of Prophecy International Offices. Here you will find the latest news and information on upcoming ministry events. We hope you enjoy all that you will read here. Send us your comments and thoughts by emailing connections@cogop.org.

In this E-Mail. . .
1. From the General Overseer: International Offices Season of Seeking
2. Mission News Update: Building Gods Church in a War Zone
3. Heritage Ministries and Fields of the Wood
4. Stewardship Ministries: Year-End Contributions Receipts
5. Update from North American Presbyter
6. Connect 07: Practical Tools for Reaching Todays College Students and Young Adults
7. Draw Near to Him: Leadership Development Institute 2007
8. Upcoming Events
9. To Unsubscribe

From the General Overseer: International Offices Season of Seeking
Many may not know that the International Office Ministry Leaders join together for a six hour prayer time each year as we gather back to work in the New Year. This week we celebrated our prayer night for this New Year. Actually this is the first week of a three week intensive time of seeking God here at the offices, A Season of Seeking.

It is always invigorating spiritually to join in these prayer times. This week we worshiped together with tears and shouts of adoration flowing freely, beginning the evening with praise. We spent an hour seeking God individually for personal ministry and life needs. We united in prayer for the ministries of the offices here, for the nations/states/regions of this church, and for major issues impacting the church worldwide.

At one point we enjoyed a prayer walk, walking through the offices literally praying over every office and our staff people that serve so faithfully. By the end of the night we had prayed for every overseer by name and every ministry of the Church of God of Prophecy. It was a wonderful night of fellowship in the Spirit and with one another. And we know that God will affirm His promise, Call unto me, and I will show you great and mighty things that you know not.

In this New Year the Ministry Leaders of the International Office have been called to a Season of Seeking. We are hungry for God and for the ministry stirrings He has placed on our hearts. Many are fasting intermittently through this time of seeking. And we are all asking God to fill us, and fill this body of believers for His glory and for His harvest work.

You might be inspired to join us in these three weeks, by fasting a day or a week. You are welcome to join in sharing your hunger for God with us. And if you would like, send us an email of how God is drawing you to participate with us here at the International Office. Together we want heaven to know that we are hungry for more of God and more of His power to harvest. There is no better way to start a New Year than with a Season of Seeking.

For more information contact: Shaun McKinley, Administrative Liaison to the General Overseer by e-mailing shaun@cogop.org.

Mission News Update: Building Gods Church in a War Zone
Years ago as an enthusiastic stamp collector I knew Sri Lanka as Ceylon, the pearl of the Indian Ocean. Today, this predominantly Buddhist island 20 miles off the southern coast of India is wracked by fighting between the Sri Lankan government and a rebel group seeking independence for the majority Tamil regions in the north and east of the country. In this vortex of violence we have brothers and sisters who are sharing the Good News of peace with God through Jesus Christ.

Our missionary overseer of this East Asian nation, Dennis Casey, reports that recently Sri Lankan government soldiers, interrupted one of our weeknight church services in Trincomalee and dragged several of our young men into the street and began beating them for information concerning the Tamil Tigers. Tamil Tigers is the name given to the group that is fighting against the Sri Lankan government for independence.

Despite the instability and danger these precious saints continue to work for Christ. Pastor Chandra and the believers have almost completed a new church building which is three times larger than the old building and has a parsonage upstairs. They still need about two thousand dollars to finish this facility. God is helping them and they are ministering to over one hundred people each Sunday. Brother Casey reports, God has blessed our work in Sri Lanka in spite of the horrific civil war that wages in the area around our church work. In the past 12 months over 3000 have died in this conflict with hundreds of thousands left homeless and destitute.

Brother Casey demonstrates Spirit-driven focus and courage as he shares his plans: At the moment it is too dangerous for us to visit, but Carmen and I are making plans to visit in March this year, if the civil war eases some. Please keep this trip and our Sri Lanka work in your prayers.

For more information contact: Retha Frankland, Global Outreach Ministries Executive Secretary, by emailing Retha@cogop.org.

Heritage Ministries & Fields of the Wood
We want to thank all of our 2006 supporters and donors of Heritage Ministries and Fields of the Wood who gave through your Heritage Ministries Annual Membership and generous donations. We are very grateful for each and every one and pray Gods bountiful blessings on you for your faithfulness to this ministry. 2006 was a great year and our expectations for 2007 are even higher.

Thousands of precious souls were blessed as they visited Fields of the Wood in 2006, the place of our heritage in the Church of God. People of all church affiliations and backgrounds, as well as a host of people with no spiritual background at all, witnessed the display of Holy Scripture as they toured the park. In the words of so many of these visitors we feel such a reverence and Spirit of the Lord in this place. Of course, we know this is possible only because the Fields of the Wood has been dedicated to the ministry of the Word of God.

A great number of people also witnessed the Festival of Lights displayed from Thanksgiving to New Years Day celebrating our Lords birth. The lights were very beautiful every evening giving a tremendous sense of celebration of the birth of Jesus.

We are looking forward to the First Assembly Celebration Service to be held on January 27, 2007 at the First Assembly House located on River Hill Road just one mile from Fields of the Wood. The commemorative service will begin at 2:00 P.M. Everyone is Welcome.

For more information contact: Wayne Hall, Heritage Ministries Director, by emailing whall@cogop.org.

Stewardship Ministries: Year-End Contribution Receipts
January is Stewardship Emphasis Month. The Internal Revenue Service requires that the church treasurer give receipts of contributions of $250 or more.

This presents a timely opportunity to write a thank you letter to each donor acknowledging all their gifts given for the year. It also is a time when people are receiving a summary of their wages and income—W-2/1099—for the year.

A good time to talk about tithing is when a comparison of the contributions for the year and the income for the year shows less than faithful, consistent tithing. I challenge you to compare your donation receipt to your W-2 and 1099s to see how you are doing. Firstfruit giving, or tithing off the top, should reflect even more than the W-2. Tithing the increase instead of income should reflect gross wages plus insurance and retirement benefits paid by the employer. Oh what joy comes from looking for ways to tithe more.

How far are you from a total giving record that equals 20% or more of your income? A tenth to the storehouse as a tithe and a second tenth in designated offerings is a lofty goal that many faithful stewards are attaining.

For more information contact Liz Walter in Stewardship Ministries Departmental Secretary by emailing liz@cogop.org.

Update from North America
The Lord has blessed North America with two more new churches. It is to Him we give praise for two new churches planted in California. Overseer Bishop Jeffery Davis reports a new church plant in Campbell, California, organized December 17th. Joy Christian Community located at 250 Virginia Avenue in Campbell is a Korean congregation. Reverend Jong Bin Park is the pastor. This church organized with fifteen members.

Bishop Davis also reports a new Russian congregation with 30 members. Church of the Nations at 6240 Verner Avenue in Sacramento was organized on November 19th. Vasyl Pechko is the pastor. We welcome these churches into our fellowship.

We solicit your prayers for these new congregations and for all of North America as doors continue to be opened for the sharing of the Gospel.

For more information contact Melva Pholner, North American General Presbyters Secretary by emailing mpohlner@cogop.org.

Connect 07: Practical Tools for Reaching Todays College Students and Young Adults
The Youth Ministries Department has been in dialogue with overseers, pastors, youth pastors and other adult youth workers regarding the alarming body-wide trend of students leaving the foundation of their faith when they transition from high school to college. Survey shows that the one sure way of helping students remain true to their faith during this transition is if they are connected immediately to other believers and/or churches when they move to a new area to attend college. We have been working to find ways build coalition and network to help students make this transition safely.

North Carolina Youth Ministries Director Kirk Rising leads a ministry called College and Career Ministry Network. They will be hosting an event for college and career young adults called Connect 07. The dates are January 19-21, 2007 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This is a great opportunity for College students too connect with other college students for accountability and support. Pastors and youth ministry leaders too will receive the tools and information needed to start a college and career ministry in their local area to meet other leaders, find resources, build relationships and accountability.

Check out www.ccmnetwork.org for more information and to register for Connect 07.

For more information contact: Yvonne Hutchinson in Youth Ministries Secretary by emailing Yvonne@cogop.org

Draw Near to Him Leadership Development Institute Coming April 17-21, 2007
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8). Please reserve your place now for the 2007 Leadership Development Institute to be held at the Peerless Road Church of God of Prophecy, 3301 Peerless Road in Cleveland, TN April 17-21, 2007.

Again this year you will be offered a wide variety of intensive courses, elective workshops, and general sessions featuring special speakers and guest artists, as well as enjoyable times of fellowship, worship, and prayer.

Our theme for the week is Draw Near Him. We hope to provide a setting for busy leaders with overloaded lives to re-discover that the essence of their calling as ministers is not religious activity but an intimate relationship with the One who called them to ministry.

Intensive Courses
The following Intensive Courses will be offered from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon. Students will choose one Intensive.

When Worlds Collide: Coping With Conflict in the Church, Dr. Claude Thomas, Vice President of INJOY Stewardship Services, Instructor &It is a tragic irony that some of the most painful conflicts we encounter occur within the body of Christ, resulting in deep emotional and spiritual wounds. This often flows from issues of control or jealousy, but a more subtle source of church conflict is the collision of two views of reality. When faced with conflict, how does a church and its leadership cope in a way that will lead to resolution and reconciliation rather than end in hurt and division? This Intensive comes out of the personal experience of a veteran pastor whose life and ministry were nearly devastated by church conflict. His personal experience and resulting insights will prove invaluable to all church leaders.

The Spiritual Dynamics of Relationships: Loving God By Loving Your Near Ones, Gary Thomas, widely-acclaimed speaker, author of several best-selling books, and director of the Center for Evangelical Spirituality, Instructor
For centuries, some of the most engaging Christian classics were written by monks and nuns for monks and nuns, with the implication that a serious pursuit of God required living without a spouse or children. This notion is being challenged today as believers are discovering that the relationship of marriage and the journey of raising children are inherently heart-forming and soul-shaping endeavors. Rather than the domestic life being a hindrance to faith and ministry, these God-ordained relationships are being affirmed as dynamic avenues of discipleship. This Intensive will explore the role of relationships as a central pathway to spiritual formation.

Seismic Shifts: The Little Changes That Make a Big Difference In Your Life, Dr. Kevin Harney, teaching pastor of Corinth Church and Sherry Harney, nationally-known author, Instructors
Seismic Shifts are little steps of faith and actions of obedience we take toward Gods purpose for our lives. As we make these little changes, the Holy Spirit infuses us with power that moves us far beyond where we could ever go in our own strength. When we make these small movements, God does big things. Seismic Shifts will not only give insight for your personal transformation, but will also help you discover a way of leading that results in life-change empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Relational Foundations: Experiencing Relevance in Life and Ministry, Dr. H. E. Cardin, faculty member of the Center for Biblical Leadership and Director of the Tomlinson Center, Instructor
This experiential Intensive, Relational Foundations, is designed to challenge believers to pursue renewed relevance in both their personal lives and ministries. It highlights the need for a re-evaluation of some of the major elements of Christian theology, and raises a call for believers to consider a new kind of theology, one in which our traditional assumptions about the nature of God, the church, and the Christian life are filtered through the lens of relationship. It offers fresh insights into the heart of God and the relational nature of the Christian faith, insights which must be grasped if the body of Christ is to have any significant impact on a secular, postmodern culture. (Requires purchase of a student workbook.)

Guest Artists
Doyle Dykes, one of the worlds premiere guitarists featured on the Windham Hill label, who is also a licensed minister.

Excellence in harmony, spirit, and performance depicts the lush musical style of the Voices of Lee, one of Americas premiere vocal ensembles.

Lester and Holly Rector are dedicated to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ through Christian music by combining vocal excellence with fervent worship.

A living legend in Christian music, Larnelle Harris gift of music gives voice to what God can do in the life of one man sold out to worship.

The live theater of Ted and Lee offers hilarity with heart and proves that there is humor in truth.

Curt Cloninger, a renowned Christian dramatist who impacted the 2006 Institute with his powerful interpretations of life and scripture will join us again this year.

Bible Teacher
Bishop Adrian Varlack, Sr. will lead the early morning Bible studies. Adrians insights into Gods word will make this a feature you will not want to miss.

General Session Speakers
Gary Thomas, Center for Evangelical Spirituality, Bellingham, WA
Dr. Claude Thomas, Vice-President, INJOY Stewardship Services, Dallas, TX
Dr. Hector Ortiz, Texas State Overseer COGOP, Houston, TX
Bishop David N. Bryan, International Director of Global Outreach, GOCOP, Cleveland, TN

Additional Information Online
Additional information, including online registration and hotel accommodations are available online by visiting: http://cogop.org/ministries/leader.cfm

If you would like to register today for LDI 2007, please register online by visiting http://cogop.org/ministries/leader.cfm or contact Jeanette Rollins, Leadership Development Secretary by emailing cblfeedback@cogop.org.

Upcoming Events
January 2007
Nashville, TN – CLAIM Childrens Ministry Training, January 13

February 2007
Camp Boothe, AL – Childrens Ministries Training, February 2-3
Campbell, CA – Childrens Ministries Training, February 17
Cerritos, CA – Childrens Ministries Training, February 24
Brooksville, FL – C: Takin It to Heart (Childrens Ministries), February 9-10
Salisbury, MD – East Coast School of Ministry, February 1-2

March 2007
Niagara, Canada – Niagara Falls Ladies Retreat, March 16-18
Ventura, CA – Pacific Southwest Ladies Retreat, March 9-11
Newark, NJ – Atlantic Northeast Ladies Retreat, March 30 – April 1
Warda, TX – Texas Relational Ministry Conference, March 16-17

April 2007
Alix, Alberta – Western Canada Center for Biblical Leadership Conference, April 23-27
Murphy, NC – Easter Program, April 7
Hoboken, NJ – Runnin the Race (Childrens Ministries) – Bilingual, April 7
Toronto, Ontario – East Canada Leadership Development Institute, April 30-May 4
Cleveland, TN – Leadership Development Institute, April 17-21
Mempis, TN – CM: Takin It to Heart (Childrens Ministries), April 21
Staverton, England – European Womens Ministries Leadership Conference – April 11-12
Staverton, England – European Ladies Retreat – April 13-15

May 2007
Greeley, CO – Colorado Relational Ministry Conference, May 11-12
Des Moines, IA – Great Plains Ladies Retreat, May 4-6
Murphy, NC – Gospel Concert at Fields of the Wood, May 26
Providence, RI – CM Takin IT to Heart, May 5
Cleveland, TN – Institute of Childrens Ministry, May 23-26

For more information, contact: Shaun McKinley, Administrative Liaison to the General Overseer by e-mailing shaun@cogop.org or call (423) 559-5209.

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