Over the past few weeks I have celebrated the distinct blessing of fellowship with our local pastors across North America. One venue for this celebration comes as a result of our bi-annual International Assembly celebrated this past summer. The Assembly is always a personal delight as we make preparations to receive our entire family from more than 130 nations. As a people we come together in communion to celebrate our God and His presence and work among us for the cause of the Gospel.
A second opportunity for personal pastoral fellowship came as a result of the amazing response from our predominately North American churches to the March Mission Drive earlier this year. As we began to recognize the sacrificial response of our people to the cause of global missions, especially during such a challenging financial season, our hearts were deeply touched. One morning in a prayer of thanksgiving in the Upper Room, the Holy Spirit moved on me to define a new sense of fellowship between our local pastors and our global mission efforts. For weeks I have been personally calling pastors throughout North America to thank each local church for committed investment in prayer and giving and to open a fresh and vibrant communication among this much-loved global family. This task has proved a blessing to our work and our hearts.
One response from this fellowship came from the local church in Clayton, North Carolina in the form of a testimony about 11 year-old Nancy Oldham. Nancy had been part of a school function in Washington, D.C. The children who attended the school function were asked if they were given $25, how they would make a difference in the world. At the end of the function, each child was given $25 and instructed to go and make a difference. Nancy accepted the challenge and prayed over how to use the funds. She had heard about the children in the Rwanda orphanage and her prayer was that these children in Rwanda world know they are loved by other children within the Church of God of Prophecy. Nancy expressed her love by purchasing blankets for the children in the orphanage.
This manner in expression of love and caring is one of the identification marks of our family – the fellowship of this body of believers within The Church of God of Prophecy. We witness this compassion in the hallways and at the altars of an International Assembly, where normal language and culture barriers cannot prevent expressions of our love for one another. We experience it in our state, regional, and national conventions and conferences as we commit to fulfill the commission to which we have been called together in the unity of love. We live on the foundation this mutual love within the safety and caring of local fellowship church ministry. And in the midst we fulfill the command of Christ to continue in His love and to love one another (John 15:9, 12).
Next month we again celebrate October Mission Drive, a concentrated semi-annual effort to connect to the global task of sharing the whole Gospel to the entire world. This expectation is a reflection of our heart of harvest among our people and our faith in Jesus that drives and compels us to reach the nations.
As you peruse this global mission emphasis issue, celebrate the testimonies while reading about the vibrant ministries of our family throughout the world. You will enjoy the rich reports of mission stories. These are our stories. This is our family. And this is our opportunity to celebrate the blessing of fellowship.