Does the momentum continue in the North Clarendon Zone as 'God Still Leads' His people to do exploits for the Kingdom? Yes! Are His people still giving Him the glory He deserves? Yes! Are you waiting with bated breath to see all He will do as we honour Him? Say it with me - 'Yes'! Praise the Lord!
With banners flaring in triumphal display and songs of victory being sung, the brothers and sisters in the North Clarendon zone declare God's work will, and must move forward until He says, 'Well done'.
The people of God should be encouraged by this because the Bible writer said we must not become weary in well-doing. We must press, persevere, excel, and expect the victory God promised, as long as we keep the faith until Jesus returns.
As our beloved pastors gave greetings and brief reports from their districts, one thing was abundantly clear - 'God Still Leads' in evangelism, member care, ingathering, love, and the promulgation of the truth as it is in Jesus Christ.
During his rousing devotional address, Pastor Everett Smith, Director of Community Services and the Publishing Ministry, encouraged the brethren as he opened and said, 'God is in control'. Do you believe it? His Scripture focus was Daniel 4. Humbly, he stated, 'I am going to be honest with you, I feel inadequate. People all over the world are in fear of the future. People are suffering'. He detailed one tragedy after another, one disease after another, one economic and moral crisis after another and opined that we 'Need Somebody we can lean on. More than ever, we need God to guide us as we face the future'. All that God is we are not! Only God is God. Among the many gems the preacher shared, Pastor Smith focused on the sovereignty of God. 'Nothing happens to the child of God by chance. My future is in the hands of God'. For this, we are most thankful.
One feature our President wisely added to the Convention programme, due to the overwhelming impact the matter is having on the Church and community, is a 30-minute presentation by Pastor, Dr Roy Dennis, Director of Family Ministries. In each presentation, Pastor Dennis teaches the constituency that all types of abuse are wrong. This fact should go without saying, but there are so many men and women who abuse their spouses physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. It needs to be addressed with clarity, for the sake of peace and wellness. Pastor Dennis measures and states the negative impact this is having, while masterfully giving guidelines for stopping this insidious disease in its tracks.
In his usual inspiring fashion, Pastor Levi Johnson addressed the brethren, but before he did so, he called for a lively praise medley. Our brothers and sisters sang heartily, and joy abounded. He began his address by saying, 'Convention is not about what we have done, but what God is doing! We have been having a catawampus time! I am happy to be here'.
Pastor Johnson aptly admonished us that this is God's Church. He said, 'This church has policies and guidelines. Leadership in the church is not easy. Remain focused'. As he continued to share, he encouraged us to be effective in 2020 by serving God faithfully and deliberately in light of the following five Strategic Imperatives:
1.) Committed to Christlike Living
2.) Communication, Education & Development
3.) Preaching, Teaching & Discipling
4.) Comprehensive Health Ministries
5.) Committed to Serving Humanity
Resoundingly, Pastor said we must, 'Clean up the Church'! As he developed this statement, we began to understand that, in the same way our physical church buildings and surrounds needed to be kept tidy and well-appointed, our lives must also be well ordered, under God.
Our Executive Secretary, Pastor Nevail Barrett, shared his Statistical Report, which, in many ways, gives an overview of the health of the Church. He stated that the 'Higher Organisation creates programmes based on the reports our local congregations submit to the Conference'. This is part of the reason our reports must be timely and reflective of the reality in our congregations. Our membership numbers, as they relate to the overall populations in various communities demonstrate 'We have a lot of work to do'. He continued, 'Many people in our communities need to learn about God. We seek to penetrate our communities. If the members are not feeding on spiritual food, they will suffer from spiritual malnutrition'.
Pastor Billy Watson, the Conference Treasurer, shared the financial numbers and how these numbers provide an honest view of our faithfulness in stewardship. He gave an example of a member who needed financial help due to a problem he had with the law. The gentleman was facing jail time and requested assistance from the Conference. Pastor Watson said that the Conference would provide support based on the offerings collected at his local church. When Pastor Watson checked the numbers and shared them with the man, there was a considerable shortfall that would have still landed him behind bars. However, in the same way God is merciful to His children, our Treasurer extended grace for our brother in his time of greatest need, averting the jail sentence.
With this, Pastor Watson methodically instructed the membership at Convention, how our stewardship at the local church level impacts the Church in all fields of the Organisation.
There is so much more we could report about Convention 2020 in the North Clarendon zone. Suffice it to say it was a fantastic day in North Clarendon. The Clarendon College auditorium was transformed into a worship centre where rousing singing, inspirational preaching, an impactful health expo, and clear testimonies of God's goodness in the lives of His people were on full display. We pray God will continue to lead us, as we vow to follow Him, in Jesus' name.