A Church In Growth
Most of you are aware the pastoral staff here at Hawthorne Assembly attended the 2019 Wisconsin Northern Michigan Ministries Network Summit which was held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. A number of statistics, facts and figures were shared throughout the two day event including how many new churches are currently being started in our network. There are about 225 churches in our network. Another interesting statistic is how many ministers are part of our fellowship. Over 500 men and women are credentialed, which consists of three levels. The three levels within the Assemblies of God will require a brief moment of explanation. The three tiers available to those who feel a calling to ministry start with a “certificate of ministry”. Anyone can be certified; it is available to all who complete the basic classes and learn the history of the Assemblies of God, the basic tenets of faith and the 16 Statements of Fundamental Truths of our great fellowship. The next level is “licensed to preach.” This step involves a number of additional classes, time in ministry, and/or a college degree in an approved ministerial studies option. Various specific ministry degrees such as pastoral, youth, children’s, Sacred Arts and a number of other Bible degrees qualify for receiving a license to preach. One newer option is to attend the District School of Ministry (DSOM) and complete all of the courses and requirements. Another option is to take online Bible training through Global University. The exciting news is there are a number of different ways a person can receive their credentials. So don’t let anything stop you if you believe God is calling you to do so. The final step in the credentialing process is “Ordination” and on Monday night a number of pastors and leaders received their ordination certificate. The ordination requirements are also very detailed and one of the primary requirements is fulfilling two years of ministry on staff or as the leader of a local fellowship. There are various ways and capacities this can be accomplished, it does not have to be just a lead pastor position. There are also provisions for those who are in para-church ministries and/or other unique non-church positions. (i.e. Serving as a chaplain.) Often those who receive ordination are bi-vocational because they are serving in smaller communities or choose not to work inside the traditional church setting. Obviously all of those who are in missionary work within the Assemblies of God have some level of credentialing. Last week I mentioned there are four within our congregation who are at different phases of their credentialing process. This is exciting because our church is growing and our church will continue to grow because we are a missions sending church. I was very encouraged by how well we did in our missions giving; our Speed The Light giving was excellent, nice work Pastor Ben and Empower Student Ministries. Our BGMC giving was down just a little bit, but we were still one of the top 10 churches in the fellowship of our size. Our church attendance I believe will continue to grow because we are a life-giving and sacrificial-giving church. All of the staff who attended can confirm it is the desire of the network to add many more churches, if Jesus tarries, wanting to add a number of churches in all parts of Wisconsin and Northern Michigan. One of the reasons we are involved with adding churches is because we believe this is how we will fulfill the mandate to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Together is Better!