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From the UPCI General Superintendent

Strategic Growth Initiative

UPCI General Sueprintendent

The General Board is moving forward with the Strategic Growth Initiative. Each district is developing plans for growth, and to date, 40 districts have submitted their plans. The chair of the Strategic Growth Committee is Jack Cunningham, and the secretary is Ken Gurley. At the recent General Board meeting, the committee presented a template for district plans to address four areas:

  1. New Ministers
  2. New Works (preaching points, daughter works, churches)
  3. Helping Local Church to Grow
  4. Helping At-Risk Churches (closing the back door)

In addition, the committee recommended several district strategies: (1) Day of Pentecost rallies in 2020 to establish new works. (2) Emphasis on ministerial ethics. (3) Outreach to independent churches and former UPCI churches who maintain Apostolic identity. If such churches remain isolated, they are at high risk of losing Apostolic identity over time especially during pastoral transitions, but if they can become connected they can increase our base for world missions.

During the General Board meeting, the Holy Spirit moved in a special way during a time of spontaneous prayer and worship. The Lord confirmed His Word to us through Revelation 3:8: “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”

Strategies for Growth
The Strategic Growth Committee recommended that we provide a digital booklet to all ministers and especially district leaders titled Strategies for Growth. It contains the following chapters:

  1. Leading Districts and Ministries
  2. Planning
  3. Growing a District 1: Making the Case for Growth
  4. Growing a District 2: Developing a Culture of Growth
  5. Ministerial Ethics and Transfer of Members
  6. Growing a Church
  7. Attracting, Winning, and Retaining People

This booklet is available as a PDF file at www.upci.org/file/121/Strategies_for_Growth_2019.pdf.

Spanish Evangelism Ministries
The complete ministerial reading curriculum for each level of credentials is now available in Spanish at MinistryCentral.com. It includes 10 books at each of the three levels with two hours of instruction for each topic, for a total of 60 hours. We now have several Spanish-speaking employees at World Headquarters. They can assist with ministerial credentials, book orders, and other needs.

Victory Reports

  • Global Missions. The I Am Global offerings at General Conference and Because of the Times enabled us to shorten the travel of 16 deputizing missionary families on the 2018 I Am Global list, sending them back to their fields. Deputational travel is now an average of 6.6 months instead of one to two years. For the first time, no missionary accounts are in deficit.
  • North American Missions. The General Conference offering of $1 million enabled us to send three new metro missionary families to their fields and possibly a fourth this summer. The Christmas For Christ offering has experienced seven years of annual growth. This year it increased by $448,000 to a record $4.82 million. A total of 65 couples participated in the recent weeklong Launch training for church planters.
  • Youth Ministries. To date, 34,500 have registered for North American Youth Congress, July 31-August 2, St. Louis.
  • Children’s Ministries. To date, 213 have received the Holy Ghost in Save Our Children Rallies and Junior Bible Quizzing Extravaganzas, and 350 teachers have been trained in Central America.
  • Ministers Retirement Fund. This fund now has over $80 million with participation of World Headquarters employees, Global Missionaries, Tupelo Children’s Mansion, Urshan College, Urshan Graduate School of Theology, and 571 churches. These funds are not held by the UPCI but are overseen by the MRF Board with assistance from an investment firm and a third-party administrator. For information go to mrfupci.org or call 855-673-8724 (MRF-UPCI) to speak to a representative who works exclusively with the UPCI.
  • The UPCI Loan Fund now exceeds $50 million and has helped about 160 churches to acquire and expand buildings.

Plans for the Future

  • Center for Apostolic Counseling. The Office of Education and Endorsement and the General Board are recommending this new ministry for endorsement by the General Conference.
  • Apostolic Chamber of Commerce. The Office of Education and Endorsement and the General Board are recommending this new ministry for endorsement by the General Conference.
  • District Constitution. As part of the ongoing, multiyear effort to update the UPCI Manual, the General Board has approved a revised District Constitution to present to the General Conference.
  • Diversity Training. Multicultural Ministries is developing a curriculum for districts and churches. Two preliminary video resources are now available: (1) testimony of Alonzo Terry, an African American leader in the UPCI at https://youtu.be/mHMogom5hiA (2) advice from Alonzo Terry on multiracial ministry at https://ministrycentral.com/course/index.php?categoryid=88.
  • New Converts Course. The Division of Publications is developing a new curriculum for discipleship of new converts.
  • Christian Ministry License. The Division of Publications is enhancing a training track on MinistryCentral.com for ministers commissioned by the local church.
  • Ministers in Development. UPCI Youth Ministries is partnering with the Division of Publications to develop an introductory track for prospective ministers on MinistryCentral.com.

Flooding in the Midwest
Several of our churches and ministers in Nebraska and Iowa have been affected by recent flooding. Reach Out America is helping with assistance. If you would like to contribute go to reachoutamerica.org.

General Conference, “I AM”
Indianapolis, IN, September 24-27, 2019. There is no registration fee. Hotel reservations open at noon (CST) on April 2. For the schedule, go to upcigc.net. Evening Speakers are as follows:

  • Tuesday PM: North American Missions, District Superintendent Wayne Huntley
  • Wednesday PM: Global Missions, To Be Announced
  • Thursday PM: General Superintendent David K. Bernard
  • Friday PM: Evangelist Victor Jackson

 

 

 

 

A Call to Prayer from World Network of Prayer

UPCI General Sueprintendent

UPCI General Superintendent

The 66th annual National Day of Prayer will be commemorated on Thursday, May 4, 2017,with the theme “For Your GREAT Name’s Sake: Hear Us … Forgive Us … Heal Us!” (Matthew 1:23, Daniel 9:19). The Global Day of Prayer will be observed on Sunday, June 4, 2017. All churches are encouraged to promote and participate in these important events. In the midst of global crisis and uncertainty, there is a clarion call from the throne of God to intercede fervently more than ever. Please join us in selective days of corporate prayer and fasting on behalf of our nation and our world between May 4 and June 4. Through our united efforts, we can positively shift the course of humanity and make both a temporal and eternal difference in the kingdom of God!

Strategic Plan for Growth
Last year, at the request of the General Board, I appointed a special committee to study our process for the formation of new districts. After receiving the committee’s report, the General Board decided that instead of simply trying to improve the existing procedure, each district needs to develop a strategic growth plan. Such a plan could include regionalization or multiplication of districts as they grow. A new committee has now begun work on the first step, which is the formation of a standing committee to advise and assist the districts, to be called the Strategic District Growth Committee.
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Over the past decade, the UPCI has established a strong base for growth through restructuring, strengthening financial operations, developing standard policies and procedures, implementing new information technology, acquiring a new world headquarters, increasing participation at every level, enhancing ministerial training, growing the number of ministers, improving communications, developing more resources for churches, launching a church loan fund, and emphasizing the starting of new works. Now we need to build on this base through church planting and church growth. Global Missions has developed strategic plans for each nation. In North America, we are seeing a small increase in the number of churches, but we need to accelerate our growth through strategic planning in each district.
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Revising the Manual
In 2010 a special Restructuring Committee of the General Board solicited a wide range of input and made twelve major recommendations that were adopted by the General Board. Over the past seven years, we have acted on each of them, but one is still a work in progress: namely, revising the UPCI Manual. To date, we have added the General Board Policies section; added to the Position Papers; revised several articles of the General Constitution relating to Education, Media, and Publications, and adopted the new names of Global Missions and North American Missions.
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This year, the General Sunday School Division and the General Youth Division are proposing significant revisions to their articles of the General Constitution. The purpose of these revisions is to conform the language to current operations, eliminate outdated provisions, clear up ambiguities, move operational details to separate policies, and implement a few recommendations. The General Board mandated this process of revision and approved the consideration of the two revised policies, but the respective general committees will submit them directly to the Resolutions Committee for presentation to the General Conference. The most significant changes are that the General Sunday School Committee proposes the new name of Children’s Ministries and the General Youth Committee proposes the new name of Youth Ministries. These changes will help each ministry focus on its distinctive mission.
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Required Reading for Ministerial Applicants
Another of the twelve recommendations of the Restructuring Committee was to strengthen our ministerial training. In response, a Ministerial Training Committee worked on a plan that was adopted by the General Board. The General Board revised the list of books to be read, added video instruction for each book, and implemented a more robust testing program. The most significant change is that for the first time every book on the required reading list has been written by a UPCI author and published by the UPCI. For example, the Division of Publications has produced the Apostolic Handbook Series of eight books covering the entire Bible to replace books by Trinitarian non-Pentecostals. The required books and videos are available at MinistryCentral.com.
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The educational plan for ministerial credentials remains the same. (See General Constitution, Article VI, Section 2, Paragraph 9.) There are still two ways to qualify: (1) Attend one year of Bible college, read the Bible, read the Manual, and complete any additional training required by the district. (2) Complete the required reading list (which includes accompanying videos), read the Bible, read the Manual, and complete any additional training required by the district. Some districts have approved certain training programs. For a training program to fulfill the requirements, it must include the required books, but live instruction on the books can replace the video instruction.
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Accountability in Our Operations
It is important for everyone to be accountable, and even the highest leaders must be accountable to one another and to the general body. Every year we present an annual report to the General Conference, which is available to all ministers online. It includes reports from the general superintendent and general secretary (which are also given orally), audited financial statements, detailed financial schedules, and reports from every division.
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As general superintendent, I report to the General Board, which meets twice a year, and the Executive Board, which meets three times a year. These boards typically make decisions through discussion, consensus, and voice vote, with secret ballots as requested. Periodically, I ask the General Board for verbal and written evaluations of our operations. Each year, I update the board on work accomplished and work in progress. Over the past several years, we have particularly worked on twelve plans for restructuring adopted by the General Board in 2010 and five priorities adopted at the biennial planning meeting of division heads in 2013. Among these were the elimination of the 4% surcharge on all offerings and the acquisition of a new headquarters building.
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Financial accountability is provided by various types of oversight: general superintendent (whom the Constitution designates as the “general overseer and general manager of all divisions”), general secretary-treasurer, chief administrative officer, chief accountant, Finance Committee (composed of divisional representatives), Budget Committee (composed of General Board members), and external auditors. The chief accountant submits monthly financial statements to the Budget Committee and the Executive Committee (top four officials). The Budget Committee meets four times a year, reviews all major financial decisions, receives detailed reports from every division and ministry including Church Administration, approves budgets for the upcoming year, and reports to the General Board.
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All operations of World Headquarters are governed by the UPCI Manual, the Executive Policies and Procedures Manual (adopted by the Executive Board), and the Employee Policies and Procedures Manual (adopted by Division Heads). These documents provide spiritual, legal, financial, and operational accountability for each executive and employee.
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Sincerely in Christ,
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David K. Bernard
UPCI General Superintendent
UPCI General Superintendent

UPCI General Superintendent


September 16, 2015

Response To Supreme Court Decision Redefining Marriage

By a vote of 5 to 4 the United States Supreme Court has ruled that fifty states must grant marriage licenses to two people of the same sex. How should Christians respond?

Continue to uphold God’s Word. In God’s plan marriage is the union of one man and one woman who make a lifelong commitment. This definition of marriage is foundational in God’s creative purpose  and moral code for human race ( Genesis 1:27; 2:24). Jesus Himself taught this truth (Matthew 19:3-9). Moreover, God designed the sexual relationship only for such a marriage. Thus, the Bible teaches that adultery, fornication, and homosexual conduct are wrong. (See Mark 7:21-23; Romans 1:21-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.)

Proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ did not come into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17). God came in Christ to reconcile the world to Himself. Likewise, our mission is not condemnation but reconciliation; we implore everyone to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). We proclaim the good news that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again to bring us salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). When people believe and obey this message, they repent of sin, are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38-39). This new birth brings deliverance and transformation so that, regardless of our past, all of us can grow in grace, walk in holiness, and fulfill God’s plan for our lives (1 Corinthians 6:11).

Continue to affirm the worth and dignity of every human being. God has created all of us in His image, and Jesus Christ died for all. We should treat people with respect and kindness even when we disagree with their behavior or lifestyle. We should recognize everyone’s civil rights while realizing that, as the Declaration of Independence states, true human rights come from our Creator and not from government. Our refusal to redefine marriage has nothing to do with bigotry or hatred. We recognize that God has given people freedom of choice and that some activities are legal but not permissible for Christians. In these cases, we disagree with those who do not share our faith. As Paul instructed, we should should speak the truth in love, and we should use wisdom and gracious speech in discussing matters such as these with unbelievers ( Ephesians 4:15; Colossians 4:5-6).

Defend the freedoms of speech, press, association, and religion. These freedoms will likely come under attack by those who wish to silence all opposition, and thus we need to participate in the political and legal process to uphold them. It is not “hate speech” for Christians to preach and teach about sin and righteousness. We mus vigorously oppose all attempts to compel Christian Institutions such as churches, schools, adoption agencies, and couseling services to endorse same-sex marriage. Likewise, we must oppose and attempt to take away their tax-exempt status because of their religious beliefs in this matter.

Pray for our nation and our world. God is still in control, and our hope is in Him. Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound (Romans 5:20). When Paul encountered opposition, he asked the church to pray for an open door for him to speak the word clearly (Colossians 4:3-4). When the apostolic church experienced persecution, they prayed for boldness to speak the word and for signs and wonders in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:29-30). In these last days, God has promised to pour out His Spirit upon all flesh (Acts 2:17-18). Let’s pray for apostolic, end-time revival!

Sincerely in Christ,

 

David K. Bernard
UPCI General Superintendent