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The problem is NOT centralized government...
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Post The problem is NOT centralized government... MartyBaker79
Here's my thoughts today .... I don't think that the problem with the Church of God is centralized government. I realize that many guys on this board think so, but today I don't think that's the problem.

What's the problem? The inability to communicate a vision that will captivate the member's attention and unify the efforts of the movement.

No Vision = Stagnant growth + Poor Financial resources.

What's the solution? Raymond Culpepper and Mark Williams.

Seriously, Dr. Culpepper stepped into the office and called us to reach the lost. He gets it. It's about LOST people.

Remember ... it's vision that will motivate people to do the work and give the resources.

Communicate passionate vision for lost people and your church will grow.

-- Marty
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9/3/09 12:11 pm


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Post Memory03
great post Marty...
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9/3/09 12:13 pm


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Post Classical Pentecostal
Thank you, Marty! Acts Enthusiast
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9/3/09 12:44 pm


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Post Phillip Johnson
An organization that consumes resources, consolidates power, resists change, and ignores its highest authority is not an organization with a communication problem, IMO. I do agree that communicating vision is right there among the most important things the COG needs to do. But as long as a our system and the men who run it insist on preserving the current way we do business and blatantly ignore various mandates of the general assembly, vision communication is not paramount. What is the purpose of the COG denomination? Communicate vision for the lost (saying) while preserving top heavy admistration (doing) gives mixed signals. It's like I am being sold a ocean front property in te Midwest. We need congruency in word and deed. That does not seem to be happening, to me.

Then again, I am just a member, as one of the acts posters puts it.
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9/3/09 1:26 pm


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Post Classical Pentecostal
Phillip Johnson wrote:
Then again, I am just a member, as one of the acts posters puts it.


Excellent observation, Phillip.
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9/3/09 1:31 pm


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Post sheepdogandy
Power corrupts.

Absolute power corrupts absolutley.

It's not the people, it's the system.

If I were the GO, it would corrupt me. Embarassed
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9/3/09 2:59 pm


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Post Agree to a point Tracy S Hamilton
I don't think the centralized government is the root of the problem, but it is a part of the problem. If we had a centralized government whose focus was the great commission and partnering and facilitating churches to reach the harvest, then most on the board would probably not have a problem with a central government.

It is absolutely right that where there is no vision, people die. And with each General Assembly, we get another vision. Vision has to be long term in order to be effective in my opinion. Everything should center around a common vision and the men that God has called to the local church as pastors to reach our communities.

The purpose of International headquarters and State headquarters should be, in my opinion, to facilitate the local church in that common vision and reaching our communities and the world.

But somehow it seems as if the system for some time has been the other way around. It has been about how the local church can grow International headquarters and state headquarters. Just take a look at how much "stuff" is sent to us that is really not relevant to the local church.

But I do believe that most people would rally around a common vision with the encouragement to churches to be the church that God has called each local church to be as we reach out to our communities. If our centralized government took that approach, I think most would not have a problem.

Tracy
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9/3/09 3:42 pm


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Post The Irony of it All mytwocents
Most of these points were brought to light with the INJOY report. Yet, we refused to adjust or accept the recommendations. And once again I say, the enemy is us. Acts-celerater
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9/3/09 3:58 pm


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Post Watch your church crumble James Burke
IMO pastors would be out raged, if there congregation did what they are doing to their leadership.
They are true leaders do as I say not as I do.
If they donít like what is going on why donít they pack their bags and go home? Oh I can answer my own question. They donít have the support to pack their bags and leave.
Without the COG they have no backing, any help or brand recognition. So instead of stepping up and doing what they claim to believe. They would rather anonymously use a name and complain. Or complain to other pastors.
If these guys left the church there are pastors that would step in and not miss a beat.
So complain and sow discord and spread rumors because you will reap what you sow it all comes full circle.
Watch your church crumble.
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9/3/09 4:07 pm


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Post sheepdogandy
We left the Church of God twenty years ago.

Our church is doing fine. Very Happy
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9/3/09 4:39 pm


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Post Re: Watch your church crumble Phillip Johnson
James Burke wrote:
IMO pastors would be out raged, if there congregation did what they are doing to their leadership.
They are true leaders do as I say not as I do.
If they donít like what is going on why donít they pack their bags and go home? Oh I can answer my own question. They donít have the support to pack their bags and leave.
Without the COG they have no backing, any help or brand recognition. So instead of stepping up and doing what they claim to believe. They would rather anonymously use a name and complain. Or complain to other pastors.
If these guys left the church there are pastors that would step in and not miss a beat.
So complain and sow discord and spread rumors because you will reap what you sow it all comes full circle.
Watch your church crumble.


James, so in other words, "Know your role and..." you know the rest. If something is wrong, just go along and don't upset the cart. Laughing

I have a problem when it appears the system is more important than the purpose. It's the same thing that has been going on in our government for years. It is even more important to correct it in the church than in our government.
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9/3/09 4:50 pm


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Post Centralized Government Was The Problem In The Soviet Union Alan Wagoner
Three quarters of a century of centralized government failed to work in the former Soviet Union. The central government owned all the property and controlled all the jobs and productivity bottomed out.

The people lost their incentive to work and the result was a failed state.

A little more than a century of centralized government has done much the same for the Church of God. No local church can own its own property and really don't have the right to appoint their own pastor. Although a preference ballot can be taken at times, the Overseer still has the right to appoint anyone he desires.

If an Overseer wants to remove a pastor he can do that. If he wants to sell the church property and use the money somewhere else he can do that. In fact that is done more often than one would think.

We have frustrated churches because they do not have the power to get rid of a nonproductive pastor nor the power to select one that they know is productive. They must take one that is already in the system.

We have complacent pastors because once they get into the system and have a church, they pretty much will be taken care of no matter how unproductive they may be. They know if they fail at one church they will be given another. We have some pastors who have killed every church they have ever had and are in the process of killing another.

At the state level Overseers are appointed based on their relationship to the Executive Committee not on their relationship with the men in that state. Although there is a preference ballot, it really means next to nothing. Some Overseers have lost their vote and been sent right back to the same state. Others have won their vote and left off the overseer list altogether. We have frustrated ministers because of the lack of ownership.

In a decentralized system, local churches have the power to choose their own pastor from the ranks of ministers in that organization. In order for a pastor to be chosen he must have something on the ball. There must have been real preparation for the ministry that can be productive in that local church or he would not have been chosen.

If chosen, there is a powerful incentive to work and to succeed. He will have to have more than 52 good sermons. He will have to be nice to the people and even go so far as to love his people. I once heard Raymond Crowley say there are basically two qualifications for success in the pastorate; preach the word and love people.

We have many pastors that do neither because they know the system will take care of them.

If that local pastor has been chosen by the church, he will study and have something from God when he gets in the pulpit. He will develop a relationship with those people and the result will be church growth. Where there is church growth there will be longer term pastorates. Where there are longer term pastorates there will be a stronger denomination.

For over a hundred years we have acted like centralized government is somehow sacred and scriptural. It is neither! You cannot find our system in the New Testament.
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9/3/09 5:31 pm


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Post Re: Centralized Government Was The Problem In The Soviet Uni Phillip Johnson
Alan Wagoner wrote:

For over a hundred years we have acted like centralized government is somehow sacred and scriptural. It is neither! You cannot find our system in the New Testament.


Alan, that is a topic that could stand on its own. We like to call it accountability or umbrella and act as if we (COG) have a corner on those two things.
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9/3/09 6:04 pm


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Post Be submissive to leadership James Burke
So if the COG did not own the property if the pastor did not like something he could just get the church to leave the denomination but without the COG they would not get the loan.
Again the pastors that are complaining like the benefits, but donít want to answer to authority, or paying tithe.
Now what would happen if the members took the same attitude your local church would die. So what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

When it comes to respecting those above you in Christ it is Biblical.
But so is paying your tithe but we all know that. So practice what you preach. Be submissive to leadership, it is ok to question. But anarchy is not of God.
People that complain are people that have not or whatever you want to call it. Some people are meant to be pastors, some are meant to be in leadership. So instead of following leadership, you are too busy scrutinizing everything they do or say or listen to what other people warp or miss quote them saying.
By this happening you create a group of people that are reluctant to make a move because they are scared what you all may say.
So I believe the largest part of the problem lies with the few pastors who think they now it all and feel they are entitled to not having to answer to anyone. If you are offended by this than it is meant for you.
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9/3/09 9:39 pm


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Post It is easy to agree with Alan and james, But Cojak
Until we came up with professional Ďadministratorsí. Things were a little different.
Our federal government at one time was more efficient than it is today because the professional politician had not been discovered. The farmer or business man served his government then returned to his business. Likewise Our leaders (overall) early on, served as administrators for 4-8 years then returned to pastoring. Once we discovered the professional administrator. We started downhill. They began to think about re-election. Now to be honest it is hard not to give your buddy the break. So leaders do it. The buddy gets a break so he politics to keep Bro. Whats his name in power. It is good to know the assistant or the General by his first name, It pays off.
Seems to me it will take at least 20 years to reclaim the executive offices by men who have a passion for souls, not their own re election. Problem is, these guys will be so good, they will be re elected and re elected until they have another good old boy net work of the emmergents or missionals, or what ever buzz word is next. Maybe it is their time.
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9/3/09 10:42 pm


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Post How do we know? KevinWallace
How do we know Marty isn't right? (I personally believe his thesis is accurate). But how can we know for sure? Do we know what apostolic vision is? Do we know what a shared vision looks like? Every 4 years we get a new vision without having an opportunity to properly implement, alter or even celebrate the vision achievements of previous leadership.

Perhaps I should ask it like this...Who are the Spiritual Fathers in the COG. What deposit have we recieved from these godly men or better yet what significant deposit have we allowed them to make. Do we let them make any deposit? Have we not stifled vision with our own insecurities and controlling mechanisms. We give Spiritual leaders their chance. They preach enough places, get enough votes and climb the ladder. They get to the place of influence and in 4 years we pull them down, create a job for them and do it all over again????

We need visionary leadership. We need a shared vision to be implemented by persons who can be trusted and those who are tactfully transitional. It is odd to me that 98% of all of us can identify certain issues that need to be changed. But why is it that we can't get it turned in a different direction. Because we are facilitating by our insecurity what we are frustrated about. We shoot ourself in the foot, but we do it over and over and over again. We don't trust. There are plenty of historical reasons why some don't trust. Trust me I know we have been introduced to plenty of reasons not to trust. However, I believe that God is raising up men of credibility and integrity who will demand by their commitment and sacrificial example, loyalty and followership from those of us who follow. Until that happens, we stand on one side of the proverbial shore looking across the great divide into the mecca we call cleveland, and the broken bridge we call trust is left untravelled. Thus we throw stones from the shore at the system, at the positions, at the hierarchy.

Oh that the bridge of trust be rebuilt! (One note here...This trust issue took decades to be born, it will not be healed with a financial report telling what the Presiding Bishop makes or what kind of seat he sat in in a jet. I personally hope we fly him first class in the sleeper section...he deserves it.) It will be healed when the leader believes that there is a problem with trust and he makes it part of his vision to see it healed...Thank you Dr. Culpepper.

Finally, I have no problem being a part of a centralized government. If I did I would find one of the 1000 other movements who are not centralized in goverment before I exhausted my energy and resources on trying to change that. However, I do think there are elements of our church that need specific overhaul and transformation. Briefly (yeah right) we need to lengthen tenures (or at least increase the possibility). We need to alleviate the tithe of tithe for church plants for at least 5 years. We need to create intentional mentoring relationships and restore the scriptural mandate for Spiritual fathers to birth sons. We need to sell dead or those who satisified to be dying churches, invest there revenue in building plants and strategic outreaches. We need to appoint natives to be overseers of mission areas so that those who are leading are those who know the unique culture and regional idiosyncrasies that make such enormous differences.


Shalom
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9/4/09 12:49 am


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Post sheepdogandy
A dictatorship. Laughing

A so called government in which the local congregation has no, zero, nada, power or authority to determine their own destiny.

In the Church of God it is manifest by the absolute power of the State Overseers.

They rule until overruled by the GO.

Roman Catholicism = Pope
Bishop
Priest

Church of God = General Overseer
State Overseer
Pastor

Same game with different names.
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9/4/09 6:46 am


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Post This pretty much defines what we have L COGLite
A centralized government is the form of government in which power is concentrated in a central authority to which local governments are subject.

http://www.babylon.com/definition/centralized_government/English
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9/4/09 7:30 am


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Post More Irony mytwocents
While we bash our centralized government one must ask what alternatives are seeing success?

The non centralized Southern Baptist Denomination is in sharp decline; The AOG is stagnant; A few, and I emphasize few, independent churches are growing, but independents usually don't survive when the visionary founder retires or steps aside.

So, for all its faults (and it has many) the COG is seeing growth both in the US and abroad.

Kind of ironic huh?
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9/4/09 7:35 am


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Post Spiritual Fathers Tracy S Hamilton
Kevin, I agree that one thing that has severely lacked in the COG is Father - Son relationships in ministry.

But I don't think that we can say... "who are the spiritual fathers in our denomination?" I don't think it works that way. Someone cannot be a Father to you that you don't have close personal relationship with.

In an organization, I believe that we have leaders among us such as our General Officials that are good men. But are they Fathers to us. I would say no.

The reason is because I don't have a personal relationship with them. I don't call them, they don't call me. We don't know each other. We might be impacted by their ministry, but they are not Fathers. A Father spends time with a son. He talks to his son. If you are a father in the natural, think of that relationship that you have with your son or daughter. You are mentoring them in life and in other ways. That is how ministry Fathering should be.

How can someone be a father to you that you have never talked to or that you have never spent time with or that doesn't invest personally into your life and ministry. If we don't have each other's cell phone numbers and get together on a regular basis.... they cannot be a father.

I've heard people say.... "Kenneth Hagin is my spiritual father!" or "Ray Hughes is my spiritual father!" I think it is rather amusing. Kenneth Hagin and Ray Hughes don't know who these people are. They don't get together at each other's home. They don't have each other's cell phone numbers or exchange Christmas cards.

I think that Marty is a spiritual father to his staff. He invests time, resources, his life, fellowship into those around him. That is what we need more of in my opinion.

Tracy


Last edited by Tracy S Hamilton on 9/4/09 12:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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