As we gear up to launch our spring evangelism campaign, I can’t help but ponder how different my experience in the Church of God, International is compared to previous churches of God that I associated with. In the past, the emphasis was always on the ministry doing the teaching and evangelism taking place through television and publications. Consequently, the notion of personal evangelism was, initially, uncomfortable.
Our pastor recently took the time in a Bible Study to walk us through the scriptures that show that personal evangelism is required of every Christian. It’s not an option, it’s an obligation.
How CGI is Different
That got me thinking about how different this congregation is to other congregations I’ve associated with. Here, it is made abundantly clear to us that if we have the Holy Spirit, we also have gifts of the Spirit. And we are expected to contribute to the body with those gifts. When I was young in the faith, I was taught that only the ministry have gifts of the Spirit. This teaching runs contrary to the scriptures. God’s people should be an empowered people, led by His Holy Spirit. We should acknowledge the Spirit in one another and highly esteem one another for the unique contribution we all make to the effective functioning of the body. The ministry should be helpers of our joy. They should interact with God’s people from a perspective of deep honour for those who have been purchased with Christ’s blood. They should never seek to dominate God’s people or disenfranchise God’s people.
Ministry Makes the Difference
I feel truly blessed to be in an organization that has a ministry that understands that God’s church is not the organization. It is a spiritual organism made up of individuals who are led by God’s Spirit. And that the ministry are not lords over God’s people, but servants. This is such a profound realization that most of God’s people really don’t understand it. It needs to be experienced to be fully understood. CGI may be one of the few churches of God that gets this. Consequently, I have no reservations inviting friends and family to participate in an organization that aims only to help and never to dominate and disenfranchise.