Destination California: Registrants Ready for Renewal as Regional Begins
By Carl Stagner
Welcomed by the sights and sounds of San Francisco, pastors and leaders from up and down the West Coast and beyond have descended upon Destiny Christian Fellowship for the first day of the first Regional Conference of the Church of God this year. Though the official opening of the occasion isn’t until Tuesday evening, registrants aren’t waiting until the last minute to arrive in the Bay Area. Not too far from the host church in Fremont, the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Chinatown are among numerous attractions beckoning travelers to turn their reunion with a portion of the family of God into a full-fledged vacation. Others are participating in various meetings of maximum eternal investment, including a cohort of the Chapter 4 Institute. But whether their stay in California is short or extended, registrants of the Regional Conference are certainly ready for renewal.
Jim Lyon, general director of Church of God Ministries, totally understands the sentiment of those desiring to get the most out of the unique location. “San Francisco is absolutely, like Corinth of old, one of the world’s most strategic intersections—and beautiful, too,” Jim tweeted. “The Ferry Building at the Embarcadero, See’s Candy on Market (yes!), Union Square, and the Bay Bridge. History and future meet here.”
History and future do meet in the Bay Area—not only of civilization, but as investments in future ministry are made, history is in the making. On Sunday, April 24, the influence of Chapter 4 on the present and future of the Church of God continued to spread. Among other activities and presentations, Chapter 4 faculty member Noel Castellanos—who also served as a featured speaker of Convention 2021 in Colorado—encouraged and challenged listeners to embrace and apply the incarnational principles of Isaiah 61 and Luke 4. Church of God Ministries general director Jim Lyon tweeted of the experience, “Totally pumped to jump into the next Chapter 4 Institute (C4) with this crowd, gathering [Sunday night] in San Francisco. They lead ChoG congregations all over the map, from coast to coast and in the middle, too!”
Paul Sheppard, Mark Matlock, Carla Sunberg, and Brian Bennett are among the featured speakers at Fremont. Discussion facilitated by panelists Justin Brown, Abby Craig, Kyle Hayes, Richard Smith, and Nathan Willowby is sure to engage listeners and inspire everyone to live out the truth of our identity in Christ. Identity, after all, is the theme of all three Regional experiences this year; rooted in the Genesis account of creation, the Church of God is reminded again—and will be encouraged to embrace and embody—who we are and whose we are. The accompanying language to the theme, “Because of the I Am, We Are,” continues to pique the interest of Church of God people everywhere, eager to be part of what God is doing in the Movement today.
Surrounded by significant landmarks and spectacular scenery, those who have made the Fremont Regional priority on their schedule are anticipating a great move of God in their midst this week.
For more information, and to register for any of this year’s Regional Conferences of the Church of God, visit www.chogconvention.org.
Feature (top) photo: Iconic San Francisco sights enjoyed this week by Church of God Ministries’ own Mark Fast.