Electives and Extras Enhance and Extend Convention 2023 Appeal
By Carl Stagner
The first main session of the Church of God Convention and General Assembly doesn’t start until the evening of Thursday, June 22, yet Church of God people have made arrangements to arrive early, and it’s no wonder. Not only are Tampa-bound travelers eager to descend upon the Sunshine State for family fun and festivities surrounding the seminal biennial event of the Movement, but many are also drawn to a uniquely broad and practical array of conferences and workshops this year—dubbed “electives and extras.” From soul care to church health, from credentialing and administration to the topically international and more, Convention 2023 electives and extras truly contain something for everyone.
No doubt about it—Eugene Cho, Jeremy Patzer, Jo Saxton, John Michael Hinton, Mark Jackson, Nathan Leasure, Rod Stafford, Samuel George, and Walter Kim combine for a lineup of speakers and special guests both eclectic and electric. Five of the nine speakers come from within the Church of God, bringing with them a love for the Lord and our movement. The other four also love the Lord and the Church of God, bringing with them fresh, much-needed outside perspective, insight, and encouragement as we cheer one another in the larger body of Christ on toward the goal of bringing the kingdom to life on earth as it is in heaven. Yet, with all the pulpit appeal this year, it’s clear to Convention-goers across the board that something special is stirring in the Tampa Convention Center hallways, and it all culminates bright and early on Thursday, June 22.
Part of the fresh interest in this year’s schedule of electives and extras is the color-coded fashion by which it’s organized. On the Convention website—and in the program book you’ll receive upon check-in—guests will notice bright and bold colors and symbols to help the eye quickly identify seminars and workshops that fall into several particular categories. This year’s categories are prayer, credentialing and administration, soul care, church health, chaplaincy, international, updates & resources, and youth ministries. Conference descriptions are available online and in the program book, but some of the provocative elective titles include “Equipping and Empowering Assemblies in Credentialing Challenges,” “New Wineskin: Church Strategies that Work,” “Redefining Success in Ministry—A Small Church Perspective,” “Conflict Resolution Strategies for Pastors,” “Six Ways to Greatly Improve Your Marriage,” and “Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”
Though some of these special events might be better described as “extras,” they are certainly no less essential to the overall spiritual potency of a Convention like this one’s shaping up to be in Tampa. For instance, a 5K “fun-run” is sponsored by Global Strategy and will benefit the work of Disaster Relief. Live podcast recordings are in the final planning stages. A Town Hall will feature opportunities to “go ahead and ask anything” of Church of God Ministries general director, Jim Lyon. Numerous receptions and meal-time meetings are also on the schedule this year; the fact that some reached capacity weeks ago indicate interest is high.
Will you join us for the Convention Prayer Gathering to cover Convention 2023 in vital intercession and petition? Gary Kendall leads the event at 8 in the morning on Thursday, June 22. Is your soul weary and worn from the ministry journey you’re on? Plan on attending “Healthy Pastors in Struggling Times,” at 10:00 in the morning on Thursday, June 22. Are you curious about the role and function of the new Atlas technology available to the Church of God movement? Then plan on attending a conference all about Atlas at 9 in the morning on Friday, June 23. These are but a sample of the wide range and remarkable number of electives and extras Church of God pastors and lay leaders are planning on attending.
And they’re not waiting until Thursday evening’s opening worship service to commence!
“He’s got the whole world in his hands.” What an encouraging reality! Be inspired by it, be challenged by it, and experience it firsthand at Convention 2023 and General Assembly, June 22–25 in Tampa, Florida. Learn more and register at www.chogconvention.org.
Feature (top) photo: Pre-Convention 2021 prayer gathering in Denver, Colorado.