Leadership Trio to Kick Off Regional Conventions 2020
By Carl Stagner
Whether you’re planning to join us in Anderson, Indiana (June 24–26); or Brooklyn, New York (September 16–18), for the Regional Conventions this year, expect to start things off on the right foot. That’s because the opening session of these 2020 gatherings of the Church of God are slated to feature a diverse trio of tested and trusted leaders of the Movement. Gideon Thompson, Deidre Franklin, and Matt Anderson exemplify The Way of Jesus from Boston to Oklahoma City to Phoenix and beyond.
In 1982, Bishop Gideon A. Thompson founded Jubilee Christian Church, then known as New Covenant. Undergirded by prayer and fueled by Holy Spirit fire, this congregation grew in size and impact, yielding one of the highest average weekend attendance figures ever recorded in the Yearbook of the Church of God. Having passed the baton of leadership at Jubilee to his son Matthew in 2014, Gideon Thompson remains a highly sought-after preacher, teacher, and advisor, garnering an extensive global following. Today he serves on the Ministries Council of the Church of God and is an enthusiastic advocate of the spiritual discipline of prayer.
“Prayer is one of the most powerful, yet underutilized resources available to the body of Christ,” he insists.
Gideon Thompson’s book released in December 2018, Lord, Teach Us to Pray, is far more than a theological statement about prayer; it is a practical guide to the practice of intercession, bolstered by Scripture and a wealth of personal experience. Gideon is convinced that every believer can become a prayer warrior, and desperately wants to see a revival of prayer in the pews of churches across the country and around the world. How more practical can you get, in culture that seems to be spiraling out of control?
Deidre Franklin is well-versed in the cultural craziness that can either cripple the church or compel it ever closer to Christ. Drawing closer to Christ, or spiritual formation and discipleship, is her forte at Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City. As the pastor of women’s ministry and Centered, a curriculum she uses to lead the small groups ministry at the church, Deidre loves “creating meaningful experiences for people to meet with God.” For her, this is especially important in a society fractured by political conflict and confused by shifting cultural standards of ethics and morality.
“As human beings made in the image of God,” she explains, “we are capable of being transformed from one version of ourselves to a better version of ourselves. The Spirit does that through us, but we have to cooperate. Cooperating with the Spirit is what spiritual formation is all about.”
Matt Anderson, lead pastor of McDowell Mountain Community Church in Phoenix, Arizona’s neighboring Scottsdale, also recognizes the distractions and potential pitfalls the church faces today, especially in this politically charged year. “We, the church, often join into cultural wars or arguments that create roadblocks for relationships and ministry,” he reflects. “We are often fighting the wrong battles. We should be the most hospitable people the world encounters, regardless of what they believe about our worldview…. Our world desperately needs to experience a community steeped in grace and marked by love, and I think the church is in a unique position to be that kind of community.”
Gideon Thompson, Deidre Franklin, and Matt Anderson have each expressed how much they look forward to addressing portions of the Church of God movement at this year’s Regionals. Perhaps Matt’s sentiment sums up their collective thoughts: “Our theology is such that it positions us to have an incredible impact on our world today. The message of reconciliation and unity and holiness (Christlikeness) is desperately needed in our divided world. But our practice hasn’t always matched our theology. I want to be a part of rethinking how our local churches can experience and express this distinctive theology. Our Regional Conventions are just one of the tables where we can dive into these important discussions.”
Don’t miss hearing from this trio of leaders in person! Learn more about, and register for, the Regional Conventions 2020 at www.chogconvention.org.