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Virtual Conference Designed to Prepare Leaders for Purposeful Impact

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Leadership Development

By Carl Stagner

Summer will be here before you know it, but sometimes a little sunshine for the soul is necessary before a long winter finally comes to a close. Certainly, the Church of God is known for a variety of outstanding conventions, conferences, and camp meetings, but most of them fall on the calendar in the summer months. And, while the first Regional Conference this year is scheduled for the end of April, it’s not soon enough for pastors and leaders needing respite and renewal right now. What began sometime in the early to mid-1950s as a retreat for leadership—and a spiritual filling station on the way to the NACOG Camp Meeting in August—has become its own annual destination for a strong representation of the body of Christ. This year’s Mid-Year Leadership Conference, though virtual, is nonetheless anticipated to be a highlight for leaders everywhere as each devotes a few days at the dawn of March to prepare for purposeful impact.

“Purposeful Impact,” in fact, is the theme of the Mid-Year Leadership Conference, March 1–3, 2022. Pastor Clifton McDowell (Church of God of East New York), who serves as presiding elder for the National Association of the Church of God, sheds some light on the appeal of the focus. “As we are all aware,” he notes, “there is a growing social and political crisis in our nation that has not only affected us all in a personal way, but could potentially threaten to weaken the prophetic voice of the church. I believe, like Hadassah, God has strategically positioned us to be purposeful about our impact for such a time as this.”

With careful consideration and caution in view of the persisting COVID threat, the Mid-Year is scheduled to be online only this year. But the historical tide of the event’s particular strengths of relational connectivity and closeness cannot be stemmed, even in a virtual setting. “The Mid-Year offers a much more intimate setting with an emphasis on equipping pastors, ministers, and lay leaders for more effective ministry,” Pastor McDowell states. “It also allows us the opportunity to fellowship and worship together, while creating a platform to address major national issues of concern.”

Additionally, a “streamlined schedule” for 2022 is intentional and expected to foster maximum participation among online participants.

Rev. Dr. Cheryl Sanders and Rev. Robert Toliver join Rev. McDowell as featured speakers for the event this year, and further increase interest in the 2022 conference. Toliver serves as pastor of Brownsville Church of God in Summerville, North Carolina. Sanders serves not only as the pastor of Third Street Church of God in Washington, DC, but also as vice presiding elder for the National Association of the Church of God. McDowell reflects, “Both Dr. Cheryl Sanders and Rev. Robert Toliver are highly regarded and well-respected persons of great wisdom and insight, both admired and trusted by me and others for their continued commitment to the Lord, to his Word, and to their communities.”

With worship through the arts and the preaching of the Word, as well as a special historical presentation, the Mid-Year Leadership Conference 2022 is gearing up to be an online experience to remember. But it’s not just another event on the calendar that will come and go, Clifton McDowell would argue; it’s a time in the life of God’s church when the Holy Spirit regularly performs a great work in the midst of his people—a work with lasting implications and effect.

“My prayer is that there will be a clear Word from the Lord concerning his desire for the church in this moment in history,” Clifton McDowell concludes. “I also pray that there will be a growing mobilization of leaders, young and old, who are fully committed to becoming more kingdom-minded and purposefully impacting our communities with the gospel, as we continue to face the ongoing crisis in our nation.”

If history is any indicator, and if we truly believe Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday, and forever, we can surely trust Pastor Clifton McDowell’s prayer will be answered in beautiful and blessed fashion.

Learn more and register via the National Association of the Church of God, www.nacog.com/mid_year.

Feature photo: Worship at an in-person Mid-Year Leadership Conference several years ago (file).

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