Zion’s Hill 2021: National Association Overcomes by Innovation
By Adrian Powell
The 105th Annual Camp Meeting of the National Association of the Church of God may not have had as many in direct attendance as in past years, due to the pandemic, but was still able to provide the saints with the opportunity for fellowship, praise, instruction, and edification by use of their social media presence.
By utilizing platforms such as Zoom, YouTube, and online streaming the worship and preaching, the services were able to go on and, at the same time, have a feeling of communal atmosphere by way of congregation-wide “watch parties,” as well as families gathering for participation.
There were opportunities, as well, for pastors and ministers to get vital information on how to deal with the new normal for services in this post-pandemic world, with the webinar “Navigating the Virtual Marketplace” on August 7. The panel bringing in information included Izetta Phillips, Mike Reid, Micha Meekins, and Evan and Eric Marquardt.
The central event of any service is the preaching, and the speakers were varied, yet focused on the theme “A Hunger for Jesus, Righteousness, and Justice.”
There was a virtual hymn sing to kick off the meetings live on Zion’s Hill as the West Middlesex Campground is known to those who attend. The worship, led by Rev. Leslie Barnes from Arlington Church of God in Akron, Ohio, focused on heritage songs of the Church of God. It was mentioned by several participants that the Church of God has always been known as a movement that sings our theology.
Technology played a large part in the proceedings for pastors and ministers as the annual pastor’s meeting and the General Assembly proceedings were held by Zoom, as well as the hymn sing.
Wednesday began the preaching with Rev. Audrey Boudreaux of New Hope Community Fellowship in Gambrills, Maryland, as she opened with a powerful message on dealing with the “crisis of belief” in our times, noting that, as the people of God, we have too much to do to be influenced by the things of this world. While we engage in meetings, there are people dying, hurting, and in need of being set free.
Thursday brought the executive director of Christian Women Connection, Dr. Arnetta McNeese Bailey, speaking on how we should long for God because, as St. Augustine is known to have said, “only God can fill the God-shaped vacuum in our hearts.” Christians need to take responsibility to stand in the chaos and choose to always do the right thing.
On Friday, Rev. Matthew Quainoo of Solid Rock Community Church in Kissimmee, Florida, preached on, “The Weevil in the Wheat.” Speaking of the insidious influence of enslavement on both captive and captor, he quoted Carter G. Woodson when he said, “If you control a man’s thinking you don’t have to control his actions.” We need to see the divine connection between how we treat others and how we treat God.
Saturday was a unique opportunity to hear two preachers in the same sermon. as Rev. Dr. Ronald Fowler and his son, Rev. Ronald Fowler II, executive pastor of Arlington Church of God, brought a message on “Living to Please God.” Justice matters because it addresses the second Great Commandment of Jesus. The story of the Samaritan shows that he operated with the audacity to show kindness and compassion, and placed his comfort secondary to that of another.
Sunday’s sermon concluded the week with Dr. Paul Sheppard of Destiny Christian Fellowship of Fremont, California. He was tasked with reminding the hearers that our primary task is to fulfill the role Jesus left for the church; to display his presence here on earth. “We need to show not only who Jesus is but also how good Jesus is.” With the four generations since Baby Boomers have fully secularized, we must go where they go and reach them for Christ by new methods.
Check out this year’s Camp Meeting services archived online on NACOG TV.
Church of God Ministries rejoices with the National Association of the Church of God board of directors as they announced their newest officer, Rev. Dr. Cheryl Sanders, and employee, Rev. Dr. Arnetta McNeese Bailey. The September 3 NACOG newsletter noted, “The tremendous levels of experience, knowledge, and commitment these individuals bring to the NACOG will be a blessing to the work of the Association. Please join us in welcoming these servants of God.”
Adrian Powell is an associate editor with Church of God Ministries and serves as senior pastor of Faith Community Church of God in Grove City, Ohio. He has been published in numerous periodicals, newspapers, and blogs, and has authored two books—The Jubilee Harvest and Resident Aliens: A Living Faith in a Hostile World, available at Amazon.com.
Feature (top) image: A video still of the Camp Meeting choir this year.