Bishop RE Howard, General Overseer - Church of God of Prophecy

Bishop RE Howard, General Overseer - Church of God of Prophecy

. . . our vision

calls us to aim

for the “Young

Harvest” to

impact our


2 WWM APRIL 2010

Bishop R. E. Howard, General Overseer

Catching the Little Ones

Recently, I was privileged to hear Sharon Daugherty speak. She was the wife of

Billy Joe Daugherty, founder and pastor of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Since her husband’s death, Sharon has become the Senior Pastor and shares a vibrant

word of hope, faith, and vision. The entire journey of Victory Christian Center has been

a testimony to just those virtues.

Pastor Daugherty asked a friend visiting him once, “Do you catch many big fish

when you fish?” The friend thought about his fishing experiences and realized that he

had caught few large fish in comparison to catching many small fish. Pastor Daugherty

shared that as they had grown the ministry of the church there, he had learned the

same lesson. It had seemed hard to catch big fish, but God had given them little fish

often and in abundance through their ministry. He was speaking of reaching out to

the children of their communities.

Pastor Daugherty went on to say that one of the most significant and enduring

visions of his church through the years had been to reach out to children. Sharon

Daugherty elaborated that they had for years gone to the neighborhoods of Tulsa,

even areas most would not want to go. They had used many different strategies over

time to touch the lives of children and to impact them and their families for eternity.

Today their commitment to reach children beyond their church has flourished into a

development of many acres dedicated to community outreach, serving the poor, and

touching the lives of these little fish.

I will never forget going fishing with my uncle in Wyoming when I was quite young.

He was an excellent veteran fisherman who made his own lures and enjoyed all kinds

of game fishing. As he took me on this outing, he rigged my line, knowing that there

were small, insignificant fish in these waters that hindered him from catching the “big

ones” he aimed to bag. My job was to reel in as many of the small ones as possible

while he went for the prize fish.

I cannot recall what success he had that day. But what I will never forget was the

thrill I had reeling in fish after fish as long as we were there. Each one was a big game

fish for me, and the thrill was so intense that the adventure is branded in my memory

for life.

Perhaps, our ministries may be tempted to emulate the big game strategy at times,

going for the “big ones,” when God is sending abundant opportunities to reach the

small ones in mass. Perhaps, our gauge of success and our sense of thrill should be

calibrated again toward the excitement of catching many of these small ones and

watching them develop into a “prize catch” for eternity and the Kingdom. The words

of Christ still ring out: “Suffer the little children to come unto me . . .” (Mark 10:14),

and our vision calls us to aim for the “Young Harvest” to impact our communities.


April 2010 • Volume 86, Number 9


2 Facing Forward: Catching the Little Ones

by R. E. Howard


4 Center Stage: A Look at Postmodern Kids

by Abigail Spears Velázquez

6 Redesigning the Set: What the Church Must Do to

Engage Kids in Christ-Centered Living by Kathy Creasy

1 0 Act I: Helping Kids KNOW God’s Word

by Sandy Knowles and Kathy Creasy

1 2 Act II: Tools That Will Equip Kids to LIVE Out Their Faith

by Karrie Endecott and Kathy Creasy

1 4 Act III: It’s Their SERVE by Melissa Minter

1 6 Raising Christ-Centered Kids by Jill Carnuccio

1 8 Where Are the Elis? Nurturing the Spiritual Gifts of

Children by R. Lee Creasy

2 0 Center Stage: One Day Training Intensive Brochure


2 1 Global Outreach: Focusing Children’s Hearts

Toward Missions

2 2 Stewardship Ministries: Tithing Begins at

Home Hopefully

2 3 Tomlinson Center Brochure

2 4 Youth Ministries: Youth Harvest Training • Omega

Conference 2010 • Missions Project 2010

2 7 Women’s Ministries: Assembly Mission Breakfast


2 8 Inspirational: The Courtroom Became a Church

by Arleta Lefler


3 0 Local Church News: First Deaconess for the State of Georgia

• Testimonies • In His Presence • New Churches

Executive Editor/Publisher

Finance and Publications Director

Managing Editor

Copy Editor

Editorial Assistant/Marketing Coordinator

Graphic Artists

International Office


R. E. Howard

Benjamin Feliz

Virginia Chatham

Elizabeth Witt

Todd Bagley

Perry Horner and Joann Nope

(423) 559-5100

(423) 559-5114

White Wing Messenger (ISSN 0043-5007) (USPS 683-020) is published monthly as the official publication of the

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POSTMASTER: Send address changes to White Wing Messenger, PO Box 2910, Cleveland, TN 37320-2910.

Messenger Moments

Virginia Chatham, Managing Editor

Helping Kids Live Christ-Centered Lives

This issue of the White Wing Messenger is dedicated to

Children’s Ministries, and we extend our thanks to Children’s

Ministries International Director Kathy Creasy for her contribution

and oversight as she launches a new directive for the ministry

of children.

In the first article, “Center Stage: A Look at Postmodern

Kids,” writer Abigail Spears Velázquez states, “The generation

of children who sit in our churches today were born into a

postmodern world, and whether we associate postmodern with

negative or positive connotations, we cannot ignore the shift in

our culture.” Next, Kathy Creasy, in her article, “Redesigning the

Set: What the Church Must Do to Engage Kids in Christ-Centered

Living,” writes that now is the time to redesign ministry to

disciple and equip children to live for Christ. She continues that

“nurturing Christ-Centered kids is God’s will, and He has

provided all the necessary equipments—prayer, relationships

within His body, and content of God’s Word.”

In “Act I: Helping Kids KNOW God’s Word,” Sandy Knowles

and Kathy Creasy write that “Christ-centered living requires

our children to know God’s Word in such a way that its truths

affect everything they do. . . .” Then, in “Act II: Tools That Equip

Kids to LIVE Out Their Faith,” Karrie Endecott and Kathy Creasy

acknowledge that “as our children grow in their knowledge of

God, they must live out their faith in Him every day” and make

several suggestions as to ways to teach children about faith.

In “Act III: It’s Their Serve,” Melissa Minter suggests that

children must meet “the God of the Bible for themselves and

experience Him on a daily basis, God will just be another fairy

tale to abandon when they become adults.”

The remaining feature children’s articles focus on nurturing,

training, and equipping our children for the future.

Please submit all material to the White Wing Messenger;

Managing Editor; P. O. Box 2910; Cleveland, TN 37320-2910;

phone (423) 559-5128; e-mail us at

Bringing honor to the WORD by the printed word, the

White Wing Messenger strives to inspire Christian thought and

practice as it imparts the “good news” of the Gospel while

serving the connectivity needs of our church community.

The White Wing Messenger is the official

publication of the Church of God of Prophecy.

White Wing Messenger Editorial Board

Londa Richardson, Chair

Daniel Chatham Cervin McKinnon

Perry Horner Tapio Sätilä

Shaun McKinley Adrian Varlack

WWM APRIL 2010 3

Recently there has been a lot of buzz

about Apple’s new product, the iPad. As

a book lover, I was initially interested in

such a gadget whose primary purpose

is to allow the owner access to literature

of all kinds, electronically, in the form

of “eBooks.” But when Steve Jobs, CEO

of Apple, unveiled the iPad, I became

the product’s biggest critic. He raved

about the various applications of the

iPad, searched for sushi on Google

maps, and showed a live baseball game

4 WWM APRIL 2010

being played. It became evident that

the biggest selling point for this product

is not the fact that it stores thousands of

eBooks, but that one can, for $29.99 a

month, have unlimited Internet access

and check Facebook as often as he or

she would like.

In the past 15 or so years, churches

have approached children’s ministry in

the same manner. We try to dazzle the

customers (parents) with our awardwinning

pageants, high-tech children’s

by Abigail Spears Velázquez

chapels, great prize-give-aways, and, of

course, the promise that the child will

be entertained while the parent(s) sit in

real church—all under the pretext

of ministry.

Our statements of purpose claim

that children’s ministers are dedicated

to winning kids for Christ and nurturing

them in their faith (and I do not doubt

the sincerity of children’s ministers),

but more often than not, a children’s

pastor is hired based on his or her

ability to attract the crowds with their

spectacular light shows on Sunday

mornings and Wednesday evenings.

The church is caught trying to be

culturally relevant but fails to see the

real changes in culture that run much

deeper than technology.

These cultural changes that are taking

place are happening slowly, but they

are inevitable. We are living in what

sociologists call the postmodern era,

or rather, we are living after the era of

modernity. The generation of children

and youth who sit in our churches

today were born into a postmodern

world, and whether we associate

postmodern with negative or positive

connotations, we cannot ignore the

shift in our culture.

What exactly is meant by the word

postmodern? Ivy Beckwith, in her book

Postmodern Children’s Ministry, gives

this explanation: “Postmoderns believe

that reality or truth is always subjective.

One’s reality or truth grows out of one’s

perspective and life experiences. It is

not imposed from the outside.”* To a

Christian, that may sound quite scary.

But let’s take a moment to analyze

what this means and how it affects the

way that children are taught to think

in this day and age before we come to

any conclusions about whether we like

postmodernism or not.

Postmodern thinking and philosophy,

the idea that the truth is what one

experiences, is something that has

permeated the way society thinks and

operates, though many rationalists (or

moderns) have tried to reject it and

show its folly in that there is absolute

truth we can hold onto and proclaim.

This comes from both Christians and

non-Christians alike who are afraid

of confronting the postmodern way

of thinking.

So what does all of this have to

do with children’s ministry? The key

is in experience. Truth is found in

experience. Children are looking to

experience God, and I am not talking

about a spiritual experience, though

that is important. While I do not want

to undermine the faith of a child or the

power of God to move upon a child

in a supernatural way, it is important

to understand that these spiritual

experiences end up having a disconnect

in the child’s heart once he or she

becomes an adolescent or young adult.

Children are seeking to put faith into

action. From what I understand in Acts,

the purpose of the Baptism of the Holy

Spirit was so that one could go out in

the power of Jesus to do great things

for the Kingdom of God. We have not

communicated this to our children nor

have we demonstrated this effectively.

A postmodern can only be taught

God’s love through a concrete

experience. A child who is seven years

old does not need to be told what not

to do, but needs to be shown what to

do. When a postmodern child sees a

family, who does not believe in Christ,

treating each other with more kindness

than his or her own family, he or she

will begin to wonder if Christianity is the

only option out there. If a child can be

taught what is right by demonstration,

the chance is greater that he or she will

continue to serve God throughout his or

her lifetime.

Postmodern children are also looking

for a community of believers. Too many

times we have stressed a personal

relationship with Jesus Christ to our

children, telling them to pray and read

the Bible for themselves so that they

can understand what God is speaking

to them. Remember, a postmodern

needs truth through experience. A child

of postmodernity cannot understand

God’s Holy Word without a community

to instruct, guide, and correct when

in error.

Children are intelligent. They are

capable. But they are vulnerable and

need a community to support them,

love them, and let them know that

if they mess up, the community will

embrace them. If the community does

not embrace their mistakes and forgive

as Christ teaches, they will just as easily

find another community who accepts

them as they are.

Our church can effectively witness,

disciple, and teach the Gospel of Christ

to postmodern kids in several ways:

first, by demonstrating God’s love and

the power of the Spirit and not just

talking about these issues; second, by

offering a community that will love and

nurture them unconditionally; and third,

by validating a child’s experience as a

young Christian capable of witnessing

God’s love through the power of the

Holy Spirit that leads to action.

A postmodern

can only be

taught God’s

love through

a concrete


As a church, we must confront

the cultural challenges and offer

experiences that are real and concrete.

Children aren’t impressed by our

technology and cultural relevance. They

are impressed by men and women who

will teach them that there is truth and

relevance in Jesus Christ and who will

allow them to take an active part in

God’s Kingdom.


*Ivy Beckwith, Postmodern Children’s Ministry,

Ministry to Children in the 21 st Century

(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004).

Abigail Spears Velázquez

is a senior at Princeton

Theological Seminary in

New Jersey and will finish

in May with an M.Div. She

is currently pursuing a

ministerial license in the COGOP and would

one day very soon love to be involved in fulltime

ministry, preaching and teaching issues

of social justice within our communities.

WWM APRIL 2010 5

WWhen the Barna Research Group

interviewed 13-year-olds, they found

that nine out of ten said they were

Christians, but only one-third were

“absolutely committed to the Christian

faith.” Only four percent had a belief

system that was strongly aligned with

biblical teachings. Sam and Thom

Rainer’s research reveals that 70 percent

of churched kids are walking away from

Christianity between the ages of 18 and

22 because they do not feel that the

church has ever been essential in

their lives. 1

These statistics are just a small

portion of data that is available

regarding the local church’s inefficiency

in making lifelong disciples of children

and youth. Because children’s belief

systems are in place by the age of ten,

we have a short window of time to help

them embrace Christ-centered living.

Now is the time to redesign the

set. We have an opportunity to take

a look at what is currently happening

in our ministries and evaluate their

effectiveness in light of the biblical

purposes of children’s ministry—

evangelism and discipleship of

children. We have an opportunity

to redesign ministry so that kids are

intentionally discipled and equipped

to live Christ-centered lives for the

rest of their lives.



What are the key elements that

must be included in a redesign of our

ministries? Because children’s ministries

are usually centered on programs and

events, we are tempted to begin the

redesign there. However, discipleship

can only occur through programs and

events if the key elements of effective

discipleship are in place. The key

elements are prayer, relationship,

and content.

6 WWM APRIL 2010

y Kathy Creasy


Discipleship, helping kids live

Christ-centered lives, is not dependent

on programs, curricula, facilities, or

resources. Discipleship is dependent on

God’s work.

“For I am confident of this very thing,

that He who began a good work in you

will perfect it until the day of Christ

Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NASB).

“For it is God who is at work in you,

both to will and to work for His good

pleasure” (2:13 NASB).

“Now may the God of peace Himself

sanctify you entirely. . . . Faithful is He

who calls you and He also will bring it to

pass” (1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24 NASB).

Because discipleship is dependent on

God’s work in the heart of the child, we

must depend on God. This dependence

is evidenced in prayer.

We see this dependence exhibited by

Jesus when He corrected Peter during

His Last Supper with the disciples:

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift

you as wheat. But I have prayed for you,

Simon, that your faith may not fail. And

when you have turned back, strengthen

your brothers” (Luke 22:31, 32 NIV).

Effective discipleship ministries are

birthed in prayer and sustained by

consistent prayer. Children are prayed

over by individuals and groups of

people in the faith community. These

prayers are consistent and focused

prayers. Children are taught the value

of prayer, learn how to pray, and are

involved in the ministry of prayer.


Jesus recognized the powerful

influence of relationship. Mark 3:14 (NIV)

records that He chose 12 men to “. . . be

WWM APRIL 2010 7

with him. . . .” It was in the context of

relationship that they became disciples.

Children will never become Christcentered

simply through programs and

events. They will become true disciples

in the context of relationships.

What relationships are biblically

significant in the discipleship

of children?

1. Parent-child relationship. Parents have

been given a divine mandate in

both the Old and New Testaments

to disciple their children. (See

Deuteronomy 6:6, 7; Ephesians

6:4.) Why? Family relationships are

the most influential relationships

in a child’s life. If the family unit

(parents, siblings, and extended

family members) is healthy and

Christian, instruction, training, and

correction are done in the context of

loving relationships. Bible truths are

taught and lived out (modeled) in the

context of everyday life.

Many parents have failed to

accept responsibility. Some parents

are unsaved. Some parents are

saved but unwilling. Some parents

are willing but do not feel equipped

to disciple their children. In each

of these cases, what is the

church’s responsibility?

In his book, Rock-Solid Kids,

Larry Fowler challenges us to “give

it back” 2 —to give the responsibility

for discipleship of children back

to parents. The church is not to

assume the parents’ responsibility for

discipleship. The church is to equip

parents to fulfill a responsibility that is

rightfully theirs.

Each congregation must

prayerfully consider what steps

must be taken to give parents back

the responsibility of teaching their

children in the ways of the Lord.

2. Church-child relationship. Yes, parents

have a biblical mandate to disciple

their children. But as we give parents

back their responsibility, the church

cannot neglect its responsibility.

Ephesians 4:11–13 (NIV) paints a

very detailed portrait of the church’s

8 WWM APRIL 2010

Bible truths are

taught and

lived out.

responsibility in the discipleship of

children: “It was he who gave some

to be apostles, some to be prophets,

some to be evangelists, and some to

be pastors and teachers, to prepare

God’s people for works of service, so

that the body of Christ may be built

up until we all reach unity in the faith

and in the knowledge of the Son of

God and become mature, attaining

to the whole measure of the fullness

of Christ.”

The body of Christ, the church,

definitely has a responsibility not only

to evangelize children (Matthew 28:19,

20; Mark 16:15) but to disciple them

as well. Saved children are “God’s

people.” Saved children are part of

the “we all” who must be brought

to spiritual maturity.

3. Minister-child relationship. Often,

in local church ministries to children,

relationships between children’s

ministers and kids stop at the teacherstudent

level. Relationship with kids

is “cubbyholed” into the 45 minutes

of instruction on Sunday morning.

The children’s minister focuses on

the content of the lesson rather

than the context of relationship, and

relationships do not extend beyond

the ministry session.

Jesus was in a teacher-student

relationship with many of His

followers. But there were some

whom He called disciples. He moved

from the role of teacher into the role

of mentor in His relationship with

these men and women. He prayed

for them. He taught them. He was

involved in their everyday lives. He

modeled right actions and attitudes.

He included them in ministry.

The local church must encourage

and facilitate children’s ministers

rethinking their roles. Will they be

teachers or mentors? Will some

continue in a teacher/student

relationship while others develop a

mentor/disciple relationship? What

will children’s ministers do differently

in the role of mentor? Will children’s

ministry programs need to change

so that relational disciplemaking can

take place?


Paul wrote to Timothy, “But as for

you, continue in what you have learned

and have become convinced of,

because you know those from whom

you learned it, and how from infancy

you have known the holy Scriptures,

which are able to make you wise

for salvation through faith in Christ

Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed

and is useful for teaching, rebuking,

correcting and training in righteousness,

so that the man of God may be

thoroughly equipped for every good

work” (2 Timothy 3:14–17 NIV).

What had Timothy learned? He had

learned the Holy Scriptures. From whom

had he learned the Holy Scriptures?

He had learned from his mother and

grandmother. They had fulfilled their

God-given responsibility as parents.

Paul, along with others, had fulfilled

the God-given responsibility of the body

of Christ. What did the content of the

Holy Scriptures accomplish? It made

Timothy wise to receive salvation,

and it equipped Timothy for every

good work. Paul’s words verify that it

is the Holy Scriptures, God’s Word, that

must be the content of our ministries

to children.

Each of us would probably be quick

to affirm that the content of each

program and ministry session is God’s

Word. Yet Barna’s statistics demonstrate

that church-going kids are not

committed to Christ and do not have

a belief system that is consistent with

biblical principles.

We must look intently at the content

we are teaching children. Before

children reach 13 years old, their belief

system is in place. During childhood,

we have the opportunity to help

them develop a belief system that is

consistent with the truths of God’s

Word. How will we do this?

1. We must be students of God’s Word.

In 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV), Paul

reminded Timothy to “Do your best

to present yourself to God as one

approved, a workman who does not

need to be ashamed and who

correctly handles the word of truth.”

Children’s ministers, parents, and

others who speak God’s Word to

kids must correctly handle it. We

must avoid teaching traditions,

personal experiences, or knowledge

gained from sources other than the

Bible unless these are consistent with

Scripture. Our teaching and behavior

must affirm the authority of God’s

Word as the ultimate source of truth,

wisdom, and guidance.

2. We must help children develop a

commanding knowledge of the Bible.

A commanding knowledge of the

Bible goes beyond being able to

retell a Bible story or recite a Bible

verse. A commanding knowledge of

the Bible is a knowledge that

includes the following:

• Understanding principle Bible

truths such as “Who is God?”

“Who is Jesus?” “How can I be



kids is God’s will.

saved?” “Why am I here?” “Who is

the devil?” “What is sin?” “Is the

Bible God’s Word?” “Where will I

go after I die?”

• Committing Bible verses to longterm

memory that affirm these

principles and provide insight on

how to live out Bible truth.

• Correctly applying Bible truths to

life situations so that the child’s

responses honor God.

• The ability to use the Bible

and basic study tools so the

child is able to study God’s

Word independently.

3. We must help children develop a

passionate desire to obey God’s

Word. It is at this point when the

other elements become so crucial.

Prayer prepares our children’s

hearts to receive the Word of God

with joy and obedience. Relationships

allow them to see obedience to the

Word of God modeled by men and

women who are intimately involved

in their lives. Content provides

instruction, reproof, correction, and

training in righteousness, which

will show them how to live Christcentered



Ivy Beckwith says, “There will never

be a kit available at the local Christian

bookstore that provides everything

needed for the spiritual nurture of the

children in the emerging church of

the 21st century.” 3 Thus, an effective

plan for nurturing Christ-centered kids

doesn’t come in a box with instructions.

But nurturing Christ-centered kids is

God’s will, and He has provided all

the necessary ingredients—prayer,

relationships within His body, and

God’s Word. Our responsibility is to

prayerfully put them all together in the

ways that work best for the children and

families of our congregation and our

communities. When we begin doing

this, God will work with us to make

sure the children we serve live Christcentered

lives for the rest of their lives.


1 George Barna, Transforming Children Into

Spiritual Champions (Ventura, CA: Issachar

Resources, 2003).

2 Larry Fowler, Rock Solid Kids (Ventura, CA:

Gospel Light, 2005).

3 Ivy Beckwith, Postmodern Children’s Ministry,

Ministry to Children in the 21st Century

(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004).

For the past 18 years,

Kathy Creasy has served

as the Coordinator of

Children’s Ministries for

the International Offices

of the Church of God of

Prophecy. Her passion is to develop leaders

in children’s ministry who will multiply

themselves and impact the lives of children

in their churches and communities. Kathy

has earned a Masters of Science degree

in Early Childhood Education and has

taught in the public schools of Georgia,

Tennessee, and Virginia. In May of 2003,

Kathy completed a graduate certificate in

Children’s Ministry from Lancaster Bible

College. Kathy and her husband, Rick, live

in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, with their

two adult sons, Lee and Clint, and a lovely

daughter-in-law, Sarah.

WWM APRIL 2010 9

IIt may surprise you to know that a

majority of today’s teenagers say they

attended church regularly (at least two

times a month) until they reached the

age of 13. These teens said they were

exposed to Bible stories, learned about

the lives of great Bible characters, and

had a positive experience. But the

survey done by the Barna Research

Group also found that almost half of

these teens said that they did not gain

enough understanding of the Bible to

make decisions that were based on

biblical principles.

Yes, many kids know Bible stories

and are familiar with well-known Bible

characters. However, that knowledge

alone is not enough for children to live

Christ-centered lives. Christ-centered

living requires our children to know

God’s Word in such a way that its truths

affect everything they do, especially the

decisions that they make each day.

How can we help

children KNOW God’s

Word in such a way?

We must first come to an understanding

that children are not too young to know

and understand God’s Word. Just as

sponges are made to absorb water,

no matter what their size, children

are created by God to absorb and

understand the Word of God. Paul said

of Timothy, “. . . from childhood you

have known the Holy Scriptures, which

are able to make you wise for salvation

through faith which is in Christ Jesus”

(2 Timothy 3:15 NKJV). The knowledge

of God’s Word that Timothy gained

in childhood enabled him to pursue

a life of Christ-centered living as a

young man.

10 WWM APRIL 2010

INTENTIONALLY teach God’s Word.

To understand what is meant by

“intentional teaching,” think about the

analogy of hunting with a rifle versus

a shotgun. Rifles are designed for

accuracy to hit a precise point or target

at long-range with a single projectile.

Shotguns are designed to shoot a spread

of shot at short-range moving targets.

The word intentional means to be

“done or said on purpose” or “planned,

weighed, or estimated in advance.”

Intentional teaching is teaching that

is planned for, that is thought out in

advance; it is teaching in which the

content has been weighed in advance

for the benefit of the learner. It is like

aiming for the precise, long-range target

with the rifle.

In our homes, our children’s ministries,

and our congregations, we must be

intentional in teaching God’s Word to

our children. How do we do this?

1. Make the Bible prominent.

Does the Bible have a prominent

place in your home, in your classroom,

and in your church? When our Bibles

have a prominent place in our homes

and ministries, children understand

without being told that the Bible is a

special book that helps us determine

how to live every day.

Make the Bible prominent by

doing the following:

• Have a special but accessible

place for the Bible.

• Read the Bible to and with

children. Bible storybooks and

children’s devotions are good to

use to help children understand

the Bible more easily. But don’t

substitute these for reading

directly from the Bible.

by Sandy Knowles

and Kathy Creasy

• Help children understand and

memorize Scripture verses and

passages. As soon as a child can

memorize nursery rhymes, he or

she can begin memorizing verses

of Scripture.

• Apply specific verses to life

situations that the child encounters.

For example, when a child is

afraid, encourage him or her to

read and memorize Isaiah 41:10

(NASB): “Do not fear, for I am

with you. . . .”

2. Teach Bible skills.

For many children (and adults),

the Bible is a very difficult book to

comprehend. They don’t understand

its structure, content, timeline, or

how to use the tools of Bible study. If

children don’t feel comfortable using

the Bible, they will never come to

KNOW and absorb God’s Word.

If our children are to have a

commanding knowledge of the

Bible, they must grow

into an independent

reader and student

of God’s Word.

To accomplish

this goal, our

children must

develop basic

skills that will

help them

to navigate

the Bible.

Visit http://www.lifeway.


LevelsofBibleSkillsPDF_2009.pdf for

an excellent, downloadable resource

on helping children from nursery

through sixth grade develop

Bible skills.

3. Teach Bible content.

The Bible is filled with truths that

will help our children learn how to

live Christ-centered lives. However,

many times, even children from

Christian homes who attend church

regularly are suffering from spiritual

malnutrition. Rather than being

systematically and consistently

fed biblical truth that is age-level

appropriate, children are often fed

random Bible stories and lessons.

If our children are to have a

thorough knowledge of the key

principles of the Christian faith, they

must be taught intentionally and

systematically. As you prayerfully

determine what you will teach

the children in your home or in

your ministry from God’s Word,

consider their age, life experiences,

and spiritual maturity. Don’t just

teach truth that is relevant such as

being kind, giving our tithes and

offerings, etc. Also teach truth that

is foundational to the Christian faith.

The Apostles’ Creed provides a very

simple state of the foundational

principles of the Christian faith.

Make sure your children know

these basic truths and more.

Help children ENGAGE

with God’s Word.

True discipleship must go

beyond knowing biblical

principles and the skills

needed to navigate

the Bible. Even Satan

knew God’s Word.

He quoted Scripture when he was

tempting Jesus in the wilderness

(Matthew 4:1–7). It was Jesus who

understood Scripture and applied it to

His situation, choosing not to throw

Himself down from the temple.

If children are to live Christ-centered

lives, they must engage with the

Word in such a way that they develop

a mindset that is eternal rather than

temporal. They must be able and willing

to apply biblical principles to everyday

life circumstances and relationships.

How can we help children become

engaged with God’s Word?

• Spiritual labor. Paul wrote, “My

dear children, for whom I am

again in the pains of childbirth

until Christ is formed in you”

(Galatians 4:19 NIV). In this

context, the word travail means

“to strive with intense effort and

anguish.” Our children will not

become Christ-centered disciples

through reading bedtime Bible

stories and providing “boxed”

children’s ministry programs. We

must labor intensely in prayer,

study of God’s Word, teaching,

modeling, loving relationships,

and more.

• Life application. Christ-centered

living is about being and doing.

Children can be taught to

respond to relationships and

circumstances with obedience to

biblical principles. They can be

given opportunities to live out

their faith through service, giving,

witnessing, and more.

• Spirit-led ministry. Too often,

our family devotion times

and our Sunday school

class times are simply

times of instruction.

There are seldom

times of

ministry when children are given

opportunities to respond to God’s

Word in confession, repentance,

thanksgiving, praise, or supplication.

Times of ministry allow children to

experience God’s presence quite

intimately, which engages their

hearts in a lifetime of obedience.

Whatever a sponge absorbs will come

out when the sponge is squeezed.

The same is true with our children. The

youth culture, family dysfunction, peer

pressure, and many other circumstances

will continually “put the squeeze” on

saved children.

If we have labored intensely to equip

them with a good understanding of

biblical principles and skills, we can

be sure that the outflow will be Christcentered



Sandy Knowles has been involved in

Children’s Ministries for more than seven

years. She has served as the Children’s

Pastor at Summerville Family Worship Center

in Summerville, South Carolina, for five

years, and most recently as Children’s Pastor

at Bethesda Ministries in Elizabethtown,

Kentucky and Bethany Family Worship

Center in Bethany, North Carolina.

WWM APRIL 2010 11

Suppose I had a collection of

cookbooks. I read these cookbooks

often, carefully studying the recipes and

looking at the photographs of delicious

dishes. You might think that with all

of these cookbooks I must be a great

cook, but I’m not. I don’t cook at all! To

be a cook, I not only have to read the

recipe, I have to actually do what it says.

The Bible is like a cookbook. The

Bible has God’s recipe for living a Christcentered

life. But knowing the Bible

won’t make you a Christian any more

than reading a cookbook will make you

a cook. We must follow the recipe in

our everyday lives.

James 1:22 reminds us, “And

remember, it is a message to obey,

not just to listen to. If you don’t obey,

you are only fooling yourself” (NLT). As

our children grow in their knowledge

of God, they must live out their faith

in Him every day. How can we move

children from simply knowing God and

His Word to living out that knowledge in

the context of their daily lives?

Offer children a sense

of expectation and

divine purpose.

God said to Jeremiah, “Before I

formed you in the womb I knew you,

before you were born I set you apart;

I appointed you as a prophet to the

nations” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV). Jesus said

to Peter, James, and John, “Come follow

me, and I will make you fishers of

men” (Matthew 4:19 NIV).

Even in very young children, we can

build a sense of expectation of what

God is going to do with their lives.

Rather than adapting the mindset of

12 WWM APRIL 2010

culture that says, “I can determine what

I will do with my life,” we can encourage

the child to begin asking, “Lord, what do

You desire to do with my life?” We can

help them develop a mindset of yielding

their lives to God’s purposes.

Mary said when the angel told her

she would have a baby, “I am the

Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you

have said” (Luke 1:38 NIV). When a

child’s thoughts are centered on God’s

purposes and not his or her own, there

is a confidence and peace because the

outcome of his or her life is not in his or

her hands, but in God’s.

Provide tools that will

equip children to live

out their faith.

Often, we fail to give our children tools

they need to LIVE out their faith. Equip

children to LIVE out their faith by teaching

them to pray, worship, and witness.

1. Prayer

“Dear God, What do You do with

families that don’t have much faith?

There’s a family on the next block

like that. I don’t want to get them in

trouble. I don’t want to say who. See

you in church.”—Alexis, age 9.*

Alexis knows how to pray. She talks

to God as she would to a parent or

friend. She speaks from her heart

about things that concern her and

trusts that God, her Father, hears and

will answer.

That’s what prayer should be—an

intimate, ongoing conversation

between God and the child. There is

no certain form that must be followed

or certain words that must be said.

by Karrie Endecott and Kathy Creasy

It is the child talking to God and

listening as God speaks to him or her.

• Teach children that prayer is a

relationship between them and

their Father in heaven. He wants

wants to talk with them anytime,

anywhere. He listens and

will answer.

• Teach children to have faith. Help

them memorize Scriptures such

as Matthew 7:7, 1 John 5:14, 15,

and Mark 11:24, which promise

God will answer. Encourage them

to pray for the things that concern

them and then believe that God

is going to answer. Share your

testimonies of answered prayer,

and let them share theirs.

A pastor’s son was going with

his father and mother to a city

where one of his favorite major

league baseball teams was playing.

His parents had planned many

activities, but nothing had been

said about attending a ball game.

The boy prayed, asking God to

make it possible for him to attend

the ball game. During the weekend,

the family’s plans changed, and

the father suggested that he and

his sons go to the team’s baseball

game. When the boy got back

home, he was excited to share with

his children’s pastor how God had

answered his prayer.

No doubt, the boy’s faith was

increased because of God’s answer

to his prayer.

• Help children understand that

God always answers prayer even

if the answer is not what we

expect or want.

• Involve children in prayer.

Don’t just teach then about

prayer; let them experience it.

—Create a prayer list. Together,

make a list of prayer needs. Pray

together for each need. Keep a

record of answered prayers.

—Teach your children to pray

“flash” prayers. When they pass

someone who is in need—sick,

disabled, poor, in trouble—

encourage them to ask for

God’s help.

—Teach children to pray the

Scriptures. Begin with simple

verses such as, “. . . my God

will supply all your needs . . .”

(Philippians 4:19 NASB). Show the

children how to insert his or her

name or the name of another

person in the verse: “Thank You,

God, that You will supply all my

needs” or “Thank You, God,

that You will supply all of my

grandma’s needs.”

2. Worship

The children in the temple shouted,

“Hosanna to the son of David!”

(Matthew 21:15) when they saw the

wonderful things that Jesus did.

Worship was a natural, uninhibited

response to the presence and work

of Jesus. How can we enable our

children to respond with praise

and thanksgiving to the presence,

character, and work of God?

• Teach about worship. The Bible is

filled with wonderful stories that

will help children discover who

we worship, why we worship,

how we worship, and where

we worship.

• Invite children to worship

wherever they are.

—Encourage children to be

awed by God’s work and by His

character in nature—the changing

seasons, the mother’s care of her

baby birds, the uniqueness of

each snowflake, and the roar of

the ocean in a seashell.

—Testify to God’s presence,

work, and character in your life.

Invite your children to tell about

how He is at work in their lives

as well.

• Provide opportunities for children

to freely express worship in

creative writing, dance, singing,

playing instruments, testimony,

and more.

• Create quiet moments that allow

children to “be still” so they

can become aware of God’s

presence, remember His work,

and hear His voice.

3. Sharing their faith

• Give children opportunities to

share to family members, friends,

and in church settings what Jesus

means to them.

• Help children memorize key

salvation scriptures (Romans 3:23;

6:23; 10:19). Let them mark these

verses in their Bibles so they can

find these references easily when

they are talking with a friend or

family member.

• Provide opportunities for children

to practice sharing their faith.

• Pray with your children that God

will help them to share their faith

wherever they are.


Remember the cookbooks? In one

of these cookbooks is a recipe for

chocolate chip cookies. I decided

to look up the recipe and follow it

carefully. The result was a batch of

delicious chocolate chip cookies that

everyone in my family enjoyed.

Helping children move beyond simply

knowing God’s Word into living out its

truth in their everyday lives is much like

following a recipe. The results will bless

everyone—his or her family, church,

community, and him or her personally.

“Blessed are they whose ways are

blameless, who walk according to the

law of the Lord” (Psalm 119:1 NIV).


*Cheryl Sacks and Arlyn Lawrence, Prayer-

Saturated Kids: Equipping and Empowering

Children in Prayer (Colorado Springs, CO:

NavPress, 2007).

Karrie lives in Council Bluffs, Iowa, with her

husband, Darick, and their 4 daughters. Karrie

serves as the Children’s Ministry Director

in her local church and in the Midwest

Region. Karrie and Darick are members of

the Children’s Ministries Task Force and

have attended ICM since i1998. Karrie has

also served as an instructor at International

Institutes in Trinidad, El Salvador, and Egypt.

WWM APRIL 2010 13

Have you ever played in a volleyball

game? When forced to participate as

a child, I can vividly remember when

it was my turn to serve. Everyone was

watching to see if I could get the ball

over the net. The next few moments

of the game rested in my hands.

Unfortunately, for my team, getting

the ball over the net was not exactly

my gift. As my hand connected

with the ball, I can assure you that

everyone in the gym was aware of

that fact. Consequently, I have not

played in a single volleyball game as

an adult because I never learned to

serve as a child. I have abandoned

volleyball forever.

Many of the young adults in our

congregations are graduating from high

school and walking away from church.

Although I am sure there are many

reasons for this problem, could one of

them be that they never learned to serve

as children? Are we entertaining our

children with fun Bible stories and games,

never asking them to live out those Bible

stories in their lives? Unless children meet

the God of the Bible for themselves and

experience Him on a daily basis, God

will just be another fairy tale to abandon

when they become adults.

14 WWM APRIL 2010

by Melissa Minter

Why teach children

to serve?

Service brings glory to God. In

a world that emphasizes personal

satisfaction, accomplishment, and

pleasure, we can teach our kids to serve

others for God’s glory. There are many

organizations that teach children to

give back to their community and to

help others. However, Christian service

is not just about giving to others. It is

about bringing glory to God’s name by

reaching out to others. When people

see children serving, they often ask

questions about the motivation behind

the service. This gives children the

perfect opportunity to share their faith

and honor God.

Service allows kids to give to God.

Jesus made it clear that when we do for

others, we are really doing it for Him

(Matthew 25:40). Because children think

concretely, it is sometimes difficult for

them to see how they can actually serve

God. By involving children in service,

we teach them that we serve God by

physically serving others. They begin to

understand the value of service, not as

a good deed, but as a gift to God.

This past December, I smiled at my

husband as we looked in the rearview

mirror of our van. There sat five

giggling girls, ages four to eight. What

insanity could have prompted us to be

in this situation? There could have only

been one thing—the annual Christmas

caroling event.

Each year, during the Christmas

season, our church spends an evening

visiting the nursing home, the sick,

and the elderly. The children file onto

porches and frosty lawns to sing, often

off-key, about the birth of the Savior.

Why do we bother? It is because this is

one opportunity to allow our children to

physically give a gift to God.

Service makes kids different. 1 Kids

benefit from serving others. Children

for Children, a non-profit organization,

promoting hands-on volunteerism

and giving for kids, identifies several

benefits children reap when they serve.

They learn traits such as responsibility,

leadership, critical thinking, problemsolving,

self-respect, self-discipline, selfmotivation,

and tolerance.

With tears in her eyes, a little girl

told me, “But I want to keep it!” Just

moments earlier, I had finished giving

the children directions for our latest

service project. They were to create

welcome bags for children who would

visit our church in the coming weeks.

Armed with stickers, small toys, candy,

and notes, the children began work

on this project. Everything was going

well until this little girl realized that

she couldn’t keep one of the bags.

When understanding dawned that

they were all to be given away, her

struggle began. At that instant, one

little girl found herself in a teachable

moment. Her character was about to be

developed, and she would be changed

in a positive way.

Service makes kids servants for

life. 2 When we teach a child to serve,

we’re also teaching that child to

become a servant for life because

children who serve become adults who

serve. Consider these statistics from

Engaging Youth in Lifelong Service

(Independent Sector):

•Adults who volunteered as children

give more money and volunteer

more time than adults who began

serving later in life.

• Two-thirds of adult volunteers

began serving as children.

• Those who volunteer as children

are twice as likely to volunteer as

those who don’t.

• Across incomes and age groups,

those who volunteered as children

give and volunteer more than those

who didn’t.

• Those who volunteered as youth

and whose parents volunteered

became the most generous adults

when it came to giving their time.

God’s Word tells us that Jesus took on

the nature of a servant. Everything He

did was an act of service to God and to

others. If our children are to live Christcentered

lives, they, too, must develop

the heart of a servant. As you provide

opportunities for them to invest in what

touches God’s heart, in the church, and

in the lives of their families and friends,

you are working with God to develop

within them a servant’s heart.


1 Taken from 19 Ideas to Help Kids Serve at

Home and Around the World.

2 Ibid.

Melissa Minter is the

children’s pastor at

Central Community

Church in Chatsworth, Georgia. She has

a B.S. degree in Elementary Math and

Science from Lee University and a M.Ed.

degree in Curriculum and Instruction

from Lincoln Memorial University. Melissa

and her husband, Scott, serve on the

Children’s Ministry Task Force. She also

edits the preschool lessons for One

Accord Curriculum. Melissa is the proud

homeschooling mom of Laura, age six, and

Leah, age five.

Invest in issues that touch the heart of God. In the Bible, God repeatedly

asks us to take care of the widows, orphans, and those who cannot care

for themselves. Give your children opportunities to do the following:

Help other kids.

•As a family or class, sponsor a child. Let the children save their own

money to give. Encourage them to write notes, cards, and letters to the

child. Take time to pray together for the child’s needs.

•Prepare Easter baskets, back to school packs, or Christmas treat bags

for foster children, children of prisoners, children in abuse shelters, or

children who are terminally ill.

Serve the elderly and needy.

•Help children write letters to residents of assisted living or nursing

homes. Let children use their allowance to purchase small gifts such as

lotion or socks to give with the letters.

•Help children gather canned goods from friends and family members

to stock a soup kitchen or food pantry. Make arrangements for them to

help at the soup kitchen prepping the food, washing dishes, etc.

Be involved in missions.

•Connect with a mission family through e-mail, Skype, and video clips.

•Pray together for children around the world impacted by war, natural

disasters, and other current events.

•Get your kids involved in a missions project. Helping Hands for Kids

offers you the opportunity to give to a project that specifically targets

children; visit for more information.

Invest in God’s church.

In today’s Christian culture, many people have become consumers.

People look for a church based upon what the church has to offer. We

need to teach children that a church is not a building, and it is not staff;

it is the people! And children are people. Children can give back to their

church. As they do, they will feel that they belong and are an important

part of all the church does.

• Teach kids to give their tithes and offerings. Show them how their

tithes and offerings are used in the church to help others.

• Help them discover and use their spiritual gifts, natural abilities,

and interests. Teach about men and women in the Bible who used

their abilities and gifts to serve such as Barnabas (encouragement and

giving), Dorcas (handcrafts), Moses (leadership), and David (worship).

• Provide kid-sized service opportunities. Involve them in church

workdays, volunteering in the church nursery or toddler class, greeting

visitors, prayer ministry, and more.

Invest in their friends and family. The mission field closest to children

is their family and friends. Encourage children to serve willingly in their

homes. Help them discover needs of a family member or friend that they

could meet. Many children have parents, brothers, sisters, and extended

family members who do not know Christ. The children’s acts of service

will open a door for sharing about God.

WWM APRIL 2010 15

16 WWM APRIL 2010

by Jill Carnuccio

My brother often reminds me, “There are no

‘normal’ kids, only varying degrees of uniqueness.”

I like that. I like it for many reasons. It seems the

sentiment is not only true but also key in parenting.

Almost 17 years ago, I held my first child in

my arms. It would be wonderful to say my first

thoughts were of how beautiful she was or that my

first feelings were those of deep connection. But

alas, I must confess, my first thought was, Oh my!

I’ve given birth to my father-in-law! This was not,

in any way, what I anticipated. She felt like a little

alien in my arms. As my child grew, it became

increasingly clear just how differently we were

made. A monumental choice rose up before me—

embrace or reject the differences.

With each of our children, we have

come to this same crossroad. Each time,

the Lord has continued to challenge

my heart, asking, “Will you praise Me?

For they are fearfully and wonderfully

made.” Through this attitude of

thankfulness, He has been able to

fill us with unconditional love, His

love. His love reaches out in spite of

conflict, frustration, and, yes, even

drastic differences.

As parents, we want to assist our

children in knowing and receiving

God’s love. We want to bring them up

“in the way that THEY should go.” We

passionately want them to find the path

that God has for them to walk in, but they

will not call Him their God unless they

experience Him in a way that is uniquely

personal. That will not happen if Phil and

I are not tuned into and encouraging

God’s unique expression in them.

Sometimes, we as parents fail to see

how God is at work in our kids because

they are not what we expected. We

can become so intent on showing

them God through our own eyes and

experience that we forget they must see

Him from their own eyes and their own

experience. As we have watched the

spiritual development of kids around

us, it has become obvious that in order

for children to choose a life with Christ,

they must encounter Him personally.

Our daughter, Brenna, is a very

expressive person. Unlike me, she

often raises her hands, claps, or even

wants to dance in worship. While

visiting the church I grew up in, she

was encouraged to “stay settled

down.” The warning squashed her and

consequently squashed the beautiful

expression of Christ in her. I’m all for

teaching our children to be sensitive

and appropriate in their surroundings,

but how can they feel connected to

God if they are pretending to be what

they are not? If we want our children

to encounter God personally, we must

allow them to be real.

The differences within our family

have provided more than ample

opportunity for extending grace to be

real. When we are at an impasse with

each other and the misunderstandings

and tensions are piling up, only God can

We must never give

up on nurturing,

training, and protecting

the life God has given

our children.

help us give each other acceptance and

understanding! What a perfect training

ground our family disagreements have

been for handling conflict in the future

by depending on God; what a prime

opportunity they have been for God to

“be real” to them.

Our last family vacation was miserable.

We quarreled and grumbled from

beginning to end. The atmosphere of

intolerance and stress continued well

after our week together. Finally, we

came together and prayed for God to

intervene in our family. Hearing my

children call out to God was something

so precious, I can’t describe it. Within

24 hours, God answered our prayers in

miraculous ways.

These moments have built my

children’s faith. These are times that

scream out over the voices of the liespewing

media, biology teachers, and

cynical friends with the truth, “Yes, God

is real. He cares. He is powerful.” If we

want our children to follow Christ, we

must help them to engage with Him,

depend on Him, and see Him work.

A few years ago, I took a course

through the Elijah House Ministry.

The philosophy of Elijah House is

hinged mainly on two biblical concepts:

“Judge not, that ye be not judged”

(Matthew 7:1) and “Honor your father

and mother, so that you may live long

in the land the Lord your God is giving

you” (Exodus 20:12 NIV).

I have fantastic parents and have

never considered the fact that there

could be dishonor lurking in my heart or

unforgiveness holding me in bondage.

As the class progressed, however, the

gracious Spirit of God revealed areas

in my heart in which I needed to

extend and receive forgiveness with my

parents. Amazingly, forgiveness gave

birth to a freedom in my life I had given

up hoping for.

This healing in my own heart has

motivated me to help my children learn

to forgive and be forgiven. When we

have wronged them, we apologize.

When their perception is that Phil or

I have wronged them, we seek to

understand their perspective and lead

them in forgiveness.

This concept, in my estimation, is

how kids can turn out so differently

within a family. Truly, it is not what is

done to us that can create barriers with

God but what we do with what is done

to us. Forgiveness draws us to God

while unforgiveness repels us from Him.

If we want our children to walk with

Christ, we must teach them to forgive.

While in the throes of parenting preadolescents

and adolescents, I have

been on the verge of throwing up my

hands in surrender multiple times. When

my voice has become hoarse from

shouting, or another school lunch has

been thrown through the front door with

a shoe following after, or I am locked

into silence because of my anger, I think

of the words of Winston Churchill, and

“Never give up” rings in my mind.

Though the good Lord knows I

become tired and baffled, He whispers,

“Stay in the battle.” It is a battle worth

fighting. The enemy is not my child, and

the victory is the Lord’s. There can be

no retreat. We must never give up on

nurturing, training, and protecting the

life God has given our children.

I thank God for the challenges

parenting has brought into my life.

Phil and I continue to grow in love and

admiration for our kids even more than

we grow in frustration with them! We

joyfully anticipate the future for them

as they walk with Christ. For as I often

remind myself, “They are not what they

will be.”

Jill lives with her husband, Phil, and three

children in Westchester, Pennsylvania.

She enjoys being a mom and teaching

the truths of God through the arts.

WWM APRIL 2010 17

Where Are the Elis?

Nurturing the Spiritual

Gifts of Children

R. Lee Creasy

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

As a very young child, Samuel was

brought to the tabernacle to live and

was placed in the care of the priest, Eli.

Eli was an old man whose children were

not obedient to God.

In the middle of the night, Samuel

heard a voice calling his name. Each

time his name was called, Samuel

went to Eli to ask if he had called him.

The third time, the Bible says that “Eli

perceived that the Lord was calling

[Samuel]” (1 Samuel 3:8 ESV), and Eli

said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he

calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for

your servant hears’” (v. 9 ESV). Samuel

obeyed Eli, and this began his training

in learning to hear and obey the voice

of the Lord.

Just as Eli equipped Samuel to

hear and respond to the voice of the

Lord, the church body, church leaders,

children’s ministers, and parents must

be committed to intentionally training

up children to hear and respond to

the voice of the Lord so that they can

know and use their spiritual gifts. We

must teach the same spiritual gifts to

children with the intensity and vigor

that they are taught to adults. We must

be committed to pointing children in

the way they should go during their

18 WWM APRIL 2010

intimate times with the Lord. We need

to provide meaningful encounters and

opportunities that allow children to

practice their spiritual gifts.

First Corinthians 12:4 says that there

are a variety of gifts, “. . . but the same

Spirit.” Moreover, it tells us that the

body has many members and that no

matter how many parts or the type of

parts it has, it makes one body and

operates in one Spirit. This applies to

children as well. How can it not? If

they are believers, are they not part

of the body? The body that lacks in

any part will not show the diversity of

the love of Christ that God intends for

the church. It will not be capable of

displaying the love that the Bible says

attracts unbelievers.

For ministry to adults, church leaders

create classes to explore spiritual gifts,

proctor gift inventory tests, host retreats,

et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam. There

is an entire sub-industry of Christian

business built entirely on discovering

and training spiritual gifts—for adults.

Children can’t participate in the same

training as adults do, but we should

provide the same opportunities for

children. Children cannot practice their

spiritual gifts if no one has helped them

discover what those gifts are. Teaching

children their spiritual gifting is not

difficult. Eli showed how easy it is. He

simply taught Samuel to know and obey

the voice of God.

God anointed Samuel that night

because Eli taught Samuel to know

and obey the voice of God. The Bible

continues to say that “. . . none of

[Samuel’s] words f[e]ll to the ground”

(v. 19 ESV). Samuel and God entered

into an intimate relationship.

We must help direct children into

intimate times with the Lord so that they

are able to discern and obey the voice

of God. When Samuel heard from the

Lord, he was immediately given a task

and a decision. He had to tell Eli, his

mentor and spiritual father, that God

was displeased with him. Samuel had

to tell Eli that he and his children were

going to die.

Children, when faced with the voice

of God, will have to make the same

difficult decisions. Children’s ministers

and parents must mentor and partner

with children to help them discern what

God’s will is.

Parents, children’s ministers, and

the church leadership should look into

the hearts of children. As an adult,

Samuel learned this lesson when he

sought a king to replace Saul. Samuel

saw the smallest, youngest, and least

experienced of Jesse’s sons. God saw

a heart that was bent toward Him. The

anointing of the Father gave David

the power to be a mighty man. His

heart allowed him to take hold of the

Father’s anointing.

The church body must let love

cover the behaviors that are natural to

children and annoying to adults so that

they can see through to their hearts. An

adult staring at a child’s rambunctious

behavior won’t be able to see the heart

they are supposed to be molding.

We will mold a child’s heart by

prophesying into it and being diligent

to see the Word of God manifest in the

child’s life. Timothy was young, yet his

mother and grandmother were diligent.

Paul discipled Timothy and was also

diligent to see God’s promises come to

fruition in Timothy’s life. He said,

“. . . in accordance with the prophecies

previously made about you, that by

them you may wage the good warfare”

(1 Timothy 1:18 ESV). Children will be

able to know and obey God’s Word in

their lives as the adults around them

prophesy into them and work with God

to see that prophecy come to life.

Finally, children must be presented

with opportunities to discover and

practice their spiritual gifts. Eli didn’t tell

Samuel to stop proclaiming the Word

of God. Paul didn’t tell Timothy to stop

preaching either.

The church body must provide a place

of grace for anyone practicing the gifts

of the Spirit. The Spirit is perfect but

must move through an imperfect adult.

The same Spirit moves through a child.

If leaders or parents judge a child for

wrongly discerning the will of God, they

will face that judgment themselves.

Church leaders, children’s ministers,

and parents are responsible to guide

children forward in practicing their gifts.

They cannot minimize or quench the

manifestation of spiritual gifts in children.

Instead, Eli and Paul did the opposite.

They provided fertile ground for the

gifts of Samuel and Timothy to grow.

Children can speak wisdom, children

can speak knowledge, children can

have faith, children can heal, children

can work miracles, children can

prophesy, children can discern spirits,

and children can speak in tongues. As

Paul told Timothy, the young cannot

only practice the gifts of the Spirit, but

they should set an example in doing so.

A ten-year-old could set an example

by teaching a class of five-year-olds.

A class of children could help prepare

a worship service. Children can serve

as part of the intercessions team or

worship team. The church body can

involve children in healing ministries

or make them a part of a community

outreach. The body must be willing









to do whatever it takes to encourage

and provide opportunities for children

to serve, practice, and grow in their

spiritual gifts.

Can we raise up Samuels if there

are no Elis? Can children put Christ

center stage in their lives without godly

adults coming alongside to help them

hear and respond to the voice of God?

Perhaps, God is asking you to become

Eli to a child in your congregation,

home, or ministry. If our children are

to experience Christ-centered living for

the rest of their lives, the only answer

is “YES!”

Eight Ways You Can Be an Eli to Today’s Kids

Pray for kids—your kids, kids in your church, kids in your

neighborhood, and kids around the world. Ask God to bring

these kids to salvation and equip them to live Christ-centered lives.

Build relationships with kids. Get to know kids’ names, and use them.

Ask questions about their interests. Get involved in their lives.

Spend time with kids. Invite a few girls to your house to bake

cookies. Take a couple of kids to a fast food restaurant for lunch.

Get some kids together for a game of soccer or baseball.

Serve kids in need. Needy kids are all around us—homeless kids,

foster kids, terminally ill kids, kids of prisoners, and abused kids.

Connect with an organization that serves kids in need, and find

out how you can help.

Encourage kids when they exhibit a positive character trait or

serve using a spiritual gift.

Model service, and teach kids to serve. Let kids know that no

task is too insignificant when we are doing it to serve God and

others. Samuel opened the doors of the tabernacle and lit the

lamps long on his way to becoming a judge in Israel. Read

the article “Teaching Kids to Serve With Discernment” at www.


Speak prophetic words to kids. As you pray for kids and listen

to God’s voice, He may speak to you about His purposes for a

specific child. When God nudges you, speak a simple word from

God to the child that will provide guidance and encouragement.

Teach kids in your life how to develop a relationship with

God through the spiritual disciplines, especially prayer and

Bible reading. Check out the article “How to Foster Spiritual

Disciplines in Your Children” at


WWM APRIL 2010 19

developing leaders impacting kids presents . . .

Would YOU like to offer training . . .

• to children’s ministers in your local church that is on-site,

self-funding, and provides training applicable to every person

who works with children? Consider hosting a Children’s

Ministry One-Day Training Intensive in your local church

or region.

A one-day intensive . . .

• provides on-site training at a church or conference facility

in your region.

• is funded through registration fees paid by participants.

Registration fees provide a morning snack, light lunch,

teaching materials, interactive instruction, and free resources.

The local church or region hosting the event provides

the training facility.

• gives participants opportunity to develop competency in

one or more ministry skills through interactive learning,

small-group activities, and a question-answer session.

One-day training intensives target ministry volunteers but

also provide training and resources for children’s ministry leaders.

The intensives focus on personal spiritual growth and the development of ministry and leadership skills. They also

encourage the development of relationships among ministers in the region and in the local church as well as allow

regional leaders to target potential leaders for further mentoring, training, and leadership development.

Because registration costs are low, your entire ministry team can participate.

Since 2003, the one-day training intensives have provided training both locally and regionally to more than

1,500 participants.

“CENTER STAGE,” the 2010 one-day training intensive, is currently being scheduled in local churches and regions

in North America.

Filming schedule

8:30 a.m. Registration

Book/Resource Browsing

9:00 a.m. Morning Session

“Behind the Scenes”

“Redesigning the Set”

“ACT 1: Know”

12:00 p.m. Lunch

12:45 p.m. Afternoon Session

“ACT 2: Live”

“ACT 3: Serve”

“That’s a Wrap!”

3:00 p.m. Dismiss

20 WWM APRIL 2010

a one-day training intensive

Lunch and training materials are included in the

registration fee of $30 (in advance) or $40 (day of event).

If you would like to host CENTER STAGE in your local

church or region, please contact the following:

Children’s Ministries


P. O. Box 2910 • Cleveland, TN 37320-2910

423-559-5328 •

Children are never too young to begin focusing their hearts

in the right direction. And, certainly, they are never too young

to be taught about missions. So why not set aside your second

Sundays to focus on missions during some part of your

Children’s Ministry hour?

For example, you can readily find information and photos

on the World Wide Web to freely share about your local

church’s Harvest Partner; bring a globe to discuss the location

of your partner nation; check out library books to teach

children about the different cultures of the nations; explore

the exchange rate of currency in the nation, comparing it to

your nation’s currency or system and discussing whether the

children of the nation have access to allowances or offerings

to give at church; etc.

Take some time to share the lifestyles of how your partner

nation’s children around the world actually live—what they

eat; where they sleep; whether or not they have schools and

education available; what games they like to play and what

toys are available in their nation; and, most importantly, what

religious preferences are dominant within your partner’s

nation; etc.

These suggestions are just a few pointers to get you

started on a mission-focused session to enter into teaching

your children that not every child in the world has the

freedom to learn about Jesus. And, by all means, you should

utilize this opportunity as a point of prayer for the children of

your partner nation.

Recently, our local church in

Sabillasville, Maryland, decided to teach

their children about the principles of giving

to our orphanage ministry in Uganda. Though

it’s a very small local church, only having three

children who participated in this fund-raising effort—

Tara (age ten), Falon (age eight), and Ian (age six)—these

children raised $110.67 for this project.

The children’s teacher, Sister Fay Kuhn, shared that she

wanted “to encourage the children of our church to have a

desire to become mission-minded for Jesus.” Sister Fay had

asked them to bring in their change to assist the orphans, but

these children took it to heart, became more deeply involved,

and decided to even contribute their allowances to help the

children in Uganda.

Did you know that such an offering as this can provide

sustenance for one child in Uganda for nearly six months?

What will you do to instill

mission vision into your children’s

tender hearts?

By everyone working

together, we can surely make a

difference for the Kingdom—

one child at a time.

Annette Taylor, International Director

Harvest Partners Ministry

WWM APRIL 2010 21

Those who learn tithing and giving as a young child

most often become lifetime tithe givers. Tithing is a

scriptural principle and a Christian discipline that we need

to teach our children. In the same way we teach children

to pray, to worship, to read their Bible, and to memorize

Scriptures, we teach them the joy and the blessings of

tithing and giving.

After a presentation on tithing and giving, a ten-year-old

boy asked his parents if he could withdraw the $255 in his

savings account and give it to the Lord. This sensitivity to

the Word and the Holy Spirit began a giving process in his

local church. Ultimately, the church built a new building

debt-free as a result of a “tsunami” of giving that was set

forward by this child’s pure gift.

Another child, who heard that not tithing was robbing

God, asked her parents, “Why are we robbing God?”

The Sunday lunch table conversation took on a serious

tone as the parents talked through this with the child.

In this case, the family thought it best if they would

just begin to tithe.

22 WWM APRIL 2010

As we all know, children have powerful, anointed

experiences with their Lord. Tithing must be part of their

development and growth in their personal relationship

with the Lord.

Saving and other biblical principles of personal finance

should be taught as well. Understanding that the Scripture

supports saving and condemns hoarding can be beneficial

in shaping a child’s financial understanding. Knowing

that Scripture always casts debt in a negative light can

help a child grow up and live with minimum debt. These

principles will do nothing but bless those who embrace

them at any age.

A great way to begin is to label three jars—one as “Ten

Percent to God” (tithe), one as “Ten Percent to Savings,”

and one as “Eighty Percent to Me.” If from an early age we

practice these principles of giving, saving, and budgeting,

we will be blessed and more joyful.

When children receive gifts, allowances, or payment for

chores, the money should be paid in cash in easily divided

denominations to enable the child to take out the tithe

immediately and place it in an envelope

to be given in the next offering at

church or storehouse. Reading the

Scripture and putting what we read

into practice will impact children deeply.

For example, if the allowance is $10,

give at least five ones so that $1—the

tithe—can be separated from the

remaining money.

As in all things we teach our children,

modeling is powerful. Someone has

said, “Of our words, lessons, and

modeling, the greatest of these is

modeling.” Let our children see our

giving. Talk about God’s provision.

When there is a financial or material

need, explain that the tithe has

been given, and we believe God for

supernatural help. Read Malachi 3:8–11

to them, and have them help you watch

for the miracle. These life lessons from

the Word never leave us.

One family prays over their tithe

and writes the check during family

devotions. Sometimes, the father

chooses a child to write out the tithe

check, and then he signs it.

You are only as happy as your most

unhappy child. A great deal of time,

money, and energy go into our children.

We want them to be saved, fruitful in

ministry, and happy. Givers are the

happiest people I know. If you want

your child to be happy, teach him or

her the joy of giving.

Children’s lessons are available

within seven stewardship manuals—

six have Spanish translation—that

will be a great study for Children’s

Church. Many parents are not teaching

stewardship in the home. The Church

must be sure our children understand

and practice stewardship.

These children’s stewardship lessons

are available on the Stewardship website at,

by calling the Stewardship Ministries

Department at 423-559-5109, or through

e-mail at

Jan Couch

Stewardship Ministries Director

Want to improve your ministry skills?

Consider the Tomlinson Center.

Why take Tomlinson Center courses?

Read what current students are saying:

“I needed to upgrade my skills for service to complement my

experience in ministry.”

—Pastor Randolph P. Curtis, age 43, Bahamas

“I needed to advance my education of the Bible and to become a

more-rounded pastor.”

—Pastor Mike Orr, age 37, Michigan

“I needed to further my education, to partner with the directive of our

leadership in the need of leadership development; it’s more

convenient than moving my family to Cleveland, Tennessee.”

—Pastor, Michigan

Tomlinson Center Online College Courses—Fall 2010


Introduction to the Old Testament:

BIBL 101—Bishop Tim Harper

The Pastoral Epistles:

BIBL 304—Bishop Tim Harper

The Synoptic Gospels:

BIBL 312—Dr. H. E. Cardin

Minor Prophets:

BIBL 313—Pastor Jack Anderson, Jr.

Introduction to the New Testament (Spanish):

BIBL 102—Bishop Elias Rodríguez



H. E. Cardin, M.Div., D.Min.

Tomlinson Center Director

Church of God of Prophecy International Offices

P. O. Box 2910

3720 Keith St. NW

Cleveland, TN 37320-2910

Office phone: (423) 559-5324

Fax: (423) 559-5461


Website: www.TomlinsonCenter.Com


The Ministry of Preaching 2:

PASM 262—Dr. H. E. Cardin

Contemporary World Religions:

PASM 353—Pastor Larry Lowry

The Pastoral Ministry 2:

PASM 462—Dr. Sylvester Smith

Pastoral Counseling:

PASM 464—Bishop Tim Harper

WWM APRIL 2010 23

YHT North America

On January 14–17, 2010, Operation Omega International Youth Ministries launched Youth Harvest

Training (YHT), an all-new training event for overseers, pastors, and youth and camping ministry leaders,

and it provided training in the areas of leadership development, counseling, camp management,

administration, outreach, and culture.

Approximately 130 participants attended the workshops and general

sessions taught by Paul Robertson, Center for Parent and Youth

Understanding; Tammy Lopez, Perimeter Church, Atlanta, Georgia;

Devon Harris, Full Circle Refuge, Savannah, Georgia; key Church

leaders including Trevor and Aileen Reid, David Bryan, Kathy Creasy,

Jan Couch, Palma Hutchinson, and Darren Schalk, Sunday School

Editor; as well as many state/regional youth, children’s, and camping

ministry leaders and pastors. Bishop Billy Wilson, Director of the

International Center for Spiritual Renewal, and Bishop Sam Clements,

North American General Presbyter, challenged each participant with

inspirational messages.

A jam-packed weekend, this first

YHT was not only a great forum of

learning and developing in ministry skill, but also a great place to

network with other youth ministry leaders from across the U.S. and

beyond. This “iron sharpening iron” is perhaps one of the greatest

benefits to attending such a training event.

Participants left YHT armed

with fresh inspiration, renewed

passion, and new ideas for

leading their volunteers and

ministering to their young

people with excitement

and excellence.

YHT Dominican Republic

On February 4–7, YHT traveled to the Dominican Republic

and was offered concurrently to the National Youth Convention.

More than 350 youth leaders from across the nation participated

in the training event. During the day, general sessions and

workshops provided training in the areas of ministry vision,

leadership, youth culture, safety, administration,

and crisis counseling. During the evening,

YHT participants joined an arena of 3,500

young people to celebrate and worship at the National Youth

Convention. All events were held on the national property in

Santo Domingo.

On Thursday evening, Aileen Reid, International Youth

Ministries Co-Director, presented a teaching session entitled,

“Understanding Their Culture, Hearing Their Cries,” which

provided attendees with an overview of the challenges facing

our youth in our postmodern culture. Issues of relationships,

media influence, and sexuality were presented.

On Friday evening, Esther Rondon, the newly appointed National

Youth Ministries Leader of Dominican Republic, brought a challenge

to the young people to be soldiers in God’s army, capable of doing

spiritual warfare and engaging the enemy in these last days.

On Saturday evening, Trevor Reid, International Youth

Ministries Co-Director, preached a sermon entitled “Receive

the Spirit of Elijah.” The ministry’s national stadium, which

housed the event, was charged with an atmosphere of

expectation. Thousands of young men and women filled

the altar and stage area seeking God for salvation,

deliverance, and anointing to serve God with power.

Each workshop and general session was marked with participants

eager to learn and a desire to develop as ministry leaders.

Throughout the day, moments of powerful prayer would erupt,

indicating the hunger of these leaders to be

fully engaged in this last days harvest.

The teaching team for the Dominican

Republic YHT consisted of Trevor and Aileen

Reid, Valerie Moreno, Shaun McKinley, and

William Lamb. Lucas Leys, Latin American

author and speaker for Youth Specialties,

participated as a general session guest presenter.

YHT is the formal training arm of the

International Youth Ministries for all levels

of youth and camping ministry leadership.

Article written by Shaun McKinley

Trevor and Aileen Reid

International Youth Ministry Co-Directors

in worship


North Carolina

July 27–31, 2010

ricardo sanchez


South America

June 25–July 4, 2010

guest speaker

Reggie dabBs

April 16-18, 2010

Marriott Torrance South Bay

$99 per night, Book by April 2

Phone: 800-228-9290

3635 Fashion Way ∙ Torrance, CA


$30 per person (5 or more), $35 per individual

After March 20, 2010–$45 per person.


Our international missions focus for 2010 will be Guinea

Conakry, West Africa. We aim to raise $25,000 toward

“Loving Muslims to Jesus.” All youth groups

are encouraged to support this

missions effort through prayer

and sacrificial giving. Log on to

for more details.

West Coast

Imperial Ballroom

Sheraton Greensboro at Four Seasons

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Assembly Mission Breakfast has become one of the highlight

ministries of the International Assembly. The morning provides the

opportunity to be transported to a beautiful island, an exotic jungle,

or a historical city for breakfast as representatives from around the world

are seated at most of the tables. This year, while enjoying a plated

traditional Southern American breakfast, you will learn about the work,

needs, cultures, and lifestyles as well as the challenges these missionaries

encounter in their particular area of ministry.

Please join me, along with state/regional/national women’s ministries

directors, and various mission representatives at 7:00 a.m. in the Imperial

Ballroom at the Sheraton Greensboro at Four Seasons for this time of sharing with our sisters (and brothers), who are

ministering on the mission fields.

Limited space is available, and you must have a ticket to attend; so if you have not already made your reservations, please

send $25.00 U.S. to the Women’s Ministries Department to reserve your space. Tickets may either be mailed to you or picked

up at the Women’s Ministries booth.

Breakfast begins at 7:00 a.m., Saturday, July 31, 2010. See you there!

Cathy Payne

Women’s Ministries Director

2010 Assembly Mission Breakfast Reservation Form



City State Zip

Telephone E-Mail

Number of Tickets @ $25.00 each Amount Enclosed

Please return to the following address:

Women’s Ministries

Church of God of Prophecy

P.O. Box 2910

Cleveland, TN 37320-2910


WWM APRIL 2010 27

28 WWM APRIL 2010

The Courtroom Became a Chur

The article below is a follow-up to the story we ran in the

February 2010 issue of the White Wing Messenger

entitled “Alaska Update” on page 20. This is a testimony

of the power of God.

Regarding the situation in which the four Muslim men

had threatened Dirie’s life, the police put out an emergency

restraining order against the Muslims. During the first week

of December, Dirie asked me to go to court with him for

a hearing in which the judge would listen to both Dirie

and his four attackers, and then decide whether to give a

continuance of the restraining/protective order.

I went to court with Dirie, but the four men had not been

found, so the police had not been able to serve them their

subpoenas to appear in court. The hearing was postponed

for a couple weeks to give time for the subpoenas to be

served. It’s hard to believe that here in the good ole USA,

there are these Muslims literally looking for a Christian in

order to kill him.

Dirie asked me to go with him again to court when it

was re-scheduled. I told him that I would if he would just

let me know the day and time. The date came, but Dirie

had been working some double shifts and was tired and

had forgotten to tell me about the new date. When he

remembered it late in the night the night before, he didn’t

want to call and disturb me, so he decided to just go by

himself the next day.

The hearing was at 8:30 a.m., and Dirie arrived there

first. Right at 8:30, between 50–60 Muslim men entered the

courtroom, with the four men who had been served the

restraining order a few weeks before. They had gathered

together a bunch of the Muslim men and had driven them

to the courthouse in two big buses.

So there stood 50–60 angry Muslims and one young

Christian boy (I call him boy because he seems so young).

The judge, fearing what might happen, called in a large

contingent of police officers to stand in the courtroom. The

judge asked why all those men had come and was told that

they were there to stand with their four brothers against

this “man who has left our religion and our god, and is

trying to lead others into his Christianity.”

The judge asked Dirie about this claim. He gently said

that he wasn’t trying to make anyone do anything, but

that he had chosen to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, and no

one could persuade him to stop. The judge asked more

questions of the four men and others.

Finally, the judge turned to Dirie and asked if he would

like to say anything to the four men and the others. Dirie

told me that he could feel the Spirit and anointing of God

fill his being. Boldness began to rise up within him, and

the Word of God began going through his thoughts. He

faced all the Muslims and said the quote from David when

facing Goliath: “You come to me with sword and shield, but

I come to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Dirie later told me that he quoted a number of scriptures

and witnessed to the Muslims of the Lord Jesus Christ and

His great love for them. He said, “Pastor Arleta, I think I


preached my first sermon there.” He proceeded to tell

them that God loved them and that he loved them, but that

they needed to accept the Lord Jesus as their Savior and not

Muhammad or Allah.

Apparently, the judge let Dirie witness (preach) and

didn’t stop him at all. Then, at some point in the hearing,

the judge decided the 50–60 men had to leave except for

the four attackers. He had the police officers escort them

out, put them back on their buses, and made them leave.

Then, the judge ordered the continuance of the

protective restraining order for one year. After the four

Muslims left, the judge asked to speak to Dirie. He told

Dirie that even though he had ordered the protective order,

he was afraid that it still would not protect him. He said he

feared for Dirie’s life and knew all these men were intent

on stopping Dirie. He then recommended that Dirie move

quickly out of Alaska to the lower 48.

Dirie didn’t really have anywhere to go because the

family members that he has in the U.S. are against him

as well because he left the Islamic religion. In fact, if his

family knew his location, they would quickly report it to the

Muslim leadership. Brother Isaac, our brother from Nigeria,

has a brother in the lower 48 who is a Christian. He said

Dirie could come there and stay with him. So my “little

brother” left for the lower 48.

The praise part—the part that has blessed me—is this:

“The courtroom became a church.” God took a

courtroom and turned it into a church. He brought in a

congregation of 50–60 hardened evildoers, who otherwise

would NEVER have entered any church anywhere in the

city. He even had the “devil” drive the bus and pick them

up for this special “church” service. He had the legal

system (the judge) introduce the preacher and “turn the

service over to him.”

God caused Dirie to preach his first sermon, and it was

one of love and mercy and also of the deity and divinity

of our Lord. He “held” the “congregation’s” attention with

a group of angels dressed in police uniforms. And He

showed them the true “Word of God” and not the Koran or

any of the other writings of Muhammad. Then, once they

had heard the message, he had them placed back on the

bus and taken home.

Wow! What we could not have accomplished in a

lifetime perhaps (getting 50–60 Islamic Muslims into a

church for a Holy Ghost-filled child of God to proclaim the

Word), God was able to accomplish in just one “service”

and with one “sermon.”

After Dirie left the court, a man stopped him outside.

He was a Muslim and had been in the courtroom with the

other 50–60 Muslims. He had not come on the bus but

had come on his own and by himself. He knew about the

situation (the Muslim community is very close and tight-knit

here in Anchorage), but he still came on his own. He told

Dirie that the reason he came was not to help threaten or

harass Dirie, but he said, “I have never seen or met anyone

who has ever turned from the Islam religion to Christianity,

and I wanted to come and see you for myself. I needed to

actually see someone who has gone over to Christianity.”

This kind of reminds me of the wise men when they told

the king, “We have come to see if it is true.” Anyway, I pray

that this man’s curiosity (conviction) gets control of him,

and he begins to seek the Lord diligently.

We pray for Dirie’s protection and his ministry through

Christ. We also pray for the salvation of approximately

50–60 men who have now heard the true Word of God and

must decide what they want to do with it. And we miss our

little brother terribly.

Arleta Lefler

Anchorage, Alaska

WWM APRIL 2010 29

Local Church News

First Deaconess

for the State

of Georgia

Geneva Bowman Byrd

In the last chapter

of Romans, the apostle

Paul gave kudos to

various people who assisted him in his

ministry. In verse one, he singled

out by name Phoebe, one of the first

deaconesses mentioned in Scripture:

“I commend to you our sister Phoebe,

a servant of the church in Cenchrea.

I ask you to receive her in the Lord

in a way worthy of the saints and to

give her any help she may need

from you, for she has been a great

help to many people, including me”

(Romans 16:1, 2 NIV).

In his letter to the young minister,

Timothy, Paul laid out the requirements

for deacons and deaconesses: “Deacons

[Deaconesses], likewise, are to be men

worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging

in much wine, and not pursuing

dishonest gain. They must keep hold

of the deep truths of the faith with a

clear conscience. They must first be

tested; and then if there is nothing

against them, let them serve as deacons

[deaconesses]” (1 Timothy 3:8, 9 NIV).

According to Strong’s Dictionary, the

Greek word for deacon is diakonos

(dee-ak’-on-os). It is probably from an

obsolete diako: to run on errands; an

attendant or a waiter at tables; or in other

menial duties. It is used specially as a

Christian teacher and pastor; technically,

a deacon or deaconess. In the King

30 WWM APRIL 2010

James Version of the Bible, it is translated

as deacon, minister, and servant.

On Sunday, December 27, 2009, the

Rossville Church of God of Prophecy

ordained Geneva Bowman Byrd as the very

first deaconess for the Church of God

of Prophecy in the state of Georgia. Her

Deaconess Certificate number is 2009-0001.

From 1955 to 1995, Sister Byrd

served alongside her deacon husband,

Clarence Byrd, for 40 years at the East

Ridge, Tennessee, Church of God of

Prophecy. She completed all terms of

the Bible Training Institute in 1975.

After transferring her membership to

Rossville in 1999, she completed all the

requirements for a Certified Teacher

including the Foundations Course.

The local church set Sister Byrd forth as

deaconess in October 2009. In writing

my recommendation to Georgia State

Overseer Bishop Billy Adams, I said in

part, “Geneva Byrd has been doing the

ministry of a deaconess for over 40 years.

She assisted her husband, Clarence

Byrd, in every aspect of his calling as a

deacon.” Normally, there is a period of

a year serving as a trial deaconess, but

due to her prior training and experience

and the fact she had completed

the Foundations Course, she was

immediately set forth as a deaconess.

The wording of the Deaconess

Certificate states in part, “She is to

complement the office of the bishop

or pastor. She may serve in the

temporal needs of God’s work, such

as coordinating relief to the poor

and needy. She may conduct church

business affairs and conferences

when officially authorized by the

pastor or overseer. She is to teach

and defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

She may serve in baptism, administering

the Lord’s Supper, and washing to the

saints feet. Both biblical and historical

records confirm that she is to service

alongside and in harmony with the

bishop or pastor as a servant to

the congregation.”

Sister Jean Byrd, as she likes to be

called, has definitely been a tremendous

blessing to the Rossville local church

and pastor, serving as the church clerk

and treasurer, a substitute Sunday

school teacher, a member of the

Finance and Stewardship Committee,

and now as a deaconess.

When her pastor asked Sister Byrd

about serving as a deaconess, she

initially told him that she, at 83 years

of age, she was “too old to serve.” He

replied, “Better late than never!”

Article submitted by

Dr. Douglas R. Stephenson

Chaplaincy Ministries Director

Rossville, Georgia


I received confirmation at Ladies

Retreat at Barkley Lake. In the spring,

they found a large mass on my pancreas.

I went through many tests. There was

no fear on my part. I had gotten up

one morning and felt a heavy load; I

couldn’t carry the load, it was so heavy.

I lay before the Lord and told the Lord,

“Lord, I don’t know what this load is, but

I can’t handle it; I give it to You.” I didn’t

know at that time my healing took place.

I went through the tests, and the doctors

said that there was no cancer there. I felt

so good within my body.

I went to Lake Barkley in November

and feasted on Dr. Renfro’s message. I

went at lunchtime, gave him a hug, and

told him what they had found on my

pancreas. These were his words: “You

had cancer, but God healed you.” That

was my confirmation I needed.

I have told everyone I see that God

healed me of pancreatic cancer. I am

71 years old; this shows that there is no

age with God. I thank Him every day

and cry every day because that could

have been my death warrant. God is

good all the time; all the time, God

is good.

—Pat Hooker

A Gospel Singer’s Report

There was an awesome presence of

the Lord at my concert at the Crown

Heights Church of God of Prophecy

in Brooklyn, New York. I said, “The

presence of the Lord is mighty in the

house,” and I asked for all who were

sick to stand and lift their hands in faith.

Then, I went into the congregation and

prayed for several individuals.

Two days after the concert, I received

a telephone call of a healing testimony.

I was informed that a woman who was

at the concert had been the victim of a

motor vehicle accident several months

earlier and had suffered spinal cord injuries.

In His Presence

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Charles Edward Collins;

Alvin, Texas; October 18, 2009; licensed

minister for 59 years.


Brazil Kelly;

Belton, South Carolina; January 22, 2010;

licensed minister for 65 years.

Mary M. Goin;

Bucyrus, Ohio; January 31, 2010;

licensed minister for 57 years.

Velma Joyce Moore;

Austinville, Virginia; January 9, 2010;

licensed minister for 21 years.

At the concert, this woman had said to

her friend, “There are too many people

here, and she [myself] will not touch

me,” so she stood and lifted her hands.

This woman testified that immediately

she felt a tingling in her fingers, which

ran down her arm to her back, and there

was a loud, cracking sound. The people

standing closest to her heard the

cracking sound and asked, “What is that

sound?” The woman responded, “That’s

my spine, and the pain is gone.” This dear

lady was healed by the power of God!

This same woman and her husband

were having marital problems and

were in the process of going through

a divorce. The husband of this woman

Curtis Lee Music;

Alma, Georgia; January 8, 2010;

licensed minister for six years.

Juan de Jesus Sanchez;

Dominican Republic; January 29, 2010;

licensed minister for 29 years.


Michael C. Metaxas;

Cleveland, Tennessee;

January 23, 2010.

Ines Ortiz;

Newark, Delaware; October 12, 2009;

widow of Reverend Frank Ortiz.

Ruby Traficanto;

Sodus, Michigan;

December 25, 2009; she was a member

of the Church for more than 70 years.

called his wife’s friend and thanked

her for taking his wife into Brooklyn.

He affirmed that the “woman who left

here yesterday evening was not the

same woman who came back home in

the night.” He mentioned that the next

morning, he would visit the attorney

and cancel the divorce papers because

he had got his wife back. Monday

morning came, and the husband went

and did just as he had promised.

Not only was this woman healed

from her spinal cord injuries and pain,

but her marriage was restored by the

powerful hand of God! We serve a

mighty God!

—Dawn McDowell, Brooklyn, New York

New Churches

Green Acres, Florida;

organized on November 7, 2009;

Pastor José de los Santos.

Minneapolis, Minnesota;

organized on November 8, 2009;

Pastor Luis Rodriguez Luna.

Brigham City, Utah;

organized on January 17, 2010;

Pastor Jesus Sandoval.

West Palm Beach, Florida;

organized on January 17, 2010; Pastor

Jeffrey Webb.

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WWM APRIL 2010 31

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