I want to share much of what I communicated to our district leadership in a keynote address at our annual planning session as we anticipated the coming year.
The term keynote actually comes from the field of a cappella music, such as doo-wop or barbershop singers. They play a note, usually on a pitch pipe, before they begin singing. The note played determines the key in which they will sing the following song, hence the term “keynote.”
The keynote that I would like to sound is this: it is time to focus on our core mission like a laser beam. We are living at the most momentous hour in the history of the church. We are seeing things happen in this day that doesn’t just rival the early church—they surpass it! And that’s not hyperbole. More people are being born of water and spirit today than at any other time in the history of the church. One can sense a rising tide in the Spirit.
I am excited about the prospects of even greater revival. We have a generation arising that is not mesmerized by this world. Instead they are selling out for Jesus Christ. They love truth and are willing to give their lives to propagate it to a lost world.
Psalm 145:4 gives us the perfect bridge between the generations: “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.”
We need to declare what God has done and, as importantly, we need to declare what He will do through the next generation. We need to be cheering them on.
It is the perfect time to sound the keynote—to reiterate our core mission. The core mission of the United Pentecostal Church International and the Texas District is this: The whole gospel to the whole world by the whole church. This is the reason for our existence. We need to be fully engaged in that pursuit. It must be our highest priority.
The whole gospel to the whole world by the whole church. That is a high and lofty goal. But it is one that is obviously inspired by God. It is in perfect alignment with the Great Commission that Jesus Christ gave us. But how can we be purposeful in pursing our core mission? On building toward greater revival and unity moving forward? What should we rally around?
When Bro. David K. Bernard became our General Superintendent, he laid out six major goals that we as movement should embrace and act upon in the pursuit of our core mission. I believe these major goals were inspired of God. These major goals are appropriate, not just at the national level but at the district and local church level as well. Embracing them will ensure that we are successful in pursuing the core mission of the church. Let’s align ourselves with these six major goals and allow them to help us stay focused on winning the lost in the Texas District and beyond! These goals, in brief, are:
- Build on our foundation by emphasizing apostolic identity, apostolic unity, and apostolic revival.
- Plant new churches and daughter works through a team approach.
- Increase the effectiveness and efficiency of operations.
- Implement effective communication by various means.
- Plan for appropriate and progressive change.
- Focus on recruiting, training, involving, and retaining ministers.
In the last few months our minister count in the district has surpassed the 500 mark! This represents a growth of more than 12% in the last two years. We have also seen a significant increase in leadership opportunities in the Texas District. A few years ago only about one in six of our ministers were serving in leadership roles in the district and section. Today, we have about one in four of our ministers serving in a leadership role, which is an increase of about one-third! We all know that expanded involvement is a key to growth, whether in a local church, a section or a district.
We are thankful for advances in the past, but we cannot rest on our laurels. We must forge ahead and see greater things. Our theme for 2018, Reach, speaks to that objective. It is drawn from Philippians 3:13-14:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
God is challenging us to forget what is behind us, whether they are successes or failures. There is a reason why a windshield is so much larger than a rearview mirror. The majority of our focus must be on the future before us, not the past behind us.
If we are going to obtain the prize, we must be reaching. While we certainly want to “reach” a lost world, the word’s context in Philippians 3 actually speaks to more than that. In other translations, it is interpreted that we should “stretch ourselves.”
I want to challenge every reader, every church, every department in the Texas District to set goals that require some “Reach,” that require you to stretch your faith, to expand your efforts. I believe that such a reach or stretch is really the stuff of faith. If you only determine to do what is easily accomplished, no faith is needed. But when you “Reach” farther, higher, and with greater passion, then you are stepping into the realm of faith where God dwells! Let’s Reach in 2018!
Kevin L. Prince
Texas District Superintendent