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What advantage is there for our church in belonging to

the General Conference of the Canadian Assemblies of God?

OR

Why do we need to belong to a Movement?

Submitted by: Daniel Ippolito

 

Once in a while one hears questions of this nature and they need an answer. In answering the question we need to remember a few things.

I will refer to our Movement – The General Conference of the Canadian Assemblies of God (formerly The ItalianPentecostal Church of Canada.)

 

While the local church constitution states that we are affiliated with a movement it also states that every local church is autonomous. i.e. – self governing – responsible for the administration of its own affairs – spiritual and material.

 

Instead of considering our selves as belonging to a movement, it should be emphasized that our “movement” is a “cooperative fellowship of churches”, that is, a voluntary joining together of churches for the purpose of furthering the work of God.

 

It should be further emphasized at this point that the Constitution of The Canadian Assemblies of God (formerly The Italian Pentecostal Church of Canada) clearly outlines the duties of the Executive Board or Overseers of our Fellowship in relationship to Pastors and Congregations.

 

By Law Number 2, Section 1, (a) Duties of the General Superintendent states: “He shall act in a supervisory capacity over all the workers (credential holders) of the corporation and assist assemblies with personal advice and ministry as the need may require, and at the request of the pastor or local church board; and administer discipline in all cases whenrequested to do so by the Executive Board.”

 

Translated, this means, the General Superintendent or other Executive Officers will not interfere with the local administration of affairs of any congregation unless invited to do so by the pastor or church board (and sometimes by the congregation when a petition by the congregation in accordance with the local constitution is ignored by the pastor and church board) and submitted to the Executive Board. This is an extreme case and more of an exception than theusual rule.

 

Now, here are some of the advantages and good reasons for belonging to a fellowship of churches. There may be many more.

1. Identity:

​Tells who we are. We belong to a government and church recognized body of churches. Our “fellowship” holds an Ecclesiastical Charter, granted by the Parliament of Quebec, and is Incorporated as a Religious Body . The General Conference of The Canadian Assemblies of God has now been granted a FederalCharter and belongs to the World Pentecostal Fellowship of Churches; World Fellowship of the Assemblies of God; Pentecostal and Charismatic Fellowship of North America; Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

 

 2. Legal Position

  1. With Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. Each church must have a Charitable RegistrationNumber which is obtained because the church is associated with a recognized body , The General Conference of the Canadian Assemblies of God.

  2. Our pastors are recognized by the Provincial Government to perform marriages and signing ofimportant documents (passports, etc.).

 

3. Fellowship:

Annual General Conference of The Canadian Assemblies of God. An Annual gathering for ourpastors, credential holders and church delegates and believers provides Spiritual Encouragement, Challenge, Inspiration, Direction, Guidance for our pastors and congregations.

  • Each credential holder and delegate(s) from each affiliated church make up the voting constituency of the General Conference, the highest legislative body in the movement.

  • Annual Youth Conferences for spiritual encouragement, fellowship, challenge, inspiration, direction, guidance for the youth of our churches.

  • Rallies – Fellowship of believers – Youth

  • Retreats for adults, youth and Marriage Retreats

  • Other Activities – Women’s Ministries

  • Ministerial fellowship for pastors and credential holders and church staff.

 

4. Missions:

  • The first purpose of the beginning of our “fellowship” by those before us (1944) was to cooperate andcoordinate our support of missions. Together we can do more in reaching the lost.

  • Support of workers for church planting – new churches where possible.

 

5. Evangelism and Church Planting:

Together we can reach communities, plant churches and hold special evangelistic efforts from time to time in areas where there are two or more churches.

6.     Covering of our Churches:

  • Provide Leadership and Guidance by our elected Overseers for congregations, youth, women’s ministries, Sunday school, etc.

  • Provide pastors recognized with a proven and sound ministry for our churches.

  • Credentials are granted upon recognition and evaluation by Credentials Committee.

  • Examinations and Supervision of courses for preparation for the ministry.

  • Ordination of ministers.

  • Installation of pastors and other officers.

  • Dedication of churches.

  • Overseers elected at conference by Credential Holders and Delegates provide counsel or ministry uponinvitation by the pastor, church board or congregation.

  • Discipline of Credential Holders (churches provide discipline for members).

  • Assisting churches in time of change of leadership or pastor – troubled times.

  • Protection from non-acceptable ministries that introduce strange doctrines and activities among churches.

  • Pastors and other Christian Workers who hold credentials are held accountable for doctrine, morality,integrity by the elected Executive Board of Overseers.

7. Spiritual and Prayer Support:

When we recognize each other as a congregation which is part of our fellowship we can better give spiritual and prayer support for churches or those in need and for united efforts of prayer for those in spiritual authority over us and in our land.

DUTIES OF AFFILIATION:

Spiritual loyalty and prayer support

Missions support – 15% of total church income

Financial support:

  • General fund administration support as decided upon by pastors and local church delegates at a General Conference. 1% of total church income.

  • Pastors should tithe all or part of their giving to the Fellowship.

  • Strong ties and bonds of Christian fellowship.

CONCLUSION:

 

From a pamphlet issued by The Assemblies of God of the United States there is a closing portion entitled, “The Purpose of it all.” I would like to borrow this portion, changing “Assemblies of God” to The Canadian Assemblies of God.

 

The Purpose of it All:

The General Conference of The Canadian Assemblies of God is committed to fulfilling a threefold mission. Its primaryreason for being is to be an agency of God for evangelizing the world, to be a corporate body in which man may worship God, and to be a channel of God’s purpose to build a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son.

 

In other words, we exist to serve God in worship and work, to serve the world in evangelism and compassion, and to serve the church in fellowship, instruction, inspiration, and mutual assistance.

.

 

Reviewed April 9, 2008, at Gananoque, Ontario

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