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By Chad Davidson

Capitalizing on the “Gener(us)” theme, President Randall A. Bach highlighted Jesus’ generosity toward those He served, stating that we must also be “generous in thought and deed.” This powerful reminder reflects the heart of the Gospel.

On Thursday morning President Bach focused on four key areas: making disciples, developing leaders, planting churches, and communicating vision. The second area was eye-opening. President Bach laid out statistics highlighting the need to recruit and develop future ministers. He also presented a powerful video showcasing the various church-based programs now available in Open Bible to help train up young leaders. The topic was relevant and timely.

Christi Hendrickson, the director of Creekside School of Ministry and discipleship pastor at Open Bible Christian Center in Rapid City, South Dakota, said, “Our time at National Convention was refreshing and enriching. Especially beneficial was the time spent connecting with other schools of ministry leaders. I foresee a future of cooperation and collaboration that will bless and strengthen each school. I’m excited by the efforts being put forth by Open Bible in the area of leadership development.”

The late afternoon services were filled with an incredible time of worship and teaching. All three guest speakers were equally anointed. Ed Stetzer made us laugh while he walked us through the four commissions of Jesus. Brian Kluth provided amazing information about achieving financial health. The energy and humor of Dr. David Ferguson during the last service was contagious as he emphasized “doing the Book.”

Laval Hines, senior pastor of Calvary Open Bible Community Church, in Fort Pierce, Florida, said, “The speakers were enlightening and electrifying…. Dr. David Ferguson was a blast of fresh air.”

During this same service, God blessed the gathering with a message in tongues. Tom Rupli, Regional Executive Director for Open Bible East, brought the interpretation:

There are seasons in life for the church. There are times
when you wait for the cloud to move and there are times when the cloud moves and you follow. Now is a time that the cloud is moving and it is a time for Open Bible to advance. It is time to come to the promise and cross over the river into that which God has for us. It is time to advance and not remain still.

Spencer Keroff, pastor of First Church of the Open Bible in Des Moines, Iowa, also had a message from the Lord for someone:

You hesitated [at] coming to National Convention because of an unresolved issue/situation back at home. You felt like you needed to fix that situation. But because you came to Convention in faith, God has taken care of the situation back at home.

The powerful afternoon services were augmented by insightful workshops. Sessions provided information on topics such as how to build a communications team, firearms in the church, women and transitions in life, helping people on their generosity journey, exploring Open Bible’s Schools of Ministry, connections in Hispanic Ministries, opportunities in the chaplaincy, and retirement for ministers.

We also had the opportunity to honor several leaders for their outstanding years of service. Among those who were honored were Teri Beyer for twenty years as Open Bible Secretary/Treasurer, Tom and Sherry Moore for thirty years as missionaries to Guinea, West Africa, Verl and Shirley Sterns as the longest living former missionaries, Kris Beaird for ten years as the national leader of Women’s Network, Mike and Cathy Brandt for ten years as the Directors of Puente de Amistad in Tijuana, Mexico, and Drs. Nick and Leona Venditti for INSTE’s 35th anniversary. These people’s efforts have greatly contributed to God’s Kingdom.

The Frank W. Smith award was presented to Jeffrey E. Farmer for his service as a church planter, businessman, author, president of Eugene Bible College, president of Open Bible Churches, chairman and president of the Pentecostal Charismatic Churches of North America, and passionate advocate for Bible literacy, prayer, and evangelism.

We also had the opportunity to commission those who are beginning their journey into the mission field. Among those were the Adam and Katie Henaman family, Directors of Puente de Amistad; the Travis and Heather Hunsaker family, missionaries at Puente de Amistad; the Drew and Jessica Welch family, missionaries-at-large to Liberia, West Africa; and Mike and Dara Rasavanh, missionaries to Thailand and Cambodia. What an amazing commitment and desire to reach people all around the world!

Jessica Welch said, “Our family is humbled by the open arms of Open Bible and for their willingness to so lovingly launch us into a new season of ministry in our lives. We look forward to many conventions to come!”

“It brought butterflies to my stomach and joy to my soul to be announced as missionaries to Liberia at the Global Missions luncheon,” said Drew Welch. “What an honor it is to be called to serve in ministry alongside so many faithful and gifted ministers of the gospel!”

One fun and practical feature of the convention was the Gener(us) dinner event. Several gift cards were given out during the service the last night of convention. Those who won the cards were asked to be “generous” and invite someone along to dinner. What a great way to put this convention’s theme into action!

Aside from all the food, fellowship, and fun, this convention was a wonderful opportunity to reunite as an association and reignite the corporate vision Open Bible has for spreading the gospel. While we are all part of individual churches, we are united in one purpose and mission: to carry God’s message throughout the world.

“Our Living Word team of eight was impressed by the congeniality of the people and the organization of the convention,” said Dyrie Francis, associate pastor of Living Word Open Bible Church in Cooper City, Florida. “The Gener(us) theme permeated the convention, from random acts of kindness to sizeable and numerous gift cards donated to participants to be shared with others – a novel idea! We thoroughly enjoyed the high-caliber speakers who presented a wide range of informative and helpful topics that enriched us personally and further equipped us for ministry.”

Bart Bentley, pastor of Journey Church Ministries in Loves Park, Illinois, expressed a sentiment shared by many: “It is refreshing to be gathered with Open Bible family from different countries and generations. The formal sessions were wonderful, but the casual conversations in the lobby or over dinner were life-giving. I came away eager to advance the kingdom.”


Davidson-authorboxChad Davidson serves as the associate pastor and a leadership development coach at Fort Des Moines Church of the Open Bible in Des Moines, Iowa. He serves as an adjunct professor for William Penn University, Grand View University, and Des Moines Area Community College, all in the Des Moines area. He and his wife, Shy-Ann, have two children, Iain and Kayla.

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