Church of God, a Worldwide Association
|Church of God, a Worldwide Association|
|Classification||Independent Christian, Sabbath-Keeping|
The Church of God, a Worldwide Association (COGWA) is a Christian religious organization with a membership scattered throughout the world. It is one of the Sabbatarian Churches of God that trace their history to the ministry of Herbert W. Armstrong.
The Church of God, a Worldwide Association was formed in December 2010 as a result of internal division within the United Church of God, an International Association (UCG). As a result of numerous issues, over half of the employed pastors of UCG resigned and met in Louisville, Kentucky in January 2011 to reorganize as the Church of God, a Worldwide Association. After the Louisville conference, an interim board of directors and administration was formed. A permanent governance structure was approved in September 2011.
- That God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son are two distinct beings who compose the God family, and the Holy Spirit is the power of God to project His will and to produce His divine character in human beings. The Church of God, a Worldwide Association is therefore non-Trinitarian.
- That the Kingdom of God is the core of the gospel message. The Kingdom of God is defined as the future rule of the glorified family of God on earth.
- That the Ten Commandments are to be kept by Christians and that they define the character and conduct God expects of human beings.
- That the Fourth Commandment teaches people to observe the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath. Members of the church do not work or take part in regular recreational activities from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday and instead assemble for church services in cities and locations around the world.
- That the seven annual religious festivals found in Leviticus 23, and in various New Testament passages, are to be kept and reveal the salvation plan of God for humanity. Members are expected to set aside a "festival tithe" (10% of their income on top of the normal tithe) for use during their participation in these commanded celebrations.
- That many of the observances and beliefs of mainstream Christianity are derived through syncretism from ancient non-Christian religions and were adopted to ease converts' transition to Christianity. Examples of these non-Christian infiltrations are the observance of the traditional holidays of Easter and Christmas. The Church of God, a Worldwide Association teaches that Christians should not observe these holidays because of their non-Christian origins and their absence in the biblical record.
- That human beings do not go to Heaven or Hell immediately after death, but instead remain unconscious in death awaiting a future resurrection.
- That the visible, pre-millennial return of Jesus Christ is yet to occur and will begin the establishment of His kingdom (government) on earth.
- That the physical blessings promised to Abraham (and passed along to Isaac, Jacob and Joseph) found in the book of Genesis have been primarily fulfilled in the modern-day nations of the British Commonwealth and the United States of America (as the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh respectively). The church teaches that the other “lost tribes of Israel” exist today and that the Jewish people primarily represent the descendants of the nation of Judah.
The Church of God, a Worldwide Association is overseen by a Ministerial Board of Directors composed of seven senior ministers: David Baker, Arnold Hampton, Joel Meeker (chairman), Richard Pinelli, Larry Salyer, Richard Thompson, and Leon Walker.
The board selects a president to oversee the day-to-day operations of the church and provide spiritual leadership. Jim Franks currently serves as the president of the church and oversees the day-to-day operations of the church. He leads an administration that oversees the three major operations of the church: Doug Horchak (Ministerial Services) who administers the eldership and congregations of the church; Clyde Kilough (Media), who administers the church’s multimedia evangelistic efforts; and Britton Taylor (Financial Services), who administers the finances of the church.
Leon Walker serves as international liaison, assisting the president in overseeing the elders and congregations outside of the United States.
The corporate headquarters of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association is located in Allen, Texas.
Mission and operations
According to its constitution, the mission the Church of God, a Worldwide Association is: “to take the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the whole world, to make disciples of those whom God has called and to teach those disciples to observe all that Jesus Christ has commanded.”
Within this mission statement are two primary areas of operation: (1) the church’s evangelistic efforts to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world and (2) the church’s internal efforts to teach and serve its membership.
The church’s primary evangelistic tools are:
- Life Hope & Truth, a multimedia website composed of articles, blogs, booklets and video productions.
- Discern Magazine, a bi-monthly magazine that covers Biblical topics, news and social trends.
- Various social media outlets.
The church currently fulfils its internal mission by providing:
- Weekly and annual church services. The church conducts weekly Sabbath services in 243 locations around the world and sponsors Feast of Tabernacles sites in 38 locations worldwide. The teaching provided by the church eldership at its weekly Sabbath services and annual festivals are the primary way the church fulfils its internal mission.
- Foundation Institute is a nine-month educational institution sponsored by the Church of God, a Worldwide Association. The Foundation Institute campus is located in Allen, Texas and operates annually from mid-August to early May. The curriculum offers college-level classes that take students on a systematic study of the Bible and various theological and Christian living topics. Foundation Institute also offers a distance learning program of selected classes over the internet called FI Online.
- COGWA Youth Camps is a program of camps for the young adults, teens and pre-teens of the church. The church currently offers 11 youth camps that take place in the summer and winter in multiple regions of the United States.
- "Announcement of the Formation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association". UCG Current Crisis Blog. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- "Timeline for the Establishment of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association" (PDF). Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- "Resignation Letters of COGWA elders from the United Church of God".
- "Open Letter to the President of the United Church of God". Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- "January 14, 2011 Member Letter".
- "Constitution of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association" (PDF).
- "Fundamental Beliefs of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association". Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- Kirkpatrick, Tom. "What is God?". Life, Hope & Truth. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- Kirkpatrick, Tom. "Is the Holy Spirit a Person?". Life, Hope & Truth. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- Moody, Steve. "What Did the Apostles Believe about God?". Life, Hope & Truth. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- Treybig, David (2012). The Mystery of the Kingdom (PDF). Church of God, a Worldwide Association.
- Bennett, Mike. "What are the 10 Commandments?". Life, Hope & Truth. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- Bennett, Mike. "The Fourth Commandment: Remember the Sabbath Day". Life, Hope & Truth. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- Bennett, Mike. "How to Keep the Sabbath as a Christian". Life, Hope & Truth. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- Bennett, Mike. "Festival Meaning: What Are the Meanings of Each of God's Festivals?". Life, Hope & Truth. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- "Second Tithe and Offerings at the Feast". COGWA Feast of Tabernacles. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
- Bennett, Mike. "Holy Days vs. Holidays". Life, Hope & Truth. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- Bennett, Mike (2013). From Holidays to Holy Days: God's Plan for You (PDF). Church of God, a Worldwide Association.
- Burnett, Andy. "Do We Go to Heaven When We Die?". Life Hope & Truth. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- "What Is Hell?". Life Hope & Truth. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- Treybig, David. "King of Kings and Lord of Lords". Life Hope & Truth. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- Treybig, David. "Who Are the United States and Britain in Prophecy?". Life Hope & Truth. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- Our Organization
- "Our Organization". COGWA. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- Discern - Life, Hope & Truth
- One Accord, November 2015
- Horchak, Doug Ministerial Services Operation Manager for Church of God, a Worldwide Association
- COGWA.TV - Webcast Schedule
- Congregations - Church of God, a Worldwide Association, Inc