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Alton Garrison
Assemblies of God Assistant General Superintendent Alton Garrison will be one of the prayer leaders at Encounter 2015.

On January 5 and 6, 2015, the Church of God-Cleveland, the Assemblies of God, and the International Pentecostal Holiness Church will sponsor Encounter 2015, an unprecedented, historic gathering of Pentecostal pastors and prayer leaders at Northwood Temple, Fayetteville, North Carolina (John Hedgepeth, senior pastor). The essential purpose of Encounter 2015 is to acknowledge absolute dependence upon God, to affirm commitment to concerted prayer, and to intercede for a spiritual awakening in the United States.

In addition to the sponsoring fellowships, leaders from the following denominations are also participating: Church of God of Prophecy, Congregational Holiness, The Foursquare Church, Pentecostal Church of God, and the Pentecostal Freewill Baptist Church. Mark Williams, general overseer of the Church of God-Cleveland; Alton Garrison, assistant general superintendent of the Assemblies of God; and Doug Beacham, general superintendent of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, and others will lead various prayer segments.

Doug Small notes the purpose of the meeting as follows: "In light of our distinctive Pentecostal roots and our deep dependence on God, we will gather across denominational lines to renew our commitment to prayer as standing at the heart of pastoral ministry, and as indispensable to the mission of the Church. We are urging pastors to see themselves first and foremost as holy men and women of God who must spend regular time in communion with Him. We must seek God's face. We must ask that He renew us. We must pray for our nation."

John Maempa
Maempa

John Maempa, director of the Office of Prayer and Spiritual Care for the AG, states, "This will be a historic occasion when pastors and other leaders from the various streams of the Pentecostal movement will come together to strengthen and encourage one another in the vital discipline of prayer and to seek God for a powerful move of the Holy Spirit across the Church and our nation. We are praying that this will be a catalyst for a spiritual awakening that is so desperately needed in this day."

Historically, the Assemblies of God has set aside the first full week of January as the Week of Prayer. This event will provide a unique opportunity to begin the Week of Prayer and the New Year in united prayer with our sister Pentecostal fellowships.

AG Assistant General Superintendent Alton Garrison encourages pastors across the Assemblies of God to make plans to be part of this historic gathering. "As people of the Spirit across the Pentecostal church, may we commit to pray as never before, partner in prayer and service as never before, and be influencers for good and righteousness as never before. May this ignite a powerful spiritual awakening in our churches and in our nation, resulting in a great harvest of souls for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Though there is no registration fee for the conference, all attendees are encouraged to register at encounter2015.com. Additional information about the event, location, housing, promotional resources, and more can be found on the conference website.


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Ministers' Holy Lands trip like "no other"

Wed, 30 May 2012 - 2:37 PM CST

Marc Turnage, director of the Center for Holy Lands Studies, has led countless tours through the Holy Lands for people of all ages and giftings. However, he has come to recognize that ministers and those preparing for the ministry, need more than a tour - they need to come away from their experience enabled to apply the experience to their ministry.

In cooperation with Dr. James Bradford and Pastor Mark Batterson, Turnage has created the "As One With Authority" trip - a training experience that's like no other. This Holy Lands trip, scheduled for February 23 to March 3, 2013, is specifically designed for those in ministry.

"The uniqueness of this trip is that we're not just bringing ministers into the land and giving them a visual picture," explains Turnage, "but the itinerary is very intentionally geared for using the Holy Lands as a platform to improve preaching and teaching."

Turnage explains that in addition to numerous site visits, ministers will receive personal training from Batterson and Bradford - two Holy Lands veterans and outstanding ministers of the gospel. In evening sessions, the two will share with ministers on how to craft sermons and enhance their teaching from the pulpit in a dynamic way based upon their immersion into the lands of the Bible.

Through the As One With Authority Holy Lands training experiences, Turnage says ministers become stronger more confident expounders of Scripture. "They will have not only stepped into the space of Scripture," he says,  "but stepped back into the world and culture of Scripture from the standpoint of leading and teaching." 

But Turnage says the training goes beyond dynamic communication of the Word of God - it also emphasizes personal leadership growth and transformation.

"One of our site visits will be into the desert area of Israel to focus on the character and nature of Bedouin shepherd life in the ancient world," Turnage explains. "This is especially significant when you consider the Old Testament patriarchs of Abraham, Moses and David were all shepherds. When ministers come to understand the importance and role the wilderness played in shaping these shepherds, these leaders of the people of Israel, our prayer is that it would not only enhance their preaching and teaching, but it would challenge and grow them as leaders within their congregations."

Turnage says that the As One With Authority training experience will also differ from normal tours in that ministers will receive pre-trip preparation materials and more time will be spent at specific-to-ministry sites. "The pre-trip study materials open the door to making each site a 'lab' or case study," Turnage says. "We'll talk through the Scripture passage, the historical and archeological issues, then process it, before moving on."

The As One With Authority training experience will also be offered as credit courses for Assemblies of God Theological Seminary students and upper-level students of North Central University, as the dates coincide with the schools' spring breaks.

"My prayer is that ministers of all ages will be able to come together for this time of personal enrichment and spiritual edification," Turnage says. "For what better place to experience renewal than in the Holy Lands?"

For more information about the As One With Authority training experience, including itinerary, trip costs and deadlines, click here.

Authors: Dan VanVeen

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