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My Commitment to the United Pentecostal Church, International


wec1.gifI have an extensive history with the UPCI. From the old Battlegrounds Campground in Lafayette, Indiana, going to youth camps at the Methodist camp in Hillsdale, Michigan, attending Texas Bible College, preaching across the country as an evangelist, pastoring one of its great churches, serving in youth functions, all the way to participation on the General Board for over six terms and on the Executive Board for two terms, plus sitting on numerous other boards and committees, I have been enriched, challenged and honored at every level.

This history, however, as satisfying as it may be, does not nearly comprise the full reason why I love the UPCI and will remain committed to it. It is not just involvement in boards and busyness. The perfunctory activities and official duties of virtually any church organization can provide a basic sense of involvement that makes a person feel needed and appreciated. This organization gives me something much more.

First, I am indebted to the pioneers of this movement who made untold sacrifices to give me this oneness Pentecostal body of believers. Their pure minds and guileless spirits laid the foundation stone for this body to exist. It cost them wealth, health, success, acceptance and even life to do what they did. They traveled thousands of miles—by horseback, rail, buses, bicycles and shoe leather, in deep snows, chilling temperatures or scorching heat to preach the gospel in the villages and towns of the nation. How can I forget the persecution, the revilement, the scorn and the hatred they faithfully endured to establish churches? How could I disappoint those who shed tears and blood and suffered so much to start up congregations in brush arbors, tents and storefronts across North America? I am deeply grateful for their unswerving commitment. This is my heritage.

Second, the sweetest, most honorable, most passionate, most enthusiastic people I know are my brothers and sisters in the United Pentecostal Church, International. I love these people. They may not be perfect, but until I can personally claim the virtue of perfection, I will have as much tolerance for them as I want them to have for me. On many occasions I have been overwhelmed by their love for God, their testimony and their counsel. They have encouraged me, blessed me, strengthened me, mentored me, invested time and energy into me, taught me and prayed for me. I cannot imagine myself or my ministry apart from this body of believers. This is my family.

Third, belief in the Apostolic truth lies at the very core of the United Pentecostal Church, International. It is our reason for existence. While the organization has undergone some changes in styles and trends, it has nevertheless maintained its hold on righteous principles, doctrinal truths and fervor for missions and evangelism. The common ground that unites us—the oneness of the Godhead, the new birth, the imminent return of Christ and living righteously and godly in this present world—still binds us together, despite the passing of the years. Our articles of faith have not been watered down. They have been made stronger and plainer in expressing the teaching of the Bible. I deeply appreciate this commitment to truth. It has made the UPCI a tower of strength. These are my convictions.

Finally, I am truly impressed by the cumulative total of our united efforts. Unfortunately, too many of us fail to “see the forest for the trees”. We see such a narrow slice of our involvement that we do not notice the overarching impact that the UCPI presently delivers on many different levels and venues. Children, youth, ladies, men, teachers, musicians, church planters, missionaries, writers, speakers, students, pastors, evangelists, technicians, pilots, builders, organizers, promoters and many more persons in roles and positions find a wealth of opportunity in this organization. It is a multi-faceted, diverse group of servant-leaders who pool their several talents and abilities together to make a difference. We are making a difference…a big difference. This is my organization.

May the United Pentecostal Church, International grow stronger and become more effective in the mandate of the church, the great commission. I pledge to do my part to make it happen.


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Reader Comments (1)

I was fortunate enough to attend the General Conference this year in Houston.

I am so far removed from the UPCI and its doctrines, and yet I once again remembered what I loved about it, growing up as a child in a UPCI congregation: it's the people. I admit that I know very few church organizations as well as the one in which I spent many years, but I still feel an awe of the passion of the people in the UPCI, and frankly, I trust the personal character and integrity of its ministers by default, because I've observed them personally, and they've impacted my life.

October 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Garcia

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