June 2, 2022
This past week, after hearing about the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, it was difficult for me to actually comprehend what had happened. I felt an overwhelming sadness as I read about the 19 children—only 9 to 11 years old—and two teachers who were brutally killed by a deranged 18-year-old. And this was on the heels of another mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, just two weeks prior. I am sure we all had the same questions—what is happening to our country, or better put, what is happening to our world?
The signs of the times are telling us that the world is coming apart at the seams. Human life seems to have little value and is taken in a moment by someone who is angry, deranged or motivated by an evil spirit. Dealing with the fallout from these events has occupied the world’s attention for the past several days. And still there seem to be few answers, and even fewer solutions. I am sure we would all be in favor of legislation if we could legislate ourselves out of this dilemma. I would be in favor of any law that would actually save human lives, but without addressing the heart issues and the disintegration of society (and specifically the family), we seem to be stuck with ever increasing violence. Knowing that the return of Jesus Christ is the only real solution, I pray every day for all those who are suffering the loss of a loved one.
In the midst of all the darkness and tragedy that permeates our society, and the sadness it creates in so many lives, I have some good news to share. Earlier this year, I mentioned that we were increasing our Media budget by more than 30 percent, the largest increase in our short history. But we had a challenge. In order to get the most benefit from these funds, we really needed to hire some new employees in Media, both for writing and for video.
We’re happy to report that we have recently been able to fill some of those positions with individuals who are, interestingly, all in their 20s. They are Kendrick Diaz for writing and editorial and Ashley Peoples and Seth Salyer for video production. All three are graduates of Foundation Institute in the last two years and bring with them a great desire to work for the Church and a passion to learn. We believe it is good for us as an organization to provide employment opportunities for some of the bright young people that sit with us each week in our congregations. We look forward to working with them and seeing the enthusiasm and new ideas they will bring to work each day.
In addition to our new employees, last week we had a very informative presentation from another of our young adults, from Florida. His name is Mitchel Sinon, and his expertise is in marketing, especially digital advertising. All of us are familiar with ads on Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. Mitchel flew to Dallas from his home in Florida and explained this field of digital advertising and how beneficial it can be for the Church. With Mitch’s help, we will be putting together an advertising plan to increase our readership for Discern; Life, Hope & Truth; and our booklets. After 10 years of Life, Hope & Truth, we have millions of people who have been to our website and tens of thousands who have given us their email addresses. Advertising in general is effective, of course, but we believe that targeted digital advertising to those who have visited our sites can really help develop our relationship with them and will lead them to continue to look more deeply into God’s truth. We are truly excited to see this plan moving forward.
In addition, for some time now, we have been convinced that one of the areas with the greatest potential is video. Everyone seems to agree that video is much more effective than the written word. And with that in mind we are now developing an Internet video program. This will be a 20- to 30-minute program that will be posted on all our media platforms—from YouTube to Facebook to COGWA.TV. This is planned to be a regular program, weekly or biweekly, with interviews, news of the world, prophecy and the gospel message. We will be deciding on presenters over the next few weeks, and we truly hope to launch this program before the end of the year—possibly even by the Feast.
We are serious about spreading the gospel around the world. We believe we are like the sower whose story is told as a parable by Christ in Matthew 13:1-23. This is one of the longest parables that Christ gave during His ministry and one of the few that He took the time to explain. This is certainly a metaphor for what we are doing in preaching the gospel today. We have the seed—God’s truth published on our website, in our booklets, in our blogs, in our articles and in our magazines.
Even though we know, as Christ explained in the parable, that not all of that scattered seed will take root, we want to make that seed available to as wide a group of people as we can. We have been working for the past 10 years to steadily build the gospel proclamation, and now we’re really looking forward to a new stage of growth.
As the world gets darker, dominated by evil and animosity, God is opening some amazing doors for the preaching of the gospel. But that’s not all that is happening! We don’t want to forget the relaunching of the International Leadership Program. The infrastructure of the Church needs leaders who can teach the truth as they have been taught (2 Timothy 2:2) and who can serve as pastors and shepherds for God’s people. For the first time in our history, we have a single, consistent leadership training program for all congregations outside the United States.
Please have a wonderful Feast of Pentecost, celebrating the sealing of the firstfruits and the coming of the Holy Spirit. We have so much to be thankful for. God has blessed us in amazing ways. But today there is still great sadness over the recent tragic events. I believe we all suffer with those who recently lost loved ones, especially as we consider the number of young children who died during the shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Our prayers go out on behalf of each and every one. May we all pray “Your kingdom come” each and every day! It can’t come too soon!
Sincerely, your brother in Christ,