A Message for my COGIC Brothers (Yes I am COGIC too)

Image1. More emphasis must be placed on soulwinning and outreach initiatives, evangelism has to be outside the 4 walls of the church, our understanding of an “evangelist” in many of our churches is someone that get the saints excited and raise a big offering for the church and himself. An Evangelist is a SOULWINNER plain and simple. The Pastor has to disciple the new converts after they are won to Jesus! The primary purpose of the Holy Ghost is to HELP us in ministry (Acts 1:8). Ministry isn’t just at a PULPIT! It is in hospitals, Prisons, Nursing homes, and the street. The problem is when you minister away from the pulpit no one can see you, too many “preachers” like the spotlight rather than being a light!
2. The Office of Deacon MUST be restored to it’s rightful place, we could take a lesson from the Baptist church on this issue. We would have more men and stronger men if they were groomed and trained to be DEACONS! Deacons are not just old men holding the collection plate! I was a Deacon at the age of 22, I tought Bible Study, Sunday School, and led the street witnessing team! I did more ministry as a Deacon than some Elders!
3. EDUCATION is NOT the enemy! We MUST make the requirements for ordination TOUGHER! We have far too many preachers that are not well versed in the scriptures, we know who sits on the general board, we know who the state mother is, and the Clark Sisters latest CD…but tell some of these ministers to stand toe to toe with a Jehovah’s Witness and defend The Bibles stance on the Trinity and the deity of Jesus Christ. Apologetically TOO MANY of our preachers are lacking! And don’t tell me “all I need is the anointing!” A sound Bible education ENHANCES the anointing, if you can’t read well, how can you understand the Word and preach to others? With all thy getting get an understanding…isn’t that what the BIBLE say’s?
4. Women need to be ordained with a stipulation, no woman can rise to the office of Bishop. Women CAN and are called to PREACH! Nuff said! Many of our COGIC churches were STARTED by women but woman are not GOOD enough to sit in OUR pulpits? God forbid!
5. Youth Ministries MUST expand and think outside the box, if we lose our youth the church will dry up and die! When I was 14 years old my Baptist church had a “Youth Deacon Board” (I was one), The Older Deacons mentored us, we delivered food to the sick and shut in, washed seniors cars and cut thier grass….we need to better train our boys to be men. True religion is to visit the widow AND the FATHERLESS!

6. Foriegn Missions has to be MORE of a priority in the COGIC and in Black churches in general, who better than black people to evangelize 3rd world countries? Our problem is we preach prosperity more than the Gospel, prosperity doesn’t work on the Mission Field. We MUST fulfill the Great Commission, it was a command NOT an option!

7. Feeding the hungry is also a part of outreach, remember when the Apostles apointed Deacons? The purpose was centered around feeding poor widows, as the feeding ministry flourished the numbers of the church GREW! Acts of kindness draw people to Jesus, because JESUS primary mission was to the POOR and REJECTED!

Chaplain Mark H. Stevens, M.Min

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Mark Stevens was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1959. He grew up in a multi-cultural neighborhood, and developed an ecumenical outlook at an early age. Being raised Baptist in a Catholic and Jewish area helped shape his attitude of tolerance and understanding for other faiths. Mark accepted Christ as his savior at the age of 14 and served God in man capacities early in life. He joined the US Air Force at the age of 18 and began to travel worldwide. At the age of 21 Mark became a Deacon in the COGIC and served as a Sunday School Superintendent and Adult Bible Study teacher. It was 2 years later when Mark accepted the call to Pastoral Ministry. Elder Mark H. Stevens is now an ordained Elder in the COGIC 1st Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of New Jersey. He is the Dean of the Charles Harrison Mason Bible Institutes of New Jersey (Camden and Linden ). Elder Stevens is married to the former Stephanie Perry, who is also a Minister of the Gospel. Elder Stevens is also a Staff Chaplain at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital and an On-Call Chaplain at Cooper Trauma Center. Elder Stevens graduated from the Institute of Jewish Studies, a school of the Philadelphia Bible University. He is an ETA (Evangelical Training Association) certified Bible Teacher. He holds a BA in Theology and an MA in Ministry from Freedom Bible College and Seminary, and is the final stages of receiving his Doctorate in Ministry from Freedom. He has completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Cooper Trauma Center. Elder Stevens is a highly decorated retired MSgt in the USAF. He has served in Combat Operations in Somalia, Honduras, Turkey, Korea, and Morocco. He has preached and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every country he set his foot in. During Desert Storm the Lord used him to lead 3 Moslems to Christ. He was also instrumental in starting the first Church of God in Christ in South Korea under the leadership of Dr. Herman G. Platt. Elder Stevens’s greatest joy is preparing people for the work of ministry. Prior to accepting the call to ministry Elder Stevens was a Martial Arts (Tang Soo Do) instructor. Elder Stevens started his path to Chaplaincy as a volunteer at Virtua Hospital in Mt. Holly, NJ. Under the tutelage of Chaplain Ellie Cowhert, Mark attended many classes and seminars. Chaplain Cowhert recommended he take Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Cooper Trauma Hospital in Camden, NJ and be taught by Rev. Robert Cholke. In September 2005 he started taking CPE at Cooper. Rev. Cholke knew he had a passion for prison ministry because he told him he had been a volunteer at Burlington County Jail. Rev. Cholke arraigned a meeting with Chaplain Wilcox at Riverfront Prison in Camden. After meeting Chaplain Wilco

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