No man is an island, including the leader of a religious body.
Jesus gave the “great commission” to his disciples to go out and make disciples of people all over the world, baptizing them and teaching them all he had taught them. It was a daunting task: They couldn’t do it alone, and neither can the “apostles” of this age, which is why the Church of God in Christ’s Auxiliaries in Ministry Convention is such an integral part of that denomination.
From July 1-5, thousands of Church of God in Christ (COGIC) members will journey to Baltimore for the 2013 AIM Convention, an annual conclave.
“The goal of AIM is effectiveness in ministry,” the church’s website states. “Its primary goal is training for a more effective domestic and global outreach, and its mission is to advance Kingdom work through training, worship, evangelism, discipleship, fellowship and service.”
During the formative stages of COGIC, its founder Bishop Charles H. Mason organized departments to further support the work of the church. As it continued to grow and expand, new departments, auxiliaries and ministries were added, a reflection of the church’s holistic approach to ministry both to its members and to the communities in which they serve.
Today, COGIC has several subsidiaries.
The work of the International Department of Evangelism is to fan the flames of evangelism by providing “structure, mentoring, moral support and training” for all COGIC’s members, as all are called to spread the work of the gospel. According to COGIC’s newsletter, the department’s new leader, the Rev. Elijah Hankerson, said at this year’s convention he plans to reintroduce the “new and improved” Bishop L.C. Page School and introduce the NexGen ministry, which is targeted to those who are 49 years and longer in ministry. The department also plans to host “Revival Fire” events, three nights of powerful preaching at the conference.
The Department of Missions is on a continual “endeavor to spread the gospel to areas of the world where no gospel message has ever been preached or heard,” according its leader, Bishop Carlis L. Moody Sr. Given that mandate, he added, “We are very excited about the avenues of communicating by using various Social Media to reach various parts of the world.”
During the convention, the department will train and re-train mission workers.
Almost immediately after, Youth on a Mission (YOAM) teams will embark on mission trips to Jamaica, Liberia and Malawi.
Other auxiliaries include the Departments of Music, Sunday School, Youth, Women’s, Men’s, Children’s and Prison’s ministries; and other offices dedicated to urban initiatives, military and chaplaincy services, health and wellness, online education and even a Scholastic Motivation Ministry geared toward facilitating and enhancing youth potential.
Superintendent Linwood Dillard of Memphis, Tenn., is the new chairman of the AIM Convention and succeeds Bishop J. Drew Sheard, who was recently elected to the General Board of the Church Of God In Christ.
“I am excited about the season of tremendous opportunity that God is getting ready to do for our great church,” Rev. Dillard said in a video promoting the event.
A former president of the International Youth Department, Dillard brings a wealth of administrative and organizational skills to the position.
He pastors the Citadel of Deliverance Church Of God In Christ in Germantown, Tenn., along with his wife, Stephanie Marie Dillard and their children, Faith Marie and Linwood III.
Dillard holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is also a graduate of the W.L. Porter Bible Institute, which is accredited by the Evangelical Training Association. In February 2006, Dillard was featured in EBONY magazine as one of 30 young leaders under the age of 30, highlighted for his work with various social and professional organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Society of Black Engineers and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.