Student Life: Fun in the…Snow! – Part 2

Author: Caanin Fausone | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22

Estimated Reading Time: 2 min.

(This is part two of the Feb 18 post “Student Life: Fun in the…snow”)

Some friendly competition

Later that evening, the class started a new tradition with the induction of the first inaugural “dictionary game”,  a word game that challenged the students to come up with convincing-sounding definitions for obscure and bizarre English words. This year, student Ryan Price was the victor, claiming a hard-fought victory that awarded him bragging rights and a complimentary water bottle. Once again, the students were up into the wee hours of the night engaged in fruitful and lively conversation in anticipation of the following day’s activities.

Hitting the slopes

That morning, breakfast consisted of yogurt, oatmeal, and a variety of other breakfast items that fueled the students in a spirited clean-up effort. With the house cleaned and all their belongings packed, the final leg of the journey was upon them, a mountainous yet scenic drive to the nearby Beech Mountain. With an elevation of just over 5,500 feet, this mountain is the highest in the state of North Carolina and quite the tourist attraction for skiing and snowboarders alike. Thanks to the recent storm, the conditions were perfect for some recreational fun in the snow, and the activity of the day was snow tubing. The facilities set up at the resort were very beginner-friendly but still was thrilling for those who are more accustomed to speed on the slopes, especially if a “double” snow tube was selected as one’s vehicle for the day’s entertainment. At activities start, the air was a crisp, refreshing, and exhilarating 38 degrees Fahrenheit but for those who are more fair-weather fans the day delivered, warming up to a comfortable 48-degree beauty.

A picture-perfect trip

Following snow tubing, the class gathered together at the top of the adjacent hill and took a traditional panoramic photo showing the sweeping landscape. After that, lunch was served, consisting of a turkey lettuce wrap with tomatoes and topped with zesty ranch ending a great day with a tasty snack. The students piled into the car and headed back down the mountain to Charlotte and the warmth of the dorms. I know I speak for everyone when I say that the outing was well worthwhile and enjoyable for all the students.

Assembly Summary: Let no man despise your youth

Author: Yolanda Watt | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22

Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

Mr. Frank opened the assembly by showing us an old photo from his time in Ambassador College when he traveled to Israel to participate in an archaeological dig.

He made the connection that a person’s youth passes by quite quickly and the older generation must pass their wisdom to the younger. The lecture was geared towards biblical instructions guiding the youth of Living Education and was largely based on 1 Timothy 4:12.

            Mr. Frank mentioned that the letters of 1 Timothy and Titus were written during the time of Paul’s evangelistic work while under house arrest in Rome. Paul placed Timothy as pastor of the church in Ephesus and Titus in Crete. During his final imprisonment, Paul wrote a second letter to Timothy, requesting a visit from his young protégé. Paul wrote both letters to help Timothy in his pastoral duties. 

            Mr. Frank explained Paul’s admonition to Timothy to not let anyone despise his youth, in word, conversation, charity, spirit, faith, and purity. Paul also charged the church that they should not despise Timothy (1 Corinthians 16:10-11). As Mr. Frank described, at the time of the early Church it was culturally unusual for someone under the age of thirty to be considered a leader, and certainly many of the other leaders at that time would have been older than Timothy. Paul charged Timothy to live an exemplary life so that no one could find fault in him. Mr. Frank stated that this does not imply that Timothy was careless in his prior behavior, but rather that Paul was encouraging him to continue being the good model that he already was. A young leader should take care not to commit youthful foolishness or sinfulness which would give reason for people to discredit him. 

            Youth should not be a time for sowing wild oats, for this is not the Christian way. Mr. Frank admonished us to flee youthful lusts and to remember to seek the Creator while we are still young. Once we graduate, no matter where we go, the brethren will view us as graduates of the Living Education program and we will be expected to behave accordingly. There are six areas Paul tells Timothy to consider—Mr. Frank expounded on these areas, which we too can think about in order to set a good example to other people in the Church, both young and old. 

Let no one despise you in… 

  • Word – The Greek word logos, which means “divine word,” in this context can be translated as “correct doctrine.” It is essentially a warning against idle talk. We need to be extremely mindful of what we say, especially among Church members.
  • Conversation – The definition of the Greek word translated “conversation” includes behavior, general conduct, and how we speak with others. 
  • Charity – This word is translated from the Greek word agape, meaning “love,” “brotherly love,” or “benevolence.” We are to have godly love for others, whether they treat us well or ill. 
  • Spirit – Translated from the Greek pnévma, this relates to governing one’s passions, as by the Holy Spirit, and being of a mild, meek, forgiving disposition. 
  • Faith – The Greek word pistis describes a state of trust, conviction, fidelity, and unshaken confidence in God, in both good times and bad. The word is also used to describe faithfulness, implying that we should be faithful to our families, our Church, our work, the general public, and—most importantly—God.
  • Purity – Paul cautioned Timothy that his interactions with others should be with purity, not giving into youthful lust. Mr. Frank used this opportunity to issue the same caution to the students and warned us not to engage in such behaviors that could tarnish our reputation. This type of purity is not limited to rejecting the sins of the flesh, but also includes rejecting wrong motives and thoughts.

As Mr. Frank discussed, these are not requirements for pastors only; rather they are meant for all of God’s people. We should consider the lesson given to Timothy and strive to build good habits in our lives, that we may be above reproach and give no man a reason to despise us in our youth.

Course Spotlight: Honesty is Healthy

Honesty is a value that is needed in the workplace. A person’s character is measured by the level of honestly they exhibit each day regardless of their circumstances. In fact, the only way to achieve personal growth is to honestly and courageously assess life’s challenges.

Course Spotlight From Christian Business and Finance: Business Relationships in the Church

Digging Deeper: A Crown of Thorns

Author: Mr. Kenneth Frank | Faculty in Theology, Living Education

Estimated reading time: 8 min.

Did you know that Jesus wore a crown before He died?

Christians understand that when He returns to take command of His kingdom He will be adorned with many crowns (Revelation 19:12). Even before He died, He was crowned and proclaimed king. However, it was not a proclamation by believers. Additionally, this crowning relates to the curse upon the earth from Genesis 3. What type of crown was this and how does it relate to the curse? This Digging Deeper recounts this event to discover its spiritual significance.

Our focus verse is: “And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!” (Matthew 27:29 KJV throughout). This heartless act by the Roman soldiers as executioners is also recorded in Mark 15:17; John 19:2; John 19:5.

This scene occurs not long before Jesus was taken to Calvary to be crucified. Because of their military experience, these hardened and brutal Roman soldiers placed little value on human life. They mocked this helpless Jew who had been turned over to them for crucifixion by the Roman governor, Pilate.

A crown of torture

Before capturing the spiritual significance of this encounter, it is necessary to examine a couple of words used in this verse. Gary Everett’s Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures claims the word platted comes from the “The Greek verb πλέκω  (G4120) which means, ‘to twine, braid.’ This word is only used three times in the New Testament, and only in reference to this crown of thorns” (e-Sword 13.0.0). This organic crown was braided into the shape of a victor’s laurel. Ethelbert Bullinger in his Companion Bible attests that the Greek word for crown is “Stephanos (used by kings and victors); not diadema, as in Revelation 12:3; 13:1; 19:12″ (Ibid.). Victors’ garlands in Greco-Roman games were woven from leafy twigs of local plants, shrubs, or trees.

The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible provides pertinent historical background: “Hellenistic [Greek culture] vassal princes wore garlands; soldiers may have used an available shrub such as acanthus to weave a wreath for Jesus. Imitating Hellenistic garlands, the soldiers may have intended the thorns to point especially outward, but some of the thorns would nevertheless turn inward, scraping the scalp. Scalp wounds bleed particularly profusely” (Tecarta Bible Apps). David Guzik’s Enduring Word Commentary additionally notes: “Kings wear crowns, but not crowns of torture. The specific thorn-bushes of this region have long, hard, sharp thorns. This was a crown that cut, pierced, and bloodied the head of the King wearing it” (e-Sword 13.0.0).

Royal diadems were much more elaborate, as Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains: “A crown was worn by kings, commonly made of gold and precious stones. To ridicule the pretensions of Jesus that he was a king, they probably plucked up a thornbush growing near, made it into something resembling in shape a royal crown, so as to correspond with the old purple robe, and to complete the mockery” (e-Sword 13.0.0). As John Bengel’s Gnomon New Testament asserts, “They treated Jesus as a madman who fancied Himself a King” (Bible Analyzer

Thorns and the curse

Various suggestions have been offered over the years as to which thorny bush was chosen for this crown. However, Henry Alford’s The Greek Testament cautions: “It does not appear whether the purpose of the crown was to wound, or simply for mockery—and equally uncertain is it, of what kind of thorns it was composed…Some flexile shrub or plant must be understood—possibly some variety of the cactus or prickly pear” (e-Sword 13.0.0).

The Biblical Illustrator by Joseph S. Exell adds: “According to the Rabbis and the botanists, there would seem to have been from twenty to twenty-five different species of thorny plants growing in Palestine; and different writers have, according to their own judgment or fancies, selected one and another of these plants as the peculiar thorns which were used upon this occasion. But why select one thorn out of many?” (e-Sword 13.0.0). However, there is a more substantial significance.

The NET Bible provides a hint of the spiritual significance of this act: “In placing the crown of thorns on his head, the soldiers were unwittingly symbolizing God’s curse on humanity (cf. Genesis 3:18) being placed on Jesus. Their purpose would have been to mock Jesus’ claim to be a king; the crown of thorns would have represented the ‘radiant corona’ portrayed on the heads of rulers on coins and other artifacts in the 1st century” (e-Sword 13.0.0).

This source asserts that apart from the specific thorn employed, more important is the connection of thorns to the first human sin described in Genesis. When one reads the punishment God imposed after this sin, it becomes plain that God cursed the serpent and the ground from which Adam and Eve would grow their food. Instead of the unhindered harvest of luscious fruits and vegetables, the ground would yield thorns and thistles to impede their efforts (Genesis 3:14, 17). Because of Jesus’ future sacrifice for sin, God did not curse Adam and Eve directly though they would suffer sin’s consequences in painful childbirth and laborious work (Genesis 3:16-19).

Curse from sin

Joseph S. Exell’s The Biblical Illustrator comments on the relationship of thorns to sin: “It may well be that more than one kind of thorn was platted in that crown: at any rate sin has so thickly strewn the earth with thorns and thistles that there was no difficulty in finding the materials, even as there was no scarcity of griefs wherewith to chasten Him every morning and make Him a mourner all His days” (e-Sword 13.0.0).

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible establishes this spiritual significance: “[1.] Thorns came in with sin, and were part of the curse that was the product of sin, Genesis 3:18. Therefore Christ, being made a curse for us, and dying to remove the curse from us, felt the pain and smart of those thorns, nay, and binds them as a crown to him (Job 31:36); for his sufferings for us were his glory” (e-Sword 13.0.0).

Jesus vicariously suffered by bearing on Himself this curse, represented by the thorns. John Trapp’s A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments elaborates: “Christ, by wearing this crown of thorns, the firstfruits of the curse, took away the sin and curse of all his people; who must therefore, by their obedience, set a crown of gold on his head, Song of Solomon 3:11…” (e-Sword 13.0.0). Christ’s crown of thorns will be replaced by His bejeweled royal diadems (Revelation 19:12) when He sits upon the throne of David (Luke 1:32).

More lessons of the thorny crown

Matthew Henry goes on to explain two more significances of the thorns of Genesis: “[2.] Now he answered to the type of Abraham’s ram that was caught in the thicket, and so offered up instead of Isaac, Genesis 22:13. [3.] Thorns signify afflictions, 2 Chronicles 33:11. These Christ put into a crown; so much did he alter the property of them to them that are his, giving them cause to glory in tribulation, and making it to work for them a weight of glory.” (e-Sword 13.0.0). When Abraham was instructed to sacrifice his son, Isaac was a type of Christ, and Abraham in this action was a type of the Father.

Bob Utley’s You Can Understand the Bible takes this significance a step further: “The ‘crown of thorns’ may allude to (1) mocking Jesus’ claim to kingship or (2) the curse of Genesis 3:18 (cf. Galatians 3:13). Thorns are a symbol of rejecting the gospel (cf. Hebrews 6:8)” (e-Sword 13.0.0). Those who reject Jesus’ sacrifice for them will continue to experience the effects of the curse in their efforts to save themselves.

This mockery of Jesus as a king did not involve only these Roman soldiers, as A New and Concise Bible Dictionary by George Morrish explains: “Though applied to His sacred head by the rough soldiers, it was connived at by Pilate, who presented the Lord in this garb to the Jews, but which only drew forth their cry, ‘Crucify Him.’ We read that the robe was taken off Him, but nothing is said of the crown, so that He may have worn that on the cross” (Bible Analyzer If this was the case, during His crucifixion Jesus suffered not only the nails of the cross and the spear wound of the Roman soldier but also the crown of thorns jammed into his skull.

Jesus’ crown of thorns should instill in all believers a terrifying awareness of the consequences of their sins. Jesus willingly took upon Himself this curse so that they may be forgiven and enter His kingdom as kings and priests (Revelation 1:6; 20:6). Each of these two offices provides distinguishing headwear to signify leadership. Priestly miters and kingly crowns will likely be worn by those Jesus has saved and transformed (Exodus 28:40-29:6). This results from Jesus bearing their crowns of thorns.

Kenneth Frank headshot

Kenneth Frank was born and raised in New Jersey, USA and attended Ambassador College, graduating in 1973. He served in the Canadian ministry from 1973-1999, after which he returned to the USA to pastor churches in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina for 15 years. Having earned a BA degree from Ambassador College he later earned a MA degree from Grand Canyon University before being assigned to the Charlotte office to teach at Living University, now Living Education. Currently, he teaches the Survey of the Bible course to the on-campus students and writes the Digging Deeper column for our online Bible study program. He is married, has four children, and seven grandchildren.

Forum Summary: Have you fallen in love?

Author: Ryan Price | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22

Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

Dr. Richard Franz began this week’s forum by asking the Living Education students a question: “Have you fallen in love with learning?”

His goal was to convince the students to enter a lifelong love relationship with education and exercise, which, when combined, can help us all to achieve our full potential.

Why should we love learning?

Through learning, we open up experiences and opportunities. The problem is that there is an ocean of information available to us. It is up to us to choose what to learn, and if we choose wisely, we will increase in knowledge that will help us in life. Life is busy and it seems we don’t have time for anything. However, Dr. Franz noted that according to statistics, Americans spend between 12-13 hours engaging in digital entertainment. Such excessive use of digital media shortens our attention spans, which makes it harder to focus on learning anything. The reality is that we have time to learn if we only spend a little less time having our minds saturated by electronic media.

One of the best ways to learn is to read. Yet attaining knowledge is not the only benefit of reading. Six minutes of reading can reduce our stress levels by 68 percent, which is far more than the stress decrease we experience by listening to music or walking. Dr. Franz challenged the students to read twelve books in a year. He explained that, depending on the size of the books, the students could get through them by reading for just fifteen minutes a day.

While the word education doesn’t appear in our English Bible, that Bible still has a lot to say about education. Solomon wrote that true knowledge—true education—comes from the fear of the Eternal. Jesus Christ taught us that true freedom comes from being educated in God’s truth.

Why should we love exercise?

God told Adam and Eve to tend the Garden of Eden. Even in paradise, there was work to be done! God created us to work. But today we measure our quality of life in terms of comfort and leisure. Sitting is our dominant posture. This has led to the numerous health problems of our society.

However, exercise brings with it many benefits. The body is often recharged after systematic, purposeful exercise. Dr. Franz recommends taking moderate walks often, as walking and hiking are excellent forms of exercise.

But how do exercise and education relate? Dr. Franz explained that through exercising, even if we don’t see the physical results we want, we enhance our ability to learn. Exercise stimulates the production of a neurotransmitter called BDNF, which increases the connectivity of our brains, leading to a clearer head. As Dr. Franz put it, “Exercise creates an environment where the brain is both ready and able to learn.” Aerobic exercise is a vital and fundamental tool for those who wish to reach their full potential. It combats cognitive decline and can improve our brain’s capacity. Dr. Franz compared this with the parable of the talents. While we don’t know how much brainpower God has given us, He has given us the knowledge to be able to increase it.

These all seem like a pretty good reward for a little exercise. However, exercise benefits only for a little while. If we stop exercising, the benefits cease. Consistency is key.

Be a life-long learner

Dr. Franz closed the forum with the hope that he has encouraged the LE students to become “life-long learners, as well as exercise enthusiasts” so that they may live up to the potential that God has given them.

Student Life: Fun in the…Snow!

Author: Caanin Fausone | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22

Estimated Reading Time: 2 min.

On January 28th, 2022 this year’s Living Education students embarked on a journey west to the scenic mountains of North Carolina.

The journey up to the mountains was somewhat precarious with forecasted snow hitting earlier than predicted and the windy roads being mountainous. That said, the risk was well worth it as each foot gained in elevation correlated directly to beautiful scenery and cleaner air. The destination on the first day of travel was a large classically rustic home nestled in the forest of the Appalachian mountain range.  The accommodations were spacious and the atmosphere cheery as the LE students settled in and claimed which bed was who’s. With this task accomplished they moved on to the true question of the night, what was for dinner? 

Dinner, headed by this year’s lady students, was a delicious and nutritious taco salad (which I myself had plenty of) with all the fixings and toppings. The conversation was lively and good-spirited and continued into the wee hours of the night. Breakfast the following day consisted of bagels, oatmeal, and other assorted items, and the Sabbath was spent relaxing, with plenty of reading and nature walks. 

That afternoon, Mr. Jonathan McNair (the Living Education program director) gave an informative and inspiring sermonette about our brethren in Southeast Asia and the struggles they are going through in wake of the political and social unrest ravaging the area. This was followed by an inspiring sermon regarding our walk with God in the face of adversity in which he challenged us to consider how we would act if we were all alone in our walk with God. “It all starts with one person,” Mr. McNair emphasized, highlighting Noah as one of many great biblical examples of individuals who walked in the way that God directed.

Assembly Summary: Interpersonal Communication

Author: Yolanda Watt | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22

Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

For his recent assembly message, Mr. Richard Ames talked about the topic of communication.

He informed the students that, in 1978, he started pursuing a master’s degree in communication. He took a class called “Interpersonal Communication,” where he was assigned to improve his interpersonal relationship with one other person. Mr. Ames decided to improve his communication with his wife, to whom he had been married for fourteen years at the time. 

Keys to Improve Interpersonal Communication

Mr. Ames told us to practice biblical principles for loving communication. Ephesians 4:15 admonishes us to speak the truth in love, but too many speak the truth in hate. We should want to edify—build up—the person we are talking to. The entirety of James 3 contrasts biblical communication with what is normal for man. Mr. Ames advised us to pray that God will give us the things that we need to say in love, and he also recommended that we do a word study of Scripture’s use of the words mouth, tongue, lips, and words.

Mr. Ames also said that we should analyze our transactions. Transactional analysis is a psychoanalysis theory and a method of therapy developed by psychiatrist Eric Berne. Some of these transactions are labeled as parent, adult, and child. The parent role is considered an instructional role of communication, the adult role is considered informational, and the child role is considered emotional. 

Eric Berne also wrote about cross-transactional communication. An example of this occurs if you are asked, “What time is it?,” and, instead of giving the time, you respond with, “What are you asking me for?” In this scenario, the question is informational, but the response is emotional. Communicating on an informational level helps to eliminate judgmentalism.

Mr. Ames also addressed the need to practice positive reinforcement. Everyone likes to produce behaviors that reinforce positive rewards and to stay away from behaviors that bring negative consequences. If someone is trying to do something nice and the other party complains, then whoever did the action was not rewarded and would not likely do that action again. This key gets to the matter of encouragement. 

Share your life,” Mr. Ames said. We need to share some of our activities and thoughts with others to deepen our relationships with them. Sometimes we are so busy with life that this step gets ignored, but following it enhances the interpersonal relationship between us and other people. Mr. Ames also mentioned that there is an approach called accurate empathy, with which you are able to discern another person’s view of the world as if it were your own. 

Another aspect of this is called non-possessive warmth. This is a demonstration of unconditional positive regard, involving caring about another person without imposing conditions on them. Mr. Ames tied this in with Philippians 2:3.Mr. Ames admonished us to use these keys to improve our interpersonal communication, reminding us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:29–31).

Course Spotlight: Word Study: Crown

Learn more about the usage of the “Crown” in the New Testament and take a short quiz to test your understanding!

Course Spotlight From The General Epistles: (Part 1) The Letters of James and Peter

Forum Summary: Dealing with Distractions

Author: Ryan Price | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22

Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

For his recent Forum message, Mr. Bob Rodzaj talked about distractions.

He explained that “one of the greatest difficulties facing many of us today are distractions of all sorts.” Mr. Rodzaj broke this difficulty down into three challenges we must overcome.

The First Challenge: Ourselves

As Mr. Rodzaj illustrated, Romans 8:7 shows us that our very human nature strives against what God wants us to do. Our Father wants us to be productive in doing His Work, but effort is not always fun. And fun is something we crave; we can’t seem to get enough of it. 

However, we can overcome our human nature and exercise self-control through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through the Spirit, we can “put to death the deeds of the body, [and] live” (Romans 8:13).

The Second Challenge: The Adversary

Satan, our adversary, does everything in his power to distract us from what we should be doing. Mr. Rodzaj showed the students through Ephesians 2:2 that Satan’s influence floods the world with distractions, negativity, and insubordination. 1 Peter 5:8 describes Satan as a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 

The word “devour” is synonymous with “consume.” Satan uses distractions to consume our attention and energy. He wants us to foolishly associate sex, entertainment, status, possessions, and even food and drink with satisfaction and happiness. But we can ask God to strengthen us and eliminate any vulnerabilities we may have. As James 4:7 puts it, if we submit to God, we can resist the devil and he will flee from us.

The Third Challenge: The Distractions Themselves

To be distracted is a choice. We choose what we allow to distract us. With smartphones and social media, people can no longer settle their minds. These provide a constant influx of information, and it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. Multitasking has become the norm, yet it’s wreaking havoc on our attention spans. We’re training our brains to focus on many things at once, and as a result, we are losing our ability to focus on one thing at a time.

Mr. Rodzaj quoted from The Distracted Mind by neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley: “We act as if we are no longer interested in or able to stay idle and simply do nothing,” and “where we used to read, we now skim.” Mr. Rodzaj asked the students, “Could we be doing this with the Bible?”

When we are baptized, we make a commitment to God that we’ll let Christ live His life in us. This includes how we use our time. All our time should belong to God, as we only have so much time to use to fulfill God’s will and become like Him.

Mr. Rodzaj referenced Dr. Richard Swenson’s book Margin, which explains that setting limits in life—learning to say no, turning off the television, selecting which activities we give time to, focusing on getting the right things done, and taking time to assess our decisions before we make them—will help us keep focused.We must simplify our lives until we can see clearly what we are doing with our time. Mr. Rodzaj asked the students how far they were willing to go to resist and reject distractions as prescribed in Matthew 5:29-30. Ultimately, every word of God is about how we interact with our Creator, each other, and creation. And while distractions can ruin our relationships, we can overcome these challenges by exercising the power to choose how we spend our time and by relying on God to provide the help we need.

Assembly Summary: CAD – A Story in Stats

Author: Yolanda Watt | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22

Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

Mr. Rod McNair opened his recent lecture by stating the mission of the Church Administration Department (CAD), which is to oversee the ministry—which, in turn, oversees the congregations around the world.

In John 21:15–17, Peter was given a directive to feed and oversee the flock, and CAD takes this very seriously, working hard to provide coordination, communication, and administrative support to the ministry. 

Mr. McNair mentioned that in Noah’s day, he had no coworker to help him with the Work. The Church talks about statistics because, with them, we can compare the growth and see the fruits of our efforts. Imagine if, year after year, while the Gospel was being preached, no one responded to the message—this was what it was like for Noah, who still remained faithful to God.

Mr. McNair gave some statistics regarding Tomorrow’s World Presentations (TWPs) and the brethren around the world.

Tomorrow’s World Presentations

  • There have been a total of 30,905 TWP attendees from 2006 to the present. TWPs are a campaign that started during the Worldwide Church of God, but in 2006, pastors became more heavily involved in making them more localized. 
  • On average, two percent of those invited to TWPs within the United States actually attend them—in other words, out of every 100 people who are invited to a TWP, 98 of them will not attend.
  • On average, 4.2 percent of those invited to a TWP outside the U.S. will attend.

The topics that TWP attendees want to hear about the most are:

  1. Prophecy, including topics such as “the rapture,” heaven and hell, and life after death. Information on prophecy has been requested about 50 percent of the time.
  2. Holy Days—it is surprising to see how much people want to hear about this topic. Information on the Holy Days has been requested about 30 percent of the time.
  3. Holidays
  4. The Sabbath
  5. The Ten Commandments
  6. The Holy Spirit
  7. Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage
  8. Baptism and Repentance

When planning for TWPs, CAD begins working at least eight weeks ahead, since they have to print out brochures and have them mailed out to those on the list of subscribers in a given city. There have been 1,265 TWPs since 2006. Mr. McNair showed the students a map of the U.S. that highlights the areas where we commonly have TWPs, mentioning that we have a lot of work to do.

General Church Statistics

  • There are 417 congregations in the Living Church of God worldwide.
  • LCG has 2,600 prospective members who are seventeen years old or younger.
  • There have been 6,200 baptisms since 1991. This shows that the Work is still being done.
  • LCG has 5,598 members, prospective members, and children in the U.S., and it has 6,458 members, prospective members, and children in 92 other countries.
  • There are 99 scattered brethren around the world who do not have a congregation in their country.
  • An estimated 60,000 people contact LCG’s Personal Correspondence Department with questions in the last fifteen to sixteen years.

Mr. McNair concluded his lecture with Matthew 24:45–51, reiterating that our job is to do the Work; God is the one who brings the harvest, and we need to work in the field.