United Church of God

Home Office Weekly Update: November 2, 2023

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Home Office Weekly Update

November 2, 2023

From the President . . .

Greetings brethren,

As autumn has settled into Cincinnati, the trees have mostly lost their leaves, the temperatures have cooled considerably, and the first “significant” frost of the season occurred just a few mornings ago.

While the temperatures have cooled and the leaves have fallen, we’re reminded that it is incumbent on us all to “keep the fires burning” that were ignited during the Feast of Tabernacles and the vision of the Kingdom that God gave us—especially as we see the continued “budding” of that prophetic fig tree (Luke 21:29-30).

We thank God for the knowledge and expectation of His Son returning to save the world from utter destruction, and we thank Him for His Spirit which leads us and guides us as we submit to Him and strive to fulfill the commission He has given His Church.

Following the Feast, the Church typically enters into a time of introspection, review, preparation and planning, all the while seeking God’s will and direction. It’s the “winter work” we sometimes call it. Over the next several months there will be several seminars for training, strategic plan review and updating, budgeting and other meetings as God readies us and focuses us on the next phase of His work as we proceed through these troubled, constantly changing end times.

United Youth Camps

This past week the annual Youth Camp planning meetings took place here at the Home Office. Len Martin and Aaron Creech, overall directors of the camp program, along with the directors of the eight U.S. youth camps met here, with pre-teen camp directors joining online.

It is often said the camp program is one of our most successful programs. Our teens go to camp and enjoy a wonderful atmosphere of unity, focusing on the Bible and activities apart from the world. It is a taste of the Kingdom of God. The directors and volunteers who support and staff the camps do a wonderful job and are very much appreciated.

As I had the opportunity to sit in on a few of the meetings this week, I was struck by the dedication, commitment and unity of purpose and mission all those who serve in this program have. As next year’s camp theme and Christian living program were developed, it was inspiring to see the group come together, focus on God’s Word, and work in a unified manner to develop a plan that will serve the teens (and so many more) next year.

Thank you to Len Martin and Aaron Creech for their fine leadership of this program, to all the directors and all those who support, staff, serve and attend our youth camps around the world. Their time, effort and service are appreciated by all.

Regional pastoral conferences

As the camp meeting concludes, next week will begin a series of regional pastoral conferences that will be held around the United States, plus training conferences that are being scheduled around the world over the next year. We are working with our pastors and other leaders to address the challenges we face as a church. We need to learn from one another and engage in constructive conversations in order to better serve God and His people, in accordance with His Word. A key part of these meetings will continue the theme of the recent General Conference of Elders meeting that we are all “speaking the same thing.”

Steve Myers, Darris McNeely and I look forward to meeting with the pastors in the North Central region of the United States at the beginning of next week.

Media efforts

Events in the world continue to escalate with the Israel-Hamas war, ongoing turmoil in the government in the United States, and violent protests and unrest around the world. We are compelled as God’s Church to continue sounding a message of warning and the gospel of the Kingdom to the world.

In the United States, based on the success of the summer’s previous ad campaign, we are currently airing 30-second television ads in 18 markets, focusing on two of our Beyond Today TV series: Satan “Unmasked” by Steve Myers and “The Unknown Jesus” by Gary Petty. These ads are running for 10 weeks and are a continuation of the 15-week campaign run during the summer months.

Results so far have been very encouraging, with an average of 7.3 million viewers seeing the ad at least three times each week for the first two weeks of the campaign (according to Nielsen). Almost 900 spots ran in the first two weeks, at an average cost of $23.48 each.

We are also advertising these TV series on YouTube, with more than 34.5 million views of our ads there! For the month of October our Beyond Today YouTube channel had more than 361,000 views, but in July it was over 1 million.

We ask for your continued prayers to God as we seek His will and direction, as we all work together to accomplish the mission of “preaching the gospel and preparing a people.” As we do that, we must be resolute in our personal lives to submit and be led by His Spirit, living the truth and becoming like Christ. When we are doing His will, He will provide His blessing.

Drexel Shiver

On a personal note, might I mention that Drexel Shiver, a long-time deacon and elder in the Jacksonville, Florida, church died last Friday. My wife and I had the privilege of knowing and working with Drexel and his wife, Sharon, for the years we together served the Church in Jacksonville. Drexel was a dedicated servant to God, very committed to God’s way and living and teaching the truth. Sharon was right by his side as a dedicated “help meet.”

Drexel’s funeral was held today in Jacksonville and our thoughts and prayers for God’s comfort have been with Sharon and the congregation there, as they and we have lost a beloved friend. Your prayers for them are appreciated.

Take care, our brethren and friends around the world. The knowledge of God’s plan for humanity is so comforting. I hope we all appreciate what God has given us. You are precious in His sight. May we all grow ever closer to God and each other, as His will is.

In Christian love,
Rick Shabi

Magnified Launches its Own YouTube Channel

Magnified has a new home on its own YouTube channel at youtube.com/@Magnified_UCG. It also appears on our website in the short films category at ucg.org/magnified.

Having its own channel has allowed the home office media team to more accurately test performance on key metrics—like subscriber demographics, engagement, reach and average watch time. We’ve also been pushing the series more heavily with frequent 30-second clips on Instagram and YouTube Shorts

Coinciding with the new channel, we launched a new video, “Why Don’t We See More Miracles?” in early September. And today we launched another new video, “Is the Holy Spirit a Person?” We appreciate your support and prayers as we test new ideas so we can better reach a young, digital-native demographic.

About Magnified

Magnified produces (hopefully) stimulating and engaging videos that deliver a robust biblical education. Natively speaking the language of meme culture and riddled with cultural references, we aim to bring the hope of the gospel into a modern context and, hopefully, make it something our viewers are proud to share with others. Subscribe to the Magnified YouTube channel and also follow on Instagram at instagram.com/magnified_ucg.

—Peter Eddington, Media and Communications Services