"'Greater Los Angeles Region (GLAR) convocation held at the White Memorial church was one of the most spiritual and inspiring convocations I've experienced in years.' These were the words coming from so many of those who attended the convocation held on April 22, 2017,'" asserted Royal Harrison, GLAR director. "The Spirit of the Lord was evident in all three services," Harrison continued. Pastor Debleaire Snell, pastor at First church, Huntsville, Ala.; Pastor Kyle Crawford, youth and young adult pastor at First church; and Pastor Michael Polite, associate chaplain of faith development at Andrews University, were the guest speakers for the weekend.
On Friday night, Pastor Polite spoke about mustard seed faith. "I never heard it presented that way before," recalled pastor Loren Hodnett, convocation committee chair. "His premise was that the reason we are not effective in ministry is borne out of an insecurity on our part. We become involved in service to serve our own insecurities and then wonder why we have no power."
The event continued Sabbath morning with a Sabbath school program and panel discussion focused on families, led out by John Trusty, D.Min., pastor, Valley Crossroads church. Pastor Snell presented a message based on the story of the disciples in the storm on the sea at the end of Mark 4.
Pastor Crawford spoke at a youth service in the morning, sharing how God has worked through his life experiences. In the afternoon, there was a meal and program for young adults. Pastor Polite brought a thought-provoking message, and attendees were eager to learn more. "In both services, they wanted to go into more study," said Michael Jenkins, youth and young adult coordinator. "Instead of just saying, 'Amen,' they were touched to the point of wanting to know more, asking the speakers to give them the texts they had referenced in their presentations."
Throughout the event, choirs, solo artists and the praise team lent to the worship experience. "People from most of our churches were involved," said Chris Jordan, convocation music director. "We try to make sure that everybody can participate." A free concert on Saturday evening featured recording artist Jonathan Butler and was intentionally an evangelistic opportunity to welcome and connect with non-Adventists.
Pastors and lay members work together in cooperation and collaboration to help make the convocation as dynamic, uplifting, and Christ-centered as possible; it is the one time a year that all the churches and members in the Greater Los Angeles Region assemble together for corporate worship, where each worship service is specifically designed to meet the needs of the youth, young adults, and adults.
Greater Los Angeles Region convocations have been held each year for more than 20 years. Next years convocation will be held on April 21, 2018. The speaker for the adults will be Pastor Keith Morris, pastor of the Kansas Avenue church in Riverside. "We hope our members plan to join us next year for this spiritual feast, where God's s presence is felt, God's power is unleashed, and God's promise is realized!" Harrison said.