Two experienced voices answer a question about why the Church of the Nazarene holds general assemblies.
How important is it for the global church family to gather, such as at a general assembly? Is it worth the expense?
Kitty Voges: It’s priceless. My first general assembly experience was an eye-opener on the church. You don’t realize, until you attend, how people come from all over the globe.
Loreal Higgins: It’s always good to know that you’re part of a bigger family, a greater body, and to see the diversity. At a general assembly you get to experience it, and that’s what’s amazing.
KV: It’s unforgettable to worship together with people from such different backgrounds, languages, and countries. It’s a tremendous experience. We worship the same God around the world, but to join in worship together in one place is truly powerful.
LH: What is amazing for me is, as Kitty said, there are thousands of people. We’ll sing together but hearing the languages and voices together—the beautiful harmonies—become one voice. Where I come from, “worship” is very orderly and quiet. That was my perception of how “Nazarenes” worshiped. But at the assembly, I was exposed to something new, something I liked. It wasn’t about everyone conforming to a certain way of doing things. We all brought our personalities and worship styles and shared as one—but all uniquely.
KV: The worship atmosphere is indescribable.
LH: It’s holy. Sacred.
KV: Also, the order as the assembly goes about the business of the church, allowing for input from the floor (delegates), made me proud. I thought church was just about going to church to worship. I never thought much about the legislative side that keeps the church’s mission church on right track.
LH: The excellence that’s portrayed is impressive. I’m sure, like any other there, there are hiccups but they’re not shown. Our most excellent worship or service needs to be given our Most Excellent God. Things flow, are well planned.
Now as the regional coordinator, I see how far in advanced these things are planned and how much work goes into preparing for a general assembly. It doesn’t happen without a lot of effort by people all over the world.
As international representatives, women and men, gather, we learn from each other.
KV: In the business of the church we see the influence from people of different cultures, backgrounds, and ethnic groups. This results in thinking globally for a common mission. As international representatives, women and men, gather, we learn from each other.
LH: While you see that you don’t just belong to the larger church body, but you have a voice, you have opportunity to contribute to the greater mission — that is important.
Kitty Voges is the personal assistant to Africa Regional Director Filimao Chambo.
Loreal Higgins is 2017 General Assembly coordinator for the Africa Region.