The Gathering 2019 comes to The Bahamas
Global United Fellowship’s (GUF) mandate is to be different in its approach to uniting the Body of Christ and equipping church leaders with the tools necessary to build and maintain healthy churches, according to Presiding Bishop Neil C. Ellis. With that in mind, GUF will examine what a healthy church is as its central theme next month during its annual conference – The Gathering – its first to be held outside the United States.
“We have to come to grips with the fact that the culture of church is changing, particularly in the Western Hemisphere. We are adjusting to accommodate a changing society, but we have to maintain a commitment to the biblical morals of the church. With all of our adjusting, there still has been a decline in church attendance over the last 10 years. We cannot allow culture to dictate the agenda of the church,” says Ellis.
Ellis; Bishop Carolyn Showell; psalmist Maranda Curtis; author, preacher and motivational speaker DeVon Franklin; actress Meagan Good; Dr. Jamal Bryant; and Bishop Marvin Sapp will be among the featured speakers at The Gathering, which will be held in The Bahamas, the world headquarters of GUF, July 9-12 at the Atlantis Resort.
Bishop Kenneth Ulmer, Bishop Johnathan Alvarado, Bishop Harold Ray and Pastor Brenda Ray, Priscilla Shirer, Bishop A.J. Wright, Bishop Bertrand Russell, Bishop Kevin Gresham, Bishop Deanza Cunningham, Bishop Jeffrey Reaves, Pastor Laquez Williams, Prophet Evans Oppong and Bishop Jean Eliezaire Jean are also expected to speak at The Gathering.
Along with Sapp and Curtis, other guest psalmists making an appearance will be Kelontae Gavin, Oslien Jadorte, Karen Brown, Latasha Tudman, Angel Coleby Taylor, Pastor Simeon Outten, Dion Cunningham and Jonathan Outten.
Topics on the agenda for the conference include “The Community Within the Community”, which will be facilitated by the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team to help equip leaders with the tools to respond to the myriad personal crises that can come up in congregants’ lives and will take place on Wednesday, July 10.
Thursday will feature one corporate session from 9 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. on the healthy church.
“We are doing it this way instead of offering breakout sessions because everyone needs to hear this,” said Ellis, senior pastor at Mt. Tabor Church. “We are going to re-examine the biblical model of what constitutes a healthy church, because it is time that we rethink the way we do church.”
Some of Thursday’s topics include “Creating a Culture of KONIONA”, “The Traits of a Vibrant Congregation”, “The Healthy Pastor” and “Size Doesn’t Matter”.
There are no afternoon sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday evening will feature speakers Showell and Curtis. On Thursday there will be two evening sessions with Franklin and Goode who will give a talk about relationships, with a late-night service featuring Bryant and Sapp.
Friday morning will feature prayer time from 5:30 a.m. – 7 a.m., and a morning glory service from 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Attendees will be free the rest of the day. Friday evening’s session will feature speakers Ellis and Sapp.
GUF distinguishes itself as not another church denomination but a fellowship of churches united to enrich and expand the kingdom of God to all the nations in the world. Although the fellowship is international, it has a significant presence of more than 600 churches in the United States, which is where its last five conferences have been held.
More than 1,700 people are expected to come in for The Gathering 2019; with the numbers expected to at least double. Attendees will converge from the United States, Pakistan, England, South Africa, Ghana, Cuba, Haiti, the Philippines and other countries, according to Ellis.
Since the conference will be held in The Bahamas, GUF organizers made programmatic changes this year so that attendees can enjoy the Atlantis resort and explore the island.
“We are not having the same amount of services and sessions as we customarily do. We want people to enjoy The Bahamas because they will have vacation and relaxation on their minds while they are here,” said Ellis.
“Hospitality is central to the Bahamian people so this promises to be an extraordinary experience as everyone will feel welcome. If this is an attendee’s first time on the island, they will leave home to come home. If it is not their first time, they will leave home to return home.”
GUF was established in October 2013 under Ellis’ leadership. It is a cross denominational fellowship of spiritual leaders and churches united to strategically plan, implement and execute transformative and generational impact.
In six years, GUF has grown from 41 churches to more than 1,400 churches in 42 countries. The fellowship’s five-prong mandate is to unite churches, equip leaders, enhance marriages, resurrect the dying discipline of prayer and build covenant relationships within the Body of Christ.
With more than 100 consecrated bishops and apostles in the fellowship, and hundreds of influential pastors, GUF, according to its leadership, is equipped to leave a major spiritual imprint on today’s culture through targeted ministries in the areas of family, education, business, media, religion, government and arts and entertainment.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.