Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

New Mexico convention for all kinds of Christians

When Larry Tedrow, the pastor of Central Christian Church, explains his fellowship of churches to others, he sometimes calls it a “nondenominational denomination.”

“ I think one of the things people will find is the distinctive approach that we are trying to be Christians only, not the only Christians,” Tedrow said. “We would say, ‘Why be a hyphenated Christian? Just be a Christian and let it go at that.’”

Members of 36 independent Christian churches from all over the state will gather this weekend in Clovis for the annual New Mexico Christian Convention, co-hosted by Central Christian Church and First Christian Church. Dating back to a frontier revival movement of the early 1800s whose leaders included Alexander Campbell, the independent Christian churches are part of a broader group whose other major representatives include the Churches of Christ and the Disciples of Christ.

In New Mexico, the fellowship counts 5,200 members. About 800 of those are in four area churches — the two in Clovis as well as Central Christian Church in Portales and First Christian Church in Tucumcari.

While meetings in many other denominations focus on business, Tedrow said that won’t be the case this weekend.

“In the beginning of the Campbellite movement, there was a strong emphasis on where the Bible speaks we speak, where the Bible is silent we are silent,” Tedrow said. “This is a Bible-oriented meeting. We have a strong foundation on the authority of the Word of God.”

“ There is absolutely not one vote taken at this thing, not even a discussion of anything related to business,” said Jon Forrest, pastor of First Christian Church. “It is totally preaching, teaching, and workshops on ministry.”

Forrest and Tedrow said they aren’t sure how many people to expect but are planning for at least several hundred out-of-town guests. Both said they’d like to see people from Clovis turn out as well to hear some of the best-known preachers and church planters in their fellowship.

“ The messages that are brought will be biblically oriented and could be applied in any ministry in any church anywhere,” Forrest said. “ The messages that will be brought are very much biblically-based and foundational, and are not designed to focus on one doctrinal opinion.”

The convention’s featured speaker, Paul S. Williams, will preach at 7 p.m. this evening at First Christian Church on the conference’s theme of “Ancient Words Ever True,” following a 6:30 p.m. concert. Williams will also preach at 10:45 a.m. Saturday.

“He’s probably one of the top church planters in America,” Forrest said. “Our churches are the second-fastest growing fellowship n the United States in the last five years, and that’s mainly because of new church plants.”

According to biographical material provided by Forrest, Williams has served since 1979 with the Orchard Group, a New York-based church planting organization that begins larger congregations in strategic and challenging environments, starting with New York City and the Northeast. Williams is now the president of the group. He is also a board member and on-air host of the Worship Network shown on the PAX-TV Christian television network, and serves as editor-at-large of the Christian Standard magazine.

Other leading presenters include a study of Paul’s letter to the Romans by Mark D. Berrier Sr., professor of Bible and Theology at Dallas Christian College.

Following the convention, Berrier will remain in Clovis and lead four days of revival services at First Christian Church.

Forrest said Berrier will lead an in-depth biblical exposition of the first 11 chapters of Genesis, including the creation account and early world history. Berrier will lead a joint Bible school at 9:30 a.m. Sunday and preach at the 10:30 a.m. worship service. He will also lead sessions at 7 p.m. each night from Monday to Wednesday and lead a brown bag lunchtime Bible study on the same three days.

While the adults meet at First Christian Church, youth and teens will hold a separate event at Central Christian Church including a family carnival from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. today with air jumping games and free hot dogs.

For information, call Central Christian Church at 763-3517 or First Christian Church at 763-7113.

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New Mexico Christian Convention

Friday, March 19

• 7:30 a.m.: Continental breakfast, First and Central Churches

• 8:30 a.m.: Bible study with Mark Berrier, First Church

— Children’s program, age 4 to grade 6, Central Church

n 9:45 a.m.: Adult workshops, First Church

— Team Leadership, David Drake

— Prayer, David Morgan

— Biblical Worship for Today’s Church, Scott Spies and Matt Compton

• 10:45 a.m.: Message by Paul Williams, First Church

• noon: Lunch, Central Church

• 3:30 p.m.: Family Carnival, Central Church gym

• 5:30 p.m.: Concert, Central Church worship center

• 5:30 p.m.: Adult workshops, First Church

— Gone Fishing Ministry, Paul Chinikidiai

— Prayer, David Morgan

— Worship and Evangelism/Missions: Scott Spies, Matt Compton

• 6:30 p.m.: Pre-session concert: Hannah and David Drake

— Message by Paul Williams, First Church

— Teen worship in small groups, Central Church

— Children’s worship: First Church

Saturday, March 20

• 7:30 a.m.: Continental Breakfast, First and Central Churches

• 8 a.m.: Teen service project, Central Church

• 8:30 a.m.: Bible study with Mark Berrier, First Church

• 8:30 a.m.: Children at Central Church

• 9:30 a.m.: Teen workshops, Central Church

— The Bible: Relevant or Relic, Chris Thomason

— The QT Habit, Kyle Green

• 9:45 a.m.: Adult workshops, First Church

— Team Leadership, David Drake

— Prayer, David Morgan

— Contemporary Worship: Current Trends, Scott Spies, Matt Compton

• 10:45 a.m.: Message by Paul Williams, First Church

— Teen Worship, Central Church

— Children’s Storytelling, Central Church