Over at the Preaching the Gospel blog, Author posted the article "What Really Is Church of God – America?" It’s a good question, actually. It is apparently backed by the International Ambassador Outreach organization, which was formed shortly after Leon Walker was fired and much of UCG in Latin America split. Some have decided to send their tithes to IAO rather than UCG in support of the brethren and ministry in that area.
IAO might be a very fine organization. Maybe it is not. I really don’t know. It is a 501(3)(c) organization, so there at least is a minimal level of accountability. However, that isn’t a guarantee of anything, either.
On their website, under About Us, we see:
Upon approval of legal counsel, bylaws will become available.
This is below my comfort level. In any event, I suggest you do your due diligence wherever you send your money.
However, it is understandable that some may not feel comfortable sending their tithes to UCG right now. Since it is the end of the year, I had to struggle with this myself.
Now, some people believe that you can only give to a “church” organization. However, what is the “church”? Is it only a legally incorporated organization with “church” in the name? If you feel that is a requirement, then I suppose you can probably ignore the rest of what I’m going to say.
However, if the money really is to make disciples, to introduce people to the Gospel, baptize them and feed them spiritually, then you might consider Legacy Institute. No, it is not a “church”, at least in the traditional sense. It is a leadership educational program that takes in mostly refugees from the hill tribes in Southeast Asia to teach them English, computer skills, agriculture and, the most important, the Bible. Some are from Protestant backgrounds, some come from SDA families, and some are Buddhist. However, while at the school, they are taught God’s Sabbath, holy days and prophecy. The last year of the program is spent learning to teach others as well.
Does everyone attends become baptized? Of course not. However, they are introduced to God’s way of life, and they are done so in a very hands-on manner. Some are baptized and leave to assist in other Churches of God in other countries, while some stay to help out at the school.
It reflects a philosophy that I’ve tried to some extent espouse here. One of the problems with the traditional COG approach is that it is distant, cold and somewhat antiseptic. Many Protestant organizations, OTOH, get out and feed the poor, help the sick, take in the homeless, etc. There’s a big difference between talking about how much God loves you and showing it.
Oh, and I should mention that I have checked it out. In fact, I’ve been there for the Feast a couple of times. I’ve seen it in action.
Anyhow, I’ll stop now. Just something to consider.
PS: I was not requested to post this by anyone.