BY LOUIS C. WARD
LEESBURG – God’s presence was already there, waiting for the return of the Church of God In Christ’s (COGIC) 2023 AIM Convention held Tuesday evening, June 13, 2023 at Christian Worship Center’s Leesburg Campus, 1414 W. Main Street, Leesburg, Florida 34748.
More than 350 people from the sunshine state of Florida and other COGIC churches throughout the country filled CWC’s main campus’s sanctuary the first day of the four- day AIM convention, which hasn’t been held since the Covid pandemic started in 2021.
From the beginning when Pastor Perry of Lake Butler, Florida, the Master of Ceremony, opened up the AIM Convention God had already inspired the worshippers, creating a highly spiritual atmosphere.
Pastor Perry captured the audience, enhancing the spirit of the atmosphere, saying, “Thank you for being God in our lives. We need, desire and want your presence.” And citing Psalms 34:1: “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
The Central Florida First Jurisdiction Choir’s singing engaged the worshippers physically and emotionally into the worship service, enticing almost everyone to stand on their feet, clap or wave their hands in the air.
Jada Bedford, a CWC parishioner and FAMU senior, continued to keep the convention’s first day’s momentum flowing with her inspirational speech with references to the Olds Testament Book of Job and important decisions she made while attending college.
AIM Convention Chairman, CWC Senior Pastor John Christian, Superintendent of the Shekinah District, told the convention attendees what to expect for the next three days, which included informative workshops, distributing food to the community on Thursday, touring the City of Leesburg, and a gospel concert on Friday evening at the Venetian Center in Leesburg. He presented two short videos, and gracefully introduced and thanked everyone on the AIM Convention team.
Bishop Gary Hall, Sr., Prelate of Central Florida First jurisdiction, a prolific teacher and preacher was the guest speaker. He took the convention to another level, worshipping and honoring God with an animated message.
“I have a conviction,” Bishop Hall immediately told the audience. “I have to pray. When I pray, people get blessed.”
“AIM is back!” was his next statement, which aroused high praise and applause. From then on, Bishop talked about “moving forward,” using certain words and the Scripture 2 Timothy 1:7 to described how COGIC believers can accomplish their moving forward goal.
Bishop Hall said, “Move forward, dream, pray, choose, focus, risk, pursue, believe, invest, finish and celebrate.”
Referencing certain Scriptures and using many witticisms, Bishop Hall discussed “moving forward, making progress. It’s time to be bold; there is no time for timidity.”
“Don’t do what God said. Do what God is saying,” Bishop Hall continued. “There’s a cost to move forward. Check with your creator before moving forward.” We are moving forward AIM!
“I am very pleased with the support and the outcome of the first day of our AIM Convention”, said Pastor Christian. “You can feel and see the enthusiasm of the people here tonight. All of our program participants made it happen. Our resounding, prolific teacher and preacher, Bishop Gary Hall closed us out with an inspiring and informative Word from God.”