1. How would you explain what AIM is for the unchurched?
AIM stands for Auxiliaries In Ministry. The key word is ministry which could mean to meet the need of. Consequently, the Church has a responsibility to meet the need of not only its inner constituents but also the community at large. AIM will obviously have a spiritual impact but in addition there are a smorgasbord of activities, events and services that could impact the 'unchurched' such as college and career fairs, youth and young adult mentoring, computer training, community development training, financial literacy training, social networking, fitness programs, many training and development opportunities, worship services, concerts and the list goes on and on.
2. As the new chairman of the International AIM Convention, what is your vision for the Church?
I see my role as one that gives support and ultimately impacts the aggressive vision of the Church Of God In Christ that has been given by our presiding bishop, Bishop Charles Blake, called COGIC URBAN INITIATIVES. This vision was birthed out of a deep concern about poor academic achievement, financial disenfranchisement, high unemployment, soaring crime levels, the desperate state of the Black man and the breakdown of the family that plagues our cities, small and large, urban and rural. Thus, a campaign is ongoing to develop programs and strategies that address: education, economic development (job training and creation), crime prevention, family life and financial literacy. I envision AIM as a platform through all of its activities and events that reflects every aspect of this vision.
3. What is your style or approach as a pastor and how does that translate to your new role?
I feel that I am obligated to be a conduit of God's grace that will literally impact and change live, whether they are churched or unchurched. The open-mindedness is critical to the success as AIM chairman as new times call for new strategies and methods to be facilitated through a synergistic approach to offering Christ and better life to mankind.
4. What are the challenges facing different ministries in the church--youth, music, evangelism, Sunday School, mission--and how can the church prepare itself to counter those challenges?
God's people are change agents and game changers. A paradigm shift always attracts challenges to the necessary change. I believe the major ministries of the Church such as youth, music, evangelism, Sunday School, and mission, must remain relevant and powerful amid cultural indifference, economic breakdown, low morale values, and a world greatly devoid of godly and biblical principles.
5. What are some of the milestones or triumphs COGIC has achieved in the past few years?
I have been a member of COGIC all my life and have seen tremendous growth and progress. But under our current leader, I have seen the denomination take on a recommitment to its purpose and the great commission, new focus on global impact, involvement in social justice and changing local communities, and leading a spiritual renaissance in our nation.
6. Did you always want to be a minister? If not, why did you join ministry? And please recount the moment you realized your calling.
I grew up in a very religious and dedicated family. I was greatly exposed to the ministry and the life of the church early on which ignited my interest. Several persons would speak into my life and around age 15, I became very serious about God and had a great desire to please and serve Him. With encouragement and support of my parents, I entered the ministry and involved myself in almost every aspect of the church which I believe prepared me for what I am doing today.
7. Who are your s/heroes in ministry?
Wow..... That is a long list but in short, my parents, Linwood Sr. and Lorise and my 89 year old grandfather, Pastor Elijah Dillard. Also, I have been fortunate to have been mentored, tutored and exposed to many great people such as Bishop Charles Blake. He is a man I think any persons, even outside of ministry, could study his life and principles and see greatness. I was also greatly impressed by the former presiding bishop, the late Bishop G.E. Patterson, and many others too numerous to name.
8. What special quality or qualities make the Church of God in Christ a desirable denomination for believers to join as they pursue their relationship with God?
COGIC at its core and foundation is all about changing lives and causing persons to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That mission is facilitated through an innumerable number of ministries but primarily through discipleship, outreach and great displays of love.
9. What outcomes do you hope to see coming out of this convention?
I hope to see thousands of people inspired, blessed and charged up to go back to their individual cities and communities and change the world one life at a time through the life we live and display.