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2004 Conversations


2003 Conversations


Joy Williams: Rooted in Grace (December 29, 2002)

Judy Rachels: Christmas gifts (December 22, 2002)

Ralph Carmichael: New music for a timeless message (December 15, 2002)

Roger and Greg Flessing: Media, ministry and society's ungodly messages (December 8, 2002)

Rick Salvato: Meeting medical and spiritual needs around the world (November 24, 2002)

Asa Hutchinson: Drug Enforcement's top officer (November 17, 2002)

Bill Bright: 'Not I, but Christ' (November 10, 2002)

Ray Berryhill: Living by faith (October 20, 2002)

Owen C. Carr: Reading through the Bible 92 times (October 13, 2002)

Curtis Harlow: Combating campus drinking (September 29, 2002)

Wes Bartel: Making Sunday count (September 22, 2002)

M. Wayne Benson: The Holy Spirit knocks (September 15, 2002)

Dr. Richard Dobbins: Understanding Suffering (September 8, 2002)

K.R. Mele: Halloween evangelism (August 25, 2002)

Roland Blount: God makes a way for blind missionary (August 18, 2002)

Cal Thomas: Finding a mission field (August 11, 2002)

Lisa Ryan: For such a time as this (July 28, 2002)

Dallas Holm: Faith and prayer in life’s toughest times (July 21, 2002)

Paul Drost: Intentional church planting (July 14, 2002)

James M. Inhofe: Serving Christ in the Senate (June 30, 2002)

Karen Kingsbury: The Write stuff (June 23, 2002)

Michael W. Smith: Worship is how you live each day (June 16, 2002)

Wayne Stayskal: On the drawing board (June 9, 2002)

Fory VandenEinde: Anyone can minister (May 26, 2002)

Thomas E. Trask: Pentecost Sunday (May 19, 2002)

Stormie Omartian: Recovering from an abusive childhood (May 12, 2002)

Luis Carrera: Beyond the Shame (April 28, 2002)

Tom Greene: The church of today (April 21, 2002)

Philip Bongiorno: Wisdom for a younger generation (April 14, 2002)

Deborah M. Gill: Christian education and discipleship (March 24, 2002)

Norma Champion: Becoming involved in politics (February 24, 2002)

Steve Pike: A candid discussion about Mormonism (February 10, 2002)

Raymond Berry: More to life than football (January 27, 2002)

Sanctity of Human Life roundtable: Doctors speak out (January 20, 2002)

Chaplain Charles Marvin: Ministering in the military (January 13, 2002)


2001 Conversations

Wisdom for a younger generation

(April 14, 2002)

Philip Bongiorno will retire this year as superintendent of the Pennsylvania-Delaware District of the Assemblies of God after 24 years of service. During his administration, the district has grown from about 270 to 360 churches and from approximately 600 to 850 credentialed ministers. District support of Assemblies of God ministries, both at home and overseas, has also grown dramatically. Bongiorno directed the district in the development of its conference center, loan fund and new administrative office building. He spoke recently with Scott Harrup, associate editor.

EVANGEL: As you leave your district ministry, what are your plans for continued service?

BONGIORNO: I’ve always said that preachers never retire, they just change venue. I want to be out there preaching, helping our young pastors and perhaps traveling overseas. I’ve received invitations from Ghana, Burkina Faso and other areas of Africa, as well as South America and Europe. I went to our family’s homeland of Italy almost 20 years ago and would love to return and minister there. I will also continue as chairman of the Pennsylvania-Delaware District Loan Fund which I helped establish about 20 years ago. It’s done very well, and we lend funds to churches across the district. So I plan to stay active.

EVANGEL: You and your wife are preparing to celebrate your 50th anniversary in August. Any advice for young people starting families?

BONGIORNO: It’s important that they start off on the right foot in regard to their relationship with God. When you have the right relationship with God, you can have a right relationship with one another. It’s important that couples pray together. I emphasize that to all our ministers, that husbands and wives should pray together and then pray with their children. The family altar is too often a forgotten thing. But it’s important, and not just at mealtimes and at bedtimes. Parents need to listen to their children’s prayer needs and hold them up in prayer and study the Word with them. When these things are maintained, we will relate better to our children and they will confide in us when they face problems. Finally, we need to set an example as parents for our children. It doesn’t do a whole lot of good to go out and save the world if you’re going to lose your own family.

EVANGEL: What encouragement would you offer to a young man or woman preparing to enter the ministry?

BONGIORNO: The primary goal should be to develop character and integrity. Anyone going into ministry needs to be completely honest with God and with himself/herself. They need to recognize God’s specific calling in their lives and then apply themselves to prepare for that calling. I believe God gives us special gifts. If you’re able to be a pastor, then be the best pastor you can possibly be and train yourself in every way possible to enhance your ministry.

Pray, study, read all that you can read. Know God, know yourself, know your calling, and give yourself faithfully to that calling whatever it may be.

EVANGEL: As you look at the world in which your grandchildren are growing up, what is your prayer for them?

BONGIORNO: Janette and I have our private devotions each morning, and then have devotions together. One of our main prayer emphases is our seven grandchildren. We have five beautiful granddaughters and two handsome grandsons, and I’m fearful sometimes for what they will face. We pray for them every day, that they will never allow their faith in any way to be diluted. We pray that they will always focus on God and the spiritual things they have learned. The spirit of this age is the spirit of evil, and our children and grandchildren need our prayers.

EVANGEL: Where do you see the Assemblies of God heading in the 21st century?

BONGIORNO: I see good things. We can dwell on negatives all we want, and there is certainly some concern about the leveling off of our growth in the United States. But thank God for the growth that is taking place around the world. My prayer is that we will see in this country the kind of revival and growth taking place overseas. As we rediscover the spiritual priorities of our forefathers, I believe we will experience that growth. Salvation by the blood of Jesus Christ, the fullness of the Holy Spirit, the preaching and teaching of the Word of God — these must be our priorities. We need to seek after holiness. We need to perpetuate the wonderful Pentecostal message. We need to reject the spirit of this age. As we honor God; He will honor us.

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