By Carl Stagner
Last June, sparks from heaven ignited a fire of fervor within the heart of the Church of God. The Church of God has enjoyed more than a century of rich tradition and heritage in the annual convention held in Anderson, Indiana. A landmark relocation to Oklahoma City in 2014 was not the catalyst for this new hope for the future of the movement, but was certainly emblematic of a new day dawning from above. Since the 2014 gathering, the Church of God has embraced “Jesus is the Subject,” congregations have taken new steps to be bold in Jesus’ name and, in many congregations, signs of revival have emerged.
Since Church of God Convention 2014, we’ve witnessed God do some incredible things in and among his people:
At the convention, we heard the Lord’s call to proclaim freedom for the captives. Inspired to raise awareness and promote rescue for victims of human trafficking, CHOG TraffickLight was born. Following movement-wide Freedom Sunday participation, we rejoiced as amazing reports came in. God’s work through CHOG TraffickLight is far from over, but it all began at CHOG Convention 2014.
At Prestonsburg Church of God in Kentucky, the Holy Spirit has moved in some incredibly powerful ways over the past several months. As they proclaim that “Jesus is the subject,” and as they spread the good news that he redeems and restores, the congregation is experiencing spiritual and numerical growth. Their baptistery has certainly had no time to collect dust!
Among our ministries on the reservations of North America, hopelessness is being swallowed up by the gospel of Christ. Important meetings have taken place, and continue to take place, out of which efforts have been renewed to bring transformation to a culture so devoid of hope. So, too, the Lord has reignited passion for ministry in Hawaii—a place where you’d think everyone would want to do the Lord’s work—but where obstacles to kingdom expansion are ubiquitous. Nevertheless, the Church of God has made remarkable progress in the Aloha State, and for that, we rejoice!
Over the past several months, we’ve watched SHAPE expand to Jamaica (Jamaica also held its first-ever national youth convention!). We’ve celebrated new connections in Pakistan. We’ve rejoiced with one Ohio congregation that held their first-ever Faith Promise—and smashed goals (other churches did the same!). We’ve applauded the uniting of two congregations on the East Coast into one. We’ve thanked the Lord for churches like Aloha Church of God near Portland, Oregon, that has dared to boldly take a stand against AIDS. Way back in August, we were blessed to hear of the story taking place in one California congregation as they graduated men—once addicted to drugs and alcohol—now free in Christ. Bold, but Jesus is the subject, and he’s made it all possible in each and every case.
From the beach, to the brothels, to the streets of Berlin, Church of God people are recognizing the masterpieces God has created them to be, and taking steps to do the good works he prepared for them long ago. But God isn’t done yet. He’s still calling us to be bold. And at this year’s convention, he’ll work through a variety of powerful speakers, incredible times of worship, and life-giving discussion to inspire the Church of God to reclaim that which hell has stolen.
Register today for Church of God Convention (June 22–25) in Oklahoma City at www.chogconvention.org!