By Bob Moss
In our ongoing series of articles titled “It Takes a Team,” Carl Stagner, editor of CHOGnews, has helped our readers to become acquainted with many of the faithful servants of Church of God Ministries. In this article, it’s my privilege to share this interview with Carl. I deeply appreciate his sincerity, his strong work ethic, and the quality of his writing. Our movement is blessed to have a young minister of Carl’s caliber serving as a staff writer to keep us informed and inspired with the happenings across the Church of God.
Describe your journey that brought you to work at our offices.
In 2009, Church of God Ministries welcomed me as a volunteer intern while I was completing a mass communication degree at Anderson University. My first assignment was to promote the 123rd North American Convention in Anderson. At the time of my graduation, there were no further communication opportunities available at Church of God Ministries. Having grown up in Phoenix, Arizona, my intention was to settle there and begin a career utilizing my passions for writing, editing, and social media promotion. Over a period of about eight months, the only work I could find was temporary. Living in the Midwest was never on my radar, and my former colleagues at Church of God Ministries were aware of my plans to return to Indiana only once a year for the convention. Perhaps that is why I was surprised and intrigued when I was contacted through social media regarding a position in communications that would soon open. What began as an administrative role for the planning of the 2013 Global Gathering, with a little writing and social media on the side, now focuses on my communication strengths.
What are your present responsibilities at Church of God Ministries?
I write and compile the bulk of the news content and feature stories that tell the ongoing story of God at work in the Church of God around the world. I research topics, and I schedule and conduct interviews by phone, e-mail, and social media, to gather content to produce articles. I proofread and edit the major communication material that disseminates from Church of God Ministries. I manage Church of God Ministries’ communication through social media—primarily Facebook and Twitter. I also serve as curator and promoter of the Interpretive Center of the Church of God. In each role, my aim is to help realize the organization’s goal to keep every Church of God minister and congregation informed, encouraged, and resourced.
Was journalism always your life’s ambition?
Journalism was not always my life’s ambition. From an early age, I wanted to be a meteorologist. You must understand that, as a child living in a metropolis surrounded on all sides by desert, I couldn’t wait for the rare rainy day or our annual snow sledding trip in the mountains. Whether to ultimately serve my fellow man on television or at a National Weather Service office, I honed my forecasting skills and acquired what I considered to be an expert understanding of Southwest weather patterns. But God had other plans and, in retrospect, I’m glad he did. The leading of the Holy Spirit, combined with the wisdom of some great professors at Anderson University and an inability to adequately grasp the mathematics to support my life’s ambition, resulted in a new course for my life’s journey. I had grown up in the Church of God in Arizona, appreciated the heritage of the movement, and loved attending the convention as many years as we could make the cross-country trek. Church of God Ministries was therefore a great fit.
Tell us about your life outside Church of God Ministries.
The joy I find in my relationship with Jesus Christ is something I want others to know and experience. Outside of Church of God Ministries, I serve as associate pastor of worship arts at Main Street Church of God in Anderson, where I lead a worship team and a small choir, teach a Sunday school class, preach on occasion, and co-direct a tutoring ministry for local students. I love to spend time with my wife of six years (Bethany), my four-year-old daughter (Hailey), and my two-year-old son (Evan). My hobbies and interests include hiking, skiing, hunting, fishing, singing, piano, table tennis, tennis, basketball, gardening, southern gospel music, all things Arizona, and Mexican food.
How has working at Church of God Ministries expanded your thinking?
Working at Church of God Ministries has had a remarkable impact on my thinking—as a communicator, as a disciple, and as a pastor. The stories haven’t just touched you—the reader. They’ve touched me, too. It would be difficult to estimate the number of pastors, missionaries, and laypeople I have interviewed over the past seven years on behalf of Church of God Ministries. I have been blessed by the outreach ideas, including what worked and what didn’t work; the strategic approaches to ministry; the theology which has informed the ministry and mission of individuals around the world; and the wisdom of beloved saints imparted to me. Stories of believers living out forgiveness, fearlessness, and fortitude have set the example for my life, both professionally and personally. As a result, I find myself with a heightened sense of perspective in my ministry outside of the office. My time at Church of God Ministries has shaped who I am in ways I could have never experienced in front of a green screen. I pray that the stories, scriptures, and songs I’ve shared have done the same in others.
Share YOUR story! Carl is eager to hear from you. Send him an e-mail at CStagner@chog.org to share what’s happening in your church and in your ministry so we can encourage one another. As Jesus said, “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5: 15–17 NLT). Be sure to follow Church of God Ministries on Facebook and Twitter!
Remember, Church of God Ministries relies on your financial support of the unrestricted portion of the World Ministries Budget to enable basic, necessary operations to continue. Support the behind-the-scenes work of the Church of God today (which includes Carl Stagner’s writing ministry!) at http://www.jesusisthesubject.org/world-ministry-fund/. Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.