By Carl Stagner
Jesus spoke it. Church of God Ministries echoed it. Christian Women Connection offered it. Pastors’ Fellowship proclaimed it. Others are chiming in! Life—new, abundant, and refreshing like water—is emerging as a common emphasis among Church of God agencies, congregations, and institutions. With Jesus as the subject, the Church of God is receiving, hearing, and embracing his words in John 10:10—“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (NIV). The first two Church of God Regional Conventions, CWC’s Living Water Luncheons, and Pastors’ Fellowship 2018 are just three recent events where Church of God people have satisfied their souls in the life-giving Lord.
Jim Lyon, general director of Church of God Ministries, has made it clear this year that life “is too often the missing piece of our daily routines.” He continues, “Our calendar and ambition are often marked by striving and stretching that suck the life out of every room we enter and bring us exhausted to the end of every day.” He, along with several anointed speakers, have twice challenged a cross-section of the Movement, gathered for a Regional Convention, to imagine church life and daily personal life differently—with life more abundant, with life to the full.
How beautifully cohesive, then, was the Living Water Luncheon in Phoenix! Also scheduled for the Regional Conventions in Columbus and Fairfax, this Christian Women Connection event is simply a product of what they’ve been urging this year: that everyone drink freely of the Living Water only Christ offers (John 4:10). Kayla Harden, next generation pastor of West Side Church of God in Glendale, Arizona, shared an inspirational message of hope at the first Living Water Luncheon. The next one, scheduled for June 20, during the Columbus Regional Convention (www.chogconvention.org), will feature Rachel Nelson, among others. For more information, call 866-778-0804 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, CWC is offering free downloadable resources based on this life-giving theme online at www.christianwomenconnection.org/store.html.
“New Life” was the focus of Pastors’ Fellowship this year, a meeting of pastors and laypeople at First Church of God in Winchester, Kentucky, on May 7 and 8. Besides the singing of both heritage hymns and contemporary worship songs, and the fellowship—even sweeter than the iced tea—there were eight featured speakers. Biblically based, impassioned sermons have become synonymous with Pastors’ Fellowship since 1973. Church of God pastors Frank Curtis, Ralph Shupe, Bill Means, Tonya Shupe, Allan Hutchinson, Richard Bradley, and Chris Current were included. One of the most memorable sermons was delivered by Church of God Ministries’ own Darryl Allen, who preached on the subject of “New Life from Preaching Biblical Truths.” Among the ways this group is championing the timeless truth of God’s Word, one is particularly new. Gerald Rudd, chairman of Pastors’ Fellowship, recruited a group of social media consultants to speak new life into the online perpetuation of such timeless truths. Among the outstanding pastors and laypeople in the group, I (Carl Stagner, writer-editor) was also invited to offer insights from the perspective of eight years of communication work for Church of God Ministries. I am honored to have been asked to help, and look forward to working with this life-giving team.
Jim Lyon’s words continue to resonate: “Life. Abundant, whole, complete, perfect. It is the signature of the living Christ.” Jesus is the subject, and he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! God is on the move in the Movement, ushering in all kinds of new life. Be encouraged.
Join the movement. Give life! Donate today at give.jesusisthesubject.org.