Callen Compiles General Assembly Comprehensive History, Reference Guide

By Carl Stagner

Anyone who has done even the most rudimentary research into the early days of the Church of God movement knows we have a fascinating history. We love to laud the honorable aspects of our past, but we acknowledge our missteps and failures, as well. Learning from yesterday—the good and the bad—helps us lean forward into the future God has planned for us together. In Barry Callen’s new book, Leaning Forward!, God’s unchanging involvement in the lives of his people is the thread that connects our heritage to who we are today. As a comprehensive history and reference guide to every resolution since the General Assembly’s humble beginnings in 1917, Leaning Forward! provides a panorama of the Church of God unlike we’ve ever seen. Continue reading

Church of God Raises $25,000 for Dorian Disaster Relief

Residents affected by Dorian are blessed with hot meals.

By Carl Stagner

While Labor Day weekend may have been a picnic for many in the United States, it was nothing short of disaster for those distressed and displaced due to Hurricane Dorian. The 185-mile-per-hour winds struck the Bahamas with torrential rainfall and left widespread destruction in its wake. The Church of God would not stand idly by, however, as the days and weeks that followed were marked by an outpouring of generosity. In total, more than $25,000 have come in since the hurricane, and news of such an impact is only beginning to come to light. Continue reading

From the Archives: The City is God’s Gift

By Samuel G. Hines

I believe that the urban pastor must be a lover of the city. If he is attracted to skyscrapers as some people are by mountains, if he can enjoy the often strange and irreverent city sounds as some people enjoy hearing birds chirp, more power to him! But whether he can “fall in love” with these things or not, he has to love them. Continue reading

Giving Life, Giving All: North Carolina Pastor’s Legacy Pays it Forward

Gary Young (far left) honored on October 6, 2019, by (left to right) Mike Claypool, Ben Shular, and Cornelius Atkinson.

By Carl Stagner

Alvin Young was a Baptist, but she was a part of the Church of God. Fueled by close proximity as neighbors in the North Carolina countryside near the town of Hickory, Alvin’s interest in her meant he would soon be attending the Church of God, too. The shift wasn’t hard for Alvin, though, for besides his love interest eclipsing denominational differences, he found the teachings of the Church of God to be more consistent with Scripture. Marriage soon secured their relationship with each other and the Church of God, but could do very little to secure their finances. While making a measly $1.15 an hour and doing his best to support a growing family, Alvin Young received a call to ministry. Continue reading

Regional Convention 2020 Host Church a “Center of Hope” in Los Angeles

Pastor Geremy Dixon encouraging the saints at Center of Hope LA.

By Carl Stagner

Convention 2019 and General Assembly have come and gone, but the Regional Conventions scheduled across the country next year are on the horizon. Registration is now open for all three events as program details continue to be finalized for Inglewood, California (April 22–24); Anderson, Indiana (June 24–26); and Brooklyn, New York (September 16–18). Pastor Geremy Dixon, who spoke at CHOG Convention 2017 in Wichita, Kansas, says his Los Angeles congregation is “pulling out all the stops” for the three-day gathering next April. An interview with the influential leader offers a glimpse of the people and the ministry giving life to their city in such a way that merits the name “Center of Hope.” Continue reading

Philadelphia Pastor Publishes Legendary Account of Pain, Redemption, and Triumph

Milton Grannum telling his story at Church of God Convention 2009.

By Carl Stagner

Because of his commitment to Jesus Christ, Milton Grannum’s family kicked him out of their house when he was only fourteen years old. Adding insult to injury, they tossed his school books out the door and told him he should go live at the church. The words of the psalmist brought comfort to young Milton: “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in” (Psalm 27:10 ESV). Stuffing all his belongings in a pillow case, Milton left, unsure of what he might face. Still, Milton Grannum found resolve in the words of a song: “Whether I live or die, whether I wake or sleep, I am the Lord’s, I know.” Continue reading

Movement to Pray for the Persecuted Church this November

By Carl Stagner

Christians in Western culture may not fully appreciate the cost of Christianity, but those who put their lives on the line in other parts of the world, just to share their faith or simply gather together, understand. Depending on the source, the numbers of believers imprisoned, tortured, and/or killed may vary, but one thing is clear—the need for our prayerful support of the persecuted church is tremendous. After Church of God leaders in Texas proposed a motion during General Assembly 2019 in Orlando to ask all local Church of God congregations to set aside a Sunday each November to pray specifically for the persecuted church around the world, overwhelming approval followed. Continue reading

Pastors Help Pastors Reach New Heights of Wholeness, Wellness

Tom Pelt and Jonathan Absher hiking in Colorado.

By Carl Stagner

At 14,000 feet, the views are breathtaking, but so is the air. Lower levels of oxygen—considered “thin” air—combined with unpredictable weather and potentially hazardous trail conditions, can pose health risks, at minimum, to even the most avid athlete. Hiking alone is not recommended at such altitudes, though many insist on doing so. Church of God pastors Tom Pelt and Jonathan Absher have reveled in the mountaintop experience among Colorado’s highest peaks and have recognized the vivid parallels to ministry. In an effort to see pastors minister at their peak, they’ve championed the holistic health vital to the daily climb. Without reinventing the wheel, but with intentionality and a genuine love for fellow pastors, they’ve taken specific strides in recent years to come alongside pastors, pull them out of isolation into community, and help them reach new heights of wholeness and wellness. Continue reading

Pastor Appreciation Month: Fifty Creative Ways to Bless Your Pastor

By Brian Kluth

Across America and the world, pastors and church staff members faithfully serve and love their congregations. Many pastors and staff members have followed God’s call on their lives to serve the Lord and their churches, regardless of the sacrifices they make. National research shows that most pastors are operating with limited financial resources to meet their families’ current and long-term needs. Fortunately, God is bigger than church paychecks and has many ways he can provide for his shepherds and workers through the generosity of God’s faithful people this Pastor Appreciation Month and throughout the year. Continue reading

CHOG Leaders Represent at 400th Anniversary of Enslaved African Arrival

Leaders from all major Christian traditions will gather in Montgomery, Alabama, October 2–4, 2019, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved African peoples to Jamestown, Virginia. Jim Lyon, general director of Church of God Ministries, is honored to be one of two leaders elected to represent our branch of the Christian family tree, as well as the Church of God movement. Six leaders in total are expected to represent the Church of God movement at the commemoration, which is part of the Annual Convocation of Christian Churches Together (CCT) in the USA, an ecumenical table that brings together communions (denominations) and Christian organizations representing all the major traditions. Continue reading

MACU Music Major: “Jesus Put a New Dream in Me”

Kevin Dugay

By Whitney Knight

From the big screen to the chapel stage, music and ministry worship major Kevin Dugay is used to drawing a crowd. With his soulful voice and God-given gift for performance, Dugay frequently leads worship during Mid-America Christian University chapel services every Wednesday and Friday. But long before he found himself in Oklahoma City, Dugay was an accomplished young actor with twelve years of stage experience and a promising professional career ahead of him. Continue reading

Get Ready to ROAR!

Did you know that God’s voice can sound like a roaring lion? The Bible says in Job 37:2, “Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice; to the rumbling that comes from his mouth” (NIV). God’s voice is bold and fearless in love. His voice speaks what is right and true. We want to teach our kids from an early age to listen to God’s voice and learn to recognize when he is speaking to them. Continue reading

CHOG Minister Completes 4,310-Mile Walk for Adoption, Foster Care

Glenn Koster wets his feet in the Pacific Ocean.

By Carl Stagner

Glenn Koster left South Miami on foot, in February 2018. He intended to reach Seattle by October of last year, but the hazards around the next curve weren’t always visible along the 4,310-mile adventure on which he’d embarked. Ultimately appearing in 51 newspapers, on NPR and K-LOVE, with 44 churches, and for 3 foster-care-related groups, Glenn Koster finally completed his walk across America for adoption and foster care awareness late this summer. As Glenn dipped his feet in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, it was clear that even those frustrating delays would serve a providential purpose. Continue reading

Regional Conventions 2020: The Way of Jesus

By Jim Lyon

Embracing the gospel of the kingdom has often been reduced to a simple and straightforward decision—a climactic choice “to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.” To be “saved” (and persuade others to become so) has pervasively been the focused target of much of American Christianity. Sometimes, this ambition has emphasized “church membership,” baptism, or an “altar call” as the end game. Continue reading

South Dakota Church Establishes Partnership with Local School

Harvey Dunn Elementary teachers

By Michael Smith

About a decade ago, Rustic Hills Community Church of God was looking for a practical way to build redemptive relationships in their community. The city of Sioux Falls is a small Midwestern city, but the largest city in South Dakota (population 187,000). There are lots of Christian-based ministry opportunities within the city, but we wanted something more personal, and something that would give us the opportunity to make real relationships. Connecting with one of our area schools seemed like the perfect option for us. Continue reading