A Sure Bet: West Virginia Pastor’s Kid Reclaims “Wasted Years”

Duane singing “He’s All I Need.”

By Carl Stagner

Duane Clarke was raised in a Christian home with loving, godly parents. As a PK—“pastor’s kid”—he heard the gospel preached more times than he could count, whether at Middle Grave Creek Church of God near Moundsville, where his father was senior pastor, or at Ash Avenue Church of God, where his father had served as Sunday school superintendent. At age fifteen, while attending youth camp, Duane went to an old-fashioned altar and asked Jesus into his heart. Soon after, he followed Jesus’ example in baptism. But when this young sports fan checked into a local bar to purchase Lakers tickets, he was inadvertently introduced to sports betting. It wasn’t long before he was thrust into the world of gambling, and for thirty years, he couldn’t find his way out. Hell stole much from Duane Clarke’s life, but Jesus would have the last word. Continue reading

Michael Aftermath: Post-Hurricane Help Needed Now

The cross remains on the Panama City church’s sign!

By Carl Stagner

One hundred fifty-five miles per hour. That’s how powerful Hurricane Michael’s winds were when the Category Four monster made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, on October 10. Meteorologists are calling the storm the strongest to ever hit the continental United States since Hurricane Andrew of 1992. In its wake, Michael left behind widespread catastrophic damage, leveling homes and businesses, and claiming the lives of at least nineteen, as the search for missing persons continues. The Church of God was not left unscathed; to date, two congregations have reported damage to their church building and their homes. As information continues to be collected by state ministry offices and Church of God Ministries, Church of God congregations across the country are already responding to the imminent and critical needs of funds, supplies, time, and labor. Continue reading

Former Inmate Empowers Others through Education

Joel Whiteside

Joel Whiteside’s first stint in prison lasted twenty-eight months when he was just seventeen. After release, Joel struggled to make good decisions and soon his life was spiraling out of control. A three-year sentence in 2008 was a turning point. He realized that it was time to change the trajectory of his life. Joel’s personal story of transformation fuels his nonprofit organization, Been There, Done That, which supports those who are re-entering society in Cowlitz County, Washington, after incarceration. Continue reading

Disaster Relief Update: Hurricane Michael

As of 12:00 PM EDT, October 10:

Church of Ministries has contacted Pastors Ken Love (state pastor for Florida), Tim Teague (chairperson for the General Assembly in Alabama) and Mike Claypool (regional pastor for the Carolinas) ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Michael. Lines of communication have been established and we are now awaiting the onslaught of this storm. Please join us in praying that this major storm will pass through quickly with a minimum of damage. After having seen the devastation of Hurricane Florence (thankfully, Church of God congregations in the Carolinas did not experience major difficulties in that storm), we anticipate extensive wind and water damage across the region. Continue reading

From the Archives: Unity and Holiness

By Arlo Newell

The church which Jesus founded was built on a basis of unity. We have one Master (Matt 23:8); we are members one of another (Eph 4:25); it is to this one body that we are called (Col 3:15), and this unity is reflected in the life of the local congregation. It is the unity of a body functioning harmoniously, a building being properly joined together in symmetry and cohesiveness, or a marriage in which two have become one flesh (Rom 12:4–5; Eph 2:21–22; 5:31). In each instance the unity is an evidence of a relationship that has both internal and external theological implications. Continue reading

Former School of Theology Dean: Never Give Up!

Dr. David L. Sebastian, former dean of the AU School of Theology and Christian Ministry, has published his ministry memoirs in a book titled Just Never Give Up. Sebastian answered God’s call to ministry while he was an auto mechanic in Middletown, Ohio, so the book is appropriately subtitled, “An Unlikely Person Following God into Unlikely Places.” Continue reading

Letter: Children of Promise Announces Position Opening

Dr. Paul Maxfield, executive director of Children of Promise, recently shared his plans to retire on September 30, 2019. The Children of Promise board of directors announces the opening of the search for the position of executive director. Selection of the new executive director is targeted for March 2019, with employment beginning summer 2019. Continue reading

Reflections on the Life and Legacy of Arlo Newell

Arlo Newell

By Carl Stagner

The late pastor and CBH speaker Dale Oldham published a book in 1973 titled Giants Along My Path. Many in the Church of God have since used the terminology to describe, as Oldham did, those who have profoundly shaped, influenced, and inspired their lives and ministries. On Monday, October 1, 2018, the Church of God movement learned that Dr. Arlo Newell had passed away. While heaven gained a hero, we lost one of our giants. A comprehensive list of his accomplishments would certainly fill volumes; a summary of his contributions to the Movement he loved would be inadequate. Yet in the lingering shadow of such a giant, it would be nearly impossible not to offer a few reflections now on the life and legacy of Arlo Newell. Continue reading

MACU Highlights Hispanic Heritage with Celebration of Culture

By Whitney Knight

Beginning Friday, October 5, Mid-America Christian University will host its semiannual Celebration of Culture event with an up-close look at Hispanic culture. At 10 AM on October 5, the university’s semiweekly chapel services will kick off with praise and worship by the OKC Family Church and Latina recording artist Jacqueline Chavez. Following musical performances, several MACU students will take to the stage to share culture and traditions from their home countries in Latin America. Their testimonies will be followed by a keynote address on the richness of various Latino cultures from Rev. Daniel Caceres from Iglésia Bautista Hispana Church in Norman, Oklahoma, with interpretation provided by MACU’s Dr. Enrique Cepeda. Continue reading

Site of Warner Auditorium Reclaimed with Prayer, Given Life Again

By Carl Stagner

In 2006, Warner Auditorium, which housed the Church of God Convention (“camp meeting”) since the early 1960s, came down. Asbestos had claimed the structure, deeming the “the dome” unsafe for occupancy. But before the dome, there was the “old tabernacle.” This iconic structure, too, met an untimely demise after a snowstorm claimed it. In recent years, the site has remained empty and relatively lifeless. But Anderson University has recently given new life to the plot of land, reclaiming and rededicating those holy grounds for prayer. Continue reading

Global Strategy Welcomes Native American Ministries

Originally a part of U.S. and Canada Strategy of Church of God Ministries, Native American Ministries (NAM) is now a branch of Global Strategy. This decsion was unanimously affirmed by the American Indian Council of the Church of God (AIC) at the annual meeting in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, this past July. The AIC is a partner organization of Church of God Ministries, representing Christ in seven ministry locations: Continue reading

Fairfax, Safety Harbor Regionals Last but Not Least!

Worship at the Fairfax Regional 2018.

By Carl Stagner

Church of God pastors and laypeople who descended on Fairfax, Virginia, and Safety Harbor, Florida, in September were the last to experience the impact of the Church of God Regional Conventions this year. By no means, however, were they disappointed. They were, in fact, the first to hear featured speaker Kevin Earley and regional guest speaker Brad Lomenick. The tested strategies and insights of host pastor Rod Stafford were only available in Virginia, and the deeply personal dare to dream came only from host pastor Terry Rolen in Florida. Jo Anne Lyon and Jim Lyon spoke at all five Regionals, but instead of tired, overdone messages, they brought refined words, fresh with content, anecdotes, exhortations, and inspiration. After the third 2018 Regional, the events took a three-month hiatus. But based on the new life breathed into the Movement this September, it was a busy summer for the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

Safety Harbor Regional Day 2: Daring to Dream Again

Wednesday evening worship at the Safety Harbor Regional.

By Carl Stagner

Do you dream of a local church that is healthy and growing? Do you dream of unity across racial lines? Do you dream of those “greater works” that Jesus talked about, or victory in a particular spiritual battle? Wednesday, Day Two of the Church of God Regional Convention in Safety Harbor, Florida, was a day of rekindling the fire, reclaiming the passion, and resurrecting dreams once lost in a world prone to busyness, burnout, and a blurring of what matters most. Continue reading

Tuesday’s Scorching Sunshine Eclipsed by Light of Christ at FL Regional

Moments of blessed fellowship were plentiful on Tuesday.

By Carl Stagner

Less than a year out from the Church of God Convention 2019 and General Assembly in Orlando, many Church of God people got their first taste of Florida on Tuesday at the Regional Convention near Tampa. Sunshine, palm trees, and the Bay nearby were certainly sights to behold; more so was the prayerful response at the altar on Tuesday evening. During the day, convention-goers satisfied their cravings at the Melt Machine Food Truck but didn’t linger long, as the air-conditioned space within the walls of Bayside Community Church offered relief from the unseasonably hot and humid weather. Inside they found a diet of Living Water and the Bread of Life to be most refreshing, as anointed messages, inspirational times of worship, engaging conferences, and rich conversation marked the day. Continue reading

Final of Five 2018 Regionals Begins in Florida

Worship service at Bayside Church.

By Carl Stagner

Four Regional Conventions down, one to go! The fifth-and-final 2018 Regional Convention of the Church of God begins today at Bayside Community Church in Safety Harbor, Florida. On the heels of the Fairfax Regional last week, the Regional Convention in the Sunshine State will also feature some of the finest voices inside and outside the Movement: Jo Anne Lyon, Kevin Earley, Brad Lomenick, Ben Hardman, Terry Rolen, and Jim Lyon. Of course, the fellowship and fun is certain to follow, as festivities throughout the two-day experience focus on Jesus and the life he so richly offers his followers. Continue reading