Michigan Pastor Reaching Across Generations: “I Wanna Be On Their Phones”

Pastor Tom Whitesel

By Lane Webb

Tom Whitesel, pastor of Ithaca Church of God in Ithaca, Michigan, has become aware, and has adapted, to a change in the way community is expressed. Whitesel, the founder of the 24Today podcast, spoke on the matter during an interview, where he stated that he believes times are changing and, along with this, values are changing. This values shift reflects the decrease in church attendance. Whitesel clarified that his church’s core values are “Loving God, Loving Each Other, and Loving Community,” and, through this, he believes he can reach farther than most church’s in today’s age, the Digital Age. Continue reading

Church of God Missionaries to Sri Lanka Heartbroken After Easter Attacks

By Carl Stagner

Celebration of the risen Christ ended early and abruptly on Sunday, April 21, in Sri Lanka, as the deadliest violence in a decade devastated the island country south of India. More than 300 people were killed and another 500 injured in a series of bombings that struck churches and hotels in the cities of Colombo, Negombo, and Batticaloa. As investigations continue, the Church of God fervently prays for the injured, families of victims, first-responders, and churches affected both directly and indirectly. Steven and Peggy Beverly, missionaries for Global Strategy to Sri Lanka, were just beginning their home assignment at the time of the incident. Their updates on the situation reveal their broken hearts. They would prefer to be with the suffering people they’ve come to love than safe in the U.S. right now. Continue reading

Hispanic Church Coming Soon to West Side of Indianapolis

By Tom Planck and Israel Munguia

The story of the community surrounding Westlake Church of God on the west side of Indianapolis, Indiana, is familiar to many churches across the state. The culture has vastly changed over the past several years. A once mostly Caucasian community has now shifted to include a large population of African American and Hispanic people. Continue reading

Messy but Miraculous: Missouri Churches Merge to Maximize Kingdom Impact

Co-pastors Rick & Johnny conduct salt ceremony to signify the merger.

By Carl Stagner

Johnny Phifer was serving as the pastor of Walnut Lawn Church of God in Springfield, Missouri. Rick Herald was the pastor of LifeQuest Church, also in Springfield. Neither church was on life support or even in serious trouble. Still, each church did have its fair share of challenges; in particular, the average age of the Walnut Lawn congregation was progressively older, while LifeQuest faced a sizeable debt. But, while it’s true that the notion of a merger seemed to address these basic needs, these were not the primary motivators for a decision of such far-reaching implications. There had to be more. And there was. Continue reading

Convention 2019 & General Assembly: Local Pastors Talk Orlando

Disney World in Orlando, Florida

By Carl Stagner

Orlando, Florida, is home to more than a dozen theme parks. If you’ve ever been there, you’ve probably at least visited Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. Maybe you played a round of golf under the sunlit palm trees, or perhaps you hit the beach when you realized the ocean’s only an hour away. But there’s so much more to Orlando than Mickey Mouse, sunshine, and scream-inducing thrill rides. Four local pastors reveal what they love about Orlando and offer their recommendations for what to do and where to eat—in conjunction with Church of God Convention 2019 & General Assembly, of course! Continue reading

Outstanding Leaders, New Activities Highlight Women’s Convention 2019

By Carl Stagner

Every two years, women of the Church of God gather together in a select city to reconnect, worship together, and grow together. Hosted by Christian Women Connection, the event has welcomed women and men from across the country and beyond to destinations like Dallas, Seattle, Nashville, and Daytona Beach. This year’s Church of God Women’s Convention will be held in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, October 10–13, and will feature some of the brightest and best women preachers, worship ministers, and conference leaders the Church of God has ever known. Combined with new service opportunities and new tracks for women in ministry and clergy wives, “Women Shaping the Future” is certain to be one of the most anticipated events of the year. Continue reading

Quadrilingual Argentinian-Brazilian Pastor Called to Lead California Congregation

Norberto Obermann (right) with wife Claudia, son Pedro.

By Carl Stagner

It all began with a prayer. A big and bold prayer—that God would lead Norberto Obermann to do something so challenging it could not be done alone. That, without God, it would simply be impossible. Born in Argentina, and having pastored there and in Brazil for the better part of three decades, Norberto would soon see what happens when such prayers are offered up in faithful surrender. Through a variety of unfolding events, he and his family would be called to pastor North Modesto Church of God in Modesto, California. The quadrilingual pastor—yes, he can speak four languages!—was a perfect fit for the rapidly evolving demographics of the north-central California city. It all made sense to the church and the Obermanns. But God didn’t answer their prayer in the way they were expecting. Instead, they embarked on an adventure that would last two years. Continue reading

Upside-Down Kingdom: Insights and Updates from England

Community meal at Birkenhead Church of God.

By Zach and Audrey Langford

Birkenhead Church of God, like many of the churches in Europe, is reaching an increasingly secular and post-Christian society. “Be Known, Be Loved, Be Community” has become the church’s motto as we seek to engage people. We have been consistently met with hesitation and skepticism as we introduce ourselves to neighbors. Preconceived notions and barriers make relationship-building slow. Continue reading

Convention 2019 TED Talk Format Speakers Speak Out

Clockwise from upper left: Matt Anderson, Allyson Smith, Jake Zaske, Erin Taylor

By Carl Stagner

The Friday night session of Church of God Convention 2019 & General Assembly is slated to be something very different than the Movement has ever seen. Weaved into an interactive worship experience led by Josh Edington, a TED Talk-style format will give four of the brightest and best younger ministers in the Church of God the opportunity to address the gathering in brief, but engaging conversation. Allyson Smith (Community Church of God, Atlanta, Georgia), Matt Anderson (McDowell Mountain Community Church, Scottsdale, Arizona), Erin Taylor (First Church of God, Alma, Michigan), and Jake Zaske (Indian Creek Community Church, Olathe, Kansas) are looking forward to participating in an evening designed to challenge pastors and lay leaders to breathe, speak, and give life to their churches and communities. In an interview with Church of God Ministries (CGM), each one offers an introduction of who they are and why they’re anticipating Orlando. Continue reading

Why We Do What We Do at Warner Press

Scroll through a few websites, watch a news program, or talk to someone in line at the grocery, and you will soon discover that our world is far from God. The harsh realities of life leave many people searching for hope. At Warner Press, we know that our hope for living can only be found through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That is why we have been in publishing for over a century. Continue reading

Mile-High Mission: Colorado Church Communicates Christ Amid Confusion

Cloverdale Church being the hands and feet of Christ.

By Carl Stagner

Like the day which saw an altar inscribed with the words, “To the unknown god” (Acts 17:23), there is today much confusion about the one true God. While an increasingly diverse religious landscape takes shape across North America, areas more visibly closed to the traditional Christian church demand our attention—not because cultural Christianity is on the decline, but because some methods of ministry may no longer be effective. The contrast may be greater for those who grew up in, but no longer live in, parts of the country where a traditional form of Christianity is still reflected in the culture. When Mike Hooven left Indianapolis, Indiana, to pastor a church in the greater Denver, Colorado, area, he encountered a culture characterized by widespread “religion” and “spirituality,” but with less widespread signs of Jesus. Continue reading

At the Crossroads: Indiana Churches Initiate Plan to Multiply

The crowded entryway of County Line’s new campus church.

By Carl Stagner

Nate Tatman had no idea how pivotal that moment would be. He’d been in the office of Indiana Ministries when something caught his attention. The map of the state on the wall wasn’t anything new; he remembered seeing it before. But what he hadn’t noticed was the distribution of push pins on the map, which indicated counties that did not have a Church of God congregation. In particular, he noticed this time that there were thirty-seven counties in total with no Church of God congregation. And that’s when things began to get interesting. Continue reading

From the Archives: How to Stay Alive Spiritually

By James Albrecht

All vital Christians know the thrill of the new birth—that point in time when they came to life spiritually. What a great surge of joy and relief came to their mind and spirits as they became alive and free from sin and its consequence, death. This was a moment of beginning a new and vibrant relationship with God. But many Christians have long since lost that early enthusiasm of the spirit. Continue reading

Disaster Relief Update: Flooding Devastates Craig, Missouri

Approaching the church’s front doors by boat.

By Carl Stagner

On March 20, the levee holding back the steadily rising Missouri River broke in more than one place, forcing the town of Craig, Missouri, to evacuate, and leaving behind flooded homes and churches—including First Church of God. Inside the house of worship, chest-deep water inundated parts of the facility, while two feet of water was visible inside the sanctuary, damaging carpets, pews, books, tables, and their piano and organ. With homes underwater, at least two members of the small congregation have also had to find temporary shelter. The river has receded somewhat but, with more snowmelt and rain in the forecast, it’s not certain Craig will dry out. In the meantime, First Church of God finds itself in a difficult situation—without flood insurance, as this kind of flooding had never happened before. Continue reading

Kingdom Production On the Rise at God’s Warehouse, Albuquerque

By Lane Webb

God’s Warehouse in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a ministry, placed in the heart of a red-light district, that looks to inspire change for the less-fortunate through acts of Christlike love. This nonprofit organization has been responsible for transforming the lives of the homeless community by providing limitless compassion for each person in need of their help. Continue reading