Presephoni (center, middle row) with part of the congregation.
By Carl Stagner
Liberal, Kansas, never saw it coming. The city of only about 20,000 people couldn’t have imagined the day. Only 3.8 percent of the population is African American, and the new pastor of South Church of God is both black and a woman. Presephoni Fuller is, in fact, the first black pastor in the ninety-year history of the church. Still, Pastor Presephoni takes it all in stride. She doesn’t have time to ponder the uniqueness of her situation; she’s too busy reaching deeper into the community and taking the Kansas congregation to new heights. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Central, Give Life
Tagged African American, black, community involvement, community outreach, diversity, ethnicity, Georgia, Give Life, Jason McClendon, Kansas, KS, Leadership Focus, Liberal, ministerial calling, multicultural, neighborhood, pastoral call, Presephoni Fuller, race, racial reconciliation, Reclaim, reclamation, South Church of God, unity, white
By W. E. Monk
Editor’s note—The following article by W. E. Monk was published in The Gospel Trumpet in February 1919. The first World War had come to an end only a few months earlier.
It has not been so very long since, when in almost every prayer that was uttered, God was besought to bring the war to a close; in fact, special meetings were called in many communities for the purpose of beseeching God to bring to an end the awful carnage. Continue reading
Josh Edington leading worship at CHOG Convention 2015.
By Carl Stagner
Some may not recognize his name, but most are beginning to recognize the face, the voice, the talent, and the heart of Josh Edington. On staff at Crossings Community Church for the past ten years, the pastor of contemporary worship arts for the largest Church of God congregation in North America has begun to build a reputation outside those walls. Beginning in 2015, at the second Church of God Convention outside Anderson, Indiana, Josh first strapped on his guitar and lifted his voice heavenward on behalf of the Movement. Then, when the traveling Regional Convention made a stop in Oklahoma City this year, Josh was there. CHOG Convention 2019 and General Assembly won’t be held in Oklahoma City, but Orlando, Florida, instead. Still, Josh will be there! Yet, as familiar as his excellence in worship leadership is becoming in the Church of God, many still may not know the young man behind the guitar. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Church of God Convention
Tagged 2019, camp meeting, Campmeeting, CHOG Convention 2019, convention, Crossings Community Church, FL, Florida, General Assembly, Give Life 2019, GiveLife2019, guitar, Josh Edington, music, NAC, OKC, Oklahoma City, Orlando, profile, special guest, worship, worship leader, worship pastor
By Carl Stagner
In the years since Jim Lyon’s 2013 speech before the General Assembly, the phrase “Jesus is the subject” has proven to be far more than a tagline; it’s now part of the language that unites the Church of God as a movement. It’s a statement that encapsulates and energizes the Christ-centered focus that’s helping churches from coast to coast take giant steps to advance the kingdom. At the same time, the church visitor brochures Meet Us at the Cross and Who is the Church of God? are in high demand, though their content is becoming more and more outdated. Especially as congregations are sensing new wind in the sails of the Movement, a desire to inform the first-time guests and person-in-the-pew about the Church of God has only increased. On the heels of the popular “Jesus is the subject” word search puzzle books, Warner Press has responded to the need by producing a booklet that churches can buy in bulk for informational displays, guest gift bags, and discipleship classes. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God
Tagged brochure, bulletins, children's, common practices, display, doctrine, Exploring the Church of God, foyer, itty bitty, Jesus Is the Subject, Jim Lyon, kids, lobby, Meet Us at the Cross, narthex, ordinances, pamphlet, products, programs, puzzles, Regina Jackson, resources, teaching, tools, vestibule, Warner Press, welcome center, Who is the Church of God, word search
Servant Solutions staff meeting.
By Carl Stagner
In 1949, what was once strictly a retirement program for ministers of the Church of God came into being. Not everyone was ready for such a program, however, as a few questioned the lack of faith in God’s provision that allegedly accompanied enrollment. Received initially with mistrust, Servant Solutions has since become one of the most trusted partners of the Movement. With time, training, and technology, the former Board of Pensions of the Church of God has morphed into the holistic ministry of “improving financial security for servants of the church.” As Servant Solutions nears its seventy-year mark in ministry, it’s clear that the endorsed agency of the Church of God looks very little like it did at the beginning. But that’s more than okay with our pastors and their families, our missionaries, our local churches, and our educators. They’ve been unleashed to do what God has called them to do, more confident than ever in the expertise and faithfulness of today’s Servant Solutions. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God
Tagged Board of Pensions, CARE, ChurchExcel, endorsed agencies, endorsed agency, finances, financial, funds, investment, IRS, Jeff Jenness, money, pastoral compensation, pension, planning, portfolio, retirement, Servant Solutions, taxes
Chaplain Miller prays with a Marine Corps Special Operations Team prior to a mission in East Africa.
By Carl Stagner
Calculated risk. Often used in the financial sense, Baron Miller uttered the term in the context of fear. Every time you take a drive in the car or catch a flight on an airplane, is there a chance you might not make it back? Sure, there is. But that doesn’t cancel your travel plans. When firefighters have to rush inside a burning building, or law enforcement are called to a chaotic scene, they don’t hesitate. There’s risk involved, but these community heroes trust their training and their gear to help them stand strong in the heat of the battle. The parallel to the Christian experience is inescapable; the soldier of the cross must engage the battle, must reclaim what hell has stolen. Might it get scary? Possibly. Could it get dangerous? Certainly. But at the fingertips of every believer is an arsenal of spiritual weapons and an array of training options to fully engage in the fight. Engaging the enemy—that’s what Baron Miller’s life has been about—from the halls of the Church of God he founded in Bellingham, Washington, to the shores of Guantanamo Bay. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Chaplain Ministries
Tagged Afghanistan, baptism, Baron Miller, Bellingham, bold, calculated risk, California, Chaplain Ministries, chaplaincy, chaplains, Coast Guard, courage, Cuba, dare, discipleship, East Africa, evangelism, global, international, Marines, military, missional, missions, Navy, Northwest, prayer, risk, risk-taking, Roosevelt Community Church, spiritual warfare, training, travel, U.S. Navy, veterans, WA, war, Washington, witness
Ecuador Seminary Intensive 2018
By Timothy and Angelita Downing
We tried something different, and…it was a success! Each year, the Church of God seminary in Ecuador offers a week long intensive to help train leaders in the Ecuadorian church. This year, we expanded the reach of the seminary by offering more class options, moving to a more spacious location, and including more Ecuadorian leadership. Last year, we had a total of twenty-five participants, with one international student. This year, we had seventy-six participants, with several international students! Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Global Strategy, Leadership Development
Tagged Abby Torgeson, classes, continuing education, courses, Downings, Ecuador, education, Global Strategy, growth, intensive, Jorge Palacios, Latin America, leadership development, ministerial candidates, miracles, missions, Seminary, students, teaching, Tim Downing, Timothy and Angelita Downing, training
RCC team at work on a Service Project Sunday.
By Carl Stagner
“In the beginning was the Word, as the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1 NIV). Community was whole and pristine, at the beginning, in the Garden of Eden. But the thief, who comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), did exactly that. Community was ruptured between humanity and God, and between one another. Since the Fall, God has been working to restore that community, to bring people back to himself. Did you know he’s chosen to use you and me to accomplish the task? But we’ve lost our sense of community, downplayed the power of presence, and ignored the methods of Jesus. Our neighbors are crying out for hope all around us, we hear their voices, but we’d prefer to write a check to the nearest charity. We don’t want to get our hands dirty. In contrast, Roosevelt Community Church, a modest-size Church of God congregation in Bellingham, Washington, is taking back what hell has stolen and destroyed in their neighborhood. They’re boldly giving life where the enemy of our souls has snatched it away, simply by being in, for, and with their community. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Give Life, Western
Tagged Bellingham, community, community toy store, homeless, homelessness, incarnational ministry, Inner city, inner-city ministry, kindness, Kurt Ingram, missional, neighborhood, neighborhood ministries, neighborly, neighbors, next-door, Northwest, outreach, PNA, poor, poverty, relationships, Roosevelt Community Church, service project, urban, WA, Washington, Washington state
Worship at the NIYC.
By Carl Stagner
In the Church of God, the summer months are known for conventions and camp meetings. A variety of retreats and conferences often take place in the spring and the fall. But as the chill of winter sets in across much of the country, few spiritual retreats and getaways are available. In the wake of the commonly exhausting Christmas season, in view of the blues caused by all the grays outside, and in response to cabin fever, perhaps winter is when retreat is most vital! Thankfully, the Church of God has an answer—the National Inspirational Youth Convention (NIYC). Between Christmas and the end of the year, believers spanning generations and racial lines come together for an annual experience of worship, community, and renewal as the New Year dawns. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Youth Ministries
Tagged Christmas, convention. conference, Diana Swoope, generations, Kevin Earley, multicultural, multiethcnic, multigenerational, National Inspirational Youth Convention, New Year, New Year's, NIYC, NIYC 2018, oneness, race, racial unity, Reconciliation, retreat, student ministries, unity, VA, Virginia, Virginia Beach, winter, youth leaders, youth ministries, youth ministry
By Shelly Short
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” —Luke 2:10 NIV
Advent is a time for adoring Jesus, waiting, watching, and having hopeful expectations. We remember the first coming of Jesus, we celebrate his presence among us, and we pray for his glorious return. One of the ways Christian Women Connection helps you keep Jesus at the center of the Christmas season is by offering a meditation journal and prayer guide. Dive into his living Word each day and come away with something to feed your joy. We live in tumultuous times filled with uncertainties. As we celebrate Christ’s birthday, remember he is our source of living water and can quench all our thirst. Continue reading
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
Posted in All Church of God, Church of God Ministries, Disaster Relief, Southeast
Tagged aid, Alabama, Bainbridge, Carolina Ministries, damage, destruction, devastation, disaster, Disaster Relief, Disaster Relief Team, DRC, evangelism, First Church of God, FL, Florida, Florida Church of God Ministries, GA, Georgia, Grant Powell, humanitarian, Hurricane Michael, Jason McClendon, Jim Johnson, Ken Love, Michael Claypool, North Carolina, Panama City, relief update, Rick Kohl, severe weather, South Carolina, storm, storm update, Tim Teague, tragedy, update, weather, wind, witness, work teams
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
Posted in All Church of God, Colleges & Universities
Tagged adult studies, Been There Done That, incarcerated, incarceration, jail, Joel Whiteside, OR, Oregon, Portland, prison, recovery, second chances, student, testimonies, testimony, Warner Pacific University, West Coast, WPU
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
Posted in All Church of God, Disaster Relief
Tagged aid, Alabama, Carolinas, disaster, Disaster Relief, Disaster Relief Committee, Disaster Relief Team, donations, DRC, flooding, Florida, Giving, Hurricane Michael, Ken Love, Michael Claypool, Mike Claypool, North Carolina, rain, South Carolina, storm, surge, Tim Teague, wind