Author Archives: chogministries

Hurricane Sunday: Florida Churches, Ministries Unite for Puerto Rico

By Carl Stagner

September 20, 2017. To most of the country, that date holds no particular significance. But in Puerto Rico, that date will long be remembered as the day everything changed for almost everyone. Hurricane Maria, the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in one hundred years, left widespread devastation in its wake. Utility companies have struggled to restore power, businesses have struggled to reopen, and some churches have even closed their doors. A mass exodus of citizens, without precedent in the history of the territory, has only made the problem worse. Though media coverage has waned, the need for restoration of property—and hope—is more critical than ever. Moved with compassion and compelled by the Spirit, Florida Ministries, the Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano), Helping Hands in Motion, and Florida congregations are coming together for Puerto Rico on the third of June for what they’re calling Hurricane Sunday. Continue reading

Church of God Côte d’Ivoire: Speaking French, Broadcasting Hope

John Walters (far left) and Jim Lyon (far right) with Radio Continental Convention attendees.

By John Walters

Côte d’Ivoire, formerly known as the Ivory Coast, is a French-speaking nation of over 23 million people. Nestled among 25 other French-speaking countries of West Africa, nearly 50 percent of its population is 25 years of age or younger. Although contributing factors to this discrepancy in demographic include HIV, AIDS, and war, this huge younger class is maturing and bringing a vibrancy and energy into the social fabric of Côte d’Ivoire that has great potential for the future. Continue reading

IYC Intern Engages in Sports Ministry, Captures Media Attention Abroad

Mark Shaner (left) with Austin Shaner (right) in India.

By Carl Stagner

Meet Austin Shaner. The December 2017 Warner University graduate and IYC2018 intern has his sights set on Christ and his heart tuned to students at home and abroad. An interdisciplinary ministry concentration on sports ministry from Warner left Austin with a deeper desire to spread the hope of Christ through relatable methods like recreation, but that’s not what recently captured the attention of the international media. With his father Mark Shaner, Austin traveled to Bangladesh and India this spring for a few scheduled—and a few unscheduled—ministry engagements. While in India, certain circumstances put him unexpectedly on the front page of the newspaper. Continue reading

History in the Making: Arizona Church Unearths Time Capsule

Digging up the time capsule.

By Carl Stagner

At 5536 N. 6th Street in Phoenix, Arizona, you’ll find sacred grounds. On these grounds, souls have been won to Christ. Believers have been baptized. Lives have been transformed. Memories—of both challenge and triumph—have been made. Of course, it’s not the address, the parking lot, or the building that make it so special; it’s the Lord, whose providential hand has preserved that space for his glorious work for three decades. And it’s the believers themselves, who had worshiped at another location even longer—since the 1940s. Though the name over the door has changed over the years, the Lord over all has remained the same. In view of The Gathering Place Church of God positioning itself for expansion, congregants from generations past-to-present recently reunited to unearth a time capsule, whose contents not only bring back cherished memories, but speak of an unchanging, eternally faithful God. Continue reading

Columbus Convention Host Pastor a Husband, Father First

Lady “C” and Bishop Clarke.

By Carl Stagner

Timothy Clarke wears a lot of hats, and not the kind that cover his head. For example, he’s the founder and chief prelate of Berean Fellowship, an international assembly and partnership with pastors of small to mid-sized churches and young pastors, and those new to pastoral ministry. He’s served as president of the National Inspirational Youth Convention. He’s the author of numerous books, including Bind Up Your Broken Heart, available from Warner Press. His title of bishop (also translated in Scripture as overseer or elder) is no misnomer; his spiritual oversight and influence is widespread across the Church of God. Among his numerous other roles, he’s served as senior pastor of First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio—host church for the next Regional Convention (June 19–20)—for the past thirty-six years. But of all the hats Timothy Clarke wears, his favorite are husband, father, and grandfather. Continue reading

The Clerical Collar-Wearing Pastor Who Planted a Church at Age 77

Pastor Dick Ogle

By Carl Stagner

Dick Ogle’s preferred daily dress is clerical attire—characteristic among some denominations, but certainly not common in the Church of God. Funerals are one of his primary methods of outreach—unusual, but surprisingly potent. Perhaps the most unconventional thing about this eighty-eight-year-old pastor is that he came out of retirement at age seventy-seven to plant a church in Hoisington, Kansas. Today, First Street Church of God is a healthy, growing, multi-ethnic congregation that proclaims the gospel with boldness, and sings straight out of the hymnal. Continue reading

Movement Embraces, Gives Life as Common Emphasis Emerges

Church of God Ministries’ Darryl Allen preaching at Pastors’ Fellowship.

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. Continue reading

Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy Find Renewal in the Rockies

The Church of God group represented at the conference.

By Carron Odokara

The Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy (WHWC) organization held its biennial conference in April at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. Amid the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, over 300 women and men gathered to worship, learn, and be revived. The conference welcomed the Church of God (Anderson), Brethren in Christ, the Free Methodist Church, the Church of the Nazarene, the Wesleyan Church, and other groups. These faith groups came together under the banner of Jesus Christ to celebrate the biblical foundations of gender equality being fully lived out across the church as women and men lead together, following their holy callings. Continue reading

From the Archives: Leaves, Neighbors, and Creative Confrontation

By C. Milton Grannum

One morning I preached a message on creative confrontation. I emphasized that life has conflicts, that simply avoiding conflicts is not always an appropriate Christian response, and that peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather a deep settled confidence that one has chosen the most appropriate options and attitudes in the conflicts of life. Continue reading

Church of God-Christian Church Merger Still Loving, Serving Minnesota

Discovery Church providing a free oil change.

By Carl Stagner

In 2002, “the talks” started. Two churches, only about two blocks apart, in Saint Paul Park, Minnesota, were loving and serving in a strikingly similar fashion, with nearly identical theology and doctrine. The Church of God congregation was without a pastor at the time, and the youth groups had begun to participate in activities together, discovering they were better together than apart. As is often the case, the younger generation set the example, essentially paving the way for who would ultimately follow: the adults! Authors Barry Callen and James B. North had recently written a book about the similarities between the two Christian fellowships, and they’d heard about the possibilities in Saint Paul Park. Joining the meetings and helping foster dialogue, they celebrated when the Christian Church and Church of God congregation each voted unanimously to merge. A decade-and-a-half later, Discovery Community Church is still loving, still serving their community, state, and world for Christ. Continue reading

Building Up to IYC2018: Indiana Church Breathes Life into Students, Community

Renovation at the new NSpire Church location.

By Carl Stagner

The Latin word spīrāre inspired the name of the Church of God in Westfield, Indiana, now known as NSpire Church. In the Hebrew and Greek, its meaning is understood as having to do with breath, life, wind, and the Spirit. Building up to IYC2018 (July 2–5), the church is preparing to work with IYC students by hosting an Indianapolis-area Impact Day project. As the church transitions out of a season of building and expanding, their partnership with the International Youth Convention is but an extension of who they already are. Leading into a new season of outreach, NSpire Church is breathing life into their community and will soon breathe life into the lives of teenagers attending IYC. Continue reading

Fifty Years and Counting: Ohio Pastor’s Longevity at One Church Inspires

The congregation honoring Pastor Walls for his faithful service (Image courtesy Ferman Brown Photography).

By Carl Stagner

They came from near and far. Pastors, politicians, family, friends, and members of the community descended upon East Second Street First Church of God in Xenia, Ohio, for a very special and very unique occasion. On Sunday, March 18, notable Church of God figures addressed the over-capacity crowd, including—but not limited to—Ed Foggs, former executive secretary of the Church of God; Miki Merritt, presiding elder of the National Association; Demetrius Booker, associate state pastor of Ohio Ministries; Timothy Clarke, senior pastor of First Church of God in Columbus; and Dennis Kidd, senior pastor of Front Street Church of God in Hamilton, Ohio. Morning and afternoon services, complete with preaching, presentations, and powerful moments of worship, celebrated the sixty-five-year ministry of Dr. J. Douglas and Lady Donna Walls: fifty faithful years at one church. Continue reading

Simply Ministry: Arizona Churches Respond to Teacher Walkout

By Carl Stagner

There wasn’t much time to respond, but there was no question what had to be done. When public school teachers in Arizona went on strike beginning on Thursday, April 26, the church community didn’t hesitate. Uninterested in taking sides or entering the political fray, the church saw their role as simply ministry. For the single parent who must work during the school day, the church was there. For the student who relies on the school for daily sustenance, the church was there. For a community divided, the church was there with a message of hope. With no certain end to the teacher walkout in sight (as of Tuesday, May 1), Church of God congregations were among those hardest at work to meet the needs of their neighbors. Continue reading

Phoenix, Oklahoma City Regional Conventions Commission All

Friendships, both old and new, are a Regional Convention highlight.

By Carl Stagner

Two of the five Church of God Regional Conventions 2018 are now history, but their impact is still being felt from Alaska to Alabama. Some may have flown to Arizona to escape winter’s clutch on spring, but they stayed to drink from an oasis in the desert. Others may have descended upon Oklahoma City for the fine barbecue, but they stayed because their cravings were satisfied in the life-giving teaching and fellowship. Still others attended, many as first-time guests of a Church of God convention, because this year’s variety of regional locations afforded them accessibility. Challenged to reclaim what hell has stolen, but inspired to fully embrace the Life, attendees of the first two Regional Conventions ultimately climbed in cars or boarded airplanes to return home, ready and resourced to change the world in Jesus’ name. Continue reading

Friendships Forged in Post-Hurricane Harvey Texas

All ages got involved in the building restoration.

By Noel Marquis

When Fairview Church of God of Falkville, Alabama, composed a work team to help with the restoration process at Orange Church of God in Orange, Texas, they expected to encounter hurricane damage. What they didn’t expect was the new and beautiful relationships they gained through the process. Continue reading