Author Archives: chogministries

Urban Missions: Ohio Church Buys Two Inner-City Homes, Commissions Residents

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By Serena Ellens

What does it mean to be a missionary on the home front—on our very own American soil? The church often hears about missionaries that travel to exotic locations and third-world countries to spread the gospel. While their work is absolutely vital, sometimes we as Christians in the United States forget the importance of mission work in our own nation. As present trials continue to ravage the country and draw people farther and farther away from the church, the emphasis on home missions is becoming increasingly imperative in our efforts to spread the hope of Christ. Continue reading

NACOG Camp Meeting 2015: Anticipation Mounting for 100th Year

By Charles Myricks

Camp Meeting 2015 was a fantastic time of worship, fellowship, teaching, and revival. Zion’s Hill was absolutely beautiful, and the weather was the best we have had in a very long time. The theme “Advancing the Kingdom: Together” was preached with passion and conviction. Continue reading

A Bountiful Harvest: Church of God in Guyana Celebrates Centennial

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By Emily Ploetz

Not many people may be familiar with the small South American country Guyana, home to fewer than a million people, sitting on the North Atlantic coastline, but God is working in powerful ways there. This rainforest-covered “land of many waters” has been through many ups and downs as a country, but it now looks forward to a bright future—especially the church. Recently, the Church of God in Guyana celebrated their centennial, as well as a recent partnership with Children of Promise. God tends to work big miracles through mustard seeds of faith, and the same can be said of the church in Guyana. Continue reading

It Takes a Team: An Interview with CHOG Ministries’ Brenda Ginn

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By Carl Stagner

How much do you know about what goes on inside the office at Church of God Ministries? Who conducts necessary office work so others may travel the world with the hope of Christ? It’s the behind-the-scenes work that enables Church of God Ministries to carry out the work of Christ. When you support the unrestricted portion of the World Ministry Fund, you support our missionaries, our projects at home and abroad, and so much more. In the following interview, get to know one of the faces behind the scenes. Her name is Brenda Ginn, and your support of the “basic budget” makes her vital ministry possible. Continue reading

Women Senior Pastors Speak Out: An Interview

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By Carl Stagner

From the earliest days of the Church of God movement, women have skillfully served as senior pastors and evangelists. Church of God pioneers like Mary Cole and Lena Shoffner paved the way for more recent heroes of the faith, like the late Lillie McCutcheon (and countless others), who faithfully demonstrated by their gifts their divinely-called roles in the body of Christ. Today, women ministers in the Church of God are speaking out. Offering a glimpse into what it’s like to serve in the vastly male-dominated field of ministry leadership, the following women senior pastors responded to a series of questions in a recent interview with Church of God Ministries: Cheryl Sanders (Third Street Church of God, Washington, D.C.), Diana Swoope (Arlington Church of God, Akron, Ohio), Donna Rothenberger (Whole Life Community Church of God, El Cajon, California), Melissa Pratt (Teays Valley Church of God, Scott Depot, West Virginia), and Shannon New-Spangler (Harvest Point Church of God, Lordstown, Ohio). Continue reading

Jim and Hazel Figy: A Lifetime of Volunteering Together

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By Barbara Lloyd Nelson

Jim Figy was a high school senior with a big decision to make: attend Ohio State and become an agriculture teacher, or continue helping his parents raise ten thousand turkeys on their farm. Jim knew if he deserted his parents, their poultry farm would go under. The choice was clear. He worked there for fifty-two years.

Jim and Hazel May were high school sweethearts, marrying when they were twenty-one. They raised a family, and in their late forties, in response to calls from their church’s national office, began volunteering as a couple. It was the beginning of a life centered on volunteering, often with their children in tow. Continue reading

St. Louis, Missouri: VBS Has Left the Building

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By Carl Stagner

A few years ago, South Side Church of God in St. Louis, Missouri, poured significant resources into marketing their summer Vacation Bible School. VBS attendance had waned, and nearly all participation came from the children of the church. They determined to make sure every family in the area knew about VBS at South Side. After hand-delivering 1,500 flyers to homes in the community, reality hit them square in the face. Not uncommon to cities across the country, it seemed that the church on every corner was holding a VBS. South Side was in competition with the other, larger churches with bigger budgets and more to attract children. That summer, two families ended up coming from the community—and they only came because they mistakenly thought they’d come to a church down the street from South Side. Maybe there was a better way. Maybe God was calling South Side Church of God to take VBS on the road. Continue reading

Wildfires out West: ‘God Was Watching Over Us’

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By Carl Stagner

Wildfires have scorched more than 600,000 acres in Washington State alone this year. Massive infernos rage on in seventeen states, mostly out West, including the particularly hard-hit states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California. Fueled by prolonged drought, these fires have forced the evacuations of thousands, destroyed hundreds of homes, and claimed the lives of three firefighters. For the first time in the state’s history, Washington has had to ask for the help of volunteers as they battle blazes beyond their control. Local churches have stepped up to help by offering space for evacuees, collecting supplies for firefighters, and rallying believers to unite in prayer. Many have witnessed firsthand the power and destructive force of these fires, as well as the opportunities for being the hands and feet of Christ. Continue reading

Pastor Track Added to 2015 Retreat to the Cove

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By Carl Stagner

How many hats does your pastor wear? Maybe you are that pastor, and you know all too well that we’re not talking about fashion. From preacher to teacher, from administrator to janitor, today’s pastor continually juggles responsibilities at the church, the hospital, the nursing home, the second job, and more—not to mention his or her own household. It’s time to relax, take a deep breath, and make plans to get away for just a few days in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. The annual CBH Retreat to the Cove could be just the break you need. Pastors will be intrigued this year by the first-ever Pastor Track added to the schedule. So, churches, would you consider making it possible for your pastor to “retreat to The Cove” this year? After all, the October 18–21 event takes place smack dab in the middle of Pastor Appreciation Month. Continue reading

Kokomo Church’s New Name Reflects New Vision

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By Katy Hagerman

William Shakespeare knew what he was talking about when he said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” For First Church of God in Kokomo, Indiana, a name change to South Creek Church of God was a logical decision. There were many influencing factors on this decision—foremost being that there are fifteen churches in the area with the word “first” in their name. Another was to shorten their name and give it a more personal feel, as well as connecting the church with a known location. Continue reading

Florida Churches Flourish Under Cross-Denominational Merger

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By Jonelle Frazier

Every church has a unique backstory. Some started in peoples’ homes, some started as outreaches to the homeless, and some grew out of larger churches. And then there’s TBA Church. TBA stands for Trusting, Believing, and Acting, and that’s exactly what this church did when it came together from separate churches that belonged to two different denominations: Epic Church, from the Church of God, and Church of the Highlands, from the Southern Baptist Convention. Continue reading

Foundational Issues: Structural Woes Become Wins in Kansas

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By Carl Stagner

It may be your church board’s worst nightmare. Just when you least expect it, just when the finances can’t handle any more pressure, the bottom falls out. Often it’s a problem with the church building or property that needs attention, and such was the case for Lighthouse Community Church of God in Neodesha, Kansas, earlier this year. One problem appeared to lead to the next, until God made it clear that he is still in control. The very structural headaches that seemed only to worsen were actually blessings in disguise. Continue reading

Obadiah Smith Receives 2015 Indiana Black Expo Governor’s Award

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By Linette Tang

Obadiah’s chaplaincy for the Church of God and service to the military has warranted numerous awards and decorations—such as the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 2 devices, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service, Air Force Reserve Medal 1 device, Air Force Training Ribbon, 09 Grissom Officer of the Year, and the 2010 #1 Outstanding USAFR Chaplain of the Year. This time, the 2015 Indiana Black Expo Governor’s Award for Civic Leadership/Military was given to Obadiah for the work he has done throughout the community and for Indiana. Continue reading

CHOG UK National Convention 2015 Largest in History

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By Zach Langford

The 2015 Church of God United Kingdom National Convention was held at Latimer Place, Buckinghamshire from May 22 to May 25. Every year members of Church of God Egan Rd., Birkenhead, and Community Church of God (London) gather together for a time of renewal, fellowship, and worship. The theme was “Partnership with Jesus in Ministry.” The main speaker was Rev. Benjamin Browne from Cayon Church of God in St. Kitts. With more than forty years of pastoral ministry experience, Rev. Browne was able to expound on this year’s theme with practical and spiritual application. Continue reading

Baseball, Baptisms, and a Bus

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By Carl Stagner

They come from all walks of life. Some have never stepped foot in a church. Most come from broken homes. Some have parents in jail, while some families have just fallen on hard times. Some are being raised by grandparents—even great grandparents. A number have parents who work on Sundays. They have one thing in common: most wouldn’t be able to come to church unless someone offered them a ride. Thankfully, Jessie Ritzline and First Church of God in Commiskey, Indiana, have stepped up to the plate. Continue reading