Category Archives: All Church of God

Côte d’Ivoire: From 25 People to 25 Pastors 20 Years Later

An early member of the church presenting a gift of a photo of the first congregation in Abidjan.

By Carl Stagner

Twenty years ago, the picture of the Church of God in Côte d’Ivoire looked nothing like it does today. Roughly twenty-five individuals, mostly English-speaking immigrant Christians from other African countries outside of French-speaking Côte d’Ivoire, composed the new fellowship. Near the end of November 2017, the Church of God in Côte d’Ivoire celebrated its twentieth anniversary, and the incredible kingdom gains that have taken place approximately twenty-five pastors—and two thousand believers—later. Missionaries Larry and LeAnn Sellers have been there since the beginning and were present at the anniversary. To mark the occasion, we offer the Church of God beyond Côte d’Ivoire a brief look back at how God has been at work over the past two decades in this West African nation, as well as a glimpse of where the ministry is headed. Continue reading

Methodist, CHOG Congregations in Oregon Prove Jesus is the Subject

Origins community block party at their new building.

By Carl Stagner

Ontario, Oregon, is a community of roughly 14,000 people, but like many small towns, many different small congregations gather in separate buildings on Sunday, often on the same street, sometimes singing the same music, and certainly worshiping the same God. Yet the mission has been given to all followers of Christ to make disciples, and the prayer of Christ is that we would be one. In contrast to the norm, two congregations in Ontario recently took a step in the right direction. As a result, both groups were more blessed than before, and one was overwhelmed by an incredible act of generosity and kingdom-mindedness. By such a not-so-random act of kindness, they proved that Jesus is indeed the subject. Continue reading

From the Archives: New Year’s Reflections

By F. G. Smith

Most people regard the closing hour of the old year and the introduction of the new year as a sort of a milestone along the pathway of time. It is then that a general retrospect of past events is taken and new resolutions and purposes are formed for the upcoming year. While the Christian should at all times be actuated by the highest resolutions and purposes, it is desirable to pause at intervals and take a brief survey of the past and, profiting by all its experiences, be better able to face those problems which are to come. The result of such a consideration is beneficial, not to the individual only, but also to those with whom he stands associated; and the same principle holds true of any cooperative work in which we are engaged. Continue reading

Twenty Pastors Combine Efforts, Offer Movement Free Holiness Devotional

By Carl Stagner

Three pastors walk into a restaurant. They sit down, enjoy lunch together, and chat about life and ministry. Then they start imagining. What if? What would happen if a handful of Church of God ministers came together to create a devotional resource on one of the Movement’s founding emphases, such as holiness? What if younger and older pastors, as well as missionaries and seminary professors, from different backgrounds, all contributed to the final product? What if, then, this resource were offered to the Church of God at no cost? No joke, no kidding! This meeting of longtime ministry colleagues John Mattern, Jonathan Frymire, and David Aukerman turned out to be the catalyst for the creation of a devotional on the topic of holiness, designed for use between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Continue reading

Influential Phoenix Church Founder Brings Fresh Perspective to First Two Regionals

Don Wilson

By Carl Stagner

Four families composed Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) when it began in 1982. It didn’t take long, however, for the church plant to outgrow the pastor’s Phoenix-area house, and numerous temporary sanctuaries in the years since. A movie theater, strip mall, school, and a giant tent were among the gathering places of CCV attendees until they were so numerous that one location couldn’t contain the crowds or their enthusiasm to take the gospel across the whole metropolitan area. In 2017, Don Wilson accepted his new divine assignment to channel what he’s learned to help other local churches and pastors thrive. Now the chance to hear from Don is available to the Church of God, an upcoming opportunity you won’t want to miss. Continue reading

California Christmas Event Reaches 8,000 with Gospel

Christmas scene with the angel and shepherds.

By Carl Stagner

For the past eighteen years, Crossroads Church of God in Yuba City, California, has been hosting a Christmastime event that moves visitors beyond the manger. The “Miracle of Christmas” drive-through experience on the church parking lot truly takes the classic live nativity to a whole new level. Designed for car-fulls of people at a time to witness major incidents of Jesus’ life on earth from birth to death, to resurrection and ascension, the event reaches more than 8,000 people with the gospel in the span of just three evenings. Though the 350 volunteers may never know the total impact of their efforts, individuals often surrender their lives to Christ on the spot, and numerous families simply looking for a holiday activity make Crossroads their church home. Continue reading

Torgesons Appointed Regional Consultants for Latin America

The Torgeson family

By Stephen Lewis

Global Strategy is excited to announce the appointment of missionaries Jason and Abby Torgeson to the position of regional consultants to Latin America, based in Costa Rica.

Global Strategy has worked for two-years to identify a missionary to join the regional coordinator team for Latin America. During this time, we sought the council of Latin American missionaries and Latin American regional leaders, including multiple conversations and face-to-face meetings with CIID leaders (the body of Latin American leaders from across the Church of God in Latin America). We determined, in concert with CIID, that the role of RC in the region would include directing the work of Global Strategy missionaries and projects and to work in partnership with the leadership of CIID. Continue reading

Ontario Outreach Builds Ramp to the Gospel through Disabilities Ministry

Reaching out to the disabled through fellowship and food.

By Noel Marquis

Pastors Bob and Cecile Barnhart of the Church of God at London in London, Ontario, are making a major difference in the lives of disabled people in their community. Though the Abilities Outreach ministry was officially launched in September, Pastors Bob and Cecile were inspired to reach out to the disabled before they began serving at the Church of God at London in 1999. The passion was sparked when Cecile began working at the Oxford County Branch of the Canadian Health Association. Continue reading

Christmas Across the Church of God

Crossroads Church (Yuba City, CA) drive-through nativity (& more!).

By Carl Stagner

The Christmas season is upon us; a quick glance at the social media of a handful of Church of God congregations suggests we are a Movement that knows how to celebrate! Certainly, the birth of Jesus gives us many reasons to celebrate, and that celebration has taken the form of hanging of the greens services, advent readings and candlelighting, choral cantatas, Christmas pageants, caroling, dinners (also known as potlucks, pitch-ins, and carry-ins!), and much, much more. Because the gift of Jesus is meant to be shared with as many people as possible, Church of God congregations have come up with a variety of creative means to share the reason for the season. A number of churches have already reported lives won to Christ, too! The following are just a few of the ways Church of God congregations are celebrating. Continue reading

Marriage Matters and Miracles in Bolivia

Chris and Trini

By Paul Jones

We met Chris and Trini about five years ago. The Lord had impressed upon us the desperate need to start working in the area of marriage and family. We were looking for ten couples that could be trained to serve in this important ministry. Kattia had taught the ladies’ group at one of our local congregations when she saw a young lady, Trini, that caught her attention. After talking with her, Kattia invited her and her husband to form part of our marriage courses. Trini explained that her husband Chris was no longer attending church, but they were included anyway. This couple showed up to the first seminar. When we had a meet-and-greet time, Chris could hardly speak; we found out he was very introverted and speaking in front of even a small group made him panic. But God’s ways are always right, and his plans are perfect! Continue reading

The Gift Goes On: California Church Captures the Essence of Christmas

Pastor Eric knows by name many who attend Jackets for Jesus.

By Carl Stagner

Sometimes we’re compelled to offer the spare change from the car console, though our default response might be to look the other way. Homeless people are a part of our towns and cities, yet even the Christian community too often turns a blind eye. Everybody’s encountered a homeless person at some point in life, but few choose to respond. Fear isn’t always the cause; it’s often simple lack of know-how. How do God’s people effectively minister to those who don’t have a place to lay their heads at night? Pastor Eric Denton and Central Community Christian Fellowship, a Church of God congregation in Riverside, California, wholeheartedly embraces Jesus’ command to love “the least of these.” Perhaps that’s why they’re willing to hang out on the streets of downtown Los Angeles every Sunday night. Continue reading

Young Leaders Answer the Call in Italy

Nick and Suellen Lovaglio

By Patrick Nachtigall

One of the great thrills of working in the Europe-Middle East Church of God is seeing how many young leaders are emerging that are committed to stay with the Church of God in the future. Though the Three Worlds Leadership Network (3WLN), young pastors and others between the ages of twenty and forty-five who are working for the church can stay in contact with each other, do ministry together, and be a source of encouragement and synergy. At our latest 3WLN, our newest pastor couple were Nick and Suellen Lovaglio, who have answered the call together to ministry in Treviso, Italy. Continue reading

From 30 Times Behind Bars to 30 Years in the Pulpit

By Carl Stagner

He was barely a teen when he was arrested the first time. Between the ages of thirteen and twenty-five, Paul McCulley was put behind bars a total of thirty times. Charges ranged from truancy to assault, and he was also court martialed three times. His shackles—both seen and unseen—would soon fall off after Jesus Christ changed his life, however. Not only did Paul McCulley become a Christian, but he also entered full-time ministry. Until he retired in 2014, he served the Lord as a senior pastor for thirty years. But he never really retired. Paul McCulley’s gripping testimony is too good to put on the shelf, there are too many people that still need to hear it. Today Paul continues a dynamic ministry program to the incarcerated and their families, turning what the devil meant for bad into something very, very good. Continue reading

From the Archives: Christmas—A Divine Mission Statement

By Arlo Newell

Christians too often view the Christmas celebration as excessive commercialism. Deluged by advertising and pressured by promotion, we find it extremely difficult to discover the true meaning of the season.

It was while crying over this commercialization of the Christmas season that I was convicted to look for the good and the positive rather than to criticize. I began by giving thanks for the beauty of the season. I began by giving thanks for the beauty of the season. Lights become more meaningful in the dark, depressive days of December. The contrast makes them more distinct and the cold, crisp winter air allows the sound of silver bells to be heard more clearly. And who can fail to experience the joy of children as they anticipate this most magical of all holidays; laughter fills the air as they live in a world of expectancy. Even in the ringing of the Salvation Army bell and the iron kettle help to accentuate the carols sung by choral groups along the street. Continue reading

Paris, France: Revolutionary Ministry Celebrates First Anniversary

@home Church’s first anniversary celebration.

By Patrick Nachtigall

When Samir Salibi moved to Paris, France, as a twelve-year-old, non-Christian immigrant from Lebanon, little did he know that one day, two decades later, he would be coming to the rescue of many migrants and displaced people himself. But that is exactly what happened, and on December 2, members of the Three Worlds missionary team of the Church of God in Europe and the Middle East were in Paris to celebrate the first anniversary of this revolutionary new ministry. Continue reading