Category Archives: All Church of God

Story in Song: Ten Churches Unite to Worship the Lord, Celebrate Our Heritage

By Carl Stagner

Our story, God’s story. The message of the Church of God movement lives on in large part because of pioneer men and women who not only lived it, but tied it to that which speaks to both soul and mind—music. It has been said that the Church of God is a singing church, and after Christ alone, it has been our songs that have brought our common experiences together in beautiful harmony. When voices ring out that there is joy in the Lord, we know it to be true. When we sing of the kingdom of peace reigning within, that’s our story! When the familiar refrain, “I am a child of God” is heard, Church of God people from New York to Los Angeles and everywhere in between resonate that glorious truth. It should come as no surprise then, when word got out that Stanton First Church of God in Stanton, Kentucky, would host a heritage hymn sing-along, Church of God people from ten congregations showed up—and a bit of heaven came down. Continue reading

Renovation for a Church, Renewal for Far Rockaway

Pastor Arthur Davenport speaks at the building dedication.

By Emily Ploetz

On the Sunday morning, October 8, worship filled the room in the First Church of God of Far Rockaway, New York. The service was unlike any typical Sunday morning gathering for a very special reason, six months in the making! Far Rockaway had been under a full-scale renovation for half a year and, after everything had been completed, Pastor Arthur Davenport invited the congregation to join in a procession of prayer and worship. There was much rejoicing at this celebration because everyone there knew that God had blessed them in so many ways. Continue reading

Weightlifting and the Word: MO Pastor Memorizes Scripture, Lifts 300 Lbs.

By Noel Marquis

Pastor Aaron Holman of First Church of God in Thayer, Missouri, is starting a new workout regimen for both his body and his spirit. His workout routine involves lifting a barbell off the ground to the level of the hips, or “deadlifting,” 300 pounds in the gym located in the carport next to his home. In between sets of lifting, he exercises his mind and spirit by memorizing passages of the Bible. Four weeks ago, Pastor Holman finished memorizing Ephesians. Currently, he is midway through the book of Philippians. Continue reading

Christ’s Birthday Observance Readies the Church of God for Christmas

By Shelly Short

The word Advent is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming.” The Advent season lasts for four Sundays. This year’s Advent begins on Sunday, December 3, and, as always, ends on Sunday, December 24. The Advent celebration is both a commemoration of Christ’s first coming and an anticipation of his second coming. As Israel longed for their Messiah to come, so Christians long for their Savior to come again. Please join Christian Women Connection for the 2017 Christ’s Birthday Observance as we celebrate the birth of Christ collectively and say, “Come Lord Jesus.” Continue reading

From the Archives: Why Give Thanks?

By John Aukerman

More than one hundred years ago, Charles Dickens wrote these words “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

These words seem to be fitting for the present day, as well! In the face of rampant crime, runaway inflation, natural disasters, last year’s mindless tragedy in Guyana, and hundreds of other tragedies, the question arises, Why give thanks? At this Thanksgiving season, what is there to be thankful for? Continue reading

Convention 2018 Speaker: Light to Hollywood, Living Water to the Desert

Jeff Whye

By Carl Stagner

All the glitter, glamor, and glitz of Hollywood can’t be outshined by the light of Christ reflecting through one of his own. Jeff Whye, known across the Church of God for his high-octane personality and knack for making people laugh, rocked Hollywood for a season but never lost his footing on the solid Rock. When God called him to the dry soil of the Southwest, his ambition was to point people to the source of Living Water. At Anderson University and Long Reach Church of God in Columbia, Maryland, before that, Jeff was molded and made into the man of God he is today. Overflowing with a love for reconciliation and restoration of relationships—between people and to the Lord—Jeff Whye looks forward to the opportunity to speak to the Church of God at the five Regional Conventions in 2018. Continue reading

CWC Convention 2017 in Words and Pictures

Christian Women Connection (CWC) strives to serve Christ through equipping and empowering women for Christian ministry. CWC aims to provide positive relationships, as well as ministry resources to the Church of God and other groups in order to connect women through relationships, spiritual formation, and service. They are also committed to training and empowering women for leadership in peace-building and reconciliation. One of the ways in which they are able to carry out this goal is through their biennial convention. Continue reading

Refugees Find Community through the Church of God in Germany

Ken & Keli with extended family of John & Rhonda in their home.

Over the last couple years, the Church of God Disaster Relief fund has provided matching funds to the German national church to support strategic refugee initiatives launched by local German congregations in response to the refugee crisis there. At the invitation and hospitality of the German Church of God, Ken and Keli Oldham (Global Strategy) were able to follow up with a few of these ministries this summer. They witnessed the German church developing significant relationships with refugees as they have sought not just to serve their needs, but to include them into their fellowships. Continue reading

Illinois Church Makes Jesus the Subject, Sees Record Growth

The community knows!

By Megan DeBruyn

From 17 to 100 in just a few short years, the congregation at First Church of God in Marseilles, Illinois, continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. According to Pastor Brian Hefner, the increase in both attendance and congregational participation was entirely the work of the Lord. “Words can hardly describe what has happened here, but I know this: if we can do it, so can you,” Hefner says. “If you are willing to step aside and let God actually take the reins, it can happen.” Continue reading

Church Steps Out in Faith for the Children, Teens of Atwater, California

Some of the youth group of First Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

Take a look at 2100 Fruitland Ave, Atwater, California, on Google Maps. What you’ll find is that First Church of God is literally a stone’s throw away from Atwater High School. The front-row seat the California congregation has to roughly 1,800 students and their families is certainly incredible, but the church hasn’t sat down to enjoy the scenery. They’ve seized a number of opportunities God has presented them to minister to these teens and their families. What’s more, through their preschool established in 1964, they minister to children who one day accept their diplomas right across the street. Recently the church stepped out in faith to expand the preschool facility, as teachers reap the benefits of a Fruitland Christian School early education, and as parents on a waiting list eagerly knock on the door. Continue reading

In the Midst of Revival: Crosspointe Kilgore-Longview, Texas

Baptism at Crosspointe Church is a common occurence.

By Carl Stagner

When you’re baptizing someone nearly every week and the walls must come down to make more room in your sanctuary, you’ve got to wonder if revival is breaking out. At the two campuses of Crosspointe Fellowship Church of God in the Texas communities of Kilgore and Longview, God has clearly been on the move in many mighty ways. Led by Pastor Efrain Cirilo, Crosspointe has seen their worship center and children’s classrooms run out of space. In the past couple of years, total attendance has more than doubled to an average of 400 on Sundays. And, it was just last year that they added the second campus at Longview. While no magic formula exists for revival, the church did enact a handful of specific strategies to become a growing, healthy church. Continue reading

Pastor of All People: Ministries Council Secretary Called to Lead Amid Diversity

Pastor Vincent Miller and family.

By Carl Stagner

“Everybody has a different fingerprint. I just think this is my fingerprint.” At Church of God Convention 2017 in Wichita, Kansas, many were first introduced to Vincent Miller, who accepted the role of secretary for the Ministries Council earlier this year. But he isn’t new to the Movement at all. Vincent’s ministry in the Church of God has spanned several states, as has his fingerprint, as he puts it. What is his fingerprint? To pastor ethnically and culturally diverse congregations. Because Jesus is the subject, Vincent knows that diversity does not have to equal division. Because Jesus is the subject, not skin color or language, unity amid diversity can be a powerful witness to the amazing love of God. Now entering his second year as pastor of First Church of God in Tampa, Florida, Pastor Vincent Miller is more eager than ever to give witness to the love of God available in Jesus Christ. Continue reading

Warner Press Releases Groundbreaking Book by CHOG Woman Pastor

Warner Press continues its strong relationship with the Church of God by publishing the first book of longtime, influential pastor, Melissa Pratt. Pratt’s new book, Impact: That’ll Leave a Mark, adds a new resource for women (and men, too!) by a woman to the Warner Press repertoire. Impact shares how you can use your role as a disciple of Jesus to change and impact others’ lives for the better. Continue reading

Passing the Torch: Reflections on the Legacy of Paul Tanner

Some of the family to whom Paul has passed the torch.

By Carl Stagner

Sometimes words cannot adequately express the totality of a great leader. Such is the case with Paul Tanner, who served as executive secretary for the Executive Council of the Church of God from 1979 to 1988. His family and closest friends may try to find the words, but the human lexicon inevitably falls short. Of course, Paul was so much more than a role, as Natalie Farmer, Dave Lawson, Ed Foggs, and Jim Lyon explain. Though Paul Tanner passed away on October 23 at the age of 94, the light of Christ planted in his heart is truly inextinguishable. An ever-burning torch of love and leadership has been passed on to multiple generations of those who are following in his footsteps. Continue reading

How to Be a Veteran-Friendly Church

By Carl Stagner

Meeting needs is just something churches do. You don’t have to go far to find a kid-friendly church or a church with options for married couples or senior citizens. It’s common that you’ll find a college-friendly church located near a college campus. For the recovering alcoholic, there’s Celebrate Recovery. For the divorcee, there’s DivorceCare. Support groups exist among churches for numerous other challenges people face. But for those dealing with the trauma of war, help can be hard to find. And yet, veterans sit in our pews from week to week, often silently navigating the horrors of combat dating back only a few months—or several decades. Retired Church of God pastor Colonel Fred Dowden is on a mission to help churches become veteran-friendly. As you’ll discover, being a veteran-friendly church is far more than acknowledging the “veterans in our midst” and singing “God Bless America.” Continue reading