Category Archives: All Church of God

Seasons of Ministry Shift for IYC Director, Global Strategy Specialist

Andy Stephenson and Debbie Taylor

By Carl Stagner

For the better part of two decades, Andy Stephenson and Debbie Taylor have served the Church of God movement with excellence and integrity. Under the leadership of Andy Stephenson, for example, the International Youth Convention has flourished, and because of Debbie Taylor’s diligent formation of ministry partnerships, the Church of God has launched missionaries into all the world. This year, they both responded to the Spirit leading them to new ministry settings and opportunities. As 2018 comes to a close, it is with mixed emotion that Church of God Ministries announces a shift in the seasons of ministry for these two ministry assets. Continue reading

Learning Curves in Botswana

Long lines form outside ATMs in Botswana.

By Tim and Joy Coppess

We have encountered several learning curves in adapting to our new home. Our role in this first year is to build relationships and begin learning the language (Setswana) and culture of Botswana. Since people are drawn to their mother tongue, this focus will help us more effectively carry out our assignment of facilitating discipleship and leadership development. Continue reading

West Virginia Church Rises from the Ashes—Literally

Dedication service crowd fills the new sanctuary!

By Carl Stagner

It was nearing the middle of the night on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Instead of sleeping, several of the saints of Green Valley Church of God, in St. Albans, West Virginia, were wide awake. They’d gathered in the parking lot, gazing in horror as smoke and flame engulfed the place where they’d accepted Christ, got baptized, grew in their faith, and/or made lifelong friends. Thoughts raced through their minds: What’s next? How will this affect the ministry here? What in the world does God have in mind? In the trauma of the moment, God’s sovereign hand was hard to detect. But out of the bad, God was working for the good, ushering in a new beginning for Green Valley Church of God. Continue reading

A Visit with the Church of God in Hungary

Joe Cookston (far left) prays at the commissioning of the plant.

By Carl Stagner

Joe Cookston has worn a variety of hats in the Church of God in his lifetime of ministry. Currently he’s most well-known across the Movement for his leadership of CARE—the Clergy Advocacy and Resource Effort. But he’s also served faithfully in a number of important areas, including the local church. One role may not be as familiar to many in the Movement, and that is the position he holds as nonresident board member for the Church of God Hungary. In August and September, Joe and his wife Merry visited Hungary, a place that has become quite familiar and beloved by the ministry duo. Joe and Merry have since returned from the encouraging experience, blessed to report on the opportunities God is opening up in the Eastern European nation. Continue reading

Navy Chaplain: Don’t Just Thank Me for My Service

Chaplain Travis Coffey

By Carl Stagner

November is known for Thanksgiving. It’s also known for Veterans Day. This is the time of year that people count their blessings and name them one by one; certainly, we consider our men and women in uniform a tremendous blessing. But according to one Church of God chaplain to the U.S. Navy, being thankful isn’t enough. It’s great, but it stops short of what they need most. Travis Coffey gives us a glimpse of life as a Navy chaplain, how the Lord is working in the midst of his ministry, and how the Movement can best demonstrate true gratitude for those who serve God and country. Continue reading

Black Woman Pastor Takes White Kansas Congregation to New Heights

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

From the Archives: Are We Thankful?

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

Convention 2019 Worship Leader Becoming Familiar Face, Voice

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

New “Jesus is the Subject” Resources for the Local Church

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

Servant Solutions: Seven Decades of Dedication to the Movement

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

Pastor Engages the Enemy in Adventure of a Lifetime

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

Excellence in Ecuador: Seminary Intensive Trains Growing Number of Leaders

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

When Ministry Gets Messy: A Washington Church’s Incarnational Approach

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

Renewed into the New Year: NIYC Gives Believers Wintertime Boost

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

Christ’s Birthday Observance 2018: Great Joy for All

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