Pastor Ray Hodges preaching the gospel at Resolute Church.
By Carl Stagner
Ray Hodges had personal experience with church; he’d never had personal experience with the risen Christ. Growing up Catholic, he’d acknowledged the existence of God but would confess there was no relationship with Jesus. Even when he began attending the Iglesia de Dios (Church of God) with his girlfriend, it was the kindness of the people, the lively music, and the relatable preaching that he came to know and love. Without the foundation of Christ in his life, the allure of drugs and parties soon became too much to bear. Thankfully, the patience and persistent prayers of his wife and pastor over Ray’s fifteen-year addiction paid off when Jesus Christ gloriously redeemed his painful past for a future of purpose and promise. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Central
Tagged addiction, addiction recovery, barber, Bill Banda, church growth, church multiplication, church plant, church planting, Corpus Christi, drug abuse, drug addiction, drugs, ethnic, Gilbert Davila, Hispanic, intervention, life change, Michelle Hodges, mistakes, multi-ethnic, multiculural, multiplication, pain, past, patience, persistence, personal, prayer, Ray Hodges, recovery, redemption, Resolute Church, restoration, story, testimony, Texas, transformation, TX, unconditional love
Special moment of prayer at New Antioch Church of God.
By Carl Stagner
New Haven, Connecticut, is home to Esau Greene. He grew up in a family well-known to the community, achieving success in school, excelling especially in sports. After college, his story took a turn for the worse. But before it was too late, Jesus Christ not only rescued him from a life of drugs but also called him into ministry. Knowing what it’s like to live on the streets yet highly educated with a degree in human services, and coming from a family of influence yet familiar with the allure of drugs, Esau Greene is God’s man for the job—urban pastor in a college city. Though the church he leads is only three-and-a-half years old, it’s already grown from 5 to some 130 people. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Give Life, Northeast
Tagged addiction, addiction recovery, Black History Month, church growth, college city, College town, Connecticut, CT, drug abuse, drugs, Esau Greene, Handel Smith, higher education, Inner city, New Antioch Church of God, New Haven, Northeast, northeastern, street life, street ministry, streets, testimony, Tiffany Greene, universities, university, urban ministries, urban missions, Yale
By Levi Scott
Although there is no longer legally sanctioned slavery in the United States, it persists among us, under the radar. According to a 2015 CNN report, “Sex-Trafficking: The New American Slavery,” the sex trafficking industry in Atlanta, Georgia, alone was worth 290 million dollars. And that was the year 2007. While few of us in churches are going to street corners in red light districts, a surprisingly high number of Christians are involved in viewing pornography, which has a major impact on the demand for, and the profit of, sex trafficking. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, CHOG TraffickLight
Tagged addiction, human trafficking, industry, Levi Scott, pornography, purity, sex slavery, sex trafficking, sexual exploitation, TraffickLight, Trafficklight 2.0
By Carl Stagner
No one wants to talk about it. It’s silently eating away at the souls of our teens, our men (and women), and even our younger children. Our Sunday school teachers aren’t immune. Our board members and elders aren’t immune. Our pastors aren’t immune. Why aren’t we talking about it? The world is. Lately, so is Aaron Holman, pastor of youth and young adults at New River Community Church of God in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina. Ordained in July, this Christ-centered leader is boldly sharing his own struggle with pornography so others may find freedom. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Southeast
Tagged Aaron Holman, addiction, immorality, morality, New River Community Church of God, North Carolina, pornography, sexual ethics, Sneads Ferry, spoken word, testimony, video, youth ministry
Photo: Church of God Ministries leaders join Native American Ministries leaders to start a Celebrate Recovery ministry.
By Handel Smith and Ryan Chapman
As we drove through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation community of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, the unimaginable reality of a community plagued by alcoholism, domestic abuse, and unemployment was alarming and difficult to process. In the midst of chaos, sadness, and confusion, we reached out to Christ. New hope and encouragement are being restored, due in part to a partnership formed by Church of God Ministries (CGM) with those serving our Native American brothers and sisters. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Global Strategy
Tagged addiction, alcohol, Celebrate Recovery, Handel Smith, Indian Reservation, Native American Ministries, Pine Ridge, recovery, Ryan Chapman, South Dakota, Wounded Knee
Photo: August 2014 graduates of Joshua House proudly dressed for ceremony and celebration.
By Carl Stagner
Crossroads Community Church of God in Yuba City, California sees an often overlooked need in our culture today—ministry to men. Specifically, they’ve recognized a void in outreach efforts to men who have hit rock-bottom, given their lives over to drugs and alcohol, and have lost all hope for recovery. After just a few years in operation, Joshua House has celebrated men who have stepped up to the plate, broken free from addiction, acquired jobs, and reunited with their families. For these men, however, the road to recovery is not without its twists and turns. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God
Tagged addiction, alcohol, California, Crossroads Community Church, drugs, families, family, freedom, Jim Clark, Men, mens, program, recovery, Teen Challenge, Yuba City