Tag Archives: Alabama

Alabama Pastor Installed as President of Korean Seminary

Installation of CHOG pastor Loren Sutton as United Bible Seminary president.

In March 1965, Loren and Elouise Sutton, with their four children, were commissioned to plant a Church of God congregation in Opelika, Alabama. They established Airview Church of God where he served for a season but returned later in life for another season of pastoral leadership. In the six decades since his call to ministry, Sutton has continued to preach as a pastor, evangelist, youth speaker and, for a season, he served as the southeast recruitment and development representative for Anderson University. The most exciting turn of events in Sutton’s sixty-five-year ministry began to take shape in the spring of 2018, however, which ultimately led him to become the president of a Korean seminary. Continue reading

Michael Aftermath: Post-Hurricane Help Needed Now (updated Oct. 31)

The cross remains on the Panama City church’s sign!

By Carl Stagner

One hundred fifty-five miles per hour. That’s how powerful Hurricane Michael’s winds were when the Category Four monster made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, on October 10. Meteorologists are calling the storm the strongest to ever hit the continental United States since Hurricane Andrew of 1992. In its wake, Michael left behind widespread catastrophic damage, leveling homes and businesses, and claiming the lives of at least nineteen, as the search for missing persons continues. The Church of God was not left unscathed; to date, two congregations have reported damage to their church building and their homes. As information continues to be collected by state ministry offices and Church of God Ministries, Church of God congregations across the country are already responding to the imminent and critical needs of funds, supplies, time, and labor. Continue reading

Disaster Relief Update: Hurricane Michael

As of 12:00 PM EDT, October 10:

Church of Ministries has contacted Pastors Ken Love (state pastor for Florida), Tim Teague (chairperson for the General Assembly in Alabama) and Mike Claypool (regional pastor for the Carolinas) ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Michael. Lines of communication have been established and we are now awaiting the onslaught of this storm. Please join us in praying that this major storm will pass through quickly with a minimum of damage. After having seen the devastation of Hurricane Florence (thankfully, Church of God congregations in the Carolinas did not experience major difficulties in that storm), we anticipate extensive wind and water damage across the region. Continue reading

Friendships Forged in Post-Hurricane Harvey Texas

All ages got involved in the building restoration.

By Noel Marquis

When Fairview Church of God of Falkville, Alabama, composed a work team to help with the restoration process at Orange Church of God in Orange, Texas, they expected to encounter hurricane damage. What they didn’t expect was the new and beautiful relationships they gained through the process. Continue reading

From Alabama to Destination Unknown: Church Launches Leaders Around the World

Special service at Riverchase Community Church.

By Carl Stagner

Regional consultant for Latin America, Abby Torgeson. Missionary to Germany, Joshua Weiger. Missionaries to Japan, Christy and Terence Van Dam. Pastors to the Middle East, Ken and Keli Oldham. Matt Anderson, pastor of the thriving desert oasis in Scottsdale, Arizona, McDowell Mountain Community Church. Besides their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, each one of these has something unique in common: Riverchase Community Church. To one degree or another, these and numerous other Christ-centered leaders were formed and/or launched into ministry from this modest-sized Church of God congregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Considering the church’s heart for missions and intentional discipleship strategies, it’s no wonder that they can’t hang on to their brightest and best. But, they wouldn’t want to. Continue reading

Leadership and Longevity: An Alabama Pastor’s Personal Experience

Pastor Milan with friend Domique Billups, special needs ministry.

By Carl Stagner

Statistics don’t tell an altogether encouraging story when it comes to the average stay of a pastor. Some recent surveys suggest the average is on the rise, but the present picture of pastoral tenure in the United States and Canada could certainly improve. Milan Dekich accepted the senior pastorate at Fairview Church of God in Falkville, Alabama, when the size of the church was about twenty-five. Thirty-seven years later, he preaches to a gathering of 450 strong, and has helped plant two churches and assisted in the revitalization of a third. Just because the congregation is doing well today doesn’t mean the struggle hasn’t been real. In fact, it has, and there were times Milan might have preferred to throw in the towel. But a commitment to God’s plan kept him there, and today he’s blessed to share a few of the experiences he’s had, as well as a few of the lessons he’s learned along the way. Continue reading

Pastor, Staff Chart New Course for Alabama Congregation

Children and youth at a South River Park VBS.

By Carl Stagner

Don’t assume a declining church is destined to die. God is in the reclamation business, after all. South River Park Church of God in Fairhope, Alabama, was experiencing decline, but God had a plan. Four years later, the congregation that dipped into the thirties is now averaging over one hundred. Approximately thirty individuals have been baptized, and the church is making an observable impact on the community. What was their secret to such a turnaround? A word that excites some, and terrifies others: change. Continue reading

Wrestling with the Call: An Alabama Pastor’s Ministerial Journey

Loren Sutton

By Carl Stagner

“I’d never taught a Sunday school class. I was sure I couldn’t even talk in front of people. I was not going to be a preacher.” Clearly, God had other plans in mind for Loren Sutton. The eighty-two-year-old pastor of Airview Church of God in Opelika, Alabama, has not only served the Lord in ministry the majority of his life, he also just can’t seem to retire—no matter how hard he tries! Loren knows firsthand what it means to wrestle with the divine call. Continue reading

Seeing What Jesus Sees: Alabama Church Hosts Prom for Special Needs Guests

Photo: Special needs guest arrives at the prom.

By Carl Stagner

“I never thought I would be helping my daughter get ready for a prom,” one parent said. This daughter is among a group of people often overlooked or forgotten. But Jesus has never overlooked or forgotten them. He sees them. He sees their need. He sees their intrinsic worth. The Church of God congregation in Falkville, Alabama—known as Fairview: The Grace Place—has put on heaven’s glasses. They’re seeing what Jesus sees—people made in the image of their Maker, and worth all the love in the world. That’s why they recently hosted a prom for seventy people with special needs, complete with hair and makeup care, shoe shining, crown or tiara, delicious food, a limousine, and red-carpet treatment. Continue reading

Midnight Ministries, Missions, and Cowboys

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Photo: A mission worker from Fairview The Grace Place prays with a girl in Guatemala.

By Carl Stagner

Fairview The Grace Place is a thriving Church of God congregation nestled in rural Falkville, Alabama. Though not in the heart of any one community, the church is centrally located among several communities. As a result of an emphasis on reaching these communities, The Grace Place now celebrates the fruit of their labor. The congregation gives thanks to God for several victories in recent years, but a few stand out: more than a hundred children have been sponsored in Guatemala, local and foreign missions have been supported by a 5K race at midnight, and a cowboy church has launched. Continue reading

Disaster Update: Tornadoes and Severe Weather

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Photo: From 2013, this file photo shows a tornado-damaged home in Moore, Oklahoma. Photo courtesy Wayne Auker.

Some 75 million people across the United States are threatened by a severe weather system this week. A number of damaging tornadoes have already struck several states, including Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Alabama, and Louisiana. Church of God Ministries is in the process of communicating with regional pastors and other state leaders. As of this morning, no damage has been reported and no lives have been lost in Church of God congregations. Continue reading

Mid-Year Leadership Conference Inspires Better Ministry

Photo: Worship at the Mid-Year Leadership Conference 2014.

Photo: Worship at the Mid-Year Leadership Conference 2014.

By Charles Myricks

“One of the best Mid-Year Leadership Conferences we’ve had!” was an often-heard sentiment expressed by Mid-Year Leadership Conference attendees in Birmingham, Alabama, March 4–6, 2014.

Continue reading