Tag Archives: Anderson

From the Archives: Now I Am Truly Free

By Phyllis Kardatzke Miller

When a person is confronted with the claims of Jesus on his life, he makes a choice—he either accepts or rejects. There is no gray area in between of “tabling for future reference.” After seeing there is one way (and a very narrow way it is!), the person who understands that God is calling him to repentance and consciously takes the truth “under advisement” is choosing not to believe, and seeking his own approach to God. Continue reading

Church Pastored by CHOG Ministries’ Handel Smith Celebrates Urban Ministry Renewal

Handel Smith with Paul, sub-contractor for the church’s affordable homes ministry.

By Carl Stagner

Church of God Ministries staff are known for their roles they play in the collective work of the Movement. But among those who report to “base camp” day after day are individuals who are very active in their local churches. Some are Sunday school teachers, board members, worship leaders, associate pastors, and senior pastors. Others are laypeople who volunteer and get involved in numerous initiatives and projects at the local church level. When Handel Smith accepted the call to fill an executive leadership position at Church of God Ministries in Anderson, Indiana, he accepted a massive portfolio—oversight of the Movement’s influence and impact in the United States and Canada. His ministry Monday through Saturday—and countless Sundays, too—is extensive and expansive. Though a faithful attender of one of the Anderson-area churches when at home, it soon became apparent that he’d received a special leadership assignment that would both bring God glory and give life to a life-giving soul. Continue reading

Motorcycle Ministry and the Church of God

Bikers gearing up for a ride at Owingsville First Church.

By Carl Stagner

The Church of God movement is known for making Jesus the subject—looking past ethnic and cultural differences for the Lord’s sake. Recognizing that the call to ministry doesn’t distinguish between male and female, and reaching our hands in fellowship to every blood-washed one—regardless of color of skin, or name over the church doors, for example—the Church of God has placed a premium on unity, holiness, and the mission of reaching anyone and everyone with the gospel. It should be no surprise then, that over recent decades Church of God congregations across the country have developed motorcycle ministries that really make a difference. Often stereotyped and frequently feared by a four-wheeled society, the distinct culture and community of bikers has proved a field ready for harvest in the Church of God. Continue reading

Local Churches Set Aside Differences, Establish and Sustain Community Ministry

Volunteers from local churches help sustain the ministry.

By Carl Stagner

Another title of this article could have appropriately been, “Local Churches Set Aside Differences, Discover They Can Do More Together.” That’s because this is exactly what happened when Operation Love Ministries was formed in Anderson, Indiana. The collaboration and unity among churches representing multiple denominations and cultures make this yet another Jesus-is-the-subject story, and a potential model for other communities. Today, twenty-seven area churches prayerfully and financially support the parachurch organization, also giving governance to the work. As a result, these local churches have access to a tried-and-tested resource to more effectively help neighbors in need. Continue reading

Comfort Zones Stretched, A Harbor for Women Gained

Photo: A creative welcome to Dove Harbor.

By Karen Roberts

“Have You Ever…” is a game I play with a class I teach. It begins innocently enough, with an easy question, and then it moves into more challenging ones. Let’s try it. Have you ever…gone sledding? Have you ever…had to sleep in your car? Have you ever…knowingly talked with a homeless person? Those who answered yes are ready for more. Have you ever…volunteered somewhere out of your comfort zone? Have you ever…donated material items or money to a food pantry? Have you ever…shared a meal with someone living in a shelter? Continue reading

Upcoming AU Events Attract Community Interest, Involvement

Truth, Faith, and Service Speaker Scott Russell Sanders

Writer and conservationist Scott Russell Sanders will be speaking in Nicholson Library on the campus of Anderson University on Friday, September 8, at 7 PM as part of the Truth, Faith, and Service speaker series. The event is free and open to the public.

Sanders’ work examines the human place in nature, the pursuit of social justice, the relationship between culture and geography, and the search for a spiritual path. He has written more than twenty books exploring these topics, and retired in 2009 as distinguished professor of English after thirty-eight years at Indiana University. Continue reading

Children of Promise Celebrates 25 Years of Hope

Photo: Children of Promise blessings in Tanzania.

By Emily Ploetz

Bishu was a young boy who lived with his family in the remote rice fields of eastern India, in a state called Odisha. His family worked alongside many other families from sunrise to sunset in the rice fields, earning only thirty to forty cents per day. Somehow, Bishu’s family went into debt to the landowner. This put the landowner in control of their home and ultimately, their lives. The only way the family could pay back the landowner was to sell Bishu as a slave. Paul Maxfield, director of Children of Promise, was traveling in Bishu’s village in 2010 and heard about his story when he did not show up for a scheduled interview. After many prayers and hard work with local volunteers, Bishu was released from slavery. Three years later, Paul had the chance to talk with Bishu. He asked him, “What is the most important thing that has happened in your life?” To this day, Paul has never forgotten Bishu’s answer: “The day Children of Promise rescued me.” Continue reading

Creativity, Generosity, Boldness Characterize Easter Celebrations

Photo: Lord’s Supper drama at First Church, Inverness, Florida.

By Carl Stagner

As a pinnacle in the church year, some might get the feeling that it’s all downhill from Easter. But perhaps Pastor Paul Strozier of Madison Park Church of God in Anderson, Indiana, said it best last year in an article he wrote: “The baskets have returned to the attic, the plastic eggs are being recycled, somewhere in the house there is at least one purple Peep left unconsumed—at least until the toddler finds it…But can we really let the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ wait a whole year to be acknowledged and celebrated again? Easter never ends for the follower of Jesus Christ…Imagine how it might change our homes, our families, and our communities if we lived every day with resurrection power, hope, and joy.” For Church of God congregations across the country, Easter has only just begun! Here’s a look at how churches observed Easter week. Continue reading

Indiana Church Offers Ministry for Children of Divorced Parents

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Photo: Madison Park Church of God

By Karen Roberts

It started about a week after Noah’s dad left. Fear like nothing he’d ever experienced before. Unable to sleep. Unable to concentrate at school. It felt as if he were dying, and his dad was no longer there to help. Where was his dad?

Noah’s mom didn’t understand what was happening to her seven-year-old son. She was devastated by her own immediate circumstances. She needed a full-time job. The aging van was on its last legs. What would happen to the family home if she couldn’t keep up with the mortgage payments? She knew she needed an attorney, but she had no money to hire one.

And then a caring friend told her about DivorceCare for Kids (DC4K). Continue reading

Cultural Differences Eclipsed by Christmas

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Photo: Pastor Mejia, with Kathi Sellers translating.

By Carl Stagner

One church worships in Spanish. The other, English. The two churches are just a few miles apart in the same city, and both lift up the name of Jesus Christ. But these two Church of God congregations weren’t even acquainted with one another. Often the holidays are associated with family scuffles and awkward dinner conversations that lead to division. When Christ is at the center, however—when Jesus is the subject—Christmas has a way of bringing believers together. Just before Christmas, Iglesia de Dios La Hermosa and Main Street Church of God of Anderson, Indiana, united in a special worship service open to the community. Continue reading

Pastor Doodles His Way Through Anderson Regional Convention

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Photo: Sketchnote of Arnetta McNeese Bailey’s message.

By Carl Stagner

No, the speakers weren’t boring, and the times of worship were anything but a snooze. Still, while others were obviously listening intently to the teaching and preaching of God’s Word, one glance at Joe Watkins would reveal a head down, pen and sketch pad in hand, and then—double-take—is he drawing cartoons? How disrespectful! Is that guy paying any attention to the important things these men and women are saying? In fact, yes. Perhaps even more closely than others. The pastor of New Hope Community Church of God in Dayton, Ohio, has adapted a note-taking strategy that helps him best remember and process information. Not only does sketchnoting serve him well in sermon prep and delivery at New Hope, but it also proved beneficial to many others who also seemed to not be paying attention to the sermons, but really were—those who were live-tweeting, Instagramming, and Facebooking through the Regional Convention in Anderson, Indiana. Continue reading

Servant Solutions’ Doug Hamlin Honored for 41 Years of Service

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Photo: Retirement banquet for Doug Hamlin.

By Carl Stagner

Pastors in the Church of God know how instrumental Servant Solutions has been to their ministry. From pensions to financial planning to ministerial tax information and investments, the staff have always been about “serving those who serve.” Only one, however, has been faithful to this task for forty-one years. Doug Hamlin has given oversight to the accounting process and daily operations of Servant Solutions—formerly the Board of Pensions—since 1975. For exemplary servant leadership over a remarkable career of ministry to ministers, the retiring Doug Hamlin was honored with a ceremony at Madison Park Church of God on the concluding evening of the three-day Anderson Regional Convention and CHOG Table experience. Continue reading

Reclaim 2016 Anderson: ‘Sense of Oneness’, ‘So Good’, ‘One of the Best’

By Carl Stagner

Those who thought it simply couldn’t get any better were wrong. Dead wrong. After two outstanding Church of God Conventions in Oklahoma City, featuring compelling content, rich worship experiences, and opportunities to be bold in Jesus’ name, three smaller-scale, regional events would bridge the gap during the off-years. They would satisfy our need as the Church of God to stay connected to each other and the ongoing collective ministries of the movement. They would inspire and challenge, but they would also come on the heels of two gatherings in Oklahoma City that had effectively raised the bar. It is a mistake to discount the power of the Holy Spirit to do exceedingly above all that we ask or think! The first two Regional Conferences have stirred in the hearts of those who have attended a Jesus-centered focus and an elevated passion for kingdom advancement. As convention-goers made their way back home from Anderson, they realized a renewed determination to reclaim what hell has stolen. Continue reading

Anderson Regional Day 2: A Movement Again

By Carl Stagner

Day Two of the Regional Convention of the Church of God in Anderson, Indiana, was met with classic camp meeting thunderstorms and classic camp meeting worship and fellowship. But those who gathered in the expanse of Madison Park Church of God on Wednesday, June 22, were also met with bold exhortation and moments of intense introspection. We were challenged to take a hard look at ourselves as individuals, local churches, and as a movement. Though uncomfortable at times, we were invited to take the dare to get off our donkeys, get our hands dirty, and carry out the radical task of reclamation. Continue reading

Anderson Regional Day 1: Returning to Our Reclamation Roots

By Carl Stagner

In 1881, it had become painfully obvious that hell had stolen heaven’s ideal of God’s one, holy church. Where culture and government built dividing walls, the Church of God had the audacity to build bridges. Walking by faith and not by sight, our pioneers worked together to deposit into others the truth which had been deposited into them. They didn’t always see the results of their labor, and they could not have imagined the global movement that is the Church of God today. But they faithfully invested in the kingdom, and knew that unity meant working together—not just agreeing together. At the kickoff session of the Church of God Regional Convention in Anderson, the visible results of past investments into the kingdom were celebrated, offering the crowd of nearly 1,000 a blueprint for reclamation. Continue reading