Tag Archives: baptisms

Transformation Begins Outside the Walls in West Texas

Community block party at the new church facility.

By Carl Stagner

Deep in the heart of west Texas, surrounded by semiarid plains and prized oil country, you’ll find the small city of Odessa. Though it may not garner much media attention, a remarkable story of transformation is developing out of the city’s young Church of God congregation known as New Dawn Fellowship. Focusing more on discipling new believers and not simply packing the pews, the church has celebrated relatively slow, but healthy growth. The congregation, 90 percent previously unchurched, has rejoiced at more than 30 salvations, more than 30 baptisms, and multiple rededications in just three years. On August 5, after outgrowing its previous facility, the community-oriented church enjoyed a grand opening worship service in their new home, welcoming 154 people through their doors. Continue reading

Triumph After Tragedy: A Developing Story in DuBois, Pennsylvania

Tri County Church celebrates one of many baptisms.

By Carl Stagner

January 23, 2016. A day Tri County Church of God in DuBois, Pennsylvania, will never forget. A day that could have dismantled much of the good that had been accomplished since the dawn of the congregation in 1995. Dave Bish, founding pastor, died suddenly and unexpectedly that day while out on a trail run. Devastation swept across the community, but hell would not prevail. Instead of a downward spiral, the church rallied together in an outpouring of love like they’d never seen before. God had a clear mission for Tri County Church, and neither the remaining leadership nor the new lead pastor would be deterred. As they relate the timeless story of Jesus Christ to the stories of those near and far from God, Tri County Church is inviting everyone into their own developing story in DuBois. 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

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

Illinois Church Prioritizes the Lost, Celebrates Revival

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Photo: First Church of God (Hoopeston, IL)

By Emily Ploetz

One of the most recognizable signs of life is growth. Growth indicates inner strength, stability, and maturity. As a parent wishes for his or her child to grow up big and strong, we as Christians should long for our churches to be growing, healthy ministries. Though this longing for growth may be fervent, growth in a church is often easier said than done. In 2011, Church of God Ministries celebrated the tremendous growth of Hoopeston First Church of God in Hoopeston, Illinois. In the past five years, 250 baptisms have taken place! As astounding as this is, Pastor Micah Mobley says they’re not done yet. Continue reading

Healings Wow Doctors, Reflect Florida Church’s Spiritual Health

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By Carl Stagner

One of the children’s workers at Village View Community Church in Summerfield, Florida, received the devastating news that a serious heart condition would require her to undergo heart valve replacement surgery. Her breathing was difficult, and her blood flow was inhibited. She was intubated and given six hours-worth of anesthesia. Before the doctor began to operate, he decided to check the condition of the heart valves one more time. What happened next stunned the medical community, but was in many ways a reflection of a healthy, missional church that covered the patient in prayer. Continue reading

Baseball, Baptisms, and a Bus

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By Carl Stagner

They come from all walks of life. Some have never stepped foot in a church. Most come from broken homes. Some have parents in jail, while some families have just fallen on hard times. Some are being raised by grandparents—even great grandparents. A number have parents who work on Sundays. They have one thing in common: most wouldn’t be able to come to church unless someone offered them a ride. Thankfully, Jessie Ritzline and First Church of God in Commiskey, Indiana, have stepped up to the plate. Continue reading