Tag Archives: Be Bold Reclaim

Convention Wednesday: A Walk-On-Water Kind of Day

Photo: Worship on Wednesday with Sarah Scharbrough McLaughlin (photo courtesy Ashley Cunnington).

By Carl Stagner

Day Two of CHOG Convention 2017 is now one for the history books. It wasn’t just an ordinary day at Central Community Church in Wichita, Kansas. This was a time of awakening to a new day which continues to unfold before our eyes. Focused on Jesus as the subject, churches across the movement are discovering a flag everyone can wave. The General Assembly, convention worship services, and extra events spread across the day each pointed to the centrality of Christ. So did the challenge Nick Vujicic issued for listeners to step out of the boat. Continue reading

Welcome to Wichita: Church of God Convention Kicks Off in Kansas

By Carl Stagner

Today we get to see what all the buzz has been about. Today we get to experience a gathering of people boldly committed to Christ, determined to take back what hell has stolen. Today we, the Church of God, make history as we gather as a movement for the first time ever in Wichita, Kansas. Starting today, for four days, we once again realize the collective potential of God’s power at work as we move together. This week we will be reaffirmed that, truly, we are better together. Before we get too far down the road, however, let’s take a look at what Tuesday, June 20, has to offer. Continue reading

Join Us in Wichita, Celebrate Movement’s International Reach

Photo: Missionary commissioning prayer in Philadelphia last year.

By Carl Stagner

The Church of God is so much bigger than most of us can imagine. With nearly 900,000 believers around the world, attending nearly 8,000 churches in 89 different countries, the international reach of the Church of God is both broad and diverse. It can be hard to visualize the magnitude of that which God has allowed us to be a part, especially when our only consistent interface with the movement is from fifth pew back, piano side, once or twice a week. One of the best things about the Church of God Convention is the opportunity to see, hear, and participate in what God is doing outside our regular sphere of ministry. Church of God Convention 2017 will once again celebrate the international reach of our movement during worship gatherings and extra events. Continue reading

Worship Leader Brings Eclectic Style to Convention 2017


Photo: Sarah Scharbrough McLaughlin with her family.

By Carl Stagner

“I grew up somewhat of a spiritual mutt.” The words of Sarah Scharbrough McLaughlin make sense when you consider that, at the time she was introduced to the Church of God through Anderson University, her faith background had consisted of Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, and Syrian Orthodox experiences. Resonating right away with the AU freshman were the loving unity of believers and the strong emphasis on Jesus and his Word so central to Church of God teaching. Kerry Robinson of East Side Church of God was one of many influential pastors, while worship artists Jay and Amy Rouse were two of several Christ-centered musicians, who took time to invest in the rising leader. Rivaling only her journey of faith in all its diversity is the eclectic style this mother of five now brings to the body of Christ gathered for worship. You can be sure a blessing is on its way when Sarah Scharbrough McLaughlin steps onto the platform at Central Community Church in Wichita, Kansas, for Church of God Convention 2017. Continue reading

Gaither Vocal Band to Kick Off Wichita Convention

Photo: The Gaither Vocal Band

By Carl Stagner

Across the Church of God—more accurately, across Christendom—the name Gaither has become synonymous with the best of gospel music. With a sense of holy pride in two of its own, the Church of God has celebrated the extensive reach of Bill and Gloria Gaither for several decades. From “He Touched Me,” to “Because He Lives,” to “The Family of God,” several classics found in the Church of God hymnal have come to us from the pens of Bill and Gloria. The Gaither Vocal Band, featured on just about every one of the highly popular Gaither Homecoming videos, has touched audiences around the world with the hope of Jesus Christ set to music. We couldn’t be more excited to announce the Gaither Vocal Band as kickoff worship artists for Church of God Convention 2017 in Wichita, Kansas. Continue reading

Church of God Family’s Museum in Convention Host City a Must-See


Photo: The Museum of World Treasures, founded by the Kardatzkes.

By Carl Stagner

In Philadelphia last year, many convention-goers were privileged to see the Liberty Bell and sink their teeth into mouth-watering cheesesteak. Near Vancouver, the breathtaking Multnomah Falls received a lot of attention before and after the first Regional Convention of 2016. Two years in Oklahoma City afforded the opportunity to solemnly remember victims of the 1995 federal building bombing, but also the chance to taste some of the best barbecue around. While in Wichita this June for Church of God Convention 2017, you may want to plan a visit to one Old Town Wichita museum which sprang forth from the story of one influential Church of God family. Continue reading

CHOG Convention 2015 Videos Available

By Carl Stagner

Since the landmark 2015 Church of God Convention, Church of God congregations and individuals have been looking forward to the release of the videos of the sermons. We’re pleased to announce that the videos are available online—watch them for free! All ten main services, excluding worship music, are uploaded. Those who attended and those who were unable to attend can now relive—or catch up on—those powerful, life-changing moments. DVDs and CDs can be ordered by calling Church of God Ministries at 800-848-2464. Continue reading

Church of God Convention 2015: Bold, Inspirational, Unforgettable

By Carl Stagner

The charge has been given. A line has been drawn in the sand. We’ve accepted the challenge. Church of God Convention 2015 galvanized the Church of God to boldly reclaim in Jesus’ name that which hell has stolen. Where the bond of perfectness is broken by the evil of racism, we’ve resolved to be agents of reconciliation. Where the enemy has hijacked tradition for his crafty schemes, we’ve determined to honor our heritage while following the leading of the Holy Spirit. Where selfish ambition and lukewarmness have subtly crept into our local churches, we’ve pledged to renew our humble fervor. Where hell has sieged the sacred, we’ve committed to reclamation for heaven’s sake. Continue reading

General Assembly 2015: Church of God Speaks Life, Hope into Future


By Carl Stagner

Conducting the business of the church doesn’t have to be business as usual. In fact, this year’s General Assembly looked and sounded much like a worship service had broken out in the Venue at Crossings Community Church. Worship was expected during the times set aside for morning devotions led by Bart Riggins, Leslie Barnes, and Carron Odokara. But at this year’s General Assembly, the variety of business presentations were especially poignant, moving, and inspirational. Dialogue was gracious, the optimistic atmosphere was contagious, and the resolutions that followed exemplified the move of the Holy Spirit to unite the Church of God in 2015 and into the future. Continue reading

Countercultural Conclusion to Convention 2015


By Carl Stagner

In the earliest days of the Church of God, there was little segregation. In the earliest days of the Church of God, a woman in the pulpit wasn’t such a rare sight. In the earliest days of the Church of God, faith in the supernatural power of God was ubiquitous. In the earliest days of the Church of God, the urgency of the gospel drove men and women to forsake all for the advancement of the kingdom. At some point along the way, we began to look more and more like the culture. The Holy Spirit’s communication through a diverse lineup of speakers at Church of God Convention 2015 reminded us that we were, from the beginning, a countercultural people. Convention Thursday was a day of recommitment to racial equality, loving the least of these, moving from consumerism to compassion, and embracing justice, truth, mercy, and love. Continue reading

Convention Wednesday: Storming the Gates of Hell, Bold Reclamation

By Carl Stagner

A boy delivered from the chains of captivity. An inner-city strip club purchased by a church and transformed into a community center. Barriers broken in secular Europe, making way for a new leadership development initiative. Women who’ve discovered the God-given, therapeutic qualities of horses—and the generous giving of people like you to make it possible. A stone rolled away from a tomb, ushering in the chance for all of our hearts to sing, “I’ve just seen Jesus and I’ll never be the same again!” And finally, God’s anointed, positioned in the world for such a time as this, to bring healing, to bring laughter, to bring necessary challenge. This is the witness of the Church of God, brought to fruition at different points over the past two thousand-plus years, but brought once again to our attention on Wednesday at Church of God Convention 2015. Continue reading

CHOG Convention 2015 Opening Day: Prayer, Praises, Power!


By Carl Stagner

“Never felt such unity in the Church of God as I felt tonight in the opening session. Wow. Powerful.”

“Inspired. Motivated. Encouraged. Relieved. Thank you Pastor Jim Lyon…”

“Incredibly awesome start to the 2015 CHOG Convention! Looking forward to what the rest of this week will bring!”

These are just a few of the overwhelmingly positive responses to the powerful opening day of Church of God Convention 2015. From the pre-convention prayer meeting, to the Town Hall session and afternoon conferences, to the kickoff worship experience in the sanctuary, CHOG Convention 2015 opened in a way that few could forget. More than two thousand online live feeds were connected to view the opening service (many individual feeds were shared by congregations of viewers!), and a near-capacity crowd was present at Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City to worship with Selah and hear God’s Word as only Timothy Clarke can preach it. Continue reading

Join the Conversation at CHOG Convention 2015!


By Carl Stagner

We get it, pastors. The proliferation of social media and mobile devices has made it difficult to tell if your phone-wielding parishioners are on YouTube or You Version. Surely most of them are paying attention to your sermon and following along on their paperless version of the Bible! Church of God Convention 2015 is your opportunity to trade places and perspectives with the person-in-the-pew. All pastors need regular opportunities to soak in the scriptures as taught by others. So bring your dog-eared classic or your Bible app—but don’t limit yourself to Bible Gateway or Bible.is. Join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the official convention hashtag—#BeBold2015. Continue reading

Join Us. Be Bold. Reclaim What Hell Has Stolen.


By Jim Lyon

The world is a mess. We live in an age in which fixed anchors are being discarded, hopelessness paralyzes whole communities, and darkness is furiously working to edge out the Light. Surf broadcast news, read a newspaper, listen to the heart-cry of passersby all around us—sometimes even in our own families, churches, and schools—and the sobering challenge is everywhere set before us.

It is hell’s business, this stealing of life, this devolution of the soul, this reduction of hope, and slaying of dreams for something better. The enemy of our souls has, from Eden’s day, sought, by half-truth and mischief, to separate us from our Maker, the Author of life.

Of course, much good is nevertheless being done; the kingdom still expands, Jesus still is Lord. There is much to celebrate, but there is also much to do. Continue reading

CHOG Convention 2015: Timothy Clarke Announced


Photo: Timothy Clarke

By Carl Stagner

Timothy J. Clarke is no stranger to the Church of God. For thirty-three years he has served as senior pastor of First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio. We’ve come to know him as one who consistently preaches the gospel with boldness and a dynamic style all his own. Countless camp meetings, conventions, conferences, and revivals have been blessed tremendously by his warm spirit and candor, mixed with just the right amount of humor. The Church of God Convention in Anderson has provided a platform for his deeply resonant delivery of the gospel, including a memorable message preached at the Global Gathering in 2013. We’re pleased to announce that one of our own—Timothy J. Clarke—will speak at the Monday evening kickoff worship session—also featuring worship led by Christian recording artists Selah. Continue reading