Tag Archives: camp meeting

Heart of a Shepherd: Convention 2018 Speaker Pours into Pastors, Leaders

Ben Hardman speaks at the Philadelphia Regional in 2016.

By Carl Stagner

“I have always believed everyone needs a Paul to pour into you, a Timothy to pour into, and a Barnabas to encourage you.” Ben Hardman’s words come from personal experience. Returning to the Regional Conventions this year—all five of them—the featured speaker hasn’t always lived up to this aspiration. He knows how difficult it is to lead well, make disciples in a 21st-century culture, and balance the needs of self and family. But out of his struggles, he’s celebrated numerous successes and gained a wealth of insights on the ground. The co-founder of Gravity Leadership and host of the leadership training workshop “Making Disciples in the Way of Jesus” at each Regional Convention 2018, Ben’s unique combination of life experiences has captured the attention of Church of God pastors across the country. Continue reading

Jo Anne Lyon: Wesleyan Leader Influenced by the Church of God

Jo Anne Lyon

By Carl Stagner

No, she is not related to Jim Lyon. But, like the general director of Church of God Ministries, her influence stretches across the globe. Jo Anne Lyon, ambassador of the Wesleyan Church and former superintendent, has established herself more so a bold ambassador for Jesus Christ, both across the denominational spectrum and society. As one of the featured speakers scheduled for each of the five Regional Conventions of the Church of God this year, she is looking forward to spending extended time with a family of believers with whom she already feels close. Many may not know that Jo Anne Lyon was influenced herself by the Church of God as a young girl. Continue reading

The Last Shall Be First to Hear Convention 2018 Speaker Terry Rolen

By Carl Stagner

Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Columbus, and Fairfax. The Regional Convention makes a stop at these four locations before it ever gets to Safety Harbor, Florida. But the event in Safety Harbor will be no afterthought; neither will be the opportunity to hear from the Lord through his servant Terry Rolen. The lead pastor of Bayside Community Church looks forward to hosting the grand finale Regional Convention next year, September 25–26. While much of the movement won’t wait until then to receive, hear, and embrace all God has for them through next year’s Regional Conventions, those who do—and those who choose to visit more than one location—won’t be disappointed. Continue reading

Is God Calling You to Respond?

Photo: “And may You feed a hungry world through me…” (Gaither Vocal Band)

By Carl Stagner

You were there. Or you watched the live streaming. Perhaps you couldn’t make it to Wichita, but you listened in on the social media conversation. You were inspired by the bright new day of the Church of God, culminating in a convention experience that some have reported rivals that of the largest gatherings in Christendom today. You’ve heard the reports of God at work in the movement. You’ve sensed the Spirit bringing the movement together for such a time as this. You’ve caught the vision, and you want to take it back to your circle of ministry. Could it be that now God is calling you to respond? Continue reading

Just the Beginning: Convention 2017 Charts Course for Long-Term Kingdom Impact

Photo: “For the church triumphant is alive and well…”

By Carl Stagner

Trafficklight 2.0, set to advance freedom around the world over the next two years. Partnerships between Children of Promise, Warner Press, and Stephen Arterburn, created to protect the lives of children and touch the hearts of men and women. New missionaries commissioned, called by God to go to communities both domestic and international with the hope of Jesus. A lineup of speakers, illuminating God’s Word for such a time as this. The CARE Seminar, connecting our pastors and churches with an initiative designed to strengthen the financial health and spiritual vitality of the shepherds of our movement. Pastors young and old, ready to join the movement with renewed hope and enthusiasm for the direction we’re headed. The voice of the General Assembly, heard crying out against a historical culture of oppression, supporting a unified credentialing process, and affirming the need for a movement-wide structural review. And so much more. This was Church of God Convention 2017, and this was just the beginning. Continue reading

Convention 2017: Women Lead the Way on Thursday

Photo: Thursday night worship led by choir and orchestra (photo courtesy Chris Hall).

By Carl Stagner

Just in case anyone had forgotten, Thursday at Church of God Convention 2017 was a reminder to everyone that an anointed woman of God cannot be discounted. On June 22, the Church of God Convention featured not one, not two, but three different women leaders who have had an extensive impact on the church and culture around us. Ann Smith, Anita Renfroe, and Danielle Strickland offered messages oozing with wisdom, wit, and, in Anita Renfroe’s case, sheer hilarity, too. It was the women—not the men—who led the way on Thursday. Continue reading

CHOG Convention 2017: Day One Delivers Power-Packed Punch

Photo: The Gaither Vocal Band on Tuesday night.

By Carl Stagner

From the prayer session at 8:00 in the morning to the last note of “It is Finished” in the evening, opening day at Church of God Convention 2017 saw the power of God on display among his people—power in the five incredible voices of the Gaither Vocal Band; power in the dynamic preaching of Paul Sheppard; power in the Spirit that moved among the people. 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

It’s a Family Affair: Three Convention 2017 Speakers Reflect on the Church of God

Photo: When the family gets together, God is glorified.

By Carl Stagner

Family has always been an important concept to the Church of God, and family continues to describe the multigenerational relationships built and sustained across the years and across the miles. Drawn together by a commitment to Jesus Christ and his church, and propelled by a desire to carry out his mission, the movement born in the early 1880s is still better—and stronger—when we’re together. The invitation has been given, and many have RSVP’d, for another big reunion slated to take place toward the end of June. Three Church of God Convention 2017 speakers recently reflected on the family nature of the movement and why they’re excited to attend the family reunion. Will you be there, too?

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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

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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

Convention 2017 Speaker Reclaims Destiny Once Stolen by Hell

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Photo: Paul Sheppard

By Carl Stagner

“I am a witness that, not only does God’s grace save us and give us right standing with him when we first accept Christ, but it reclaims and restores us when we’ve failed as believers.” Paul Sheppard, longtime Church of God pastor and scheduled speaker for Church of God Convention 2017, knows firsthand that God is not only in the saving business, but also the reclamation business. His story of failure and forgiveness that we first broke in November 2015 melts even the heart of stone. But more than a year later, the message of reclamation radiates now more than ever from his renewed life and ministry in the one of the largest communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Continue reading

Convention 2017 Host Church a Hub for the Community

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Photo: Worship service in the expansive Central Community Church.

By Carl Stagner

“I have never been more excited than I am now about how God is moving the Church of God into a bright future!” Sounds like something the general director of Church of God Ministries might say. Or a member of the Ministries Council. Maybe even someone applying for a leadership position in the General Assembly. But these words come from the pastor of one of our most influential churches in the movement: Bob Beckler, of Central Community Church in Wichita, Kansas. The Wichita congregation will host what is shaping up to be a must-attend Church of God Convention in June 2017. Before you go, get to know this 110-year-old church whose vitality and drive for ministry is nothing short of contagious. Continue reading

Wichita to Host Church of God Convention 2017

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By Carl Stagner

After a departure this year from the annual cycle of the Church of God Convention to three smaller-scale regional meetings over the span of five months, we’re excited to announce the seminal gathering of the Church of God and General Assembly returns in 2017. Central Community Church, one of the largest Church of God congregations in North America, will host the event, which is scheduled for June 20–23 (Tuesday through Friday). Building on the momentum of this year’s Regional Conventions and the previous two in Oklahoma City, Church of God Convention 2017 is sure to be yet another history-making, life-changing experience for the movement. Continue reading

Locals Introduce Church of God to Philadelphia Ahead of Regional Convention

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By Carl Stagner

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For those who’ve never been there before, mention of the City of Brotherly Love might conjure up images of scrumptious cheesesteak and the historic Liberty Bell. But to those who call it home, Philadelphia is so much more. That may be why Church of God locals are so eager to talk about their beloved hometown ahead of the third and final Regional Convention slated for September 27–29 at New Covenant Church. Continue reading