Tag Archives: CARE

Lilly Endowment Awards Church of God Ministries Grant for CARE 2.0

By Carl Stagner

Earlier this year, Church of God Ministries was invited by Lilly Endowment to apply for a grant to extend the fruitful ministry of CARE—Clergy Advocacy and Resource Effort. The week of Thanksgiving brought with it news that a $500,000 grant has been awarded to carry on the program until at least 2021. No longer an initiative, the program known as CARE has been so well received by the Church of God movement that the goal is to sustain the work indefinitely. CARE 2.0 will bring with it continued engagement of pastors and congregational boards in pastoral retirement assistance and educational debt relief that have become synonymous with the program since it began in early 2016. Continue reading

A Visit with the Church of God in Hungary

Joe Cookston (far left) prays at the commissioning of the plant.

By Carl Stagner

Joe Cookston has worn a variety of hats in the Church of God in his lifetime of ministry. Currently he’s most well-known across the Movement for his leadership of CARE—the Clergy Advocacy and Resource Effort. But he’s also served faithfully in a number of important areas, including the local church. One role may not be as familiar to many in the Movement, and that is the position he holds as nonresident board member for the Church of God Hungary. In August and September, Joe and his wife Merry visited Hungary, a place that has become quite familiar and beloved by the ministry duo. Joe and Merry have since returned from the encouraging experience, blessed to report on the opportunities God is opening up in the Eastern European nation. Continue reading

Servant Solutions: Seven Decades of Dedication to the Movement

Servant Solutions staff meeting.

By Carl Stagner

In 1949, what was once strictly a retirement program for ministers of the Church of God came into being. Not everyone was ready for such a program, however, as a few questioned the lack of faith in God’s provision that allegedly accompanied enrollment. Received initially with mistrust, Servant Solutions has since become one of the most trusted partners of the Movement. With time, training, and technology, the former Board of Pensions of the Church of God has morphed into the holistic ministry of “improving financial security for servants of the church.” As Servant Solutions nears its seventy-year mark in ministry, it’s clear that the endorsed agency of the Church of God looks very little like it did at the beginning. But that’s more than okay with our pastors and their families, our missionaries, our local churches, and our educators. They’ve been unleashed to do what God has called them to do, more confident than ever in the expertise and faithfulness of today’s Servant Solutions. Continue reading

Columbus Convention Opening Day “Spirit-filled,” “Tremendous,” “Great!”

The fellowship at First Church on Tuesday was sweet.

By Carl Stagner

The first day of the Church of God Regional Convention in Columbus, Ohio, is now history, and the second day is now underway. Nearly five hundred people have enjoyed the numerous teaching sessions, electives, and meetings, as well as the incredible hospitality of First Church of God. Under the leadership of the praise team at First Church, convention-goers have experienced the presence of God in powerful ways—and neither the event, nor the Spirit’s active role, is over yet. As Day Two of the Regional Convention continues, many are still reflecting on the blessings of Day One. Continue reading

Will I Have Enough? Finding Contentment in Christ Alone

By Ryan Harter

Ron Blue, founder of Ronald Blue & Co. and author of numerous personal finance books, asks the question “How much is enough?” in his new Bible study “God Owns It All.” This seems like a simple question that can be answered by looking at your income, expenses, dreams, and goals. Even though the question is simple, the answer can leave many with a feeling of anxiety. The reason for the anxiety is not because what we have is too little or what we have is too much. The anxiety comes because no matter what we have, the answer to the question “How much is enough?” is almost always “More than I have right now.” Continue reading

Concerning Clergy Compensation: Concilio Connects with CARE

Concilio pastors pray together at the CARE seminar in Houston.

By Joseph Cookston

¡Buen trabajo! ¡Excelente! ¡Muchas gracias! We want to contextualize the information to our culture—thank you for the great desire to help us!

Openness and expectancy abounded throughout the CARE Seminar that opened the convention of the Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano) of the Church of God in Houston, Texas, near the end of July. Pastors and spouses gathered and processed together for the three-and-a-half hour dialogue regarding pastoral compensation and financial planning. Again and again, participants expressed their gratitude for the intentional reach into the world of Spanish-speaking congregations of the Church of God. Continue reading

When Teachers Become Learners: Barefoot and Humbled in Bangladesh

Photo: Cross-cultural footwashing in Bangladesh.

By Carl Stagner

If you’ve ever been on a mission trip, you know it’s a mistake to think you’re going to another country only to teach and bless someone else. More often than not, you end up learning more than you could offer. Instead of leaving feeling impressed by all the good you did, you feel humbled by the good people you met. When a group from Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis, Indiana; First Church of God in Marion, South Dakota; and Church of God Ministries in Anderson, Indiana, came together for a missions trip to Bangladesh this year, the teachers once again became the learners. Continue reading

Lilly Gathering Affirms CARE Initiative’s Heart for Pastors

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Photo: CARE Team at the Lilly Gathering, including Cheryl Elff, Rachel and Ryan Harter, Joseph Cookston, Julia Feirtag, Jessica and Jeremy Zerkle.

By Joseph Cookston

“We were inspired; giving our pastors financial freedom positively affects individual communities and the society at-large; we were validated and motivated…” so reports Julia Feirtag, member of the CARE Initiative Steering Team, as a result of her participation in the Lilly Gathering, November 3 and 4 in Indianapolis, Indiana. This Lilly Gathering brought to Indianapolis representatives from twenty-nine national Christian church groups, including the Church of God, a recipient of one such Lilly Endowment grant in 2015. Last year, these twenty-eight other judicatories also received grants to address the economic challenges facing pastoral leaders among their constituent membership. Continue reading

Complimentary Philadelphia Registration Opportunity for Pastors

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By Carl Stagner

This is too good to pass up! If you’re a credentialed pastor in the Church of God, you and your spouse now have the opportunity to take advantage of complimentary registration for the Church of God Regional Convention and CHOG Table in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 27–29. Yes, there is a catch. But this one you’ll appreciate! Sign up for the inaugural training seminar of CARE—Clergy Advocacy and Resource Effort—of the Church of God, and you’ll not only be granted free admission to Reclaim 2016 in Philadelphia, but you’ll also receive a modest voucher to assist in convention travel expenses. Far from a timeshare sales pitch, this event will train Church of God pastors and congregational board members with insights, best practices, and resources to understand, plan for, and manage pastoral compensation and financial matters. CARE is the new initiative funded by a Lilly grant awarded to Church of God Ministries in 2015. Continue reading

Church of God Ministries Announces Clergy Advocacy Resource Effort

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Church of God Ministries, Inc. has received a grant of $1 million as part of Lilly Endowment, Inc.’s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders. The initiative supports a variety of religious organizations across the nation as they address the financial and economic struggles that can impair the ability of pastors to lead congregations effectively. Continue reading