Tag Archives: cause

CHOG Minister Completes 4,310-Mile Walk for Adoption, Foster Care

Glenn Koster wets his feet in the Pacific Ocean.

By Carl Stagner

Glenn Koster left South Miami on foot, in February 2018. He intended to reach Seattle by October of last year, but the hazards around the next curve weren’t always visible along the 4,310-mile adventure on which he’d embarked. Ultimately appearing in 51 newspapers, on NPR and K-LOVE, with 44 churches, and for 3 foster-care-related groups, Glenn Koster finally completed his walk across America for adoption and foster care awareness late this summer. As Glenn dipped his feet in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, it was clear that even those frustrating delays would serve a providential purpose. Continue reading

Governor Appoints CHOG Pastor as Faith Commissioner on Suicide Prevention

Kevin Wayne Johnson

By Carl Stagner

The former pastor of First Church of God in Accokeek, Maryland, was intent on cultivating a congregation-wide heart for community and societal transformation. In the last five years of his thirty-four working for the federal government, Kevin Wayne Johnson served the local church faithfully as a bivocational senior pastor. For Kevin, this calling was far more than filling the pulpit; it was about shifting the gears of the congregation to a more community-oriented direction, all the while laying the groundwork for evangelism and discipleship that would continue long after his tenure was complete. Observing national holidays and marking months of societal awareness quickly became a tangible step toward accomplishing these goals. One of the church’s annual emphases, in particular, caught the attention of the governor’s office—suicide prevention. Continue reading

TraffickLight Video: Thank You, Church of God

Text by Abby Knowles; Video edited by Jared Powell

Today we want to once again say, “Thank you, Church of God!” Because of your contribution to the TraffickLight initiative, lives are forever changed and the kingdom’s limits are reaching new bounds. As the final dollars came in this summer, we reached a total amount raised of over $715,000. This is amazing, and the impact is significant! Our ministry partners have the ability to expand their mission and see dreams realized because of your support and sacrifice. Check out the video to see a recap of this project. Continue reading

Freedom Sunday 2016: Plan Now!

By Carl Stagner

Last year the charge was given, and you responded. Thank you! It has been said that perhaps more than any other church-wide initiative, CHOG TraffickLight has mobilized the Church of God to work together in unity to accomplish a single goal. As we’ve continued to make Jesus the subject of who we are why we do what we do, we’re determined more than ever to champion that which moved the heart of Jesus when he walked this earth. In Luke 4:18–19, Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah’s proclamation of freedom for the captives. Motivated by the heart of Jesus, the Church of God rallied together to raise more than half of our million-dollar goal. Now it’s time to finish the job. On Valentine’s Day 2016 (February 14), Church of God congregations will observe Freedom Sunday once again, and once again, we’ll rattle the very gates of hell. Continue reading

Church of God Convention 2015: Celebrating CHOG TraffickLight

TraffickLight_banner_ BW_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

It’s been nearly a year since the Church of God took a stand against human trafficking and for the cause of freedom. CHOG TraffickLight mobilized the movement in a way that many have observed as unprecedented. Since Church of God Convention 2014, congregations have collectively raised the banner of Jesus Christ and worked together as his hands and feet. The Church of God continues in the footsteps of Christ as his kingdom advances, reclaiming in Jesus’ name that which hell has stolen. At this year’s Church of God Convention, we’ll come together to celebrate what the Lord has accomplished through us. Continue reading

Bob Marvel: Running an Ultra-Marathon for an Equally Challenging Cause


By Jeanne Halsey

In 1998, my husband Kenneth Halsey and our son Alex ran the Seattle Marathon together. Having only an observer’s understanding of the rigorous preparation—both physical and mental—that is required to train your body to run more than twenty-six consecutive miles (forty-two), I rightly came to honor and respect my men for their achievement; I fondly and proudly called them “demi-gods.”

In October 2001, we met Bob Marvel, a young pastor from Cornwall Church in Bellingham, Washington, who had developed his own fondness for running marathons; at the time, he had completed two or three marathon races and was hoping to qualify for the prestigious Boston Marathon. From his own wisdom and experience, Kenneth offered to purchase a particular pair of running shoes for Bob, and also supplied the airfare so he could travel further afield as he aimed for his goals. Simultaneously, I felt prompted to write an article, “The Running Pastor,” which was picked up by various online news agencies and subsequently received wide publication. In that essay, I likened Pastor Bob’s race-running experiences with his soul-winning strategies—both at which he was quite successful. The photos which accompanied that article were taken when he completed his first Boston Marathon (and yes, he and his wife Dorene were also running the 2013 Boston Marathon, when the tragic bombings took place; they were able to minister to and pray with many in the immediate aftermath). Continue reading

Church on the Street to Host Reconciliation and Justice Academy


Photo: Andy Odle (right) sharing community with the most vulnerable in Atlanta, Georgia.

By Carl Stagner

In 2013, the Global Gathering of the Church of God held its Global Forum on the subject of reconciliation. In 2014, Church of God Convention attendees were introduced to a form in which reconciliation could be lived out—in awareness and action concerning human trafficking. This May, the Church of God has an opportunity to dig deeper into what it means to be reconciled to God and neighbor. Church of the Street in Atlanta, Georgia, will host the Reconciliation and Justice Academy, May 11–15. Not just another conference, this experience is designed to be a weeklong intensive for those who really want to join with the most vulnerable among us to collectively develop the heart and habits of our Lord Jesus Christ. Continue reading

You Plead My Cause: Helping Trafficking Victims Find Freedom


By Donna Cox

“You plead my cause, You right my wrongs, You break my chains, You overcome…”*

The lyrics of the song “How Can It Be,” made popular by Lauren Daigle, resonate with the ministry of OneHeart Dayton. Every week as we serve delicious homemade food in the dressing rooms of strip clubs, we meet women who are being trafficked or at high-risk of being trafficked. As their life stories unfold, we provide Christian counseling and connect them with appropriate services. As they put their fractured lives back together, they find the courage to dream. Continue reading

Sex Trafficking: Global Crisis, Local Reality


By Penny Hood

In 2010 God placed me in the position of development manager for a nonprofit that addresses sex trafficking. I knew nothing of the issue but quickly became aware of the span of this dark industry. In the following years, I began offering my grant-writing services to other charities that are also in this battle to rescue and reclaim lives held in bondage. One of the organizations I began to work with is Not Abandoned, out of Kirkland, Washington. Jeff McKinley, the executive director of Not Abandoned, shared that he has traveled the world as a missions coordinator and determined that the most disturbing human conditions he saw were in the red light districts of southeast Asia. Continue reading

Sound the Alarm: A Global Invitation to Ring Bells for Freedom and Peace


By Melissa Pratt

A grassroots effort in West Virginia is underway to involve people across the country and around the world in ringing bells for freedom and peace. One local Charleston resident from Southridge Church of God is asking that on November 21, 2014, at 12:30 PM in each respective time zone, church bells be rung worldwide to show support for the persecuted church and Christians around the world. Persons without church bells are encouraged to honk car horns, play loud music, and to make a loud noise in the name of freedom and peace. Continue reading