Tag Archives: Chaplain Ministries

How to Be a Veteran-Friendly Church

By Carl Stagner

Meeting needs is just something churches do. You don’t have to go far to find a kid-friendly church or a church with options for married couples or senior citizens. It’s common that you’ll find a college-friendly church located near a college campus. For the recovering alcoholic, there’s Celebrate Recovery. For the divorcee, there’s DivorceCare. Support groups exist among churches for numerous other challenges people face. But for those dealing with the trauma of war, help can be hard to find. And yet, veterans sit in our pews from week to week, often silently navigating the horrors of combat dating back only a few months—or several decades. Retired Church of God pastor Colonel Fred Dowden is on a mission to help churches become veteran-friendly. As you’ll discover, being a veteran-friendly church is far more than acknowledging the “veterans in our midst” and singing “God Bless America.” Continue reading

CHOG Chaplains Cross Denominational Lines for Renewal, Fellowship

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Photo: The five who sat at the Church of God table.

By Margaret Kirby

This summer I had the great privilege of attending the Annual Conference for the Association of Professional Chaplains in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The theme this year was “Together at the Table.” Chaplains bring the heart of care and compassion to many tables. We are participants and team members in burn units, oncology units, on palliative care teams, and in the intensive care units. Chaplains provide direct ministry at the bedside to the very young in the Neonatal Intensive Cares and Pediatric hospitals, and to the very old at all levels in a variety of settings: acute care hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation units, hospices, and in the workplace. Chaplains walk alongside our military units and our police and fire departments. Chaplains come to the table from all faith backgrounds and walks of life to assess and consider the spiritual impact of life events and encourage each individual and family group to lean into their own spiritual resources for health and healing. Continue reading

Into the Wild Blue Yonder, Behind a Desk, and Everywhere in Between

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By Carl Stagner

They call it total force. The United States Air Force utilizes this idea to limit the differences between what it means to be active-duty, in the Reserve, or in the Air National Guard. Members undergo the same training in order to function as a single body. Among chaplains, reservists are ready to go, should they be called up to active-duty service. Among chaplains, there is also a common goal—to provide for the free exercise of religion, all while representing Jesus Christ by the way they labor, listen, and love. Sometimes they find themselves stretched and blessed in ways not typically seen at the local church. More often than not, however, these ordained ministers of the Church of God simply do what all pastors do. Their nontraditional setting is what sets them apart. Four Church of God chaplains to the Air Force reveal the ups and downs, as well as the everywhere-in-betweens of Air Force chaplaincy. Continue reading

Church of God Navy Chaplain Retires, Honored for Faithful Service

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Photo: Ryan Chapman awards Chaplain Kim House on behalf of Church of God Ministries.

By Ryan Chapman

The Church of God is greatly honored to have had someone of such exceptional character, skill, love for people, and love for Jesus, serve those in the armed forces. Her name is Kim House, and she ended a very successful twenty years of Navy chaplain service on April 30, 2016 in Jupiter, Florida, at a gathering of family, friends, and military ministry peers. Kim has a BS from Penn State University and an MDiv from Azusa Pacific University, Haggard School of Theology, and is an ordained Church of God minister. Continue reading

Church of God Corrections Chaplains Deliver Hope Behind Bars

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By Carl Stagner

They’re drug dealers. They embezzled funds. They’re kidnappers, rapists, and murderers. Upon re-entry into society, however, they’re also the ones some churches would rather not welcome into their congregation. But these men and women were created in the image of God. Family and friends have written them off, but God’s hand of unconditional love stretches out to them. Called beyond the familiarity of local church ministry, Church of God corrections chaplains are ordained ministers who have instead been led to “remember those in prison” (Heb 13:3), accept them, and share with them the hope of Jesus Christ. Continue reading

The Not-So-Glamorous, but Vital Ministry of Hospital Chaplaincy

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By Carl Stagner

Saying just the right thing to a mother whose child was just murdered. Maintaining peace between family members feuding over medical decisions. Sharing the hope of Christ with both dying and recovering patients. Hospital chaplain ministry may be more challenging than you can imagine. David Harness knows. He has served as a chaplain for seventeen years. Kristen Higgins has served as a hospital chaplain for more than nine years. Mark Eberly has served as a hospital chaplain for six years, following eleven years of pastorates at two Church of God congregations in western Pennsylvania. In the following interview with these three ordained Church of God chaplains, David, Kristen, and Mark offer valuable insights into the not-so-glamorous, but vital, ministry of hospital chaplaincy. Continue reading

Announcing Pastoral Care Week 2015: Spiritual Care Together

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By Xen Riggs

Did you know that we currently have more than two hundred Church of God ministers who serve as chaplains in hospitals, corrections facilities, businesses, on fire and police departments, in every branch of the military, and in VA hospitals? All are ordained and have devoted their lives to coming alongside individuals in deep crisis as ambassadors of Christ’s mercy, hope, and peace. From October 25 through October 31, spiritual care departments in a great variety of institutions will celebrate Pastoral Care Week. Continue reading

It Takes a Team: An Interview with CHOG Ministries’ Xen Riggs

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By Carl Stagner

How much do you know about what goes on inside the office at Church of God Ministries? Who conducts necessary office work so others may travel the world with the hope of Christ? It’s the behind-the-scenes work that enables Church of God Ministries to carry out the work of Christ. When you support the unrestricted portion of the World Ministries Budget, you support our missionaries, our projects at home and abroad, and so much more. In the following interview, get to know one of the faces behind the scenes. His name is Xen Riggs, and your support of the “basic budget” makes his vital ministry possible. Continue reading