Tag Archives: children

Columbus Convention Host Pastor a Husband, Father First

Lady “C” and Bishop Clarke.

By Carl Stagner

Timothy Clarke wears a lot of hats, and not the kind that cover his head. For example, he’s the founder and chief prelate of Berean Fellowship, an international assembly and partnership with pastors of small to mid-sized churches and young pastors, and those new to pastoral ministry. He’s served as president of the National Inspirational Youth Convention. He’s the author of numerous books, including Bind Up Your Broken Heart, available from Warner Press. His title of bishop (also translated in Scripture as overseer or elder) is no misnomer; his spiritual oversight and influence is widespread across the Church of God. Among his numerous other roles, he’s served as senior pastor of First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio—host church for the next Regional Convention (June 19–20)—for the past thirty-six years. But of all the hats Timothy Clarke wears, his favorite are husband, father, and grandfather. Continue reading

Spotlight on Schools: Oklahoma Churches Band Together for Students, Teachers

By Carl Stagner

For the past few months, the eyes of the country—and much of the world—have been on schools. Tragic shootings, student walkouts, student walkups, and teacher strikes are among the issues that have sparked more than a few arguments in the breakroom, the dining room, and on social media. But while the media, politicians, and pundits have debated the issues, believers have been busy being the body of Christ. As the national spotlight shines on schools, churches in Nowata, Oklahoma, have been shining the light of Christ in schools. Continue reading

Jesus, Stewardship, and KFC: Minnesota Church Seizes Local, Global Opportunities

Children’s ministry at New Life Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

In a town of fewer than 500 people, 100 to 110 children and youth can be found hanging out at one local hot spot in Bertha, Minnesota: New Life Church of God. A hub of community activity and a beacon of hope, the church is uniquely positioned to reach the next generation for Christ. Seizing the opportunity God’s given them, they’ve placed special emphasis on their youth ministry and their children’s ministry, which is called Kids For Christ (KFC). While New Life Church of God nears their final mortgage payment this year, they’re definitely not waiting to walk through every open door for the kingdom locally, nationally, and globally. Continue reading

Partnership with Children of Promise Extends Trafficklight 2.0 Reach

By Paul Maxfield

Children of Promise is partnering with Church of God Ministries in Trafficklight 2.0 to prevent child trafficking for our Church of God children across the globe. We are praying that every congregation will engage in this effort through sponsoring children—which is the most effective way to protect our children and prevent their involvement in child trafficking. I want to share more helpful information as to why Children of Promise is engaging in Trafficklight. 2.0. It is urgent. Continue reading

A Pastor’s Amazing, Agonizing Adventure of Adopting Special Needs Children

Ralph loves Ana and each of his adopted children.

By Carl Stagner

If you’ve been to many camp meetings across the country, chances are you’ve sat under the bold preaching or inspirational worship leading of pastor and evangelist Ralph Watts. The pastor emeritus of Columbus West Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, is used to sharing Bible stories and passages that point to Jesus Christ. But his own story points to Christ, too, one that is nothing short of remarkable. He and his wife Karen have fostered a total of thirty-five special needs children over the years, and have adopted fourteen. Continue reading

Church Steps Out in Faith for the Children, Teens of Atwater, California

Some of the youth group of First Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

Take a look at 2100 Fruitland Ave, Atwater, California, on Google Maps. What you’ll find is that First Church of God is literally a stone’s throw away from Atwater High School. The front-row seat the California congregation has to roughly 1,800 students and their families is certainly incredible, but the church hasn’t sat down to enjoy the scenery. They’ve seized a number of opportunities God has presented them to minister to these teens and their families. What’s more, through their preschool established in 1964, they minister to children who one day accept their diplomas right across the street. Recently the church stepped out in faith to expand the preschool facility, as teachers reap the benefits of a Fruitland Christian School early education, and as parents on a waiting list eagerly knock on the door. Continue reading

Oklahoma Church Constructs Park for the Community

By Noel Marquis

When First Church of God in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, decided to invest in new playground equipment, they received much more than they asked for. William Wimmer, who has served as pastor of the church since 2013, was surprised when a longtime member of the congregation approached the board of trustees with plans for a park, complete with sidewalks, trees, a horseshoe pit, basketball court, soft turf, and sheltered pavilions. Continue reading

Calgary Church Fosters Culture of Adoption

Pastor Mark Kowalko’s family today.

By Carl Stagner

Poverty, trafficking, homelessness, illiteracy, hunger, and lack of access to clean water are just some of the issues that plague our world. Often heard in response to such a list is the familiar refrain: someone should do something! Of course, that someone is usually someone else. But not in the case of Pastor Mark Kowalko and Glamorgan Church of God in Calgary, Canada. They’ve seen and heard about too many children who have fallen through the cracks of society, and simply won’t stand for it anymore. For more than two decades, they’ve fostered a culture of adoption that has resulted in homes for more than a hundred kids. Continue reading

Scrubbing Away Mom’s Stress: Churches Reach Out with MOPS

Photo: MOPS ministry at Madison Park Church of God.

By Karen Roberts

An older woman approached the MOPS display table in the foyer of a local Church of God. “So, are you selling cleaning products?” she asked. Her question is common. The answer is surprising. No, it’s not a floor product company. Yes, it’s a group for moms with small children that meets in local host churches to teach and encourage women—literally all around the world. Many Church of God congregations are discovering the power of the ministry to reach new families in their community. Continue reading

First Church of God, Marion, SD: Small Town, Big Impact

Photo: First Church of God, Marion, South Dakota

By Emily Ploetz

On a map of South Dakota, the town of Marion may not catch your eye. The whole community consists of about 800 people total. However, First Church of God in Marion, and its impact on God’s kingdom, should capture your attention. Out of the 800 residents of Marion, 125 of them attend the church! A church with an influence over the majority of a town isn’t something you see every day. The town and the church have a unique background and, because of some key decisions they’ve made, First Church of God continues to be a shining light. Continue reading

Indiana Church Offers Ministry for Children of Divorced Parents

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Photo: Madison Park Church of God

By Karen Roberts

It started about a week after Noah’s dad left. Fear like nothing he’d ever experienced before. Unable to sleep. Unable to concentrate at school. It felt as if he were dying, and his dad was no longer there to help. Where was his dad?

Noah’s mom didn’t understand what was happening to her seven-year-old son. She was devastated by her own immediate circumstances. She needed a full-time job. The aging van was on its last legs. What would happen to the family home if she couldn’t keep up with the mortgage payments? She knew she needed an attorney, but she had no money to hire one.

And then a caring friend told her about DivorceCare for Kids (DC4K). Continue reading

A Bold Move in the United Kingdom

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Photo: Zach and Audrey Lanford with the Egan Road youth.

By Zach and Audrey Langford

As most of you know, we work in a very difficult, post-Christendom context where very few choose to go to church or even know about Jesus. Our neighborhood in Birkenhead has just over 15,000 people and only four evangelical churches—each with about twenty people and no youth. The exception is our church, Egan Road, where we have very few adults, but a consistent and growing fellowship of children, youth, and young adults. Continue reading

Church’s Vision for Children Yields Life-Giving Public School Partnerships

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Collage: Plantation High School outreach.

By Carl Stagner

“I was in one of our Sunday morning worship services in the summer of 2015. The Lord prompted me to look at Judges 2:10, which describes a generation that knew not the Lord nor his works. Then I looked out over our congregation and saw youth and children dispersed among the crowd. Most were engaged in the worship service, but there were a few that were completely disconnected and apparently disinterested. My heart was burdened for them. I was convicted in that moment to reevaluate how we do church, our focus, etc. Are we having church around and above the heads of our children? It was frightening to me to come to the realization that many of our children are ‘church kids,’ but not born-again Christians.” This realization changed Pastor D. H. Dawkins’ approach to ministry planning and practice. Less than half a year into what has been dubbed the Year of Children and Youth, no one at Praise Tabernacle International regrets this fundamental shift. Continue reading

Urban Tutoring Ministry Changes Students’ Lives

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Photo: Pastor Kevin Earley & Wilhelmina Hall at the CHAMPS dedication.

By Carl Stagner

When Jaden was just four years old, he was diagnosed with a mild form of autism spectrum disorder. Entering first grade, his teacher noticed the difficulty Jaden had understanding and following instructions. Though he has access to a resource teacher at school who sees him a few times a week, Jaden hasn’t always received the additional attention he needed. That was, however, until a tutoring ministry of Metropolitan Church of God in Detroit, Michigan, stepped in. CHAMPS, a new initiative made possible by funds from the Church of God Change the World grant, has given Jaden and other young students the educational and spiritual boost they need to succeed. Continue reading

Church of God Families Offer Hope to Children, Parents in Crisis

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By Carl Stagner

The church used to do it. Government stepped in, however, where the church left off. In the past fifty years—at least—churches became more and more inward-focused, sheltering themselves from a “contaminated” world. But it didn’t used to be that way. Orphanages were established by believers. God’s people were once the loudest champions for the poor and afflicted. Too often in recent years the church has run away from problems it once ran toward. Several Church of God families and their congregations have discovered one avenue consistently taking things in a different direction. They’ve partnered with Safe Families for Children to care for children from homes caught in the midst of crisis. A redemptive solution to the need for foster care, Safe Families is now being offered as an effective resource for the Church of God movement through Be Bold Academy. Continue reading