Tag Archives: Church of God Convention 2017

Jewel of the Philippines Glistens in Office of the President

Photo: Jewel Leodones speaks to the Church of God in North America.

By Carl Stagner

Every child is a treasure in God’s sight. Of this assertion, there is no discrepancy in the Church of God. As Jesus welcomed the children into his presence, congregations and individuals offer open arms to children all over the world, most of the time without even crossing an ocean. Through the child sponsorship ministry of the Church of God, individual and congregational reach is extended to parts of the world where hope for a brighter future is often only a dream. In this twenty-fifth year of ministry for Children of Promise, there is one Jewel that glistens especially bright, shining the light of Christ in church, community, and government. She’s living proof that dreams do come true. 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

Welcome to Wichita: Church of God Convention Kicks Off in Kansas

By Carl Stagner

Today we get to see what all the buzz has been about. Today we get to experience a gathering of people boldly committed to Christ, determined to take back what hell has stolen. Today we, the Church of God, make history as we gather as a movement for the first time ever in Wichita, Kansas. Starting today, for four days, we once again realize the collective potential of God’s power at work as we move together. This week we will be reaffirmed that, truly, we are better together. Before we get too far down the road, however, let’s take a look at what Tuesday, June 20, has to offer. Continue reading

Children of Promise Celebrates 25 Years of Hope

Photo: Children of Promise blessings in Tanzania.

By Emily Ploetz

Bishu was a young boy who lived with his family in the remote rice fields of eastern India, in a state called Odisha. His family worked alongside many other families from sunrise to sunset in the rice fields, earning only thirty to forty cents per day. Somehow, Bishu’s family went into debt to the landowner. This put the landowner in control of their home and ultimately, their lives. The only way the family could pay back the landowner was to sell Bishu as a slave. Paul Maxfield, director of Children of Promise, was traveling in Bishu’s village in 2010 and heard about his story when he did not show up for a scheduled interview. After many prayers and hard work with local volunteers, Bishu was released from slavery. Three years later, Paul had the chance to talk with Bishu. He asked him, “What is the most important thing that has happened in your life?” To this day, Paul has never forgotten Bishu’s answer: “The day Children of Promise rescued me.” 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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Convention 2017 Worship Pastor a Product of Church, Family Heritage

Photo: George Skramstad (left) on the violin.

By Carl Stagner

Church of God heritage is in his bones. Music flows in his veins. George R. Skramstad is third-generation Church of God and the product of a family steeped in classical, folk, and church music. He started playing piano at the age of three, and at the age of eleven he picked up the violin. Over the course of his ministry, he’s served several congregations, and led worship for many churches through seasons of incredible growth, including North Hills in Phoenix, Arizona; Crossings in Oklahoma City; and Central Community in Wichita, Kansas—the host church of CHOG Convention 2017. Today he serves as music and worship arts pastor at Central Community. In a recent interview with Church of God Ministries, Pastor George Skramstad shared some insights gleaned from his church, music, and family experiences, and offered a preview of how these influences will translate into his worship leadership at Church of God Convention 2017. Continue reading

Worship Leader Brings Eclectic Style to Convention 2017

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Photo: Sarah Scharbrough McLaughlin with her family.

By Carl Stagner

“I grew up somewhat of a spiritual mutt.” The words of Sarah Scharbrough McLaughlin make sense when you consider that, at the time she was introduced to the Church of God through Anderson University, her faith background had consisted of Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, and Syrian Orthodox experiences. Resonating right away with the AU freshman were the loving unity of believers and the strong emphasis on Jesus and his Word so central to Church of God teaching. Kerry Robinson of East Side Church of God was one of many influential pastors, while worship artists Jay and Amy Rouse were two of several Christ-centered musicians, who took time to invest in the rising leader. Rivaling only her journey of faith in all its diversity is the eclectic style this mother of five now brings to the body of Christ gathered for worship. You can be sure a blessing is on its way when Sarah Scharbrough McLaughlin steps onto the platform at Central Community Church in Wichita, Kansas, for Church of God Convention 2017. 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