Tag Archives: Church of God Convention

Unconditional Love Defines, Directs Regional 2020 Host Church

Madison Park lives out the love of Christ locally and globally.

By Carl Stagner

What drives the arms of the heavenly Father to welcome back the prodigal son? What brings the wanderer out of long-term drug rehab and back into fold? What then transforms him and ultimately calls him to pastor one of the most influential Church of God congregations in the country? What motivates those under his leadership to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and care for the orphans and widows in their community? What causes them to add tremendous hospitality, for the Church of God movement next June, to their already full ministry plates? At Madison Park Church of God in Anderson, Indiana, the answer is no secret. It’s unconditional love. Continue reading

Philadelphia Pastor Publishes Legendary Account of Pain, Redemption, and Triumph

Milton Grannum telling his story at Church of God Convention 2009.

By Carl Stagner

Because of his commitment to Jesus Christ, Milton Grannum’s family kicked him out of their house when he was only fourteen years old. Adding insult to injury, they tossed his school books out the door and told him he should go live at the church. The words of the psalmist brought comfort to young Milton: “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in” (Psalm 27:10 ESV). Stuffing all his belongings in a pillow case, Milton left, unsure of what he might face. Still, Milton Grannum found resolve in the words of a song: “Whether I live or die, whether I wake or sleep, I am the Lord’s, I know.” Continue reading

Reunited in Orlando: Convention 2019 Speaker, Attendee Connect 19 Years Later

Anne Nelson (far left) and Samir Salibi (second from left) in Orlando.

By Carl Stagner

All she wanted to do was feel closer to her Lebanese family. Anne’s great grandfather was Lebanese and used to write letters to her as a child. The more Anne learned, and the older she got, the more she desired to uncover her Middle-Eastern roots. What if she could communicate with her Lebanese relatives in their language? she wondered, especially after her grandfather passed away. Learning the Arabic language wasn’t in high demand among the public schools in her area, though, presenting a short-lived challenge. Since France had colonized Lebanon in the early to mid-1900s, Anne knew French would be an alternative option. It was Anne’s love for the language that led her to leave her hometown behind in 2000 for a journey that would ultimately bring together the stories of Convention 2019, Samir Salibi, and the financial controller for Servant Solutions: Anne Nelson. Continue reading

Convention 2019 & General Assembly: Pivotal

By Carl Stagner

“It feels a bit like Christmas. You plan for it, you wait expectantly for it, and then it’s over. But, is it really over?” Jim Lyon’s words resonated not only through the grand World Center Marriott ballroom, but also in the hearts of hearers full of the spiritual feast consumed for four days straight. Prayers and plans had certainly preceded such Christmas-like celebration, as members of the Church of God family from coast to coast and across the globe descended upon Orlando, Florida, for the first international reunion since 2013. It was more than a reunion, though, more than a spiritual feast, and not just a passing highlight on the calendar. As featured speaker Lori Salierno-Maldonado put it, “When we embrace our unique place in history, in his larger transcendent story, we can make our contribution to God’s kingdom for such a time as this!” What happened at Church of God Convention 2019 and General Assembly in Florida will neither stay in Florida nor in the past. This really isn’t over. Continue reading

Convention 2019 Day Two: History in the Making

A crowded General Assembly for the first time in a convention center.

By Carl Stagner

Were you present at Church of God Convention and General Assembly on Friday, June 28? If you tuned into the live video stream offered by Faithlife, you got a taste of the truly riveting plot that actually unfolded throughout the day. A variety of CHOG Convention firsts, a couple major transitions, an atmosphere conducive to life change, and a hearkening back to our heritage revealed a story over the past twenty-four hours that only God could write. If you were onsite, you know firsthand the powerful pieces that weaved together to make the day more than memorable. The indelible imprint left upon sisters and brothers from across the country is undeniable, as wounded hearts found healing, parched souls quenched their thirst on living water, and dry bones received life. On Day Two of Convention 2019, participants experienced nothing short of history in the making. Continue reading

Natalie Grant to Open Convention 2019 Amid Great Anticipation

Natalie Grant

By Carl Stagner

One of the biggest names in Christian music today is about to lead the Church of God in an inspirational evening of worship, and anticipation is on the rise. Natalie Grant, who has brought to the radio and Sunday morning worship services numerous hits, such as “In Better Hands,” “The Greatness of Our God,” “Your Great Name,” “Be One,” “Clean,” and “More Than Anything,” will take the platform at the Orlando World Center Marriott on Thursday, June 27, at 7:15 PM. Her debut Church of God Convention appearance is especially meaningful for many who have already been touched by her compelling songs and uniquely personal fan engagement. It is equally meaningful for those who have only observed the authenticity behind her powerhouse vocals, both in concert settings and through her involvement on a variety missional fronts, including the fight against trafficking. While her seven Grammy nominations and $4 million in career sales are certainly impressive, it’s her heartbeat for Jesus and the desire to be his hands and feet that make the Church of God especially blessed to welcome Natalie Grant into our midst. Continue reading

Convention 2019 to Honor Heroes, Launch Leaders

Jeff Jenness | Paul Maxfield

By Carl Stagner

With the retirement of Servant Solutions’ Jeff Jenness and Children of Promise’s Paul Maxfield later this year, Convention 2019 will again be an opportunity to celebrate the past. With the selection of new leaders to carry on the mantles of these ministries, and with the commissioning of missionaries Nate and Stacy Tatman, Convention 2019 will also celebrate even more indications of bright future for the Church of God. Special moments you won’t want to miss have been set aside on the Convention 2019 and General Assembly schedule to mark these milestones. Continue reading

Convention 2019: An International Affair

Convention guests from Mexico and Ghana together in 2013.

By Carl Stagner

In 2015, the General Assembly passed a resolution directing the Church of God Convention to “encourage broad participation” by the Church of God around the world every fourth year. The first of these gatherings with an international emphasis is Convention 2019 in Orlando, Florida, June 27–30 (www.chogconvention.org). With Church of God speakers from outside the United States and Canada, approximately 170 international registrants to date, and a variety of missions conferences and events, Convention 2019 and General Assembly is gearing up to be one of the most international experiences of the Church of God in North America. Continue reading

Church Planting Made Easy?

Mark Bane (center) cares deeply about his TLC friends.

By Carl Stagner

If the title of this article doesn’t get your attention, perhaps Mark Bane’s life goal will: “to win as many people to Jesus as possible, then die!” Mark Bane has a lengthy résumé, with everything from youth pastor to “church planting master,” and perhaps that’s why he’s qualified to make such a bold assertion. Can church planting really be made easy? The director of evangelism and new church development for the USA/Canada region of the Church of the Nazarene will join us at Church of God Convention 2019 & General Assembly to explain. A provocative question like this begs for an answer, so, in a recent interview with Church of God Ministries, Mark Bane offers some hints. Continue reading

Convention 2019 & General Assembly: Local Pastors Talk Orlando

Disney World in Orlando, Florida

By Carl Stagner

Orlando, Florida, is home to more than a dozen theme parks. If you’ve ever been there, you’ve probably at least visited Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. Maybe you played a round of golf under the sunlit palm trees, or perhaps you hit the beach when you realized the ocean’s only an hour away. But there’s so much more to Orlando than Mickey Mouse, sunshine, and scream-inducing thrill rides. Four local pastors reveal what they love about Orlando and offer their recommendations for what to do and where to eat—in conjunction with Church of God Convention 2019 & General Assembly, of course! Continue reading

Convention 2019 TED Talk Format Speakers Speak Out

Clockwise from upper left: Matt Anderson, Allyson Smith, Jake Zaske, Erin Taylor

By Carl Stagner

The Friday night session of Church of God Convention 2019 & General Assembly is slated to be something very different than the Movement has ever seen. Weaved into an interactive worship experience led by Josh Edington, a TED Talk-style format will give four of the brightest and best younger ministers in the Church of God the opportunity to address the gathering in brief, but engaging conversation. Allyson Smith (Community Church of God, Atlanta, Georgia), Matt Anderson (McDowell Mountain Community Church, Scottsdale, Arizona), Erin Taylor (First Church of God, Alma, Michigan), and Jake Zaske (Indian Creek Community Church, Olathe, Kansas) are looking forward to participating in an evening designed to challenge pastors and lay leaders to breathe, speak, and give life to their churches and communities. In an interview with Church of God Ministries (CGM), each one offers an introduction of who they are and why they’re anticipating Orlando. Continue reading

No Foolin’! Convention 2019 Illusionist Performs for Christ

John Michael Hinton

By Carl Stagner

He was only four years old when he got hooked on magic. It was then that his father pulled a sleight-of-hand trick on young John Michael Hinton. The classic pull-a-coin-from-your-ear-then-make-it-disappear illusion was nothing short of mesmerizing, and it left an impression that proved providential. Today John Michael Hinton conducts magic tricks in packed auditoriums, fooling even the most well-known in the industry. Students who attended IYC last year in Indianapolis already know the jaw-dropping experience in store for Church of God Convention 2019 in Orlando. A behind-the-scenes look at the man behind the magic reveals an ordinary guy, who fakes the impossible, to point people to an extraordinary God for whom all things are possible. Continue reading

A Place for Kids: Convention 2019 is for Children, Too!

By Carl Stagner

Children’s ministry is set to make a big splash at this year’s Church of God Convention, and not just in the expansive swimming pools, water slides, and splash zone. Kid’s ministry programming has returned to the Convention, and it’s slated to be better-than-ever this summer at the World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida, a city home to Walt Disney World and other attractions families will love. Warner Press and Church of God Ministries have partnered together to create KidzLIVE!, an original VBS-like experience in the mornings and structured childcare in the evenings. Pastors and laypersons with children will be excited—and perhaps relieved—to know their kids will have a place of their own while they take in all that Convention 2019 and General Assembly has to offer. Continue reading

Lori Salierno-Maldonado: A Marvelous Heritage, A Reclaimed Future

Lori Salierno-Maldonado

By Carl Stagner

The daughter of longtime evangelist Gerald Marvel really needs no introduction. In fact, her influence is so broad that family heritage needs no mention to solidify her place in Church of God history. Still, a telling of her story, without the impact her family, and her brothers and sisters in the Movement, have had on her life, is anything but complete. Lori Salierno-Maldonado has been in the company of such notable influencers like Mother Teresa, but she couldn’t be more excited to spend time with her Church of God family in June. Her marvelous heritage, unexpected journeys, and reclaimed future combine to position her well to breathe, speak, and give life this year at Convention 2019 & General Assembly in Orlando, Florida. Continue reading

Safety Harbor Regional Day 2: Daring to Dream Again

Wednesday evening worship at the Safety Harbor Regional.

By Carl Stagner

Do you dream of a local church that is healthy and growing? Do you dream of unity across racial lines? Do you dream of those “greater works” that Jesus talked about, or victory in a particular spiritual battle? Wednesday, Day Two of the Church of God Regional Convention in Safety Harbor, Florida, was a day of rekindling the fire, reclaiming the passion, and resurrecting dreams once lost in a world prone to busyness, burnout, and a blurring of what matters most. Continue reading