Tag Archives: Church of God Regional 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

Regional Convention 2020 Host Church a “Center of Hope” in Los Angeles

Pastor Geremy Dixon encouraging the saints at Center of Hope LA.

By Carl Stagner

Convention 2019 and General Assembly have come and gone, but the Regional Conventions scheduled across the country next year are on the horizon. Registration is now open for all three events as program details continue to be finalized for Inglewood, California (April 22–24); Anderson, Indiana (June 24–26); and Brooklyn, New York (September 16–18). Pastor Geremy Dixon, who spoke at CHOG Convention 2017 in Wichita, Kansas, says his Los Angeles congregation is “pulling out all the stops” for the three-day gathering next April. An interview with the influential leader offers a glimpse of the people and the ministry giving life to their city in such a way that merits the name “Center of Hope.” Continue reading

Regional Conventions 2020: The Way of Jesus

By Jim Lyon

Embracing the gospel of the kingdom has often been reduced to a simple and straightforward decision—a climactic choice “to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.” To be “saved” (and persuade others to become so) has pervasively been the focused target of much of American Christianity. Sometimes, this ambition has emphasized “church membership,” baptism, or an “altar call” as the end game. Continue reading

Tuesday’s Scorching Sunshine Eclipsed by Light of Christ at FL Regional

Moments of blessed fellowship were plentiful on Tuesday.

By Carl Stagner

Less than a year out from the Church of God Convention 2019 and General Assembly in Orlando, many Church of God people got their first taste of Florida on Tuesday at the Regional Convention near Tampa. Sunshine, palm trees, and the Bay nearby were certainly sights to behold; more so was the prayerful response at the altar on Tuesday evening. During the day, convention-goers satisfied their cravings at the Melt Machine Food Truck but didn’t linger long, as the air-conditioned space within the walls of Bayside Community Church offered relief from the unseasonably hot and humid weather. Inside they found a diet of Living Water and the Bread of Life to be most refreshing, as anointed messages, inspirational times of worship, engaging conferences, and rich conversation marked the day. Continue reading

Fairfax First Day a Joyful Celebration of Life

Tuesday evening led by a team from Celebration Church at Columbia.

By Carl Stagner

Earlier this year, an addition to the Fairfax Community Church facility was completed. The new wing, solely devoted to youth and children’s ministry, nearly doubled the size of the building. Gathering for worship and teaching sessions inside the new addition on the first day of the Church of God Regional in Fairfax, Virginia, afforded convention-goers a unique opportunity. While the five electives held on Tuesday afternoon demonstrated a rich depth of ministry insight on the part of the stellar host church staff, activity throughout the day under the church’s new roof served as a constant reminder of the life-giving DNA of Fairfax Community Church. The ideal setting for the kickoff of the fourth 2018 Regional Convention set the stage very well for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit through an interactive dialogue with Ben Hardman and Ben Sternke, moments of worship led by praise teams from Fairfax and Celebration Church at Columbia (Maryland), and an especially potent message from the general director. Continue reading

Columbus Convention Calls Church to Courageous, Contagious Christianity

Altars in use at the Church of God Regional in Columbus.

By Carl Stagner

Salt does no good inside the shaker. A candle is useless unless it’s lit. Though Jesus called the church both salt and light, many in the Church of God have observed that we’ve not lived up to that description, often shirking back, afraid of the darkness. At the Church of God Regional Convention in Columbus, Ohio, pastors and lay leaders were present, but the especially powerful presence of the Holy Spirit was what really got people talking. The worship, the fellowship, the electives, and the spoken messages seemed finely tuned, clarifying the charge to the Church of God to boldly reclaim what hell has stolen. At a time when life is so widely taken for granted, when signs of true life are hard to find, and when lives are at stake for people around the world, the Church of God Regional Conventions this year are championing life at all stages, all ages, among all races, and under all circumstances. Perhaps like no convention before it, the Regional Convention in Columbus called the Church of God to courageous, contagious Christianity. Continue reading

Phoenix, Oklahoma City Regional Conventions Commission All

Friendships, both old and new, are a Regional Convention highlight.

By Carl Stagner

Two of the five Church of God Regional Conventions 2018 are now history, but their impact is still being felt from Alaska to Alabama. Some may have flown to Arizona to escape winter’s clutch on spring, but they stayed to drink from an oasis in the desert. Others may have descended upon Oklahoma City for the fine barbecue, but they stayed because their cravings were satisfied in the life-giving teaching and fellowship. Still others attended, many as first-time guests of a Church of God convention, because this year’s variety of regional locations afforded them accessibility. Challenged to reclaim what hell has stolen, but inspired to fully embrace the Life, attendees of the first two Regional Conventions ultimately climbed in cars or boarded airplanes to return home, ready and resourced to change the world in Jesus’ name. Continue reading

The Truth that Both Hurts and Sets Free: OKC Regional Recap, Day 2

Jeff Whye preaching the truth that sets free.

By Carl Stagner

It wasn’t so much the wind sweepin’ through the plain, but there was quite a bit of rain at Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Nevertheless, the dreary skies seemed to have little or no impact on the mood of those gathered for Day 2 of the Regional Convention of the Church of God; after all, God was busy raining down blessing after blessing throughout the day. From a riveting message by host pastor Marty Grubbs, to an evening graced with the amazing voices of Sandi Patty and Don Peslis, the closing day of #LifeOKC was anything but dreary. During the day and after the closing service, convention-goers absorbed as much as they possibly could from every hard-hitting sermon, uplifting worship song, meeting, seminar, reception, and divinely orchestrated encounter. As a result, the portion of the Church of God that chose to make the second of five Regional Conventions this year their event-of-choice went away with tablets full of notes and quotes, hearts full of awe and wonder, and stomachs full of great Oklahoma City barbecue. Continue reading

Coming Home, Sending Out: OKC Regional Reflections, Day 1

Commissioning prayer for Sarah Hunnicutt.

By Carl Stagner

Bob Brooke, pastor of visitation at Shartel Church of God in Oklahoma City, perhaps put it best: “[Yesterday was the] beginning of two glorious days at Crossings Community Church for the Regional Convention of the Church of God.” A review of Tuesday at the second 2018 Regional Convention reveals a day marked by inhaling and exhaling life—of coming home and sending out. It was a reunion of a portion of the Church of God family, but it was also a rally to mobilize believers for ministry and mission. Considering the moments of inspirational worship led by Josh Edington and the Crossings worship band, the soul-nourishing seminar with Ben Hardman, and the beautiful commissioning of a new missionary for Global Strategy—only a part of the blessings that define the opening day of #LifeOKC—it’s no wonder one would label such an experience glorious. Continue reading

Jo Anne Lyon: Wesleyan Leader Influenced by the Church of God

Jo Anne Lyon

By Carl Stagner

No, she is not related to Jim Lyon. But, like the general director of Church of God Ministries, her influence stretches across the globe. Jo Anne Lyon, ambassador of the Wesleyan Church and former superintendent, has established herself more so a bold ambassador for Jesus Christ, both across the denominational spectrum and society. As one of the featured speakers scheduled for each of the five Regional Conventions of the Church of God this year, she is looking forward to spending extended time with a family of believers with whom she already feels close. Many may not know that Jo Anne Lyon was influenced herself by the Church of God as a young girl. Continue reading

Renewed Life, Purpose Follow Philadelphia Regional

By Carl Stagner

A historic gathering came to end on Thursday, September 29, after three days of renewal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was the last of three Regional Conventions, but the experience inspired and directed by the Holy Spirit was no afterthought. What some expected to be an “off year” of less significant smaller-scale meetings on the heels of two major conventions in Oklahoma City proved to be anything but that. Those who came together on the beautiful and expansive campus of New Covenant Church were not only blessed by the convention coming to their own backyard, but also enthusiastically supportive of the new day in the Church of God that dawned only a couple of years ago. The result: pastors and lay leaders committed to return to their local churches and communities eager to reclaim their neighborhoods in Jesus’ name. Continue reading

Complimentary Philadelphia Registration Opportunity for Pastors

CARE_Logo_Square_Color_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

This is too good to pass up! If you’re a credentialed pastor in the Church of God, you and your spouse now have the opportunity to take advantage of complimentary registration for the Church of God Regional Convention and CHOG Table in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 27–29. Yes, there is a catch. But this one you’ll appreciate! Sign up for the inaugural training seminar of CARE—Clergy Advocacy and Resource Effort—of the Church of God, and you’ll not only be granted free admission to Reclaim 2016 in Philadelphia, but you’ll also receive a modest voucher to assist in convention travel expenses. Far from a timeshare sales pitch, this event will train Church of God pastors and congregational board members with insights, best practices, and resources to understand, plan for, and manage pastoral compensation and financial matters. CARE is the new initiative funded by a Lilly grant awarded to Church of God Ministries in 2015. Continue reading

Reclaim 2016 Anderson: ‘Sense of Oneness’, ‘So Good’, ‘One of the Best’

By Carl Stagner

Those who thought it simply couldn’t get any better were wrong. Dead wrong. After two outstanding Church of God Conventions in Oklahoma City, featuring compelling content, rich worship experiences, and opportunities to be bold in Jesus’ name, three smaller-scale, regional events would bridge the gap during the off-years. They would satisfy our need as the Church of God to stay connected to each other and the ongoing collective ministries of the movement. They would inspire and challenge, but they would also come on the heels of two gatherings in Oklahoma City that had effectively raised the bar. It is a mistake to discount the power of the Holy Spirit to do exceedingly above all that we ask or think! The first two Regional Conferences have stirred in the hearts of those who have attended a Jesus-centered focus and an elevated passion for kingdom advancement. As convention-goers made their way back home from Anderson, they realized a renewed determination to reclaim what hell has stolen. Continue reading

It’s Convention Time Again in Indiana

anderson-dates

By Carl Stagner

It’s beginning to look a lot like convention time in Indiana again. As the season of summer approaches, the corn and soybeans have sprouted, squirrels are scurrying across the Anderson University campus, and Madison Park Church of God is making final preparation to host the second of three Regional Conventions this year. You’ve already heard that Milton Grannum, Reggie McNeal, Steve Arterburn, Arnetta McNeese Bailey, and Ben Hardman will speak to the convention theme of Reclaim Your Neighbor[hood], and you know that Alanna Story will serve as worship leaders. But did you know that a variety of special gatherings, receptions, and opportunities for additional fellowship are scheduled to take place in conjunction with the Anderson event? From alumni luncheons to agency open houses, you’ll want to plan ahead to make the most of your Reclaim 2016 experience. Continue reading

Reclaim 2016 Energizes Movement as First Regional Wraps Up

By Carl Stagner

“If we’re going to reclaim the neighborhood, we have to stop keeping people at a safe distance, and let them in.” Steve Arterburn’s profound, yet simple words seemed to echo in the expanse of Vancouver Church in Vancouver, Washington, during the last week of April 2016. It was the first of three Regional Conventions challenging the Church of God to reclaim our neighbors—and our neighborhoods—for Jesus Christ. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Steve’s message wasn’t the only one cutting to the core of who we are as a movement. Milton Grannum, Ben Hardman, Arnetta McNeese Bailey, and Reggie McNeal also delivered God’s Word with conviction and clarity to the several hundred Church of God people gathered from up and down the West Coast and beyond. Social media lit up during the event, offering those waiting for the Anderson or Philadelphia conventions a foretaste of the movement-energizing experience. Continue reading