Tag Archives: church plant

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

Transformation Begins Outside the Walls in West Texas

Community block party at the new church facility.

By Carl Stagner

Deep in the heart of west Texas, surrounded by semiarid plains and prized oil country, you’ll find the small city of Odessa. Though it may not garner much media attention, a remarkable story of transformation is developing out of the city’s young Church of God congregation known as New Dawn Fellowship. Focusing more on discipling new believers and not simply packing the pews, the church has celebrated relatively slow, but healthy growth. The congregation, 90 percent previously unchurched, has rejoiced at more than 30 salvations, more than 30 baptisms, and multiple rededications in just three years. On August 5, after outgrowing its previous facility, the community-oriented church enjoyed a grand opening worship service in their new home, welcoming 154 people through their doors. Continue reading

Spanish-Speaking Church Planted in Florida on Easter Sunday

Pastor Isaias Marquez speaks at the launch service on Easter.

By Carl Stagner

Now, more than ever, the Sunshine State is primed for the gospel. The normal flow of migration to Florida from Spanish-speaking countries presents a tremendous opportunity for Hispanic church planters. But, in the wake of last year’s hurricane disaster in Puerto Rico, Spanish-speaking people have left the territory for Florida in droves. Isaias and Laura Marquez, pastors of a congregation in Lake Wales, are always on the lookout for possible church plants. Observing the lack of Hispanic churches in the Winter Haven area, they reached out to First Church of God to consider hosting a new work. On Easter Sunday, Iglesia de Dios in Winter Haven was born, offering the hope of Christ to Spanish-speaking residents while extending the reach of First Church beyond what they could have ever imagined. Continue reading

How a Growing Nontraditional Traditional Church Plant Began in Arkansas

Packed house for worship at Faith Fellowship.

By Carl Stagner

They have no formal training in church planting, but they’ve planted a church. Their worship and ministry style is neither flashy nor trendy, yet they’ve attracted a crowd. There was no market research conducted before their launch service, yet they’re already making disciples. Kevin and Danielle Edgar recently returned to a community they knew and loved, and simply began preaching the Word of God, singing a few gospel songs and hymns, and building friendships. Faith Fellowship Church of God is a growing, nontraditional, traditional church plant in Paragould, Arkansas. They may be doing things differently, but they’re certainly getting things done, and the results are both God-glorifying and hell-shaking. Continue reading

Methodist, CHOG Congregations in Oregon Prove Jesus is the Subject

Origins community block party at their new building.

By Carl Stagner

Ontario, Oregon, is a community of roughly 14,000 people, but like many small towns, many different small congregations gather in separate buildings on Sunday, often on the same street, sometimes singing the same music, and certainly worshiping the same God. Yet the mission has been given to all followers of Christ to make disciples, and the prayer of Christ is that we would be one. In contrast to the norm, two congregations in Ontario recently took a step in the right direction. As a result, both groups were more blessed than before, and one was overwhelmed by an incredible act of generosity and kingdom-mindedness. By such a not-so-random act of kindness, they proved that Jesus is indeed the subject. Continue reading

Chicago-Area Church Plant Gains Momentum

By Charlie Arms

In 2014, after consultation with Indiana Ministries, our family moved from sunny Florida and took on the responsibility of planting a church in northwest Indiana. Locals refer to this area of Indiana as “the Region,” primarily because we are part of Indiana, yet in many ways more closely connected through business and lifestyle with Chicago. Continue reading

Unfinished Business: God Orchestrates New Beginnings through WV Plant

Inside the sanctuary of New Beginnings.

By Carl Stagner

Sunday, September 17, will be celebrated by several church networks as National Church Planting Day. Just in time for such an observance is the news that West Virginia’s first Church of God plant in thirty years is another step closer to its January 2018 launch. West Virginia is excited to boldly get back into the multiplication business! Their focus is on Kenova, where three-fourths of the community is considered “de-churched.” Though the doors to the Church of God at 1616 Polar Street were once closed, they find themselves open again, with nothing but new beginnings in store. Continue reading

Christmas Outreach Brings Snow to the Desert

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Photo: Crowds gathered at Arcadia City Church for the snow day!

By Carl Stagner

When the mercury was pushing 110 degrees this summer, Arcadia City Church in Phoenix, Arizona, was dreaming about a winter wonderland. They weren’t going to get it from the sky, however; the last time an inch of snow fell in Phoenix was 1937. They also weren’t planning on a two-hour trek up to Flagstaff high in the mountains north of the Valley of the Sun. But they were thinking about hiring a company that grinds one-ton bags of ice cubes into “snow” as the perfect Christmastime outreach for their community. Continue reading

Church Merger a Stark Contrast to Divided Culture

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Photo: Brad Ruggles (left) and Matt Gaylor (right) celebrate unity!

By Carl Stagner

“People can find all kinds of reasons to be divided today. But we found one to be united.” Matt Gaylor, engagement pastor of the new Nspire Church in Westfield, Indiana, couldn’t be more excited about what God is up to in the growing city just north of Indianapolis. As the pastor who helped restart and reclaim New Life Church of God as CitySpring Church in the early part of this decade, Matt had every reason to continue down the successful path he was on. But God had other plans. These plans wouldn’t involve him leaving CitySpring, but they would involve change. And they would prove to be a powerful witness for Christ. Continue reading

No Ordinary Church Plant: The Table, St. Peters, Missouri

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Photo: Worship at The Table.

By Heidi Tarin

When Jon Simmonds felt the call to plant a church, he didn’t know what he was getting into. He didn’t necessarily follow the set play book for planters and his church, The Table, in St. Peters, Missouri, is not your average church plant. Jon had been in ministry for over a decade and was serving as a youth pastor when he felt led to plant a church. He gathered a team and they began meeting as a small group in January 2015. Just a few months later, the Table’s story starts to deviate from normal. Continue reading

The Sweetest Ministry in Northern Indiana: Trunk or Treat Attracts Thousands

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Photo: Decor & candy await guests at Momentum’s Trunk or Treat.

By Emily Ploetz

It’s that time of year when leaves don their colorful hues, the wind turns nippy, and children everywhere are preparing for Halloween. For many families, this can be a fun holiday where everyone can dress up in fun costumes and carve pumpkins. Children, of course, are excited about receiving free candy, but for some parents, there is the small fear that their children may end up getting a trick instead of a treat. Allowing youth to walk up to homes where people they may or may not know can sometimes damper the spirit of this season. For this reason and many others, families have been flocking to Momentum Church in Crown Point, Indiana for their annual Trunk or Treat. Continue reading

Colorado Welcomes New Church to the Movement

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Photo: Baptism on Launch Sunday!

By Carl Stagner

The vision and mission of the Church of God is on the move! Excitement is spreading for what God is doing among us. One recent example takes us to Denver, Colorado, where a church plant has just joined the Church of God in Colorado. After forming a new partnership with the Church of God Colorado Conference, and after months of hard work and years of planning, Cross Culture Church just celebrated its official launch. A crowd of 376 gathered to celebrate the launch, five people were saved, and one followed Jesus’ example in baptism. Continue reading

Indiana Church Awarded Community Partner of the Year

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Photo: Toddler finds an Easter egg at CitySpring, Easter 2015.

By Carl Stagner

If your church were to close its doors, would anyone notice? Would anyone outside of the congregation care?

You may have been asked these questions before. Or, perhaps this is the first time you’ve considered the implications of such congregational introspection. CitySpring, a Church of God congregation in Westfield, Indiana, has asked these questions several times. So they came up with a wild idea: instead of starting a bunch of outreach programs they were interested in, they would ask the local government what the city needed. Just a couple of years later, the church is humbled to receive the first-ever Partner of the Year award. Continue reading

Church of God Plant Sees Momentum in Chicagoland

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Photo: Momentum Church worshiping at the YMCA.

By Carl Stagner

The response to the new Church of God parachute plant in northwest Indiana has been overwhelmingly positive. Pastor Charlie Arms and family moved to the Chicago suburb of Crown Point to start a church that would effectively communicate Jesus to a fast-paced, busy urban culture. In November, Momentum Church launched at the local YMCA and is already gearing up for a baptism service in January. Charlie and his wife Rebecca are thrilled for the opportunity God has given them in Crown Point. Starting a church from the ground up was the farthest thing from their minds, however, for these two whose previous church experience once turned them away from the faith. Continue reading

Need a Building for Your Church? Buy a Coffee Shop!

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By Carl Stagner

More than eight out of ten adults in the United States drink coffee.* Every day, scores of people hold meetings, interviews, and conduct business over coffee. Others read the morning paper, watch a good movie, or struggle to stay awake through the afternoon with a hot cup of coffee in hand. Christians and non-Christians alike know coffee—and therein lies a connection point. So when a Church of God in southeastern Colorado needed a permanent home, instead of purchasing land to build on, or buying a traditional church building, they opted for acquiring a place to sell coffee. Continue reading