Tag Archives: city

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

Church Pastored by CHOG Ministries’ Handel Smith Celebrates Urban Ministry Renewal

Handel Smith with Paul, sub-contractor for the church’s affordable homes ministry.

By Carl Stagner

Church of God Ministries staff are known for their roles they play in the collective work of the Movement. But among those who report to “base camp” day after day are individuals who are very active in their local churches. Some are Sunday school teachers, board members, worship leaders, associate pastors, and senior pastors. Others are laypeople who volunteer and get involved in numerous initiatives and projects at the local church level. When Handel Smith accepted the call to fill an executive leadership position at Church of God Ministries in Anderson, Indiana, he accepted a massive portfolio—oversight of the Movement’s influence and impact in the United States and Canada. His ministry Monday through Saturday—and countless Sundays, too—is extensive and expansive. Though a faithful attender of one of the Anderson-area churches when at home, it soon became apparent that he’d received a special leadership assignment that would both bring God glory and give life to a life-giving soul. Continue reading

Partnership Vital to Ministry for The Church at Bradenton

Kid’s ministry is extremely important to the The Church at Bradenton.

By Carl Stagner

Pastor Ancil Abney says their church is all about “storming the gates of hell and making a difference for eternity.” For some, such a bold statement might be dismissed as a tagline without substance or a catchphrase without strategy. But for The Church at Bradenton, it’s not just theory; it’s practice. Something as dangerous as storming the gates of hell should not be attempted alone, though, and this Florida church knows it. That’s why they’ve strategically assembled a stellar staff, partnered with the city, and offered space and grace to other churches committed to advancing the kingdom. Especially as Easter 2018 approaches, they’re making it clearer than ever that Jesus is the subject. Continue reading

Paris, France: Revolutionary Ministry Celebrates First Anniversary

@home Church’s first anniversary celebration.

By Patrick Nachtigall

When Samir Salibi moved to Paris, France, as a twelve-year-old, non-Christian immigrant from Lebanon, little did he know that one day, two decades later, he would be coming to the rescue of many migrants and displaced people himself. But that is exactly what happened, and on December 2, members of the Three Worlds missionary team of the Church of God in Europe and the Middle East were in Paris to celebrate the first anniversary of this revolutionary new ministry. Continue reading

A Glimmer of Hope in the United Kingdom

By Carl Stagner

Hope is at a premium in the United Kingdom. Recent terrorist attacks have ignited fears among many, but desperate poverty has been widespread in parts of the country for years. The city of Birkenhead, 227 miles northwest of London, exemplifies a post-Christian culture where the traditional role of church in society seems to have disappeared. Though just across the river sits the affluent city of Liverpool, Birkenhead faces all the usual struggles of a city stigmatized by economic decline and rampant unemployment. In the midst of this dark environment, Egan Road Church of God has been a constant glimmer of hope for ninety years. Today, Global Strategy missionaries Zach and Audrey Langford lead the congregation, now positioned to reach the community—including, and especially, the younger generation. Continue reading

The Power of the Cross to Take Back a City

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Photo: Crosses displayed with victims’ pictures inside the church.

By Carl Stagner

Approximately eight hundred murders rocked Chicago in the last year alone. Gang violence is on the rise in many large cities across the country, and Chicago is no exception. While many would rather retreat to the suburbs and write off urban centers as a loss, there is a growing movement of people that won’t give up on the youth, the children, and the families of densely populated areas. The grim statistics might suggest the forces of evil have completely taken over cities like Chicago. But soldiers of the cross like Greg Zanis are fighting side-by-side with congregations like Restoration Church of nearby Aurora, Illinois, to take back their cities. Recently, this reclamation effort took the form of one cross built for each of the eight hundred victims. Continue reading

Former Warner Pacific President Sworn in as Mayor

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Photo: Jay Barber

Building on a life dedicated to serving others, Rev. Dr. Jay Barber, president emeritus of Warner Pacific College, is taking on another leadership role as the newly appointed mayor of the coastal town of Seaside, Oregon. Continue reading

Church of God Pastor Becomes City’s First Black, First Woman Mayor

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By Carl Stagner

“Sixty years ago, Rosa Parks sat down so I could stand up today.” Pastor Rochelle Robinson’s words reflect a strong sense of both gratitude and accomplishment for her historic win. She never set out to make a name for herself or capture the attention of the national media. All she wanted to do was serve God and her community. But when the votes were tallied in the runoff election on December 1, Rochelle Robinson became the first African American and first female ever to be elected mayor of Douglasville, Georgia. Continue reading

In the Shadow of the Capitol: An Inside Look at Ministry in D.C.

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By Carl Stagner

Less than three miles to the Lincoln Memorial. Only two to the Washington Monument. Just one mile to either the Capitol or the White House. Proximity to these national icons make ministry in Washington, D.C., anything but typical. Though she has crossed paths with Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, this pastor takes it all in stride. Cheryl Sanders and the flock she pastors at Third Street Church of God have a job to do, and they will not be deterred. They’re ambassadors for Christ in the nation’s capital. Continue reading

CHOG Congregations Offer Hope, Healing for Baltimore

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By Carl Stagner

It’s been all over the news. You’ve no doubt seen the coverage of the protests and the riots that rocked Baltimore, Maryland, for several weeks. On April 19, 2015, twenty-five-year-old Freddie Gray died following injuries sustained while in police custody five days earlier. Navigating the maze of media punditry has been no easy task in the weeks since the tragedy. Regardless of one’s opinion on the matter, one thing is abundantly clear: where and when Jesus Christ is the subject, light has permeated the darkness. Though it was the looting and hostility that dominated television screens across the country, our Church of God congregations on the ground tell a different story—a story of hope and healing. Continue reading