Tag Archives: community outreach

Black Woman Pastor Takes White Kansas Congregation to New Heights

Presephoni (center, middle row) with part of the congregation.

By Carl Stagner

Liberal, Kansas, never saw it coming. The city of only about 20,000 people couldn’t have imagined the day. Only 3.8 percent of the population is African American, and the new pastor of South Church of God is both black and a woman. Presephoni Fuller is, in fact, the first black pastor in the ninety-year history of the church. Still, Pastor Presephoni takes it all in stride. She doesn’t have time to ponder the uniqueness of her situation; she’s too busy reaching deeper into the community and taking the Kansas congregation to new heights. Continue reading

Delaware Church Strategy: Surprising the World with God’s Love

Pastor Edward and Jean Cross.

By Carl Stagner

After forty-seven years shepherding the flock at New Community Church of God in Wilmington, Delaware, Pastor Edward Cross has made more than a few observations about the surrounding culture. For example, there’s a prevailing suspicion that nothing’s ever really free, and if you’ve got something to offer, you must want something in return. But by building authentic relationships in the community, not just hosting events and doing more programs, the Delaware congregation is catching a few people off guard—in a good way! They’re demonstrating that they really do care, surprising the world with God’s love. Continue reading

Jesus, Stewardship, and KFC: Minnesota Church Seizes Local, Global Opportunities

Children’s ministry at New Life Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

In a town of fewer than 500 people, 100 to 110 children and youth can be found hanging out at one local hot spot in Bertha, Minnesota: New Life Church of God. A hub of community activity and a beacon of hope, the church is uniquely positioned to reach the next generation for Christ. Seizing the opportunity God’s given them, they’ve placed special emphasis on their youth ministry and their children’s ministry, which is called Kids For Christ (KFC). While New Life Church of God nears their final mortgage payment this year, they’re definitely not waiting to walk through every open door for the kingdom locally, nationally, and globally. Continue reading

Colorado Church Serves Up Grace, Wins Small Victories

Pickleball at Arvada Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

Across the Church of God movement, large churches are doing some vital, and often incredible, ministries. Often their tremendous successes can seem unattainable to the small church. Balancing multiple jobs, juggling the demands of resources and parishioners, and finding time to squeeze in one more task can seem daunting to the small-church pastor. But God sees. And he’s just as much at work through our small churches. Though they may win more small victories at any given time, churches like Arvada Church of God in Arvada, Colorado, are making a big impact for the kingdom. Continue reading

Northeast Ohio Church Fall Fest Attracts Unprecedented Crowd

Lines forming at the Eleventh Street Church of God Family Fall Fest.

By Carl Stagner

Like other parts of the country, weather in the Midwest can be unpredictable. Eleventh Street Church of God in Canton, Ohio, knows this fact firsthand. But one thing they can predict is God’s blessing when his people choose to be the hands and feet of Christ for a community event. As the northeast Ohio congregation recently discovered, the combination of great weather, effective promotion, and an amazing God is a recipe for unprecedented response. After preparing for a crowd of up to 300, following a year where only a couple hundred showed up, the church welcomed an estimated 1,000 people to their annual fall festival. Continue reading

WV Church Reclaims Hope Amid Opioid Crisis, Prostitution, and Poverty

Clothing giveaway at Madison Avenue Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

In small towns, big cities, and everything in between, drug abuse is out of control. Especially dangerous is the increasingly popular opioid. Not limited to its common appearance as heroin, addiction to pain killers is also growing concern, as are the deadly additives fentanyl and carfentanyl. Far more complex than a cause-and-effect scenario, a vicious cycle connects the opioid crisis, prostitution, and poverty. Madison Avenue Church of God in Huntington, West Virginia, has declared war on these three products of hell. In the heat of the battle, they’re seeing bonds broken, hope restored, a once-declining church grow again, and a city slowly being reclaimed for Christ. They’re taking back what hell has stolen. Continue reading

Alberta Congregation Offers Free Car Care to Single Parents, Widows

Photo: Wetaskiwin volunteer helping with an oil change.

By Nathan Wiebe

Earlier this summer, the Wetaskiwin Church of God, in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada, hosted their first Car Care Saturday. I was considering some of the needs in the community, as well as the skills of the people in the congregation. That was when I heard of a sister church in Edmonton that provided car services for their single mothers small group. Continue reading

Kingdom-Minded in Muncie: Mary and Cornelius Dollison

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Photo: The Dollisons and Kirby Avenue Church of God.

By Rachel Eldridge

Unity. Reclamation. These are tough goals. It’s easier to think about them than to do them, far simpler to dismiss them as buzzwords than carry them out, day by day, in the messiness of life. But for Mary and Cornelius Dollison and Kirby Avenue Church of God, unity and reclamation are part of life itself.

“‘Working together, involving all’ has been my motto, and I strive to live it every day,” Mary wrote in a recent column in her local newspaper, expressing gratitude for a Lifetime Achievement Award she recently received. Continue reading

Allen, South Dakota: Learning from the Culture You’re Called to Teach

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Photo: Tim and Kim Wardell with local child.

By Carl Stagner

Near the corner of BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) Road 22 and Allen Road on the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota, you’ll find a spiritual intersection where cross-cultural connections take place. Tour the region and you’ll be amazed by the vast open spaces and breathtaking vistas, but your jaw will drop at the evidence of destitution that dots the landscape. It’s into the midst of such poverty and a variety of related social ills—alcohol and drug abuse, joblessness, lack of education, general despondency—that Tim and Kim Wardell were called. Not a situation that just anybody would be vying to jump into, it was a golden opportunity for high-impact ministry and teaching. But since the Wardells arrived in September, they’ve discovered that they’re not the only ones with something to teach. 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

University Gearing Up for Warner Cares Day

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Photo: Warner University serving in the community.

By Monique Frandji

Warner University’s students, faculty, and staff will enjoy a day off from classes and work to come together to volunteer in the Lake Wales, Florida, community on April 6 for the fourth annual Warner Cares Day. “It’s our opportunity to bring Warner to the community where we can have an impact,” said assistant to the president and SACS liaison, Dr. James Moyer. “It’s our calling as a school to serve, and this day allows us, as faculty, to lead by example.” Continue reading

Morton, Washington: Small Town Church’s Impact Anything But Small

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Photo: Worship service at First Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

The latest count gives Morton, Washington, a population of just over 1,100. Nestled in the foothills of the scenic Cascades, Morton’s natural beauty is only matched by its small-town charm. While some large churches claim more numbers than the entire town holds, Morton has been given Pastor Bill Shepherd an idyllic setting to reach the lost and strengthen the believer. As he and his wife Sherri have led First Church of God for nearly twenty years, they’ll testify that ministry opportunities are everywhere, including in their own backyard. Though their community is relatively small, this church’s impact at home and abroad has been remarkably powerful. Continue reading

When Faith and Education Collide: Illinois Church Invests in Local School

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By Carl Stagner

Cannon Elementary School is exactly one mile from Community Church of God in Danville, Illinois. One mile was just too close to ignore the ten-mile long list of difficulties a school faces from year to year. A couple of years ago, the Holy Spirit placed a burden on the hearts of the missions team at Community to begin reaching out to the faculty, students, and staff of Cannon Elementary. Today, the school has come to recognize that if they are in need, the church is available. Now the church has discovered that the school is there for them, too. Continue reading

Arizona Church Reaches Out through Christ-Centered Yoga

By Emily Ploetz

“Peace be with you.” Peace may be a little word, but there is no word more freeing. Every morning, we burden ourselves with the weight of the world like the mythical Atlas. We would look for peace in the chaos of a busy life if we only had the time. Yet some of the most peaceful moments in life are when we are still—resting in the knowledge that the Lord is God. Mountain Park Community Church in Phoenix, Arizona, has created a time and space for a unique ministry that combines worship with a relaxing and renewing exercise: Christ-centered yoga. Continue reading

New York Church Outgrows Storefront, Dedicates New Sanctuary

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Photo: The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the dedication of the new sanctuary for the Church of God of East New York.

By Carl Stagner

The view from the corner of Sutter Avenue and Warwick is markedly different today than it was in 1965. Since 1965, the Church of God of East New York has exercised bold love in their neighborhood for the cause of Christ. They call this kind of ministry B.L.O.C.K., which stands for Boldly Loving Our Community with Kindness. After decades of exemplifying bold love, God has blessed this storefront church with a brand new sanctuary. Today, passersby can’t help but notice the new construction which, for them, represents renewed vitality and hope for a community that others have simply written off as a lost cause. Continue reading