Tag Archives: culture

Convention 2019 Speaker Fosters Refuge and Redemption in France

Samir Salibi with wife Joanna, sons Maxim and Liam.

By Carl Stagner

The Church of God in Paris, France, is relatively new. It wasn’t until 1989 that the Church of God came to Paris, and not by way of the Church of God in the United States and Canada. The Church of God in Lebanon planted the Church of God in Paris. So when the refugee crisis of 2015 resulted in more than a million Middle Eastern refugees arriving in Europe, the Church of God in Paris was uniquely qualified to respond. Samir Salibi, leader of the Church of God ministry in Paris known as @home, was once an immigrant, himself, also from Lebanon. As you might imagine, the Church of God is especially looking forward to what God has placed on his heart for Convention 2019 & General Assembly. Continue reading

Mile-High Mission: Colorado Church Communicates Christ Amid Confusion

Cloverdale Church being the hands and feet of Christ.

By Carl Stagner

Like the day which saw an altar inscribed with the words, “To the unknown god” (Acts 17:23), there is today much confusion about the one true God. While an increasingly diverse religious landscape takes shape across North America, areas more visibly closed to the traditional Christian church demand our attention—not because cultural Christianity is on the decline, but because some methods of ministry may no longer be effective. The contrast may be greater for those who grew up in, but no longer live in, parts of the country where a traditional form of Christianity is still reflected in the culture. When Mike Hooven left Indianapolis, Indiana, to pastor a church in the greater Denver, Colorado, area, he encountered a culture characterized by widespread “religion” and “spirituality,” but with less widespread signs of Jesus. Continue reading

CHOG Congregations Celebrate Black History Month

Church of God of East New York dressed for Black History Month.

By Carl Stagner

Cultural traditions and observances have long been a part of the church calendar. While they don’t demand acknowledgement in worship settings, they’ve been used effectively to establish connections between Christ and community, and between the present-day congregation and faithful servants of the past. From “Souper Bowl” Sunday to fall (Halloween?) festivals, from Labor Day picnics to celebrations of God and country (Independence Day), celebrations of otherwise secular occasions are often used by the church to reach neighbors, encourage fellowship, and/or put into practice biblical values. Each February, numerous Church of God congregations celebrate Black History Month and, in so doing, build bridges between church and society, often shining a light on topics sometimes overlooked or ignored by popular culture. Three Church of God congregations in the Northeast offer a snapshot of Black History Month in the Movement. Continue reading

Learning Curves in Botswana

Long lines form outside ATMs in Botswana.

By Tim and Joy Coppess

We have encountered several learning curves in adapting to our new home. Our role in this first year is to build relationships and begin learning the language (Setswana) and culture of Botswana. Since people are drawn to their mother tongue, this focus will help us more effectively carry out our assignment of facilitating discipleship and leadership development. Continue reading

D.C.-Area Church to Host Fourth Regional Amid Incredible International Impact

Fairfax Community Church baptism celebration.

By Carl Stagner

On September 18 and 19, Fairfax Community Church in Fairfax, Virginia, will host the fourth Church of God Regional Convention of the year. Though they look forward to this opportunity to welcome a cross-section of the Movement to their campus, their day-to-day ministry will not come to a halt. At any given moment, life-giving ministry is made possible somewhere in the world because of this congregation. Their work with refugees at home and abroad, the twenty churches they’ve planted or restarted across the globe, and their bold neighborhood-by-neighborhood reclamation in and around the nation’s capital, are only three of numerous areas of incredible impact. Convention-goers will be inspired to see and hear more of Fairfax’s story in person with their stellar staff, but a recent interview with Pastor Rod Stafford offers the entire Movement a glimpse of just how they give life to their city, state, country, and world. Continue reading

Warner Pacific Featured in Book Exploring Diversity in Christian Higher Ed

The book, Diversity Matters: Race, Ethnicity, and the Future of Christian Higher Education was published on August 8, 2017, and explores the unique need for diversity in Christian universities and colleges. The book begins with various universities and colleges that have made diversity a goal and priority. Among these is Warner Pacific College, the Church of God college in Portland, Oregon. Continue reading

Church of God at Front Lines of Societal Transformation

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By Carl Stagner

The world is hungry. Starving, in fact. Decades of devolution into trite programs and a focus on religious rituals have often offered only gristle in lieu of hearty spiritual meat. Regardless of cultural background, people today are craving convictions that lead to meaningful action. They’re searching for answers amid a smorgasbord of platitudes and pretense. But at the forefront of change is the Church of God movement, revitalized by a bright new day of reclaiming what hell has stolen and changing the world by making Jesus the subject. Such theology really isn’t new; it’s New Testament, and it’s leading Church of God ministers and ministries to lock arms with like-minded brothers and sisters in spite of what name may be over the door of the church they attend. A new book edited by Barry Callen celebrates the multitude of faith groups connected by their Wesleyan roots which, through their distinct voices united under Christ, are living out common-held truths and transforming society. Continue reading

MACU Holds Celebration of Culture, Highlights Hispanic-Latino Community

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Photo: Cultural attire enhanced the celebration.

By Whitney Knight

Last weekend, Mid-America Christian University held its semi-annual Celebration of Culture event, highlighting Latino-Hispanic heritage with a weekend of festivities and service projects. Beginning at 10 AM on October 7, students and community members were addressed in the university chapel by local leaders like Josue Chavez of the Oklahoma City Family Church and Rev. Mark Inscoe, a teacher from Capitol Hill High School. After chapel services concluded around 11:30 AM, an inspired Latino-Hispanic lunch highlighted with traditional fare such as quesadillas, enchiladas, tres leches cake and Mexican street corn. Traditional dancers provided entertainment. Continue reading

Outside City Limits: Muddy Ministry in Monterey, Louisiana

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Photo: Pastor Joey celebrates first baptism at the lake.

By Carl Stagner

When doing ministry in the sparsely populated countryside of Louisiana, one comes to an inescapable conclusion: life…happens…slooooowly. Not that everyone speaks at the rate of Mountain Man (fans of the state’s famed Duck Dynasty television show will understand); rather, the pace of everyday activities seems to take on a refreshing calm. Ask Joey Pepmiller, pastor of Eva Church of God in the unincorporated community known as Monterey. Joey knows the blessings and challenges posed by this relaxed atmosphere. While some readers might panic that the closest Walmart is forty minutes away, these down-to-earth folks take it all in stride. Though large churches often garner the most press, the smaller, rural churches are also making an indelible mark on the kingdom. Amid the cultural nuances, God is up to something big at Eva Church of God. Continue reading

Reclaiming Rural America for Christ: CrossRoads Harrison, Arkansas

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Photo: Pastor Johnny Walters preaches.

By Carl Stagner

“This is rural America, where one rite of passage is hunting. Here, you don’t miss opening day of deer, turkey, or duck season!” Pastor Johnny Walters tells it like it is when it comes to doing ministry down in the Ozarks of northern Arkansas. Once part of a family music show in tourist-hot-spot Branson, Missouri, Pastor Johnny’s primary focus is now providing a safe place for broken people to find refuge and restoration in Jesus’ name. Though comprised of just seven members when Johnny began caring for the CrossRoads Community Church of God flock, about one thousand now call the thriving Harrison, Arkansas, church their home. Continue reading