Back-to-school haircut at Bedford First Church of God.
By Carl Stagner
Teachers making final preparations for their classes, students dreading the end of summer, parents adjusting to new routines, and school buses on the streets again (drivers, be careful!)—it can only mean one thing: it’s that time of year again! School is back in session or will begin again soon across much of the country, signaling a community-wide shift from one season to the next. Sometimes that shift can be anything but smooth for families, just as it can be for teachers, administrators, and staff. We celebrate the Church of God congregations across the country that recognize the need and do what they can to meet the need. School supply drives, special prayer gatherings, and “back-to-school bashes” are just a few of the ways numerous congregations are coming alongside schools and families as the fall semester dawns. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Give Life
Tagged Arizona, AZ, Back to School, Back to School bash, Bedford, Bedford First Church of God, Clayton, Clio, community, Community Church of God, creative, Dayton, education, faculty, families, family, Greg Battle, haircuts, Hopeland Church, IN, Indiana, innovative, MI, Michigan, Mountain Park Church, Mountain Park Community Church, OH, Ohio, outreach, Pendleton, Pendleton Community Church of God, Phoenix, prayer, Ryan Kellam, Salem Church of God, school, schools, service projects, summer, supplies, teachers, vacation
Salem Church disaster relief team removing debris from yard.
By Carl Stagner
Memorial Day weekend wasn’t all barbecues and sunshine across the Midwest. Especially from central Indiana to the Dayton, Ohio, area, festivities were cut short on May 27 due to an outbreak of tornadoes, the likes of which most residents had never seen. More than a dozen tornadoes touched down between the state line and the Interstate 75-Interstate 70 interchange, with winds up to 170 miles per hour in the worst twisters, one of which was a half-mile wide. To make matters worse, these storms came after dark and hit many low-income neighborhoods the hardest. Without hesitation, the Church of God sprang into action, offering assistance wherever it was needed. Even since the newness of the tragic events has worn off and the national spotlight on Dayton has dimmed, congregations like Salem and Hopeland continue to distribute helping hands, supplies, and love in the wake of disaster. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Disaster Relief, Give Life, Great Lakes
Tagged aid, Clayton, community service, Dayton, Hopeland, Hopeland Church, humanitarian, Jessica Hayes, Joel Burton, Kyle Hayes, love, OH, Ohio, outreach, Salem Church of God, service project, service projects, severe weather, storm, storm damage, tornado, tornadoes, Vacation Bible School, VBS
Dayton-area home damaged by tornado (photo courtesy Chris Hall).
By Carl Stagner
UPDATE, as of May 31, 11:15 AM EDT: As floodwaters continue to devastate parts of Oklahoma, Church of God Ministries has authorized $5,000 in relief funds to be sent to aid relief efforts in coordination with Crossings Community Church (Oklahoma City) and First Church of God (Nowata, Oklahoma). Wendell Abbott, pastor in Nowata, reports that the need is great and most homeowners do not have flood insurance. The emergency manager for the county is also a part of the Nowata congregation and the church has become a staging facility for the Red Cross. In Muskogee, also inundated, Pastor Gary Underwood of Eastside Community Church is helping flood victims in a variety of ways, including gathering hay for farm animals. While the story continues to develop, we rejoice that great things are happening through the Church of God in Oklahoma in the name of Jesus! To continue to distribute disaster relief funds, we need your financial support: www.jesusisthesubject.org/disaster-relief.
UPDATE, as of May 30, 3:55 PM EDT: Kevin Clouse, of Oklahoma Church of God Ministries, has reported that no Church of God buildings have been damaged from recent storms and flooding. One pastor’s rented house sustained some roof damage, and some churches are hard to reach due to flooded roads. Of course, numerous homes and churches beyond the Movement have been damaged or destroyed, and we continue to lift in prayer those affected, including Church of God congregations engaging in relief efforts for their communities.
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT: It’s been a rough few weeks from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania and states in between. While weather records reveal an average of 276 tornadoes nationwide during the month of May, as of May 29, more than 460 tornadoes had been reported. While much of the media has focused its attention on the dramatic destruction of structures due to recent tornadic activity, parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri remain underwater. Church of God congregations near and far from the affected regions have already mobilized work teams, supply drives, and represented Jesus in tangible ways, but there is so much more to be done. Church of God Disaster Relief continues to gather information and determine the scope of the affect of such severe weather on our churches and congregants. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Disaster Relief, Give Life
Tagged aid, assistance, community, Craig, Dayton, Disaster Relief, Disaster Relief Team, DRC, flood, flooding, floods, Gary Underwood, Give Life, help, humanitarian, IN, Indiana, Jefferson City, Jesus B., JesusB, John Johnson, Kansas, Kentucky, KS, KY, Midwest, Missouri, MO, Muskogee, OH, Ohio, OK, Oklahoma, outreach, PA, Pendleton, Pennsylvania, relief, severe, storm, tornado, tornadoes, volunteer, weather
By Kyle Hayes
When we finalized the plans to join other Church of God leaders on a “vision” trip to visit Mike and Heather Webb last year, I was excited. But I was also completely unaware of how transformational the trip could be. Though my wife and I had traveled internationally, we had never been on the African continent. We were very much in over our heads. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Global Strategy
Tagged Africa, Clayton, cross-cultural, Dayton, Global Strategy, international, Kyle Hayes, Mike and Heather Webb, mission trip, missions, Ohio, Salem Church of God, Tanzania, vision trip, Webbs
Photo: Sketchnote of Arnetta McNeese Bailey’s message.
By Carl Stagner
No, the speakers weren’t boring, and the times of worship were anything but a snooze. Still, while others were obviously listening intently to the teaching and preaching of God’s Word, one glance at Joe Watkins would reveal a head down, pen and sketch pad in hand, and then—double-take—is he drawing cartoons? How disrespectful! Is that guy paying any attention to the important things these men and women are saying? In fact, yes. Perhaps even more closely than others. The pastor of New Hope Community Church of God in Dayton, Ohio, has adapted a note-taking strategy that helps him best remember and process information. Not only does sketchnoting serve him well in sermon prep and delivery at New Hope, but it also proved beneficial to many others who also seemed to not be paying attention to the sermons, but really were—those who were live-tweeting, Instagramming, and Facebooking through the Regional Convention in Anderson, Indiana. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Great Lakes
Tagged Anderson, Dayton, doodling, drawing, illustrations, Joe Watkins, New Hope Community Church, note-taking, Ohio, Reclaim 2016, regional convention, sketch note, sketchnotes, sketchnoting
Photo: Ian Kallay pausing for a picture along his incredible journey.
By Wright State University Athletic Media Relations
Wright State University [Dayton, Ohio] cross country runner Ian Kallay spent his summer vacation biking across America to raise funds and awareness of human trafficking.
First, tell us about yourself, like where you are from, what your major is, etc.
I am originally from Painesville, Ohio where I attended Riverside High School. Just after turning twenty years old, I received my undergraduate degree in marketing from Wright State’s Raj Soin College of Business. Currently, I am in the process of working towards my master’s in engineering innovation and entrepreneurship while working a graduate research assistantship at Wright State’s Research Institute. I am a member of Wright State’s cross country and track team, as well. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, CHOG TraffickLight
Tagged awareness, bicycle, bike, biking, Dayton, Donna Cox, human trafficking, Ian Kallay, Ohio, One Heart, OneHeart, sex trafficking, slavery, Wright State University
By Donna Cox
One night on an outreach, as we were serving plates of food, a young woman stopped eating, put her head down on the counter, and started weeping uncontrollably. I sat beside her as a gift of a praying presence until, between her sobs, she found her words. Brenda’s* story began to unfold.
Brenda had been evicted from her apartment. Her mother had taken the car she was living in, and both her mother and grandmother are addicted to drugs and prostitute themselves. She is providing for her two-year-old son, and she is pregnant. At twenty-one years old, Brenda found out she was pregnant a second time, shortly after the delivery of her first child. Her mother paid for her to have an abortion. Now pregnant a third time, Brenda was considering a second abortion at the insistence of the baby’s father. She had just shared that she was pregnant with him and “he said she was an inconvenience.” Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, CHOG TraffickLight
Tagged CHOG, Dayton, Donna Cox, Ohio, One Heart, OneHeart, rescue, restore, sex trafficking, TraffickLight
Editors note: From time to time we receive personal stories of God’s amazing love and redemption. We’d like to share this one with you.
By Dean Smith
As a child I could expect to get a whipping nearly every Sunday, though we were beaten almost daily for one reason or another. I would sit on the back porch that my father had built and cry. Sometimes my mother would come out the back door and look at me crying because I could not attend church; she would slap or hit me with whatever she had in her hand all while saying, “Shut up, I’ll give you sumthin’ to cry fo’. Continue reading