Tag Archives: diversity

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

ONE Gives Students Glimpse of Heaven, Desire to Change the World Together

By Carl Stagner

Some had likely never worshiped in Spanish before. Others had probably never experienced firsthand the high-octane energy of urban gospel. History suggests that few had likely ever been in a setting where three cultures converged in the name of Christ. But that’s exactly what happened at the first-ever ONE event, which took place at Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis, Indiana, on April 21 and 22. The result was a glimpse of heaven and a renewed desire to change the world together. Continue reading

Mississippi Church Adapts to Cultural Shift to Reach Community

Photo: Pastor Trey locks hands and hearts with basketball ministry youth.

By Carl Stagner

The culture of your community has shifted over the past five, ten, perhaps twenty years. The shift may have been gradual, but somehow you feel blindsided. Your church probably has three choices: adapt with the culture, relocate to another culture, or continue a futile fight against it. Adapting to the culture doesn’t mean changing the message or compromising principles; only the methods change when Jesus is the subject. Crossroads of Life Church of God in Byram, Mississippi, had to make a decision as they watched their community’s culture shift dramatically, largely over the past decade alone. But they’ve chosen to stay put, and they’re certainly glad they did. Continue reading

Spanish-, English-Speaking Churches in Texas Become One

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Photo: Pastor Carlos Lamelas baptizing a believer on Feb. 5.

By Carl Stagner

Pastor Malcolm Tyree described it as a “Super Sunday,” but not because of a certain football game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. What happened on Sunday, February 5, at New Vida Church of God in Dallas, Texas, was nothing short of incredible, especially in light of all that had transpired over the past year. Eleven people were baptized, ranging in ages from six to sixty. Wonderful, sure. But not so uncommon. Uncommon was that these individuals represented multiple cultures originating from the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Cuba. Such celebration came on the heels of a year of transition which saw the finalization of the merger between a Spanish-speaking and an English-speaking congregation. But for New Vida Church of God—once New Life Fellowship and Iglesia de Dios Vida Abundante—this wasn’t the grand finale. This is just the beginning. Continue reading

From the Archives: Unity Demands Fellowship

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By James Earl Massey

[Be] eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. —Ephesians 4:3 RSV

Human contacts can at times be burdensome. Strained relations can happen in many ways: there is strain when our opinions clash, when our cultures differ, when our individual expectations are diverse, and when our personal interests are separate—and strong. Unless the spirit of community prevails in these times of strain, any oneness is thwarted. Unity is a divine gift, but we believers can experience that oneness only as we let it happen through open sharing with one another. 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

Women Senior Pastors Speak Out: An Interview

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By Carl Stagner

From the earliest days of the Church of God movement, women have skillfully served as senior pastors and evangelists. Church of God pioneers like Mary Cole and Lena Shoffner paved the way for more recent heroes of the faith, like the late Lillie McCutcheon (and countless others), who faithfully demonstrated by their gifts their divinely-called roles in the body of Christ. Today, women ministers in the Church of God are speaking out. Offering a glimpse into what it’s like to serve in the vastly male-dominated field of ministry leadership, the following women senior pastors responded to a series of questions in a recent interview with Church of God Ministries: Cheryl Sanders (Third Street Church of God, Washington, D.C.), Diana Swoope (Arlington Church of God, Akron, Ohio), Donna Rothenberger (Whole Life Community Church of God, El Cajon, California), Melissa Pratt (Teays Valley Church of God, Scott Depot, West Virginia), and Shannon New-Spangler (Harvest Point Church of God, Lordstown, Ohio). Continue reading

Oklahoma Church Breaks Down Barriers, Serves Community

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By Carl Stagner

In a society marked by division and discord, glimpses of unity refresh the soul like summertime rain on the desert Southwest. Unity experienced amid a diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and political landscape can ultimately only come from Jesus. It really should come as no surprise then that the Christian community would be one of the first groups to come together in Muskogee, Oklahoma. The subject of their experience together was Jesus. Barriers that used to divide have crumbled, and love entwines about each heart in which God’s will is done. Continue reading

Three Church Communities Join to Celebrate Freedom

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By Jill Carroll

One of the benefits of being a freelance writer for a major daily newspaper is that I get to meet ordinary people doing extraordinary things. This is true in nearly every area about which I write for the Houston Chronicle, which so far includes food, health, science, and religion. This past month I got an assignment from my editor to check out an interesting situation at an established Church of God community in northwest Houston. I had only the basic sketch of the story:  that a church had taken in a group of Arabic-speaking Christians, who were now running their own services at the church. I contacted the pastor, Rev. Don Bergstrom, and made arrangements to pay a visit to the First Church of God campus and to meet with him and a representative of the Arabic-speaking community. Continue reading