Tag Archives: Emily Ploetz

Freeway Forces AZ Church Relocation, Opens Doors of Opportunity

Carrying the cross from the old property to the new.

By Emily Ploetz

Looming highway construction, a church situated in its projected path, and a ticking countdown to a deadline. A greater, divine plan might be hard to imagine. But such a plan had been in the works for years, and when the time finally came, Mountain Park Community Church of God in Phoenix, Arizona, knew they had quite a task on their hands. The church was built back in 1997 and, even at that time, the church was informed that plans to build a freeway through the area were being discussed, but that no action would be taken for years. It did take many years but, in 2015, everything had been decided. ADOT, the Arizona Department of Transportation, confirmed the $1.9-billion project to build a twenty-two-mile extension of Loop 202 from Interstate 10 through the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, including the property on which the church was currently located. Mountain Park Community Church was given a two-year deadline to find land, design, and build a new church building. Continue reading

Children of Promise Celebrates 25 Years of Hope

Photo: Children of Promise blessings in Tanzania.

By Emily Ploetz

Bishu was a young boy who lived with his family in the remote rice fields of eastern India, in a state called Odisha. His family worked alongside many other families from sunrise to sunset in the rice fields, earning only thirty to forty cents per day. Somehow, Bishu’s family went into debt to the landowner. This put the landowner in control of their home and ultimately, their lives. The only way the family could pay back the landowner was to sell Bishu as a slave. Paul Maxfield, director of Children of Promise, was traveling in Bishu’s village in 2010 and heard about his story when he did not show up for a scheduled interview. After many prayers and hard work with local volunteers, Bishu was released from slavery. Three years later, Paul had the chance to talk with Bishu. He asked him, “What is the most important thing that has happened in your life?” To this day, Paul has never forgotten Bishu’s answer: “The day Children of Promise rescued me.” Continue reading

A Shelter in the Desert: Arizona’s Mission to Navajos

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Photo: Inside Klagetoh Shelter Mission Church of God.

By Emily Ploetz

Out in the remote, high desert of Arizona is a place of worship that has served the community on the Navajo reservation for many years. The Church of God outreach, Klagetoh Shelter Mission, is a guiding light for believers of all generations of local Native Americans. Pastor Ron Woodman has been involved in ministry for over forty years, and officially became the pastor at Klagetoh Shelter Mission in 1992. Since his ordination in Phoenix in 1973, he has been serving people living on the reservation through numerous ministries helping to speak truth and love into sometimes desperate situations. Continue reading

Baltimore Church to Reclaim, Revitalize Urban Neighborhood

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Photo: A game of basketball in the Franklin Square neighborhood.

By Emily Ploetz

West Baltimore—one of the lowest socioeconomic areas in the state of Maryland. Over 84 percent of Baltimore city residents qualify for free or reduced lunches. This area is also close to the violence and unrest that made headlines in 2015. All of these hardships from the past continue to affect residents in the present, but there is a resiliency that is carrying the community to a brighter future. In January 2016, the nonprofit community development corporation, known as Operation Win in Life CDC, was launched. This program came from a dire urge to fight back against past struggles and enhance the quality of living for the people in West Baltimore, focusing specifically on the square block area surrounding Celebration Church at Monroe Street. Continue reading

Illinois Church Prioritizes the Lost, Celebrates Revival

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Photo: First Church of God (Hoopeston, IL)

By Emily Ploetz

One of the most recognizable signs of life is growth. Growth indicates inner strength, stability, and maturity. As a parent wishes for his or her child to grow up big and strong, we as Christians should long for our churches to be growing, healthy ministries. Though this longing for growth may be fervent, growth in a church is often easier said than done. In 2011, Church of God Ministries celebrated the tremendous growth of Hoopeston First Church of God in Hoopeston, Illinois. In the past five years, 250 baptisms have taken place! As astounding as this is, Pastor Micah Mobley says they’re not done yet. Continue reading

Do Something: Putting Faith into Action in St. Joseph, Michigan

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By Emily Ploetz

Action. This small word can be strongly defined as “an exertion of power or force” on Dictionary.com. There is no greater example of the kind of action that God calls us to than the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Neither of the religious leaders were willing to exert any energy into helping the beaten man. But a Samaritan exerted as much power as he could to help a complete stranger. How many times does the church walk past those who are hurting and only pray that things will get better? As the hands and feet of Jesus, there is incalculable potential to do something.

A few years ago, leaders from First Church of God in St. Joseph, Michigan, traveled to California to listen to Pastor Miles McPherson, author of the book Do Something! Make Your Life Count. This book is about how important it is for the church to be the hands and feet of Jesus and reach out into the community. Pastor David Colp, and Chris Britton, the missional outreach director, were both inspired by this book, and decided to make change a reality in their community. Continue reading

Farmington Hills: Multiple Cultures Serving One God

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By Emily Ploetz

God. Dios. Gott. It does not matter what language or tongue is used to call on the name of the Lord, because he is still the same. In a world where accents, clothing, and skin color are used to divide those whom God created, there are still people willing to come together in unity to serve the God they love. Take for instance the Farmington Hills Church of God located in southeast Michigan in a suburb of Detroit. This area has been witness to an ever-changing population due to the many industries around it. Farmington Hills was created from a merger between a Greek church and a Caucasian church in the 1970s. In the late 1980s, Farmington Hills hired a German Canadian pastor who served the church for twenty-five years. This may sound like a pretty unique background for a church to have, but no one could have predicted how God would bring people together through this church. Continue reading