Tag Archives: Eric Livingston

A United Church for a Divided World: An Illinois Snapshot

gatheringplace_il_marriageretreat_forweb

Photo: Gathering Place Church of God marriage retreat.

By Carl Stagner

Remember that slogan? “A United Church for a Divided World.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? But it doesn’t have to be just a slogan, and it doesn’t have to only represent a theme of days gone by. For The Gathering Place Church of God in Fairview Heights, Illinois, it represents present reality. They’re the product of two churches coming together; that is, a predominantly black church and a predominantly white church. While the rest of the world is busy arguing over this, that, and the other, this unified church across the Mississippi River from St. Louis is preoccupied with communicating Jesus to a lost and hurting community. Continue reading

Partnership Plots New Course for Georgia Fellowship

georgiafellowship_campmeeting2016_leaders_forweb

Photo: Handel Smith, Joyce Smith, Jason McClendon, Jeff Robinson.

By Carl Stagner

Kingdom-focused ministries demonstrate a keen ability to look beyond their own plights, plans, and programs. They see God working out his big-picture plan on a much grander scale. Competition isn’t on their radar, and when another church or assembly needs a hand, they don’t hesitate to help. Sparse growth, little involvement with each other, and diminishing hope had characterized the Georgia Fellowship of the Church of God in recent years, but kingdom-focused ministries weren’t far away. Eager to see God on the move once again in the Peach State, Church of God Ministries, Florida Ministries, and Illinois Ministries have reached out with love, generosity, and a challenge to embrace a bold turnaround. Continue reading

From Prison to the Pulpit of a Growing Multicultural Church

First_CHOG_Congregation_Aurora_IL_FORWEB

Photo: Aurora First Church of God

By Carl Stagner

For a number of years, it appeared hell had laid claim to Manny Rivera’s life. But this man, created in the image of God, was reclaimed by Jesus Christ in 2006. Since then, God has increased the spiritual responsibility of this ex-con and former alcoholic. In addition to broken addictions and miraculous healings, the church he now pastors in Aurora, Illinois, has seen more than thirty people saved since Manny stepped up to the pulpit about a year-and-a-half ago. God is using this Church of God pastor in some incredible ways—ways that would have never come to pass had the bullet meant for his life actually taken it. Continue reading

The Camp Warren Strategy: Illinois CHOG Campground Celebrates Turnaround

Camp_Warren_Bible_student_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

Crumbling and outdated facilities, financial hurdles, and declining attendance have prompted many states and regions in the Church of God to sell their campgrounds. But not Illinois. In the face of such obstacles, a steadfast belief in the timeless vitality and relevance of church camping ministry led the General Assembly to commit to the revitalization Illinois’ Camp Warren. After years of investment, research, networking, strategic planning, promotion, hard labor, and plenty of setbacks, regional pastor Eric Livingston says 2016 is on target to be their best year yet. Continue reading