Tag Archives: Europe and the Middle East

Church of God in Bulgaria Celebrates 100 Years

By Kathy Rankin Simpson

Editor’s Note—Kathy and her husband Dave were missionaries in Bulgaria for ten years in the early 2000s.

As Dave and I depart for Bulgaria, we are so happy to be carrying a flash drive with a video greeting from the general director Jim Lyon and Church of God Ministries. The Bulgarians will be blessed to know that the 100th anniversary of the Church of God in Bulgaria is recognized by fellow believers so far away. To them it will be an affirmation of their worth and their place in the Movement. Continue reading

Healthy Steps Toward Becoming a Missionary

Nate and Stacy Tatman

By Nate Tatman

I have worked in the local church for the majority of my adult life. For the last eight to nine years, I have overseen global missions and local outreach. Through my experience as a missions pastor, I can honestly say I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to Christians who feel called into missions. Continue reading

Convention 2019 Honors Heroes, Launches Leaders

Paul Maxfield passes baton of leadership for Children of Promise to the Webbs.

By Carl Stagner

With the retirement of Servant Solutions’ Jeff Jenness and Children of Promise’s Paul Maxfield later this year, Convention 2019 was again an opportunity to celebrate the past. With the selection of new leaders to carry on the mantles of these ministries, and with the commissioning of missionaries Nate and Stacy Tatman, Convention 2019 also celebrated even more indications of a bright future for the Church of God. Special moments were set aside on the Convention 2019 and General Assembly schedule to mark these milestones. Continue reading

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

Upside-Down Kingdom: Insights and Updates from England

Community meal at Birkenhead Church of God.

By Zach and Audrey Langford

Birkenhead Church of God, like many of the churches in Europe, is reaching an increasingly secular and post-Christian society. “Be Known, Be Loved, Be Community” has become the church’s motto as we seek to engage people. We have been consistently met with hesitation and skepticism as we introduce ourselves to neighbors. Preconceived notions and barriers make relationship-building slow. Continue reading

Historical Account of Danish Missionary Captured in New Book

Morris C. Johnson

By Carl Stagner

Simon Jacobsen, a Christian historian and author from Denmark, has recently published a book capturing the history of one of the first two Church of God missionaries to Denmark, Morris C. Johnson. Two years after surrendering his life to Christ at the age of sixteen at a Church of God congregation in the United States, he accepted a call to missions. Since his grandfather had immigrated to the U.S. in 1872 from Denmark, Johnson vowed that he would return to the Scandinavian country of his ancestry. The influence of Johnson’s work, beginning in 1910, was thereafter extensive yet, until now, accounts of his impact for the Church of God—and the kingdom—have been scant, at best. Thanks to months of diligent research across national borders, through the Church of God Archives at Anderson University, and with Church of God Ministries, Simon Jacobsen has chronicled the unique story of Morris Johnson’s life—one of drama, adventure, conflict, and Spirit-fueled perseverance. Continue reading

A Visit with the Church of God in Hungary

Joe Cookston (far left) prays at the commissioning of the plant.

By Carl Stagner

Joe Cookston has worn a variety of hats in the Church of God in his lifetime of ministry. Currently he’s most well-known across the Movement for his leadership of CARE—the Clergy Advocacy and Resource Effort. But he’s also served faithfully in a number of important areas, including the local church. One role may not be as familiar to many in the Movement, and that is the position he holds as nonresident board member for the Church of God Hungary. In August and September, Joe and his wife Merry visited Hungary, a place that has become quite familiar and beloved by the ministry duo. Joe and Merry have since returned from the encouraging experience, blessed to report on the opportunities God is opening up in the Eastern European nation. Continue reading

New Initiative Invests in Young Pastors, Church Planters Across Europe

First meeting of Europe X in Budapest, Hungary.

By Carl Stagner

Ministry in Europe and the Middle East looks very little like ministry in other parts of the world. While churches in parts of the world preach and teach the message of Jesus in cultures already somewhat receptive to Christianity, the experience of pastors and church leaders in countries like France and Spain can be drastically different, difficult, and confounding. As a result, limited support structures have existed in recent generations to encourage and equip young men and women called into ministry. To come alongside these developing leaders, the Church of God in twelve countries came together to launch the Three World Leadership Network (3WLN). Since then, Church of God missionaries and young leaders have made strides toward revitalization of the church through partnership, awareness, networking, and encouragement. Earlier this year, they took the next step to invest specifically in young pastors and church planters passionate about multiplication in the midst of a challenging post-Christendom reality. Continue reading

Experiencing Egypt for the First Time

A camel ride was just one of those unique Egypt experiences!

By Kara Woolsey

Ever since Muren Church of God in Winslow, Indiana, first partnered with Ken and Keli Oldham, Church of God pastors to the Middle East, the idea of a short-term trip had been tossed around. But what would it look like? And would it be worth it? Continue reading

Young Leaders Answer the Call in Italy

Nick and Suellen Lovaglio

By Patrick Nachtigall

One of the great thrills of working in the Europe-Middle East Church of God is seeing how many young leaders are emerging that are committed to stay with the Church of God in the future. Though the Three Worlds Leadership Network (3WLN), young pastors and others between the ages of twenty and forty-five who are working for the church can stay in contact with each other, do ministry together, and be a source of encouragement and synergy. At our latest 3WLN, our newest pastor couple were Nick and Suellen Lovaglio, who have answered the call together to ministry in Treviso, Italy. Continue reading

Paris, France: Revolutionary Ministry Celebrates First Anniversary

@home Church’s first anniversary celebration.

By Patrick Nachtigall

When Samir Salibi moved to Paris, France, as a twelve-year-old, non-Christian immigrant from Lebanon, little did he know that one day, two decades later, he would be coming to the rescue of many migrants and displaced people himself. But that is exactly what happened, and on December 2, members of the Three Worlds missionary team of the Church of God in Europe and the Middle East were in Paris to celebrate the first anniversary of this revolutionary new ministry. Continue reading

God is On the Move in Egypt

Jim Lyon speaks to leaders in Egypt.

By Ken Oldham

The birth of the Protestant Reformation is attributed to Martin Luther nailing his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church (Germany) on October 31, 1517. All across the region, this 500th anniversary has been remembered, and the evangelical churches in Egypt began planning months ago to have a special event of their own, encouraging each church group to seek international guests to join the celebration. The Church of God in Egypt was delighted to have Global Strategy regional coordinator Patrick Nachtigall, U.S.-Canada general director Jim Lyon, and Pastor Marcus Archer of Crosspoint Church (Natchez, Mississippi) accept their invitation to join the celebration, November 17–19, in Cairo. Continue reading

Refugees Find Community through the Church of God in Germany

Ken & Keli with extended family of John & Rhonda in their home.

Over the last couple years, the Church of God Disaster Relief fund has provided matching funds to the German national church to support strategic refugee initiatives launched by local German congregations in response to the refugee crisis there. At the invitation and hospitality of the German Church of God, Ken and Keli Oldham (Global Strategy) were able to follow up with a few of these ministries this summer. They witnessed the German church developing significant relationships with refugees as they have sought not just to serve their needs, but to include them into their fellowships. Continue reading

A Glimmer of Hope in the United Kingdom

By Carl Stagner

Hope is at a premium in the United Kingdom. Recent terrorist attacks have ignited fears among many, but desperate poverty has been widespread in parts of the country for years. The city of Birkenhead, 227 miles northwest of London, exemplifies a post-Christian culture where the traditional role of church in society seems to have disappeared. Though just across the river sits the affluent city of Liverpool, Birkenhead faces all the usual struggles of a city stigmatized by economic decline and rampant unemployment. In the midst of this dark environment, Egan Road Church of God has been a constant glimmer of hope for ninety years. Today, Global Strategy missionaries Zach and Audrey Langford lead the congregation, now positioned to reach the community—including, and especially, the younger generation. Continue reading

Gathering Connects, Trains Young Leaders Across Europe, Middle East

Photo: Multinational prayer at the gathering.

By Carl Stagner

Across much of Europe and the Middle East, evangelical Christians compose only 0.25 to 4 percent of the population. While young Christians in North American have been given the opportunity to experience worship and fellowship with thousands of other believers—such as IYC—many Christians across European and Middle Eastern countries have never been in the same room with more than a dozen young adults who share their faith. The presence, support, and comradery of other believers is often a breath of fresh air among those for whom isolation is the norm. The second gathering of the Three Worlds Leadership Network commenced in beautiful Switzerland in early May this year, bringing with it that much-needed breath of fresh air. Continue reading