Tag Archives: Europe and the Middle East

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

Combined Efforts Lead Egypt Church Out from Under Rickety Rooftop

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Photo: The El Dara congregation crowded into their old building.

By Carl Stagner

Things are changing for the better in Egypt. Recent legislation has relaxed laws that formerly constricted the ability of churches to build or renovate. The only legal religions in Egypt—Islam, Judaism, and Christianity—maintain a unique coexistence, even as only 10 percent of the country profess Christ. Intending to promote peace among all three, the government made a practice of assessing the majority population in the area surrounding a building project of a religious entity—would such a building bring conflict or disrupt the peace in any way? Now that regulative barriers have been removed, the Church of God in Egypt is hopeful that much-needed renovation can take place with several church facilities, and that multiplication can take place with future church planting. Continue reading

Church of God in Canada, Germany Partner to Help Refugees

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Photo: Cultural differences fade when Christ is in view.

By Audrey Weiger

“You fear that which you do not know.” —Martin Luther King Jr.

The Three Worlds team in Europe and the Middle East entered into a partnership to help German Church of God congregations ministering to refugees. They brainstormed ways to make this partnership happen and decided to connect Glamorgan Church of God in Calgary, Canada, to the Bad Segeberg Church of God in Bad Segeberg, Germany.

Standing there nervously at the airport, not sure what to expect, I waited. Texts were flying back and forth—it felt a bit like I was meeting a blind date. But really I was waiting on the ministry group to arrive from Calgary, Canada. Continue reading

A Bold Move in the United Kingdom

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Photo: Zach and Audrey Lanford with the Egan Road youth.

By Zach and Audrey Langford

As most of you know, we work in a very difficult, post-Christendom context where very few choose to go to church or even know about Jesus. Our neighborhood in Birkenhead has just over 15,000 people and only four evangelical churches—each with about twenty people and no youth. The exception is our church, Egan Road, where we have very few adults, but a consistent and growing fellowship of children, youth, and young adults. Continue reading

The Italian Connection: Church of God Developments in Northern Italy

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Photo: 70+ youth attended a recent event in Arco, Italy.

By Christy Kihm

The Church of God in northern Italy in many ways is a miracle. In a region where evangelical Christianity is an unpopular minority religion, the two Church of God congregations are drawing dozens of young people to their doors. You may hear dozens and lose interest. But in Europe and the Middle East now, the average size of a church can be twenty. And the average age of those twenty people could be fifty or higher. So dozens of youth who are desiring to be disciple is a very big deal. Continue reading

Churches in Europe Taking Risks

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Photo: Ostia Church of God in worship.

By Patrick Nachtigall

Can they inspire North American Churches?

A massive refugee crisis, an aging population, economic challenges, and political upheaval are hitting Europe all at the same time. The world does not stay the same. Consequently, the churches that can survive and even flourish are those that are willing to change, take risks, and use crisis to create opportunity. Continue reading

Disaster Relief: Europe’s Refugee Crisis

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By Stephen Lewis

Around our world today, 1 in every 122 humans is either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. It may well be the greatest humanitarian crisis that the world has seen. The conflict in Syria alone has displaced 12,000,000 people, half of whom are children. Of these, 7,600,000 are displaced within Syria; more than 1,000,000 are in camps in Turkey; another 1,000,000 are in camps in Lebanon; and nearly 1,000,000 have made their way to Europe. Continue reading