Tag Archives: fellowship

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

The Church of God in the U.S. Celebrates Thanksgiving

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Photo: Turkey giveaway at Jubilee Christian Church, Boston, MA (courtesy jubileeboston.org).

By Carl Stagner

In the Church of God in the United States, Thursday, November 24, 2016, will not just be another day to stay home from work. While many must clock in on Thanksgiving Day, others who don’t have to are choosing not to sleep in, kick back on the sofa, and watch football all day. Instead, they’re choosing to give back. Ephesians 2:10 is written on the tablet of their hearts, and their appetite for serving others is greater than their appetite for turkey and all the trimmings. They understand that thankfulness and giving go hand-in-hand, and that such values must not be restricted to the fourth Thursday in November. Nevertheless, in worship, in teaching, in good works, and in fellowship, the Church of God loves to celebrate Thanksgiving. Continue reading

Virginia Takes Steps to Address Pastoral Health and Excellence

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By Carl Stagner

Pastors, you are not alone. Across the country, in your state, and likely even in your community there are other men and women called to preach the gospel just like you. They spend countless hours in study, sermon prep, visitation, counseling, event planning, fundraising, and cleaning the bathrooms, too. Like you, they shepherd a flock with its beauty and its imperfections. So why do so many pastors go it alone? In the Church of God, state assemblies and regions have discovered the power of SHAPE—Sustaining Health and Pastoral Excellence—to bring pastors together in fellowship, networking, and accountability. About twenty state or regional assemblies have been encouraged by the impact of SHAPE on their pastors and, by extension, their congregations. Now SHAPE is on the move, and its destination is Virginia. Continue reading

Not Just a Fifth Sunday Thing

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By Carl Stagner

They only come around about four times each year, but when they do come, you can be sure there’s a church somewhere planning something special. In the southwest corner of Missouri, you’ll find four Church of God congregations that use these extra Sundays as an excuse to get together—not that they need such an excuse! First Church of God (Granby), Scotland (Carthage), Grand Avenue (Carthage), and Southside Community (Joplin) place great value in the fellowship of the saints. For these churches, getting together on a regular basis reminds them that they are not alone in ministry, inspires them to keep pressing on, allows them to worship together in unity, and offers them the opportunity to celebrate what God is accomplishing among them. Continue reading

The More We Get Together: Gospel Music Unity Services Spread

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By Carl Stagner

Unity services are not altogether a relic of the past. In recent years, more churches are discovering they can do more together than apart. Some are coming together for fellowship and worship; others are realizing the greater impact of joint service projects in their communities. Ultimately what brings them together isn’t the point; the fact that they are getting together reflects a foundational oneness of the body of Christ that can’t be divided by distance, cultural chasm, or generational gap. The love of the Lord and good old gospel music are bringing congregations from several Midwest states together for times of spiritual refreshment and revival. Continue reading