Tag Archives: financial

A Tale of Two Extremes: Flooding, Drought Devastate Malawi, Zambia

Residents move to higher ground due to rising floodwaters in Malawi.

By Carl Stagner

A crisis of biblical proportions is ongoing in southern Africa, especially the countries of Malawi and Zambia. Lives have been lost. Storms have collapsed homes belonging to Children of Promise-sponsored children. Flooding has destroyed homes belonging to Church of God pastors and laypeople. Church buildings and facilities have been washed away. Crops—representing the livelihood of countless individuals—have been decimated by rising floodwaters in some areas, while catastrophic drought has rendered other fields worthless. Overall, thousands of Church of God people, and hundreds of thousands of people beyond the movement, have been affected by these atmospheric extremes. Church of God Ministries is sending initial funds to the Church of God in Malawi and Zambia, but so much more is needed. Continue reading

President of Servant Solutions to Retire, New President Sought

Jeff Jenness to retire at close of 2019.

Editor’s note—On January 28, 2019, Jeff Jenness announced his plans for retirement from his twenty-six year post as president of Servant Solutions. A letter from Jeff to the Church of God movement follows, as does a letter from board chair, Merv Bennett, about the search process for the next president of Servant Solutions:

Dear friends throughout the church,

I have had the rich privilege of serving the Church of God and the broader church for the last twenty-six years. There are simply no words that I can capture to express the joy I have received in doing this work of “improving financial security for servants of the church” through Servant Solutions. Over these years I have been privileged to intersect with countless church pastors and leaders, agencies of the Church of God, local church elders and boards, Christian higher education institutions, and many parachurch ministries. I have been enriched in ways so much greater than what I have given. Continue reading

Congregations Take Advantage of Free Tax Resources

New e-books offered through ChurchEXCEL.

By Carl Stagner

In case you haven’t been following the news, a variety of changes to tax law in the United States went into effect last year. The resulting impact on Church of God ministers and congregations must not be ignored. Pastor, are you aware of how the legislation effects minister’s taxes? Has your church accountant considered the tax law changes and what they mean for IRS reporting? Thanks to Church of God Ministries’ partnership with ECFA through ChurchEXCEL, Church of God congregations are already taking advantage of online access to everything you need to know about minister’s taxes and church reporting—absolutely free. Continue reading

Lilly Endowment Awards Church of God Ministries Grant for CARE 2.0

By Carl Stagner

Earlier this year, Church of God Ministries was invited by Lilly Endowment to apply for a grant to extend the fruitful ministry of CARE—Clergy Advocacy and Resource Effort. The week of Thanksgiving brought with it news that a $500,000 grant has been awarded to carry on the program until at least 2021. No longer an initiative, the program known as CARE has been so well received by the Church of God movement that the goal is to sustain the work indefinitely. CARE 2.0 will bring with it continued engagement of pastors and congregational boards in pastoral retirement assistance and educational debt relief that have become synonymous with the program since it began in early 2016. Continue reading

Servant Solutions: Seven Decades of Dedication to the Movement

Servant Solutions staff meeting.

By Carl Stagner

In 1949, what was once strictly a retirement program for ministers of the Church of God came into being. Not everyone was ready for such a program, however, as a few questioned the lack of faith in God’s provision that allegedly accompanied enrollment. Received initially with mistrust, Servant Solutions has since become one of the most trusted partners of the Movement. With time, training, and technology, the former Board of Pensions of the Church of God has morphed into the holistic ministry of “improving financial security for servants of the church.” As Servant Solutions nears its seventy-year mark in ministry, it’s clear that the endorsed agency of the Church of God looks very little like it did at the beginning. But that’s more than okay with our pastors and their families, our missionaries, our local churches, and our educators. They’ve been unleashed to do what God has called them to do, more confident than ever in the expertise and faithfulness of today’s Servant Solutions. Continue reading

A Year of Living with Less: Ohio Pastor’s Family Accepts Radical Challenge

The Deeter family.

By Carl Stagner

No more trinkets or toys. No more new clothes or that pair of shoes you’ve just got to have. No more DVDs, home décor, or kitchen appliances—even if they’re on sale! Absolutely no more trips to the department store or the mall simply to browse the selection—that would be too tempting. Josh Deeter, pastor of First Church of God in Tallmadge, Ohio, and his wife Emily, accepted the challenge early this year to make 2018 their “year of living with less.” The goal: to stop buying things for an entire year. Don’t worry—they’re still buying deodorant, tooth paste, food to eat, and necessary items that break. Half-way through the year, they’ve learned a lot about themselves, how much God has truly blessed them, and that living with less can mean living for so much more. Continue reading

South Korean Chooses Generosity Over Knee Surgery

Photo: Pastor Moon and his wife with Bokja Lee (center).

By Carl Stagner

If you’ve ever stood in need of knee surgery, you know the kind of pain she was in. She’d saved approximately $17,000 (US) and used it all. Every last penny. Today she’s still in tremendous pain, but not because the surgery was unsuccessful or because she’s on a long road to recovery. She decided to forego the operation, but not because it was too risky or because she got cold feet. Instead of using the money for herself, she was impressed by the Spirit to give it all away. Bokja Lee chose to support a building project in the Philippines over paying for knee surgery, and she puts up with the constant reminder every day. This is the story of her radical generosity. Continue reading

Complimentary Philadelphia Registration Opportunity for Pastors

CARE_Logo_Square_Color_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

This is too good to pass up! If you’re a credentialed pastor in the Church of God, you and your spouse now have the opportunity to take advantage of complimentary registration for the Church of God Regional Convention and CHOG Table in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 27–29. Yes, there is a catch. But this one you’ll appreciate! Sign up for the inaugural training seminar of CARE—Clergy Advocacy and Resource Effort—of the Church of God, and you’ll not only be granted free admission to Reclaim 2016 in Philadelphia, but you’ll also receive a modest voucher to assist in convention travel expenses. Far from a timeshare sales pitch, this event will train Church of God pastors and congregational board members with insights, best practices, and resources to understand, plan for, and manage pastoral compensation and financial matters. CARE is the new initiative funded by a Lilly grant awarded to Church of God Ministries in 2015. Continue reading

Servant Solutions’ Doug Hamlin Honored for 41 Years of Service

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Photo: Retirement banquet for Doug Hamlin.

By Carl Stagner

Pastors in the Church of God know how instrumental Servant Solutions has been to their ministry. From pensions to financial planning to ministerial tax information and investments, the staff have always been about “serving those who serve.” Only one, however, has been faithful to this task for forty-one years. Doug Hamlin has given oversight to the accounting process and daily operations of Servant Solutions—formerly the Board of Pensions—since 1975. For exemplary servant leadership over a remarkable career of ministry to ministers, the retiring Doug Hamlin was honored with a ceremony at Madison Park Church of God on the concluding evening of the three-day Anderson Regional Convention and CHOG Table experience. Continue reading