Tag Archives: First Church of God

Regional Convention 2020 Host Church a “Center of Hope” in Los Angeles

Pastor Geremy Dixon encouraging the saints at Center of Hope LA.

By Carl Stagner

Convention 2019 and General Assembly have come and gone, but the Regional Conventions scheduled across the country next year are on the horizon. Registration is now open for all three events as program details continue to be finalized for Inglewood, California (April 22–24); Anderson, Indiana (June 24–26); and Brooklyn, New York (September 16–18). Pastor Geremy Dixon, who spoke at CHOG Convention 2017 in Wichita, Kansas, says his Los Angeles congregation is “pulling out all the stops” for the three-day gathering next April. An interview with the influential leader offers a glimpse of the people and the ministry giving life to their city in such a way that merits the name “Center of Hope.” Continue reading

CHOG Minister Completes 4,310-Mile Walk for Adoption, Foster Care

Glenn Koster wets his feet in the Pacific Ocean.

By Carl Stagner

Glenn Koster left South Miami on foot, in February 2018. He intended to reach Seattle by October of last year, but the hazards around the next curve weren’t always visible along the 4,310-mile adventure on which he’d embarked. Ultimately appearing in 51 newspapers, on NPR and K-LOVE, with 44 churches, and for 3 foster-care-related groups, Glenn Koster finally completed his walk across America for adoption and foster care awareness late this summer. As Glenn dipped his feet in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, it was clear that even those frustrating delays would serve a providential purpose. Continue reading

Politics and the Pulpit: Kansas Pastor Runs for Office

Clint McBroom preparing flyers for his campaign.

By Carl Stagner

Some say politics and the pulpit don’t mix. Some say Christians should leave politics to the politicians. Others say whatever they want from the pulpit, even alienating individuals who may not share their perspective. But with Christians, posture and practice concerning politics should be guided from above. That’s the perspective of Clint McBroom, pastor of First Church of God in Newton, Kansas. Believing that Christians should be involved in every arena of life, Clint’s running for city commissioner. As a Christian and pastor first, he’s set out to represent Jesus through his campaign and eager to discover even more ways to serve his community. Continue reading

South Dakota Church: Farmers, You’re Not Alone

Very few fields looks this good (at least this one’s been planted!).

By Carl Stagner

This has not been a good year for farmers. Actually, agricultural conditions have taken an economic and emotional toll on farmers for the past year-and-a-half, though much of the country is only beginning to take notice. While American routine often involves that indispensable weekly trip to the supermarket, requiring little to no thought of the origins of their convenient purchases, farmers bear the brunt of the material and mental cost. A May 29 article published in FarmWorld reported that the USDA’s assessments showed corn planting across the country was at its “slowest pace” since 1980. It’s no wonder, considering much of the country—from the Rocky Mountains to the Midwest and through the South—has been locked in a seemingly never-ending cycle of rain. With uncertain days upon farmers, as well as everyone connected to the agricultural industry, First Church of God in Marion, South Dakota, addressed the need early this month in the best way they knew how—prayer. Continue reading

Unstuck and Unleashed: Small Indiana Church Thinks Big

As First Church grows, they don’t forget to have fun together!

In the summer of 2016, First Church of God in Marion, Indiana, found themselves without a pastor. With only forty folks on average in attendance on Sunday mornings, they weren’t sure how to move forward. Determined not to give up on the mission they believed God was calling them to in their community, they sought a bi-vocational minister who could lead them in a restart. By September, they found just the pastor God had intended for them. Continue reading

Daughters of the King: Missouri Church Leads Effort to Reach Girls for Christ

High-energy worship experience at Jesus Girls 2019.

By Carl Stagner

Four years ago, the children’s pastor at First Church of God in East Prairie, Missouri, was in the middle of a conversation with a group of moms about issues their daughters were facing. It seemed that a common problem among the church girls was the presentation of an image at church on Sundays that didn’t match the one they lived out during the week. Dawn Walters recounts how she and this group of moms envisioned an evening experience designed especially for girls where the gospel would be presented clearly, where such topics would be addressed from a biblical perspective, and where the girls would make wonderful memories. Considering prevalent bullying, stressful relationship dynamics, social media craziness, and more, it was clear something needed to be done, particularly before those trying teenage years, to instill in the hearts of girls the love, acceptance, and security found in Jesus alone. Continue reading

Disaster Relief Update: Flooding Devastates Craig, Missouri

Approaching the church’s front doors by boat.

By Carl Stagner

On March 20, the levee holding back the steadily rising Missouri River broke in more than one place, forcing the town of Craig, Missouri, to evacuate, and leaving behind flooded homes and churches—including First Church of God. Inside the house of worship, chest-deep water inundated parts of the facility, while two feet of water was visible inside the sanctuary, damaging carpets, pews, books, tables, and their piano and organ. With homes underwater, at least two members of the small congregation have also had to find temporary shelter. The river has receded somewhat but, with more snowmelt and rain in the forecast, it’s not certain Craig will dry out. In the meantime, First Church of God finds itself in a difficult situation—without flood insurance, as this kind of flooding had never happened before. Continue reading

Dynamite Regional Convention Speaker Returns for Convention 2019

Harvey Carey’s communication style is bold and engaging.

By Carl Stagner

It has been said that Harvey Carey is a “fire-starter”—that he “sets people and churches ablaze.” Of course, spiritual fire and fervor is the kind of blaze Harvey Carey’s high-octane preaching is known for producing. Those who attended the Church of God Regional Convention last year in Columbus, Ohio, have firsthand experience, as do thousands of others who attended IYC in the early 2000s. Thankfully the rest of the Church of God have another opportunity to sit under the explosive Spirit-led preaching of urban pastor Harvey Carey: Convention 2019 and General Assembly. Continue reading

Governor Appoints CHOG Pastor as Faith Commissioner on Suicide Prevention

Kevin Wayne Johnson

By Carl Stagner

The former pastor of First Church of God in Accokeek, Maryland, was intent on cultivating a congregation-wide heart for community and societal transformation. In the last five years of his thirty-four working for the federal government, Kevin Wayne Johnson served the local church faithfully as a bivocational senior pastor. For Kevin, this calling was far more than filling the pulpit; it was about shifting the gears of the congregation to a more community-oriented direction, all the while laying the groundwork for evangelism and discipleship that would continue long after his tenure was complete. Observing national holidays and marking months of societal awareness quickly became a tangible step toward accomplishing these goals. One of the church’s annual emphases, in particular, caught the attention of the governor’s office—suicide prevention. Continue reading

Oklahoma Church Bursting at Seams Sees 2020 Vision Clearly

By Carl Stagner

When there’s not enough room for everyone in the Sunday school rooms and sanctuary, you’ve got a problem. But it’s a good problem to have when your church’s growth is also spiritual and healthy. The 107-year history of First Church of God in Pryor, Oklahoma, is one of vision, revision, stepping out on faith, and stepping out on faith again. Sure, there have been challenges and the congregation has faced its fair share of mountains. But God has proven himself true time and time again, revealing himself especially clear in recent years. Today, First Church of God is bursting at the seams as it celebrates steady growth from 248 to 409 over the last decade, and 27 souls won to Christ last year alone. This year, they’re seeing God’s vision clearly for all he will complete by the close of 2020. Continue reading

Arkansas Church Reclaims Dance as Expression of Worship

First Church worship dance ministry in action!

By Carl Stagner

Though dance appears twenty or so times in the Bible, and usually in the context of worship, it’s encountered some resistance in the church over the years. Certainly dance, like other artistic expressions, can be used in ways that bring dishonor to the Lord. But like so many Church of God congregations today, First Church of God in Paragould, Arkansas, has found a way to reclaim what hell has stolen. They’ve redeemed dance, and use it regularly to worship the Lord and communicate the message of Christ. Continue reading

“Culture-Changer” Gospel Artist Added to Convention 2019 Schedule

Amante Lacey

By Carl Stagner

It’s no secret that a wide variety of music styles characterize worship services in churches across the country. Too often, those styles divide churches and keep them from remembering that Jesus is the subject. But it’s not often that believers consider the culture of worship and the effect it has on the congregation and the surrounding community. Sometimes the culture of a Sunday service is really no culture of worship, at all. Amante Lacey, world-renowned gospel artist—and worship pastor at First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio—is committed to be a culture-changer in the arena of worship. His eclectic background, and his exposure to sanctuaries and auditoriums across the country as a road artist, have led him to recognize the need for worship that brings all of God’s people together in heart and voice. It will be no different for him when he steps up on the platform to lead worship at Church of God Convention 2019 and General Assembly. Continue reading

Kansas Congregation Leads Effort to Unite Local Churches for Community

Pastor Clint beams with four church ladies who have been a part of the congregation for over 45 years each.

By Carl Stagner

Newton, Kansas, is home to about 20,000 people. But it’s also home to more than fifty churches! If everyone in town attended church and each church had an equal number of people, you’d have four hundred people in each church. But that’s not the case at all. Instead, most of the churches are small, and much of the population of Newton is still unreached. Not unlike towns and cities across North America, Newton’s churches and ministers had little or no connection with one another. Sure, there was a ministerial assembly, but “Kingdom-of-God unity,” as Pastor Clint McBroom puts it, simply wasn’t happening. He and the congregation of First Church of God decided something had to change. 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

Michael Aftermath: Post-Hurricane Help Needed Now (updated Oct. 31)

The cross remains on the Panama City church’s sign!

By Carl Stagner

One hundred fifty-five miles per hour. That’s how powerful Hurricane Michael’s winds were when the Category Four monster made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, on October 10. Meteorologists are calling the storm the strongest to ever hit the continental United States since Hurricane Andrew of 1992. In its wake, Michael left behind widespread catastrophic damage, leveling homes and businesses, and claiming the lives of at least nineteen, as the search for missing persons continues. The Church of God was not left unscathed; to date, two congregations have reported damage to their church building and their homes. As information continues to be collected by state ministry offices and Church of God Ministries, Church of God congregations across the country are already responding to the imminent and critical needs of funds, supplies, time, and labor. Continue reading