Tag Archives: food pantry

All-Volunteer Parachurch Ministry Meets Needs, Gives Life in Arkansas

Lines of people waiting to be blessed by Healing Waters.

By Carl Stagner

Consider what just happened the weekend before Thanksgiving. Three hundred thirty meals were served and over two hundred bags of food were given away. For free. No catch. Even more exciting—thirty-eight individuals accepted Christ. But this wasn’t a special holiday outreach. Revival services weren’t planned, and no traveling evangelist had been brought in to deliver an impassioned sermon. Obviously, this wasn’t Easter, yet numerous non-churchgoers were within earshot of the gospel. Far from an unusual occurrence at Healing Waters Outreach Center in Shannon Hills, Arkansas, these kinds of Holy Spirit-happenings take place on a weekly basis! The parachurch ministry supported by the Church of God in Arkansas now has a connection through one of its founding members to the Urban Missions team of Church of God Ministries. Robert Holt gives us a glimpse into the life-giving, far-reaching impact of Healing Waters, and why so many—at least 125 people—choose to volunteer their time every week for the work. Continue reading

Pastor of All People: Ministries Council Secretary Called to Lead Amid Diversity

Pastor Vincent Miller and family.

By Carl Stagner

“Everybody has a different fingerprint. I just think this is my fingerprint.” At Church of God Convention 2017 in Wichita, Kansas, many were first introduced to Vincent Miller, who accepted the role of secretary for the Ministries Council earlier this year. But he isn’t new to the Movement at all. Vincent’s ministry in the Church of God has spanned several states, as has his fingerprint, as he puts it. What is his fingerprint? To pastor ethnically and culturally diverse congregations. Because Jesus is the subject, Vincent knows that diversity does not have to equal division. Because Jesus is the subject, not skin color or language, unity amid diversity can be a powerful witness to the amazing love of God. Now entering his second year as pastor of First Church of God in Tampa, Florida, Pastor Vincent Miller is more eager than ever to give witness to the love of God available in Jesus Christ. Continue reading

The Michigan Church Now Known as the Do Something! Church

First Church volunteers sporting their Do Something! T-shirts (from the book with the same title by Miles McPherson).

By Megan DeBruyn

It wasn’t just the bright T-shirts matching the even brighter smiles worn by First Church of God volunteers that inspired their new nickname. The southwest Michigan church was unofficially dubbed the “Do Something! Church” by the surrounding local community after launching a work day in the summer of 2009 that encouraged members of the congregation to get out and serve. Armed with work gloves, paint brushes, and cleaning supplies, the mob of roughly 800 First Church of God volunteers took to the streets on a Sunday morning in early June and began to serve the most basic needs of their community. Continue reading

Florida Ministry Exemplifies ‘the Innkeeper’ in Good Samaritan Story

By Carl Stagner

Jesus told it first. Countless preachers and teachers have expounded on it since. The Parable of the Good Samaritan has captured the attention and the hearts of men and women around the world with its profound, yet simple message of love expressed in action. As church leaders renew the call to boldly move outside the walls of the church, more and more believers are identifying with the character of the Samaritan. But every Good Samaritan needs a good innkeeper! Lake Wales Care Center in Lake Wales, Florida, not only provides a place to stay (and numerous other services) for people in need, but also bridges the gap between the heart to serve and the means to do it effectively. Continue reading

Fridays in Fort Wayne: Church’s Outreach Bears Fruit (and Bread, Too!)

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Photo: The Bread and More ministry of Tillman Road.

By Carl Stagner

They’d say they’re just ordinary people doing some extraordinary things because of the grace of God. In fact, the pastor says there’s really no reason they should be doing it, especially considering the size of the church, the average age of many of the volunteers, and the budget (or lack thereof). But God said, “If you’ll trust me, I’ll use you.” And he is certainly using Tillman Road Church of God to accomplish things beyond their own abilities. The Fort Wayne, Indiana, congregation, with an average attendance of fewer than sixty, is touching the lives of nearly three hundred neighbors every single Friday. Continue reading

Park Place Anderson: More Than Bricks, Wooden Pews, and a Rich Heritage

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Photo: Inside Park Place Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

If you’ve been to the campus of Anderson University, you’ve probably noticed the towering presence of Park Place Church of God at the west end of Fifth Street. Chances are you’ve been inside the building, the original portion of which dates back to 1906. While some may have come to associate the church with eras gone by, they’re only seeing a very small picture. Though some may see the congregation as just a campus church, locals know the truth. Indeed, the heritage of Park Place is rich and beautiful, and many AU students and professors attend services. But the real story is the incredible impact this multigenerational church is having on its community today. Continue reading

Momentum in a Town Called Byram

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Photo: Easter egg hunt at the apartment complex the church adopted.

By Carl Stagner

Byram. Pronounced like the pioneer Church of God family, but spelled with an a. Home to fewer than eight thousand residents, it’s often overshadowed by the larger capital city to its north—Jackson, Mississippi. But Byram has no reason to be ashamed. Not only does it boast a unique, historic suspension bridge, but it’s also home to a vibrant Church of God congregation known as Crossroads of Life. Like the International Youth Convention, their goal and motivation is life change in Jesus’ name. From their intensive discipleship training weekends, to their food pantry and apartment ministries, transformation is on the move in Byram, and it’s picking up momentum. Continue reading

Feeding the Hungry in Hot Springs, Arkansas

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By Katy Hagerman

Oaklawn Church of God is following the passage from James 2:16-17, which says, “If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” After learning that one in four students attending the school located near the church eat only one meal a day, which is the one they receive at school, they knew that hunger in their community was a big issue. This helped Oaklawn see Jesus’ vision for meeting a specific need in their own community. Their food pantry has been operating since 2010, and serves on average sixty to one hundred families each month. Continue reading

Spread the Bread, Spread the Thread

By Katerina Hinkle

By 12:00 midnight, a line of cars is forming in the parking lot of Crossroads Church of God in Lima, Ohio. By 6:00 AM, people stretch far from the front door, despite the blistering cold. Inside, volunteers prepare to receive the crowd outside. They are busily transforming the sanctuary into a different kind of worship space—one that feeds the body as well as the soul. Continue reading

Shopping the Aisles of an Indiana Church

By Bryan Hughes

When the congregation of Pendleton Community Church of God arrived for worship, they had no idea that church would actually happen in the grocery store across the street.

“We work really hard to keep church simple,” Trey Oldham, senior pastor stated. “This particular Sunday we took a glimpse of the early church from Acts 2 where those in the church sell their property and possessions to take care of others in need.” Continue reading