Tag Archives: Freedom Sunday

Texas Church Tackles Trafficking on Freedom Sunday

By Jim Feirtag

At Parkgate Community Church, our vision is: “As Jesus gave his life for us, we give our lives for others in our community and world.” For us, that means we love God, love people, and love now! Partnering with CHOGTrafficklight falls well in line with that vision and mission. We were honored to join our brothers and sisters in the Church of God to commemorate Freedom Sunday again this year. We have been engaged in CHOGTrafficklight since the beginning. We believe strongly in this important cause for justice. We are convinced that it’s absolutely in line with our biblical mandate as a church. Continue reading

Partnership with Children of Promise Extends Trafficklight 2.0 Reach

By Paul Maxfield

Children of Promise is partnering with Church of God Ministries in Trafficklight 2.0 to prevent child trafficking for our Church of God children across the globe. We are praying that every congregation will engage in this effort through sponsoring children—which is the most effective way to protect our children and prevent their involvement in child trafficking. I want to share more helpful information as to why Children of Promise is engaging in Trafficklight. 2.0. It is urgent. Continue reading

Pornography, Trafficking, and the Church

chains_water_stock_forweb

By Levi Scott

The sexual culture of our world today is one that harms the lives of everyone made in the image of God. The link between pornography and sex trafficking should serve as a warning to all of us. Sadly, surveys reveal that people in our pews—and sometimes pulpits—each contribute to the trafficking industry by our silent acceptance and consumption of pornography. Our world is broken, people in our churches are broken, but many are doing what they can to make a difference. There are many who are actively fighting against the industries that are leaving God’s children in chains, whether in a brothel or behind a computer screen. Continue reading

Freedom Sunday Fuels Reclamation of Hope in Fight Against Trafficking

FreedomSunday2016_KokomoIN_SouthCreek_FORWEB

Collage: South Creek Church of God (Kokomo, Indiana) Freedom Sunday observance.

By Carl Stagner

Though Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday this year, chocolates and paper hearts were not the focus of thousands of congregations across North America. For the Church of God and several other faith groups, February 14, 2016, was about something bigger, something bolder. While the culture celebrated romantic love, God’s people celebrated God’s unconditional love for the least of these, including victims of human trafficking around the world. As ambassadors of God’s love, believers gathered to not only worship the Lord on Freedom Sunday, but also to raise awareness and funds for ministries entrenched in the fight for freedom. While Freedom Sunday stories continue to come in, initial reports reveal yet another groundswell of determination to reclaim what hell has stolen. Continue reading

Florida Youth Set Example of Generosity, Fight Trafficking

FloridaYouthConv_by_darleenc27_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

When it comes to wrestling the great injustices of the world, students are often those first in the ring. Longing to authentically combat problems with more than just talk, their generosity and willingness to serve cannot be understated. Looking ahead to Freedom Sunday 2016, leaders of the state youth convention in Florida took things in a different direction. Believing in the potential impact of our students on the rest of the faith community, they issued a fundraising challenge too good to pass up. Continue reading

Church of God Makes Final Prep for Freedom Sunday, Feb. 14

FreedomSunday2016_graphic2_FORWEB

By Ann Brandon and Carl Stagner

On Sunday, February 14—Valentine’s Day—believers across the denominational spectrum will stand as one against the epidemic of modern slavery. This is because February 14 isn’t just Valentine’s Day this year; it’s also Freedom Sunday! Human trafficking has met its match if and when God’s church comes together against such widespread evil. Church of God Ministries has put a plethora of free resources at your fingertips to help your congregation observe Freedom Sunday in a meaningful way, including opportunities to support CHOG TraffickLight and reach our movement-wide million-dollar goal. One church that has embraced God’s call to fight against the injustice of trafficking is Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis. Continue reading

Bibles, a Strip Club, and Freedom Sunday

FreedomSunday2016_graphic_crop_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

The statistics are disturbing. The stories are gut-wrenching. We must resist the tendency to become numb to the pain around us the longer we deal with a painful subject. But since the Church of God began championing the fight against human trafficking, your investment has brought forth much fruit. Stories of transformation and deliverance have been compiled and continue to be posted to the CHOG TraffickLight website. They remind us why we’re staying in the fight. They propel us onward to Freedom Sunday 2015 with great expectations of what the Holy Spirit will accomplish as we work together. One such story, featuring Bibles and a strip club, centers on the vital ministry of OneHeart Dayton. Continue reading

Jars for Justice: Missouri Church Champions Cause with Apple Butter

FarmingtonMO_TraffickLight_fundraiser_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

Sometimes the best way to champion a cause is also the sweetest. First Church of God in Farmington, Missouri, wanted to make a difference in the fight against human trafficking, but needed to find a way to avoid breaking the budget. Selling apple butter was their solution. With a little effort, First Church of God is proving that churches of all sizes can do something to advance freedom for the captives. Continue reading

Freedom Sunday 2016: Plan Now!

By Carl Stagner

Last year the charge was given, and you responded. Thank you! It has been said that perhaps more than any other church-wide initiative, CHOG TraffickLight has mobilized the Church of God to work together in unity to accomplish a single goal. As we’ve continued to make Jesus the subject of who we are why we do what we do, we’re determined more than ever to champion that which moved the heart of Jesus when he walked this earth. In Luke 4:18–19, Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah’s proclamation of freedom for the captives. Motivated by the heart of Jesus, the Church of God rallied together to raise more than half of our million-dollar goal. Now it’s time to finish the job. On Valentine’s Day 2016 (February 14), Church of God congregations will observe Freedom Sunday once again, and once again, we’ll rattle the very gates of hell. Continue reading

Freedom Sunday: CHOG Takes Stand for Freedom

AcaciaHills_Tucson_WeRin_sign_crop_FORWEB

Photo: “We are in!” declares Acacia Hills Church (Tucson, Arizona).

By Carl Stagner

Isaiah prophesied it. Jesus underscored it. Now the Church of God is living it out. When freedom for the captives is proclaimed, bonds begin to break, chains start to crumble, and prison doors swing open wide. On Sunday, February 22, 2015, the Church of God came together to shine the spotlight on the global atrocity of human trafficking. In church after church, God’s people committed to prayerfully and financially support ministries of the Church of God that deal directly with the issue. As usual, the Holy Spirit moved in some unexpected and unanticipated ways. Continue reading

Freedom Sunday 2015: Impact Substantial, Far-Reaching

WestSideAZYouthFreedomSunday_FORWEB

Photo: Youth at West Side Church of God (Glendale, Arizona) say, “We’re In!” via Twitter.

By Carl Stagner

God is up to something big. And he’s using his people to get the job done. As evidenced by a flurry of social media activity categorized by the Freedom Sunday hashtag (#FreedomSunday2015), this weekend’s blitz against the scourge of human trafficking made a definite impact. Early reports indicate that the Holy Spirit was active and powerful as Church of God congregations across the country rallied efforts to raise both awareness and funds in the fight for freedom. Continue reading

Michigan Church Signals Red Light for Trafficking, Green for Freedom

Logo_FreedomSunday_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

The community of Alma, Michigan, is home to just under ten thousand people. Though dwarfed by big cities like Detroit and Grand Rapids, Alma is home to a church with a heart the size of Texas. Bethlehem may have seemed insignificant by the world’s measure, but it brought forth the Savior of the world. Alma First Church of God, though ministering from a small town, is reflecting heaven’s rays around the world. Echoing Jesus’ call to set the captives free, this congregation, pastored by Steve Wimmer, is signaling a red light for trafficking; a green light for freedom. Continue reading

Pornography: A Personal Connection with Sex Trafficking

computerclickmorguefile_FORWBE

By Jessica and Jeremy Zerkle

My husband and I were first made aware of the reality of human trafficking in 2009 while we were both in the middle of graduate studies in Wilmore, Kentucky. Our introduction came through Not for Sale, an organization devoted to combating human trafficking. Through research, interviews, books, and conferences, we learned countless stories of peoples’ lives affected by human trafficking on a global scale and, in particular, by sex trafficking. The feeling we had was likely the same feeling many of you have experienced as a result of hearing similar statistics and stories—“What can I do? What should I do?” Continue reading

Human Trafficking: What if the People of God Prayed?

TraffickLight_banner_ BW_FORWEB

By Gina Shaner Farcas

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” —2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

Imagine a community of future church leaders, pastors, theologians, and scholars who have a burning passion to do something, each having encountered the face and reality of injustice through personal experience, friends’ stories, or the daily news, each feeling the passionate urge that inaction was not an option. This was the community of people that I found myself surrounded by my first year of seminary as I, too, was struggling with the reality. Having just returned to the United States after encountering the injustice for the first time, the passionate urges to do something were filled with more questions than answers. The injustice we encountered was human trafficking—the selling of young and vulnerable lives into the ever-growing modern-day slave trade. Continue reading

Vancouver Church Smashes TraffickLight Offering Goal

FreedomSundayalternategraphic_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

What happens when you meet a global crisis with a heart for missions and a little bit of faith? If you attend Vancouver First Church of God in Vancouver, Washington, you already know you’ve got the ingredients for a miracle. Every Christmas, the congregation designates a special offering to a great cause. This Christmas, they chose to join the Church of God effort to combat the scourge of human trafficking. As a larger body of believers, the church wanted to set a goal higher for CHOG TraffickLight than the suggested $1,000. But after their goal of $10,000 was smashed, they knew they’d just witnessed an extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading