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
Posted in All Church of God, Central, Give Life
Tagged Andrew Rehbein, building campaign, building fund, capital campaign, church growth, community outreach, expansion, family ministry, FCOG, First Church of God, growth, MACU, Mayes County, Mid-America Christian University, OK, Oklahoma, plans, property, Pryor, real estate, relocation, See 2020, vision, visioning
Ecuador Seminary Intensive 2018
By Timothy and Angelita Downing
We tried something different, and…it was a success! Each year, the Church of God seminary in Ecuador offers a week long intensive to help train leaders in the Ecuadorian church. This year, we expanded the reach of the seminary by offering more class options, moving to a more spacious location, and including more Ecuadorian leadership. Last year, we had a total of twenty-five participants, with one international student. This year, we had seventy-six participants, with several international students! Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Global Strategy, Leadership Development
Tagged Abby Torgeson, classes, continuing education, courses, Downings, Ecuador, education, Global Strategy, growth, intensive, Jorge Palacios, Latin America, leadership development, ministerial candidates, miracles, missions, Seminary, students, teaching, Tim Downing, Timothy and Angelita Downing, training
Team working together to tie a post.
By Bobby and Jenny Mihsill
On a Sunday morning in the village of Sinfra, about an hour and fifteen minutes from where we live in Yamoussoukro, people sit shoulder-to-shoulder on backless wooden benches at the local Church of God. The church has been meeting in the living room area of the house that was built for the pastor, although they outgrew the space some time ago. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Give Life, Global Strategy
Tagged Africa, Bobby and Jenny Mihsill, building project, Cote d'Ivoire, Global Strategy, growth, Ivory Coast, Missionaries, missions, the Mihsills, work teams
Tri County Church celebrates one of many baptisms.
By Carl Stagner
January 23, 2016. A day Tri County Church of God in DuBois, Pennsylvania, will never forget. A day that could have dismantled much of the good that had been accomplished since the dawn of the congregation in 1995. Dave Bish, founding pastor, died suddenly and unexpectedly that day while out on a trail run. Devastation swept across the community, but hell would not prevail. Instead of a downward spiral, the church rallied together in an outpouring of love like they’d never seen before. God had a clear mission for Tri County Church, and neither the remaining leadership nor the new lead pastor would be deterred. As they relate the timeless story of Jesus Christ to the stories of those near and far from God, Tri County Church is inviting everyone into their own developing story in DuBois. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Give Life, Northeast
Tagged baptisms, baptized, blessings, campus, campuses, challenge, Chris Trethewey, Dan Smith, Dave Bish, DuBois, expansion, Great Commission, growth, hurdles, Jesus Is the Subject, leadership, multi-site, multisite, obstacle, PA, Pennsylvania, stories, story, tragedy, Tri County Church, victory
Baptism at Crosspointe Church is a common occurence.
By Carl Stagner
When you’re baptizing someone nearly every week and the walls must come down to make more room in your sanctuary, you’ve got to wonder if revival is breaking out. At the two campuses of Crosspointe Fellowship Church of God in the Texas communities of Kilgore and Longview, God has clearly been on the move in many mighty ways. Led by Pastor Efrain Cirilo, Crosspointe has seen their worship center and children’s classrooms run out of space. In the past couple of years, total attendance has more than doubled to an average of 400 on Sundays. And, it was just last year that they added the second campus at Longview. While no magic formula exists for revival, the church did enact a handful of specific strategies to become a growing, healthy church. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Central
Tagged baptisms, Crosspointe Church, Crosspointe Fellowship, discipleship, Efrain Cirilo, equip, evangelism, growth, Kilgore, leadership development, Longview, mission, outreach, reach, revival, salvation, strategy, Texas, TX, vision, worship
Photo: Worship at Legacy Church-Canton.
By Carl Stagner
Town Center Community Church in Marietta, Georgia, has been an influential church in its community for many years, but its new name reflects God’s vision for the congregation today. Not only are they intentionally targeting the family unit as the primary conduit of faith to the next generation, they’re also making investments beyond their own neighborhood to reach even more people for Christ. The seeds Legacy Church-Marietta is planting twenty-six miles to the north of their original location have already begun to blossom and bear fruit. Legacy Church-Canton now exists as a satellite location which, after just one-and-a-half years, has exploded in growth from 66 to 140 in attendance. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Southeast
Tagged Brent Vicars, Canton, church health, church planting, discipleship, families, family ministry, Georgia, growth, Hispanic, Julio and Julie Rivas, Legacy Church, Marietta, mission, multiplication, Nate Nielson, satellite campus, Spanish, Town Center Community Church, vision
Photo: Aurora First Church of God
By Carl Stagner
For a number of years, it appeared hell had laid claim to Manny Rivera’s life. But this man, created in the image of God, was reclaimed by Jesus Christ in 2006. Since then, God has increased the spiritual responsibility of this ex-con and former alcoholic. In addition to broken addictions and miraculous healings, the church he now pastors in Aurora, Illinois, has seen more than thirty people saved since Manny stepped up to the pulpit about a year-and-a-half ago. God is using this Church of God pastor in some incredible ways—ways that would have never come to pass had the bullet meant for his life actually taken it. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Great Lakes
Tagged Aurora, Carlos Sanchez, church planting, Eric Livingston, First Church of God, growth, Hispanic, Illinois, language, life change, Manny Rivera, Marcy Rivera, multicultural, prayer, revival, testimony, unity
Groundbreaking! All photos courtesy Green Light Photography.
By Carl Stagner
Lost in the middle of the desert, you’d be hard-pressed to find water. But at the edge of the Sonoran Desert in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona, you’ll find an oasis of hope where the Living Water is in full supply. For years, desert-dwellers have made their way to this oasis, quenching their spiritual thirst on the unconditional love Jesus, and telling others where they can find water. The road to a healthy, growing church has been dusty at times, but God has blessed every mile. Now McDowell Mountain Community Church faces a new kind of problem—a good kind of problem. They need more space! Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Western
Tagged Arizona, church, church multiplication, Don Doe, expansion, Green Light Photography, growth, health, Mark Krenz, Matt Anderson, McDowell Mountain Community Church, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Southwest
Photo: Newly constructed church in South India.
By Johnson George
Though Hindu fundamentalism and religious persecution are on the rise over much of India, the Church of God in India rejoices over spiritual and numerical growth. Even while one Church of God leader works on constitutional adjustments to guarantee certain religious freedoms, the persecution persists. But the kingdom of God cannot be shaken, and its advancement has not waned, especially in South India. We praise the Lord for the following report from Johnson George.
There is a new government agenda is to reconvert the converted Christians to Hinduism. Their slogan is, “Come back home.” The government is giving financial support to those who go back to the Hindu religion, some of whom are threatened and forced to go back to Hinduism. In South India, most of the believers are converted from the Hindu religion. Pastors have very limited freedom to propagate the gospel, and many pastors and believers were severely attacked by the Hindu people. Please continue to pray for South India. In spite of the persecution, the Church of God is growing stronger. Continue reading
Photo: Connection Point Church of God
By Esther Cottrell
Connection Point Church
Three years ago, Ohio Ministries was invited to work with First Church of God in Sidney, Ohio, to help the church address the need for turnaround. This began a journey toward a new future. Pastor Alan Leach began feeling the stirring of the Holy Spirit to leave his growing church and take on the challenge of pastoring a turnaround church. He prepared himself through prayer, study, attending the Ohio Ministries Turnaround Church Boot Camp, and hiring a coach. So when Pastor Alan Leach and the Connection Point Church (formerly Sidney First Church) joined forces last Easter, they began with a commitment to do whatever it took to turn the church around and be a “Great Commission Church.” After an intensive period of prayer, training, and planning, the church is now on a journey to becoming that new church. In the last eight months, Pastor Alan reports that attendance has nearly doubled. On Christmas Sunday, they had an attendance of 250. Their “Christmas Eve Eve” service saw 256 persons celebrate the birth of our Lord. And the first Sunday of this year drew 234 persons—nineteen were kids, fifth grade and younger. They are encouraged! Continue reading
Photo: The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the dedication of the new sanctuary for the Church of God of East New York.
By Carl Stagner
The view from the corner of Sutter Avenue and Warwick is markedly different today than it was in 1965. Since 1965, the Church of God of East New York has exercised bold love in their neighborhood for the cause of Christ. They call this kind of ministry B.L.O.C.K., which stands for Boldly Loving Our Community with Kindness. After decades of exemplifying bold love, God has blessed this storefront church with a brand new sanctuary. Today, passersby can’t help but notice the new construction which, for them, represents renewed vitality and hope for a community that others have simply written off as a lost cause. Continue reading
By Carl Stagner
In an interview with Church of God Ministries (CGM), the pastoral staff at County Line Church of God in Auburn, Indiana, recently celebrated 126 baptisms and a move of the Holy Spirit beyond what they could have ever imagined. In this exchange, senior pastor Stuart Kruse, children’s pastor Mary Ellen Rayle, congregational care pastor Steve Schlatter, outreach pastor Nathan Tatman, and high school ministry pastor Dane Kruse relived the amazing experience of Baptism Sunday, and offered experienced insights on baptisms, outreach, and revival. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God
Tagged Auburn, baptism, County Line Church of God, Dane Kruse, growth, Holy Spirit, Indiana, interview, Mary Ellen Rayle, Nathan Tatman, outreach, revival, salvation, Steve Schlatter, Stuart Kruse, transformation