Stephen Nelson at Awaken’s Easter Egg Dash and cupcake giveaway.
By Carl Stagner
Church planting is not for the faint of heart. Attendance ups and downs are normal. Emotional peaks and valleys come standard. Starts and stops are rocky, and twists and turns are plentiful. It’s a roller coaster of an experience and, as Stephen Nelson of Awaken Church, in Natchitoches, Louisiana, explains, “The struggle is real…but God is faithful!” With candor and confidence, Stephen opens up a window to the challenging but life-changing world of church planting as he’s experienced it over the past few years. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Southeast
Tagged Arkansas, Awaken Church, barriers, candor, challenges, church growth, church multiplicatoin, church plant, church planter, church planting, college ministry, community outreach, evangelism, growth, healthy churches, healthy growth, LA, learning curve, learning experience, lessons, Louisiana, multi-ethnic, multicultural, multiplication, Natchitoches, parachute plant, Shelly Nelson, slow growth, Stephen Nelson, testimony, the struggle is real, Tom Planck
Volunteers from Highland Park assist local community for veterans.
By Carl Stagner
Sometimes, on the scale of size and influence, smaller churches can feel insignificant. The truth is that the impact of the smaller churches among us cannot be overstated. The Church of God in Gloucester City, New Jersey, for example, has a rich history of impact for the kingdom. Highland Park Church of God also has benefited from pastoral longevity; as senior pastor Bill Dilks prepares for retirement later this year after twenty years, associate pastor Debra Conner surveys the faithfulness of Highland Park, encouraging the congregation to press on in ministry during this time of transition. Through community partnership, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, the New Jersey church believes God will do many more amazing things in their midst. But they’re not waiting for some elusive big breakthrough to live out their purpose—Highland Park carries on the work of the gospel, even in the face of adversity. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Northeast
Tagged adversity, Bill Dilks, blessing, celebration, city, community, Debra Conner, dreams, faithfulness, Gloucester City, GriefShare, growth, healthy churches, Highland Park Church of God, hurdles, interim, longevity, meeting needs, men's ministry, ministry transition, mission, missional, need, New Jersey, NJ, outreach, partnership, pastoral longevity, Philadelphia, plans, programs, small church, smaller church, struggle, the struggle is real, turnaround, urban, Vacation Bible School, VBS, victory, vision, William Dilks, women's ministry, youth
Photo: Handel with Church of God leaders in Georgia.
By Carl Stagner
God is truly moving in the Church of God. From the local church, to the state and regional assemblies, to the offices of Church of God Ministries, real change is taking place to position the movement for maximum kingdom impact. Baptisteries are getting wet again. Altars are filling up again. Churches are making more and better disciples. Walls that recently separated saints from one another are crumbling. As ministries coalesce around our common subject, Jesus, we’re reclaiming what hell has stolen. Many of our state and regional assemblies are seeing renewed unity and fresh missional fervor thanks in part to what are being called revitalization “boot camps.” These opportunities, offered by Church of God Ministries, and led by Handel Smith and the domestic ministry team, are now open to any district, state, or regional assembly that longs to see revitalization. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Church of God Ministries
Tagged Be Bold Academy, church growth, Church of God Ministries, Handel Smith, healing, healthy churches, life cycle, mediation, revitalization boot camps, unity