Tag Archives: homeless

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

Oregon Church Journeys with Jesus through Service, Partnership

Photo: The church working with Habitat for Humanity.

By Carl Stagner

“Eighth and River Street is what God has given us, so that is where we are.” Matt Ingalls reflects on the ministry of the church he has served as senior pastor for almost seven years. He’s grateful for the chance to serve where God has planted them. Sure, there may be ritzier, more glamorous ministry venues. But this is their “little slice of God’s universe,” as Pastor Matt has explained. The needs are great, and the work isn’t easy. But this church is on a journey with Jesus. For them, Jesus is the subject. Like Jesus, River Street Church of God in Newberg, Oregon, has made the people around them—not ideology, programs, or traditions—the priority. Continue reading

Michigan Ministry Blankets Cold World with Love

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Photo: School children blessed by the quilting ministry.

By Carl Stagner

The world can be a cruel and cold place. Especially for children and families living in poverty. Especially for the homeless. Especially for inhabitants of third-world countries. Congregations and ministries of the Church of God are known across the country and around the world for bringing the light and warmth of God’s love to “the least of these.” One such ministry creates and distributes quilts and blankets to those in need both here and abroad. Mary Scott joins approximately fifteen other ladies and three gentlemen who meet on Mondays at Beaverton Church of God in Beaverton, Michigan. More than a social club, this quilting ministry she leads warms both the body and the soul. Continue reading

Give Me Your Eyes: Portland Project Puts People in Perspective

By Carl Stagner

In 2008, contemporary Christian recording artist Brandon Heath recorded “Give Me Your Eyes,” a song which many radio stations are playing to this day. Those familiar with the song know its pointed challenge to open our eyes to see men and women as made in the image of God—to put on God’s eyes and see them like he sees them. Ken Loyd has observed that often the most overlooked and ignored in our society are the people of the street, particularly those of the younger generation. Motivated by a love for the disenfranchised in Portland, Oregon, and empowered by funds from the Change the World grant awarded last year, this Warner Pacific College professor and local pastor is doing something about it. He’s preparing a training package to help open the eyes and hearts of the Church of God to the people behind the faces of those in our cities we might prefer not to notice. Continue reading

Frisbee and Guitar: The Urban Ministry of Two AU Sophomores

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By Carl Stagner

They’re musicians, but they’re not out to make a name for themselves. They sing and play guitar together, but they’re not a band. They lead worship and minister to people on the street, but they aren’t ministry majors. Logan Hauer and Josh Paff are just two Anderson University sophomores who were available when the Spirit said, “Go.” Now nearly every Saturday afternoon, they spend their time in downtown Anderson, Indiana, lifting their voices heavenward and engaging in a ministry of presence among the “least of these.” Continue reading

Sex Trafficking Victims, At-Risk Youth Find Refuge in the Underground

By Carl Stagner

The poverty rate in Sunnyside, Washington, is more than double the statewide rate. Forty percent of the town’s population is under the age of eighteen, and 40 percent of those children are growing up in single-parent households. These and other sobering statistics reflect an atmosphere primed for a thunderstorm of gang-related activity. Since 2010, Oasis Community Church of God has sought to increase awareness of sex trafficking, and this year, these efforts culminated in the founding of the Underground. As a drop-in community center for at-risk youth and their families, including victims of sex trafficking, the Underground is all about offering hope for a second chance. Continue reading

Why is This Inner-City Denver Church Thriving?

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Photo: Sloan’s Lake Community Church.

By Denis Flierl

While many Denver [Colorado] inner city churches are closing their doors and turning into residential lofts, Sloan’s Lake Community Church is more alive than ever. Maybe it’s because this Denver church hasn’t forgotten about what is important to God, feeding and clothing the homeless in our society. Many churches are also moving from the city and relocating in the suburbs, but several years ago they made the decision to stay in the city and grow where they were originally planted. Little did they know, but that decision would evolve into a significant ministry to the poor, broken and disenfranchised people of northwest Denver.

Read the rest of the original story on Examiner.com.

Boldly Loving the Least of These: Church on the Street’s Practical Theology

By Andy Odle

Bold is…radically loving our most vulnerable neighbors.

What if what Jesus says is true? What if in Christ we really are all one? What if Jesus really tore down the dividing walls that separate people? What if the most despised, outcast, and least in the world really are the most honored in the church? What if all of life—companionship, family, work, government—is precipitated by God’s living commandment to love him and our neighbor? In other words, what if we risked believing in reconciliation? Continue reading

Who is SOZO?

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By Carl Stagner

Who is SOZO? That’s a good question. And it’s one that prompts the reader to inquire further, especially with such an unusual name. SOZO, a church plant in Arizona, is on the cutting edge of communicating Christ, as well as communicating who they are in Christ. Soon after people begin asking, “Who is SOZO?’ they find themselves also asking, “Who is this Jesus you serve?” Continue reading