Tag Archives: ideas

Thanksmas

By Jennifer Neal

As an accountant, my approach to Scripture can be pretty formula-driven. I read a text like 1 Thessalonians 5:18, which says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” and I see three parts. First, give thanks; second, in all circumstances, and third, it’s God’s will. This is really straightforward in my mind, but let me tell you a story of just one way this can be demonstrated in our daily lives. Continue reading

Church of God Commemorates Veterans Day, Remembrance Day

Veterans Day 2019 tribute at Teays Valley Church of God, Scott Depot, WV.

By Carl Stagner

When cool, crisp breezes begin to blow through the colorful spread of autumn across much of the United States and Canada, you can be sure that anticipation for the Thanksgiving holiday is on the rise. Many may not know that Canada’s Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday of October and doesn’t resemble everything the American holiday has become, especially Black Friday shopping—and that’s probably not a bad thing! But on November 11, the United States and Canada set aside the same day to honor the sacrifice of servicemen and women, and such an occasion should not be bypassed for turkey and football. Canada’s Remembrance Day may look a bit more like Memorial Day in the United States, as they seek to honor those who have fallen in service but, like Veterans Day, many in the Church of God choose to acknowledge and utilize this cultural observance as an opportunity to show the love of Jesus in tangible ways. Continue reading

“Progressive” Revival Strengthens Unity Among Central Ohio Churches

The Columbus-area revival pastors at Kimberly Parkway CHOG.

By Adrian D. Powell

Five Church of God congregations organized and participated in revival meetings at five different locations around the Columbus, Ohio, metro area, in early October. The pastors met for over a year together and had planned to do revival differently than the traditional way, and bring hope to the greater Columbus area, which is home to 2.4 million people. Not unlike a progressive dinner, where you might begin at one location and go to a different house for each course of the meal, the pastors agreed to this kind of unique approach. Continue reading

Pastor Appreciation Month: Fifty Creative Ways to Bless Your Pastor

By Brian Kluth

Across America and the world, pastors and church staff members faithfully serve and love their congregations. Many pastors and staff members have followed God’s call on their lives to serve the Lord and their churches, regardless of the sacrifices they make. National research shows that most pastors are operating with limited financial resources to meet their families’ current and long-term needs. Fortunately, God is bigger than church paychecks and has many ways he can provide for his shepherds and workers through the generosity of God’s faithful people this Pastor Appreciation Month and throughout the year. Continue reading

Pastor Appreciation Month: Church Boards That Bless Their Pastors

Plan now to Bless Your Pastor this October for Pastor Appreciation Month!

By Brian Kluth

Most pastors have advanced degrees and work fifty to seventy hours each week caring for their congregations, but most Christians are not aware that their pastors and church staffs may not be paid well. A pastor’s week is filled with early morning meetings, office hours, visitations, counseling, sermon preparation and prayer, evening committee meetings, and weekend worship services. Yet research shows the majority of pastors make less than $50,000 per year and do not receive health insurance benefits or retirement contributions from their churches. Just in time for Pastor Appreciation Month (October), here’s a list of seven things church boards and congregations can do to make sure their pastors and church staffs are properly cared for, loved, and blessed. Continue reading

Christmas Outreach on a Small Budget

By Tammy Tilley

Everybody tunes in to Christmas. On December 25, stores close, work shuts down, and everyone stops what they normally would be doing to celebrate.

What, exactly, they’re celebrating is a different story. As culture grows more post-Christian, no longer can we assume families know the story of Christ coming to earth as a baby; if they do know the story, they may see it only as a legend or myth.

What do we do to redeem the season in our communities? How do we point our neighbors, schools, and family members back to Jesus in any sort of resonant, meaningful way? Continue reading

Daughters of the King: Missouri Church Leads Effort to Reach Girls for Christ

High-energy worship experience at Jesus Girls 2019.

By Carl Stagner

Four years ago, the children’s pastor at First Church of God in East Prairie, Missouri, was in the middle of a conversation with a group of moms about issues their daughters were facing. It seemed that a common problem among the church girls was the presentation of an image at church on Sundays that didn’t match the one they lived out during the week. Dawn Walters recounts how she and this group of moms envisioned an evening experience designed especially for girls where the gospel would be presented clearly, where such topics would be addressed from a biblical perspective, and where the girls would make wonderful memories. Considering prevalent bullying, stressful relationship dynamics, social media craziness, and more, it was clear something needed to be done, particularly before those trying teenage years, to instill in the hearts of girls the love, acceptance, and security found in Jesus alone. Continue reading

Midnight Meditations: Gethsemane Experience Draws Church to Watch and Pray

Maiden Lane congregants gather to “watch and pray.”

By Carl Stagner

Unless you work third-shift or suffer insomnia, chances are you were asleep at midnight on Good Friday this year. Not Pastor Mark Martin and a good crowd of people from Maiden Lane Church of God, in Springfield, Ohio, though! With the aid of the Holy Spirit—and perhaps an extra cup of coffee—they could be found gathered at church, embarking on a unique adventure like never before. Inspired and challenged by Jesus’ words in Matthew 26:36–46 to “watch and pray,” even for just an hour, they took a spiritual journey back to the Garden of Gethsemane to reflect on the gravity of that historical moment, and ultimately prepare the way for a victorious Easter celebration. Continue reading

Seeing God’s Vision, Joining God’s Mission: A Florida Church’s Radical Community Life

Pastor Shawn engages in conversation at a community event.

By Carl Stagner

“Church in the Palms” is spelled out in large letters on the side of the building at 3812 Jog Road in Greenacres, Florida. This does not mean the congregation that goes by the name feels any sense of ownership of the place. For them, the property is God’s to accomplish what he wants done on it. Is it really any wonder then that the ministry hub houses a variety of nonprofits, including ten other churches with worship services taking place in English, Spanish, and Creole? In the past few years alone, Pastor Shawn Allen has led the church to embrace a strategic vision that would inspire as many Christians as possible in Palm Beach County to see God’s vision, connect with God’s people, and join God’s mission. The radical, yet conceptually simple approach to what the pastor calls “missional unity” is already bearing tremendous fruit in and for the community. Continue reading

A Year of Living with Less: Ohio Pastor’s Family Accepts Radical Challenge

The Deeter family.

By Carl Stagner

No more trinkets or toys. No more new clothes or that pair of shoes you’ve just got to have. No more DVDs, home décor, or kitchen appliances—even if they’re on sale! Absolutely no more trips to the department store or the mall simply to browse the selection—that would be too tempting. Josh Deeter, pastor of First Church of God in Tallmadge, Ohio, and his wife Emily, accepted the challenge early this year to make 2018 their “year of living with less.” The goal: to stop buying things for an entire year. Don’t worry—they’re still buying deodorant, tooth paste, food to eat, and necessary items that break. Half-way through the year, they’ve learned a lot about themselves, how much God has truly blessed them, and that living with less can mean living for so much more. Continue reading

Three Children Find Family through Children of Promise

Northside supporters holding up “We love you…” signs.

By Maria Neathery

On Jan. 1, 2018, Northside Church of God in Springfield, Ohio, made the compassionate decision to sponsor three children—Simon, Natan, and Paskali—from three different countries: Nepal, India and Tanzania. When the church received the child profiles encouraging them to support Children of Promise, they felt the need to not just support one of the children, but all three. Continue reading

Messy Marvels: Kentucky Children’s Ministry Reaches Adults, Too

Pastor Earl Litman engaging the children at Cynthiana.

By Noel Marquis

Walk into Cynthiana First Church of God in Cynthiana, Kentucky, on the third Sunday of the month and you might be surprised to witness something a bit different than a typical sermon. In fact, you may be watching a group of energetic kids cheering for God’s love, or water being poured over a youth pastor’s head onstage. Continue reading

Freedom Sunday. Freedom Summit. Freedom Fight!

By Carl Stagner

We’re engaged in a battle of historic proportions. The Church of God has once again gone to the front lines of a war against sexual exploitation and human trafficking initially waged more than a hundred years ago. With the launch of Trafficklight in 2014 came a renewed fervor for seeing what Jesus sees, living out Jesus’ example in our neighborhoods, and allowing our hearts to be broken for what breaks his. Together we’ve raised awareness, funded life-changing projects, and touched the lives of trafficking victims through several ministries already in the trenches. Freedom Sunday 2017 offered a preview of what’s to come as we turn our attention to the supply side of human trafficking. Continue reading

Creative Easter Expressions Communicate Christ across Church of God

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Photo: Children lift the cross beam at Main Street Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

It might seem to some that the pinnacle of the church year has passed, but for congregations across the Church of God, the joy of Easter is celebrated every week. With increased attendance and greater curiosity from a lost and hurting world, opportunities abound from the beginning of Holy Week through Resurrection Sunday. Not unlike last year, Easter 2016 saw souls surrendered to Christ and new believers baptized in numbers too great to count. Jesus was clearly the subject of Easter, and the story of his death and resurrection was clearly communicated from the pulpit to the pew. Hundreds of our churches chose to communicate such truth in especially creative ways. A few of them shared their experience with Church of God Ministries leading up to Easter 2016. Continue reading

Pastor Appreciation Month: How to Appreciate Your Pastor

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By Tom Pelt

Both my wife and I are “PKs” (pastor’s kids), and we have spent a lifetime living the highs and lows of life in ministry. This is no small reason why we love to encourage pastors and the ministries they serve. While we still have so much to learn about life and leadership, and are grateful for the long line of pastors in our family trees, here’s what we do know: being a pastor is tough (see statistics below). And, being a pastor’s spouse, or an infamous PK, may be even tougher.

From my heart to yours, here are five ways you and your congregation can appreciate your pastor and family all year ’round: Continue reading