Tag Archives: Indiana Ministries

Fresh Expression of Church Empowers Everyday Missionaries

Amanda (far left) and team wearing aprons symbolizing servanthood.

By Carl Stagner

They don’t have their own building, and they won’t be renting a school or a movie theater as they grow. They have no ambition to get big; in fact, they’ll multiply before they ever attract a crowd. They’re not looking to raise up associate pastors who will open a second campus. If they had a website, you wouldn’t find service times listed. The Foundry, based in Columbia City, Indiana, is not your typical church plant. It’s a “fresh expression” of church, and it’s designed to train disciples to use their spiritual gifts to make more disciples—at home, at work, and at play. Continue reading

Pastors Partner to Plant Urban Church, Reach Diverse Demographic

Josh Wagner (left); Keith Spencer (right).

By Carl Stagner

Two are better than one, especially when it comes to church planting. Perhaps nowhere is this more abundantly clear than at United City Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, where Josh Wagner and Keith Spencer share the pastoral responsibility. Yes, one pastor is white and one is black, and this is intentional—they’ve set out to be a diverse congregation; leadership must reflect the congregation they want to be. But it’s not a forced partnership. A common mission binds the dynamic duo, and they don’t just love each other with the love of Christ—they like each other! By learning each other’s strengths, passions, and gifts, they’ve discovered how to maximize their unusual but effective leadership for the glory of God and the betterment of their city. Continue reading

Multiplication in the Midwest Changing the Conversation on Church Planting

Tom Planck leading a CHOG conference at Exponential 2019.

By Carl Stagner

We’re simply not keeping up. Statistics show 4,000 churches are planted each year in the United States and 3,700 churches close. That leaves a gain of only three hundred churches. The overall population continues to rise, while the number of churches to reach people with the gospel lags behind. Perhaps now, more than ever, it’s time to change the conversation on church planting. That’s precisely what Tom Planck and Healthy Growing Churches are doing. The Church of God pastor and church planter is now actively pouring into the hearts of churches and regions to reverse a trend through basic math—multiplication. The numbers are starting to turn in their favor, as multiplication in the Midwest has captured fresh interest and mobilized existing churches like never before. Continue reading

Hispanic Church Coming Soon to West Side of Indianapolis

By Tom Planck and Israel Munguia

The story of the community surrounding Westlake Church of God on the west side of Indianapolis, Indiana, is familiar to many churches across the state. The culture has vastly changed over the past several years. A once mostly Caucasian community has now shifted to include a large population of African American and Hispanic people. Continue reading

At the Crossroads: Indiana Churches Initiate Plan to Multiply

The crowded entryway of County Line’s new campus church.

By Carl Stagner

Nate Tatman had no idea how pivotal that moment would be. He’d been in the office of Indiana Ministries when something caught his attention. The map of the state on the wall wasn’t anything new; he remembered seeing it before. But what he hadn’t noticed was the distribution of push pins on the map, which indicated counties that did not have a Church of God congregation. In particular, he noticed this time that there were thirty-seven counties in total with no Church of God congregation. And that’s when things began to get interesting. Continue reading

Youth Pastors, Regions Unite to Prepare Students for Christ-Centered Leadership

Students worshiping the Lord at 3SLI.

By Carl Stagner

IYC and state youth conventions do a tremendous job inspiring students to come to Christ, to rededicate their lives to the Lord, and to accept the unique call God has placed on their lives. Most of the students leave these mountain-top experiences having experienced life change to one degree or another, but some also leave recognizing God has called them to lead. Just after the turn of the new century, several youth pastors from the Midwest came together to identify the best way to prepare such students for lifelong Christ-centered leadership. In 2003, 3SLI (then the Tri-State Student Leadership Institute, now Tri-Level) was launched to serve students in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. When West Virginia was added, the name 3SLI didn’t change—and neither did its resolve to come alongside emerging leaders. Continue reading

Chicago-Area Church Plant Gains Momentum

By Charlie Arms

In 2014, after consultation with Indiana Ministries, our family moved from sunny Florida and took on the responsibility of planting a church in northwest Indiana. Locals refer to this area of Indiana as “the Region,” primarily because we are part of Indiana, yet in many ways more closely connected through business and lifestyle with Chicago. Continue reading

Three Indiana Churches Unite for Urban Renewal

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Photo: Ad for New Life’s community block party.

By Carl Stagner

A Sunday morning and Wednesday evening preacher. That’s how Stephen Terry, pastor of New Life Church of God in Fort Wayne, Indiana, described his default function at the church for at least four years. As a bivocational pastor, Stephen Terry struggled with what most bivocational pastors struggle with—balancing work, continuing education, family, and the divine calling to shepherd a flock. While there are many great blessings that come with bivocational ministry, it wasn’t long before Pastor Stephen found himself working fifty hours per week in the school system and looking for remaining moments to keep up with his master’s program. Then one day when he was examining the declining health of his congregation and the continuing decline of the community around the church, he realized something had gone wrong. Without opportunity to lead the church, they’d come to a place in their life cycle that required immediate attention. That’s where Church of God Ministries, the National Association of the Church of God, and Indiana Ministries spoke life into the future of New Life Church of God—and ultimately two other Indiana churches. Continue reading

The Sweetest Ministry in Northern Indiana: Trunk or Treat Attracts Thousands

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Photo: Decor & candy await guests at Momentum’s Trunk or Treat.

By Emily Ploetz

It’s that time of year when leaves don their colorful hues, the wind turns nippy, and children everywhere are preparing for Halloween. For many families, this can be a fun holiday where everyone can dress up in fun costumes and carve pumpkins. Children, of course, are excited about receiving free candy, but for some parents, there is the small fear that their children may end up getting a trick instead of a treat. Allowing youth to walk up to homes where people they may or may not know can sometimes damper the spirit of this season. For this reason and many others, families have been flocking to Momentum Church in Crown Point, Indiana for their annual Trunk or Treat. Continue reading

Women in Ministry: What Would People Think?

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By Nabil Safi

“What would people think?” is a common response I often got in the past, and still get today, when I have conversations about senior leadership with women from the Middle East. The fear of being judged has crippled women in general to be thriving in the community at-large and, in particular, inside the local church. The fact that a woman lives in a lopsided society that promotes males over females makes it very difficult for her to navigate the conflicting values of equality and personal achievement versus honor-shame and community’s best interest. Consequently, when faced with an invitation to lead, her immediate response is, What would people think? Continue reading

In Support of Women in Ministry Leadership: ‘Not in My Neighborhood’

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Would a woman pastor be welcome “in your neighborhood”?

By Jeff Matas

How did we fall so far? Mention women in leadership in the Church of God, or more pointedly, women in senior leadership, and you will hear the same response from pastors and congregants: “Nothing wrong with women in leadership. Nothing wrong with women as lead pastors. But that won’t work here.” Continue reading

Supporting Women in Ministry is NOT Progressive

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Photo: Joshua Brandt

By Joshua Brandt

A while back, I received an e-mail from one of my friends. She was concerned about a church she was checking out online. This church made it very clear that they did not support women in leadership, especially as pastors. She could not believe it. She asked, “Don’t they know it is 2016?” Continue reading

Called, Equipped, and Two Very Different Experiences

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Photo: Closed doors…Stephanie’s experience prior to The Gathering.

With Joshua Brandt and Stephanie Collins

As a matter of fact, the prevalence of women preachers is a fair measure of the spirituality of a church, country, or age. As the church grows more apostolic and more deeply spiritual, women preachers and workers abound in the church…—C. E. Brown

It is interesting how perspectives can be so different. Our journey molds who we are and how we see the world. When we choose to see things through the eyes of another, we can begin to broaden our horizons. In this article, Joshua Brandt and Stephanie Collins share their own experiences and journeys with the issue of women in ministry. Continue reading

Our Sad Secret in the Church of God

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Photo: Lillie McCutcheon

By Bob Moss

Long before I ever heard the word egalitarianism, I saw it being lived out in the church of my childhood. For me it was completely normal and natural to see men and women serving and working together in the church. There was no subjugation of women in the Church of God—or so I thought.

Normal, in my childhood, meant a woman stood in the pulpit. Our pastor, Lillie McCutcheon, a.k.a. “Sister Lillie,” was an iconic figure. My grandparents accepted Christ under her preaching. She presided at my parents’ wedding. She launched my grandfather as a church planter and, as a result of her preaching ministry, I heard God’s call to ministry. Continue reading

Women in Leadership: Practicing Our Theology

Photo: Four of our outstanding women pastors, (clockwise from upper-left) Shannon New-Spangler, Cheryl Sanders, Melissa Pratt, and Donna Rothenberger.

Photo: Four of our outstanding women pastors, (clockwise from upper-left) Shannon New-Spangler, Cheryl Sanders, Melissa Pratt, and Donna Rothenberger.

By Doug Talley

I remember the gender wars of elementary school. As kids looking for validation of our worth, we guys would declare that we were the superior gender and, of course, the girls would make the same claim. We’d argue back and forth, but I don’t remember anyone ever winning. The arguments led to tension, but not to resolution. By the time we got into middle school or high school, we readily abandoned those arguments. But that doesn’t mean that gender bias went away. Continue reading