Tag Archives: Indianapolis

IYC2018 Puts Students On Track for Life

Zealand leading students in worship at IYC2018.

By Carl Stagner

For the first time since 1980, Indianapolis, Indiana, was home to the International Youth Convention of the Church of God. Reflecting the local racing culture, the 51st pinnacle of youth ministry experiences capitalized on its proximity to the iconic motor speedway, with four days designed to put students on track for the race of a lifetime. Inspiring worship, top-notch speakers, dozens of breakout sessions, a 5K to support the fight against trafficking, and a day devoted to community service combined to create moments of lasting life change. Those moments may have passed, but eternity—brighter than ever before—lies ahead. The life change continues as four thousand students and youth leaders, who embraced life at IYC2018, return home to give life to their families, schools, churches, and across their communities. Continue reading

IYC2018 On Track to Change Countless Lives for Christ

Zealand leading worship at IYC2018 (courtesy Justin McKinley).

By Carl Stagner

It was the moment everyone was waiting for. The car washes, rummage sales, bake sales, and numerous other fundraisers led up to this single point in time. Students were giddy with excitement as adult leaders breathed a sigh of relief: “We’ve made it—finally!” As the doors were opened into the main hall at the Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, students from across the country and around the world took their seats only briefly before rising to their feet in enthusiastic participation. High-octane worship, engaging emcees, captivating exchanges, and an in-your-face speaker put IYC2018 on track to change countless lives for Christ. And so, it quickly became clear that this wasn’t the culmination of two years of preparation—this was only the beginning of what God has in store. Continue reading

When Teachers Become Learners: Barefoot and Humbled in Bangladesh

Photo: Cross-cultural footwashing in Bangladesh.

By Carl Stagner

If you’ve ever been on a mission trip, you know it’s a mistake to think you’re going to another country only to teach and bless someone else. More often than not, you end up learning more than you could offer. Instead of leaving feeling impressed by all the good you did, you feel humbled by the good people you met. When a group from Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis, Indiana; First Church of God in Marion, South Dakota; and Church of God Ministries in Anderson, Indiana, came together for a missions trip to Bangladesh this year, the teachers once again became the learners. Continue reading

ONE Gives Students Glimpse of Heaven, Desire to Change the World Together

By Carl Stagner

Some had likely never worshiped in Spanish before. Others had probably never experienced firsthand the high-octane energy of urban gospel. History suggests that few had likely ever been in a setting where three cultures converged in the name of Christ. But that’s exactly what happened at the first-ever ONE event, which took place at Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis, Indiana, on April 21 and 22. The result was a glimpse of heaven and a renewed desire to change the world together. Continue reading

Initial Reports Offer Glimpse of Freedom Sunday 2017 Impact

Photo: Creative Freedom Sunday approach in Indianapolis.

By Carl Stagner

The Church of God first took a stand against human trafficking in India more than a century ago. With the inception of CHOG Trafficklight in recent years, the issue has returned to the forefront of ministry made possible only when Church of God congregations rally together. Once again, the Church of God is fighting side by side not only to raise awareness of trafficking, but also to attack the issue at its root. On March 5, 2017, Church of God congregations across North America and beyond showed the same video announcing the launch of Trafficklight 2.0. Many also gave financially to support the Church of God initiative as they renewed their commitment to engage the battle—even in front of screens both large and handheld. The Holy Spirit’s presence was palpable, and several churches have already shared stories of God’s hand at work. Continue reading

Youth to Participate in Historic Unity Event this April

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By Carl Stagner

It’s at the core of who we are. We preach about it. We sing about it. We read books about it by pioneers of our movement. But we don’t have a flawless record of living it out. The perfect love which unites us all in Jesus must translate to how we function as individual churches and as a movement. A new generation is rising up in the Church of God less connected to “the way we’ve always done it.” They are challenging the status quo; they are daring to do things differently. They’re setting the example for the rest of us as they come together in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 21–22 to worship under one roof. No, it’s not the International Youth Convention. No, it’s not NIYC. And no, it’s also not a youth convention of the Concilio Hispano. It’s ONE gathering, hosted by all three groups, that your church’s youth group won’t want to miss. Continue reading

Lilly Gathering Affirms CARE Initiative’s Heart for Pastors

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Photo: CARE Team at the Lilly Gathering, including Cheryl Elff, Rachel and Ryan Harter, Joseph Cookston, Julia Feirtag, Jessica and Jeremy Zerkle.

By Joseph Cookston

“We were inspired; giving our pastors financial freedom positively affects individual communities and the society at-large; we were validated and motivated…” so reports Julia Feirtag, member of the CARE Initiative Steering Team, as a result of her participation in the Lilly Gathering, November 3 and 4 in Indianapolis, Indiana. This Lilly Gathering brought to Indianapolis representatives from twenty-nine national Christian church groups, including the Church of God, a recipient of one such Lilly Endowment grant in 2015. Last year, these twenty-eight other judicatories also received grants to address the economic challenges facing pastoral leaders among their constituent membership. Continue reading

IYC, NIYC and Concilio Hispano Youth to Hold Unity Event in 2017

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By Carl Stagner

Two of our partners in ministry celebrate vibrant youth ministry outside of involvement in the International Youth Convention, including the National Association’s NIYC (National Inspirational Youth Convention) and the student ministries of the Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano). For many youth in the Church of God, IYC is not the pinnacle of their year; NIYC or the youth events of the Hispanic Council take that description. It is with great anticipation then, that in 2017, students of IYC, NIYC, and the Hispanic Council will come together for a groundbreaking unity event. ONE will gather youth across ethnic and cultural lines together under the banner of Christ to worship and serve together. When unity becomes more than just talk, incredible things begin to happen. Continue reading

Power Outage Relocates Sunday Baptisms to Backyard Water Slide

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Photo: Chelsea Walker baptizes one of the girls in a “Hydro Rush.”

By Carl Stagner

Anderson University squirrels—or any squirrels, for that matter—aren’t as sweet and cuddly as they may be cute. They can, in fact, do a lot of damage with those razor-sharp teeth, much to the chagrin of homeowners, electricians, and the power company. On one fateful Sunday morning in May, one of these four-legged troublemakers sunk his teeth into more than he’d bargained for. The unsuspecting squirrel fell prey to the electrical surge, but so did the worship services scheduled that morning at Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis, Indiana. No light and no power meant no baptism in the church’s sanctuary. How convenient that the family of one of the soon-to-be-baptized had an inflatable water slide already set up in their backyard! Continue reading

Church of God Makes Final Prep for Freedom Sunday, Feb. 14

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By Ann Brandon and Carl Stagner

On Sunday, February 14—Valentine’s Day—believers across the denominational spectrum will stand as one against the epidemic of modern slavery. This is because February 14 isn’t just Valentine’s Day this year; it’s also Freedom Sunday! Human trafficking has met its match if and when God’s church comes together against such widespread evil. Church of God Ministries has put a plethora of free resources at your fingertips to help your congregation observe Freedom Sunday in a meaningful way, including opportunities to support CHOG TraffickLight and reach our movement-wide million-dollar goal. One church that has embraced God’s call to fight against the injustice of trafficking is Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis. Continue reading

Releasing Southeast: Indiana Church Learns to Delegate Responsibility

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By Heidi Tarin

Today, I spoke with Ryan Carrell, founding pastor of the Southeast Project, a church on the southeast side of Indianapolis, Indiana. I tried for two weeks to connect with Ryan to hear about their recent three-year anniversary. As a church planter in a portable church, he has many irons in the fire. When I finally caught him, he so honestly shared some of what was keeping him busy—he was releasing Southeast. Continue reading

Spiritual Gifts: One-Man Drama Ministry Teaches, Inspires

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By Carl Stagner

His home church is Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis, but he’s not on staff. He loves to creatively share the gospel with others, but he’s not a pastor. Larry Holycross is just one man, doing the work God has called him to do. Using his spiritual gift of creative communication and the arts, as well as his gift of teaching, Larry reminds every person-in-the-pew that God’s kingdom advances through the whole body of Christ, not just the pastor. Continue reading

Indianapolis Church Offers Passport to Employment

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By Carl Stagner

Those who’ve traveled outside of the country know the challenge that crossing national borders can pose. The application, the background checks, the miscellaneous paperwork, and the time and energy consumed is enough to keep some from experiencing the blessings of global travel altogether. Many unemployed men and women in America have been laid off by no fault of their own, and they find the job hunt similarly restricting. The hot-button issue of how to solve the unemployment problem is often the topic of conversation, but often nothing more. Under Earle Hart’s leadership, Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis is doing more than just talking about the jobless rate. Since 2008, they’ve offered 942 job-seekers “passports” to full-time employment. Continue reading

Move Aside, Hollywood! CHOG Takes Action on Trafficking

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Photo: Carla Sunberg addresses Indiana Church of God ministers at Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis.

By Carl Stagner

“I’m tired of Hollywood celebrities being the spokespersons for these issues. Where are all the Christians?” The words of Carla Sunberg, president of Nazarene Theological Seminary, echoed through the expanse of Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis. Ministers of the Church of God in Indiana came together for their annual meeting as they do each year in early October. But this year’s meeting took on a markedly different tone. Instead of offering leadership training or the latest tools for ministry, Indiana Ministries devoted the entire day to the subject of sex trafficking and gender-based violence. Continue reading

Church Provides Clean Water, Partners with Local School

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By Ryan Carrell

Our church, The Southeast Project, just had a week of collecting shoes, groceries, and money for a couple of organizations. One of the organizations, WaterStep, places clean water systems in developing nations. They sell the shoes collected to an organization that starts micro-businesses. WaterStep then uses the money to organize trips and to build the clean water systems. The shoes are a primary source of the group’s income. Continue reading