Tag Archives: Kentucky

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

Kentucky Church Sews Quilts of Comfort, Reaps Harvest for Community

Quilting at Meade Station Church of God.

By Betty Thacker

Meade Station Church of God has a quilting ministry that began in 2009. This ministry consists of a group of women who make lap quilts for hospice patients that are in the hospice center in Ashland, Kentucky. We also give quilts to people in the church that are sick. Over the past nine years, we have given away hundreds of quilts. Last year alone, we gave away approximately two hundred quilts. Continue reading

Movement Embraces, Gives Life as Common Emphasis Emerges

Church of God Ministries’ Darryl Allen preaching at Pastors’ Fellowship.

By Carl Stagner

Jesus spoke it. Church of God Ministries echoed it. Christian Women Connection offered it. Pastors’ Fellowship proclaimed it. Others are chiming in! Life—new, abundant, and refreshing like water—is emerging as a common emphasis among Church of God agencies, congregations, and institutions. With Jesus as the subject, the Church of God is receiving, hearing, and embracing his words in John 10:10—“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (NIV). The first two Church of God Regional Conventions, CWC’s Living Water Luncheons, and Pastors’ Fellowship 2018 are just three recent events where Church of God people have satisfied their souls in the life-giving Lord. Continue reading

Church Scraps Traditional Palm Sunday Programming for 33 Service Projects

Wildwood team serving at a local school.

By Carl Stagner

They’d never done Palm Sunday like this before. Instead of the usual Sunday morning programming, Wildwood Church of God in Ashland, Kentucky, dared to be different. The church has a history of serving their community but, until Palm Sunday 2018, hadn’t attempted something on such a grand scale. After gathering for a brief worship service, more than 700 people left the church building to go out and be the church in a wide variety of settings. Through 33 different service projects, they would demonstrate the love of Jesus in tangible and meaningful ways to their neighbors. In the end, however, it was clear that the congregation also experienced God’s love on a whole new level. Continue reading

Motorcycle Ministry and the Church of God

Bikers gearing up for a ride at Owingsville First Church.

By Carl Stagner

The Church of God movement is known for making Jesus the subject—looking past ethnic and cultural differences for the Lord’s sake. Recognizing that the call to ministry doesn’t distinguish between male and female, and reaching our hands in fellowship to every blood-washed one—regardless of color of skin, or name over the church doors, for example—the Church of God has placed a premium on unity, holiness, and the mission of reaching anyone and everyone with the gospel. It should be no surprise then, that over recent decades Church of God congregations across the country have developed motorcycle ministries that really make a difference. Often stereotyped and frequently feared by a four-wheeled society, the distinct culture and community of bikers has proved a field ready for harvest in the Church of God. Continue reading

Kentucky Congregation Puts Community First this Christmas

First Church group distributes a “blessing bag.”

By Megan DeBruyn

As the days grow chillier and the Advent season unfolds before us, many churches launch a special sermon series or begin lighting a symbolic candle each week. But First Church of God in Winchester, Kentucky, is hitting the streets. Why? Because they believe in being the church rather than simply coming to church. Continue reading

Story in Song: Ten Churches Unite to Worship the Lord, Celebrate Our Heritage

By Carl Stagner

Our story, God’s story. The message of the Church of God movement lives on in large part because of pioneer men and women who not only lived it, but tied it to that which speaks to both soul and mind—music. It has been said that the Church of God is a singing church, and after Christ alone, it has been our songs that have brought our common experiences together in beautiful harmony. When voices ring out that there is joy in the Lord, we know it to be true. When we sing of the kingdom of peace reigning within, that’s our story! When the familiar refrain, “I am a child of God” is heard, Church of God people from New York to Los Angeles and everywhere in between resonate that glorious truth. It should come as no surprise then, when word got out that Stanton First Church of God in Stanton, Kentucky, would host a heritage hymn sing-along, Church of God people from ten congregations showed up—and a bit of heaven came down. Continue reading

Cowboy-Turned-Preacher Spurs Church to Reclaim Health, Hope

Pastor Terry Ames

By Carl Stagner

His horse was one of his closest companions. From the hat on his head to the spurs on his boots, he fit the profile. He and his buddies would go from one town to the next to rob banks and end up in a shootout. But it was all an act—at least the robbing banks and shootouts part! From time to time, his acting job would include a minor role in historical movies and western television shows. He really did own a horse, however, and they were inseparable. He did also come from a small farm and enjoys wearing cowboy hats. The acting career is behind him now, though. Terry Ames has matters of eternal consequence to attend to. For the past couple of years, he’s carried out the task of turning around a declining Kentucky congregation which, at its lowest point, survived an attempted takeover. 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

Truth, Love Preached and Practiced at Pastors’ Fellowship 2017

Photo: Pastors’ Fellowship 2017

By Carl Stagner

Another Pastors’ Fellowship has come and gone, yet its impact on those who attended, the movement, and the culture remains. As it always does, this year’s gathering of pastors and laypeople at First Church of God in Winchester, Kentucky, featured dynamic doctrinal preaching and wholehearted singing of heritage hymns. The fellowship was as sweet as the iced tea, and the moments of prayer were powerful and potent. What really left a lasting impression, however, was the way these men and women of God responded to the Spirit. When word got out about the devastating floods wreaking havoc across Missouri, directly affecting Church of God brothers and sisters, God’s love turned into action. Continue reading

Creativity, Generosity, Boldness Characterize Easter Celebrations

Photo: Lord’s Supper drama at First Church, Inverness, Florida.

By Carl Stagner

As a pinnacle in the church year, some might get the feeling that it’s all downhill from Easter. But perhaps Pastor Paul Strozier of Madison Park Church of God in Anderson, Indiana, said it best last year in an article he wrote: “The baskets have returned to the attic, the plastic eggs are being recycled, somewhere in the house there is at least one purple Peep left unconsumed—at least until the toddler finds it…But can we really let the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ wait a whole year to be acknowledged and celebrated again? Easter never ends for the follower of Jesus Christ…Imagine how it might change our homes, our families, and our communities if we lived every day with resurrection power, hope, and joy.” For Church of God congregations across the country, Easter has only just begun! Here’s a look at how churches observed Easter week. Continue reading

Kentucky Pastor Embraces Movement, Celebrates Church Turnaround

Photo: Pastor Jason smiles during a baptism.

By Carl Stagner

Jason Johnson was not the only one. Whether an e-mail from Church of God Ministries about the latest movement-wide emphasis, a letter from “Anderson,” asking the local church to take up a special offering, or a phone call from the “national offices” asking for a donation, if it originated from central Indiana, it was met with skepticism. After all, the landscape of the Church of God resembled less and less the reformation movement of its earliest days, and it seemed that “Anderson” was largely responsible. This was once the sentiment of Jason Johnson of Prestonsburg, Kentucky. Fast forward a few years. Pastor Jason and Prestonsburg Church of God are some of the loudest champions of the movement today. What happened? 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

Holy Spirit Emphasized, Experienced Afresh at Pastors’ Fellowship 2016

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Photo: Leaders stand behind Frank Curtis as he concludes his sermon.

By Carl Stagner

Sunday’s coming. That’s a great thing if you’re talking about the resurrection of Christ. It’s also good news to the believer who has survived a difficult week at work, and just needs an encouraging word from the pastor. But the pastor needs an encouraging word from time to time, too. For pastors, Sunday is always coming, and that can often be an exhausting realization. But every year at the beginning of May, pastors in the Church of God know they have a place to go. A place for fellowship with other pastors. A break from the pressures at home. An encouraging word tailored just for them. Pastors’ Fellowship refreshes hundreds of Church of God pastors and laypeople every year, and 2016 was no exception. Focused on the Holy Spirit’s role in the church, those who attended Pastors’ Fellowship 2016 not only heard the Holy Spirit preached, but also experienced a fresh anointing. 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