Tag Archives: leadership development

Facebook Seminary: Pakistan Pastors-in-Training Plug In with AU Professor

Students in Pakistan gather around a laptop…

By Carl Stagner

God is on the move through the Church of God in Pakistan, and it’s a breathtaking sight to behold. On Saturday evenings, seminary students in the Middle Eastern country assemble to hear Sarah Blake LaRose teach hermeneutics and exegesis. But Sarah is not in the same room—not exactly, anyway. Ten time zones away, it’s Saturday morning in Anderson, Indiana, where the AU professor has logged on to Facebook Messenger. There she lectures on the topic of Scripture interpretation, fielding questions and interacting with her pastors-in-training in Pakistan. Continue reading

Upside-Down Kingdom: Insights and Updates from England

Community meal at Birkenhead Church of God.

By Zach and Audrey Langford

Birkenhead Church of God, like many of the churches in Europe, is reaching an increasingly secular and post-Christian society. “Be Known, Be Loved, Be Community” has become the church’s motto as we seek to engage people. We have been consistently met with hesitation and skepticism as we introduce ourselves to neighbors. Preconceived notions and barriers make relationship-building slow. Continue reading

Alabama Pastor Installed as President of Korean Seminary

Installation of CHOG pastor Loren Sutton as United Bible Seminary president.

In March 1965, Loren and Elouise Sutton, with their four children, were commissioned to plant a Church of God congregation in Opelika, Alabama. They established Airview Church of God where he served for a season but returned later in life for another season of pastoral leadership. In the six decades since his call to ministry, Sutton has continued to preach as a pastor, evangelist, youth speaker and, for a season, he served as the southeast recruitment and development representative for Anderson University. The most exciting turn of events in Sutton’s sixty-five-year ministry began to take shape in the spring of 2018, however, which ultimately led him to become the president of a Korean seminary. Continue reading

Church of God in Honduras Sets Sights on Societal Transformation

Church of God in Honduras engaging their culture.

By Carl Stagner

Much of the Church of God in Honduras is in the midst of a season of growth and health. In such seasons, it can be tempting to get comfortable and enjoy the ride. But instead of complacency, the Church of God is actively searching for ways to engage and support their communities. Believing God to expand their outreach, they’ve pursued plans to establish a school, train entrepreneurs while funding ministry, and build a retreat center. Donnie Allen, national representative for the Church of God in Honduras, offers the Church of God in the U.S. and Canada a glimpse of their efforts to bring hope and help to the population. Continue reading

Excellence in Ecuador: Seminary Intensive Trains Growing Number of Leaders

Ecuador Seminary Intensive 2018

By Timothy and Angelita Downing

We tried something different, and…it was a success! Each year, the Church of God seminary in Ecuador offers a week long intensive to help train leaders in the Ecuadorian church. This year, we expanded the reach of the seminary by offering more class options, moving to a more spacious location, and including more Ecuadorian leadership. Last year, we had a total of twenty-five participants, with one international student. This year, we had seventy-six participants, with several international students! 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

New Initiative Invests in Young Pastors, Church Planters Across Europe

First meeting of Europe X in Budapest, Hungary.

By Carl Stagner

Ministry in Europe and the Middle East looks very little like ministry in other parts of the world. While churches in parts of the world preach and teach the message of Jesus in cultures already somewhat receptive to Christianity, the experience of pastors and church leaders in countries like France and Spain can be drastically different, difficult, and confounding. As a result, limited support structures have existed in recent generations to encourage and equip young men and women called into ministry. To come alongside these developing leaders, the Church of God in twelve countries came together to launch the Three World Leadership Network (3WLN). Since then, Church of God missionaries and young leaders have made strides toward revitalization of the church through partnership, awareness, networking, and encouragement. Earlier this year, they took the next step to invest specifically in young pastors and church planters passionate about multiplication in the midst of a challenging post-Christendom reality. Continue reading

Former Catalyst Leader to Address Movement at Fairfax, Safety Harbor Conventions

Brad Lomenick

By Carl Stagner

Brad Lomenick served as lead visionary and president of Catalyst for over a decade. While credited with growing the conference into one of the most influential leadership brands in the United States, he hasn’t let that go to his head. In fact, one of the chief ingredients for effective leadership is humility, a virtue he’s highlighted in his latest book. Looking to Jesus as the ultimate Leader, Brad has first followed the ever-winding course his Captain has charted, even as it took him to places and heights he never planned on seeing. Born and raised in a Church of God home in Oklahoma, Brad Lomenick looks forward to speaking life into the Movement at the Church of God Regional Conventions in Fairfax, Virginia (September 18–19), and Safety Harbor, Florida (September 25–26). Continue reading

Heart of a Shepherd: Convention 2018 Speaker Pours into Pastors, Leaders

Ben Hardman speaks at the Philadelphia Regional in 2016.

By Carl Stagner

“I have always believed everyone needs a Paul to pour into you, a Timothy to pour into, and a Barnabas to encourage you.” Ben Hardman’s words come from personal experience. Returning to the Regional Conventions this year—all five of them—the featured speaker hasn’t always lived up to this aspiration. He knows how difficult it is to lead well, make disciples in a 21st-century culture, and balance the needs of self and family. But out of his struggles, he’s celebrated numerous successes and gained a wealth of insights on the ground. The co-founder of Gravity Leadership and host of the leadership training workshop “Making Disciples in the Way of Jesus” at each Regional Convention 2018, Ben’s unique combination of life experiences has captured the attention of Church of God pastors across the country. Continue reading

Celebrating Church of God Women in Leadership Around the World

A collage of Dorothy Colney, Mailes Ndao, and Courtney Rice.

By Megan DeBruyn

At the turn of the twentieth century, labor movements across North America and Europe were gaining momentum, and the landscape of a post-war society was beginning to shift. Birthed out of this movement came women’s suffrage in the western hemisphere, and International Women’s Day along with it. In the years that followed, this worldwide observance has taken on global significance for women in modernized and developing countries alike, seeking to rally around the common goal of female advancement, both politically and economically. Continue reading

From Alabama to Destination Unknown: Church Launches Leaders Around the World

Special service at Riverchase Community Church.

By Carl Stagner

Regional consultant for Latin America, Abby Torgeson. Missionary to Germany, Joshua Weiger. Missionaries to Japan, Christy and Terence Van Dam. Pastors to the Middle East, Ken and Keli Oldham. Matt Anderson, pastor of the thriving desert oasis in Scottsdale, Arizona, McDowell Mountain Community Church. Besides their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, each one of these has something unique in common: Riverchase Community Church. To one degree or another, these and numerous other Christ-centered leaders were formed and/or launched into ministry from this modest-sized Church of God congregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Considering the church’s heart for missions and intentional discipleship strategies, it’s no wonder that they can’t hang on to their brightest and best. But, they wouldn’t want to. Continue reading

Côte d’Ivoire: From 25 People to 25 Pastors 20 Years Later

An early member of the church presenting a gift of a photo of the first congregation in Abidjan.

By Carl Stagner

Twenty years ago, the picture of the Church of God in Côte d’Ivoire looked nothing like it does today. Roughly twenty-five individuals, mostly English-speaking immigrant Christians from other African countries outside of French-speaking Côte d’Ivoire, composed the new fellowship. Near the end of November 2017, the Church of God in Côte d’Ivoire celebrated its twentieth anniversary, and the incredible kingdom gains that have taken place approximately twenty-five pastors—and two thousand believers—later. Missionaries Larry and LeAnn Sellers have been there since the beginning and were present at the anniversary. To mark the occasion, we offer the Church of God beyond Côte d’Ivoire a brief look back at how God has been at work over the past two decades in this West African nation, as well as a glimpse of where the ministry is headed. Continue reading

In the Midst of Revival: Crosspointe Kilgore-Longview, Texas

Baptism at Crosspointe Church is a common occurence.

By Carl Stagner

When you’re baptizing someone nearly every week and the walls must come down to make more room in your sanctuary, you’ve got to wonder if revival is breaking out. At the two campuses of Crosspointe Fellowship Church of God in the Texas communities of Kilgore and Longview, God has clearly been on the move in many mighty ways. Led by Pastor Efrain Cirilo, Crosspointe has seen their worship center and children’s classrooms run out of space. In the past couple of years, total attendance has more than doubled to an average of 400 on Sundays. And, it was just last year that they added the second campus at Longview. While no magic formula exists for revival, the church did enact a handful of specific strategies to become a growing, healthy church. Continue reading

Students Experience Cross-cultural Community, Ministry at A.One.8

The A.One.8 group of students and leaders!

By Andrew Gale

On July 6, twelve students began their journey to Lake Wales, Florida, for the start of A.One.8 2017. The students came from nine different states from across the country. For some, it was their first-ever flight, beginning a journey of firsts. Continue reading

A.One.8 Launches as Students Arrive

Thursday, July 6 was the culmination of several years of hard work and planning, the fruition of years of dreaming. A.One.8 launched today in Lake Wales, Florida. A.One.8 is Global Strategy’s answer to the need for a training experience for young leaders within the Church of God who are called to cross-cultural missions. Andrew Gale, from Global Strategy, is heading up this experience. Continue reading