Tag Archives: legacy

Seasons of Ministry Shift for IYC Director, Global Strategy Specialist

Andy Stephenson and Debbie Taylor

By Carl Stagner

For the better part of two decades, Andy Stephenson and Debbie Taylor have served the Church of God movement with excellence and integrity. Under the leadership of Andy Stephenson, for example, the International Youth Convention has flourished, and because of Debbie Taylor’s diligent formation of ministry partnerships, the Church of God has launched missionaries into all the world. This year, they both responded to the Spirit leading them to new ministry settings and opportunities. As 2018 comes to a close, it is with mixed emotion that Church of God Ministries announces a shift in the seasons of ministry for these two ministry assets. Continue reading

Reflections on the Life and Legacy of Arlo Newell

Arlo Newell

By Carl Stagner

The late pastor and CBH speaker Dale Oldham published a book in 1973 titled Giants Along My Path. Many in the Church of God have since used the terminology to describe, as Oldham did, those who have profoundly shaped, influenced, and inspired their lives and ministries. On Monday, October 1, 2018, the Church of God movement learned that Dr. Arlo Newell had passed away. While heaven gained a hero, we lost one of our giants. A comprehensive list of his accomplishments would certainly fill volumes; a summary of his contributions to the Movement he loved would be inadequate. Yet in the lingering shadow of such a giant, it would be nearly impossible not to offer a few reflections now on the life and legacy of Arlo Newell. Continue reading

Massey Legacy Lives On through Newly Published Book

By Carl Stagner

On Sunday, June 24, Dr. James Earl Massey’s life on this earth came to an end. But his incredible legacy has only just begun to affect the lives of students, pastors, and parishioners. One of the many ways his legacy lives on is through his latest book, Views from the Mountain. Published within days of his passing, the compilation of select writings from the brilliant mind of Massey was co-edited by Barry Callen and Curtiss DeYoung. As the back cover of the book states, “Rarely does one voice speak with equal wisdom on fields as diverse and demanding as Bible interpretation, Christian education, inspired preaching, seminary education, and ministries of reconciliation.” Indeed, Dr. Massey did all that and so much more, for the Church of God movement and beyond. Now the Church of God—no, all of Christendom—has the opportunity to glean wisdom from the pages of what Dr. Massey called the “last great goal” of his life. Continue reading

Reflections on the Life and Legacy of James Earl Massey

Dr. James Earl Massey

By Carl Stagner

No tribute could ever come close to adequately describing the preacher, the professor, the person of Dr. James Earl Massey. Musician, mentor, author, theologian, friend, husband—Massey lived a life of many roles and with many talents, but his widespread influence across the Movement and beyond is perhaps unparalleled today. Not surprisingly, word of his passing from this life on Sunday, June 24, 2018, spread rapidly across the country and around the world, prompting a mixture of sorrow for our loss, celebration of his homegoing, and gratitude for the profound impact of his life on ours. Continue reading

Doris Dale: A Tribute to An International Leader

Doris Dale, Global Gathering 2013.

By Bob Edwards

As we read the short obituary of this magnificent woman, we saw a couple of areas that were untouched about Doris Dale, the international leader. This must be mentioned, because her leadership, at both the Women of the Church of God (now the Christian Women Connection) and the Missionary Board of the Church of God (now Global Strategy), was phenomenal. Continue reading

Native American Ministries: Two Generations of Bentleys Leave Lasting Impact

A touching moment for Paul and Kathy Bentley (August 19).

By Carl Stagner

True heart for ministry is unmistakable. Combine that with a love for the Lakota people in Allen, South Dakota, and you have a recipe for a lasting impact. Such is the case with the combined thirty-two years of Native American ministry by two generations of Bentleys. Paul and Kathy Bentley, followed by Barry and Shelly Bentley, dedicated themselves to making a difference in a hope-deprived land among an impoverished people. As they pass the torch of leadership on to home missionaries Tim and Kim Wardell, we pause to bless the Bentleys and remember their steadfast service. Continue reading

Honoring 32 Years of Home Missions Dedication

Paul and Kathy Bentley; Barry and Shelly Bentley

By Carl Stagner

Thirty-two years of ministry dedication is no small feat, especially under challenging conditions. While it’s true that the kind of kingdom laborer deserving of recognition is also the kind that acknowledges no need of earthly honor, honor is nevertheless warranted. For more than three decades, the Bentley family has served among the Lakota people in Allen, South Dakota, without a lot of recognition. Despite the ebb and flow of resources, a society plagued by addiction, and the inescapable loneliness of the remote Upper Great Plains, their resolve could not be shaken. Paul and Kathy Bentley, and Barry and Shelly Bentley, who followed in their footsteps, would endure for the cause of Christ. They were committed. Now the Church of God is committed to honoring these heroes of the faith in a ceremonial celebration on August 19. Continue reading

Children of Promise Establishes Endowment with CHOG Foundation

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Photo: Art Clawson and Kirk Bookout celebrate the new endowment.

By Carl Stagner

This year, Children of Promise celebrates twenty-five years of forever changing the course of children’s lives around the world. Since the beginning, more than 12,000 children have received nutrition, education, medical care, and spiritual formation because of the child sponsorship ministry of the Church of God. Kicking off a year of celebrations that will give God glory for the past twenty-five years—and looking ahead to what God will do over the next twenty-five-plus years—Children of Promise established an endowment with the Church of God Foundation. The Sidney and Jean Ratzlaff Johnson Endowment will enable transformational ministry to continue for generations to come, all the while honoring the legacy of two exceptional individuals. Continue reading

Longtime Missionaries to Haiti Retire, Leave Behind Legacy of Compassion

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Photo: Jodie and John Ackerman

By Carl Stagner

One of the most devastating earthquakes of the century struck the land, and they were there. When political and economic upheaval ensued, they were there. When crime didn’t decline, and poverty remained, they remained, too. Facing busy schedules and fatigue, they nevertheless lent a hand when other missionaries and ex-pats were in need. Exemplary Church of God missionaries to Haiti for the last thirty years, John and Jodie Ackerman let the compassion of Christ flow through them to the “least of these” under less-than-ideal conditions. Though they’ll soon be retiring from career missionary service, a legacy of compassion will no doubt carry on. Continue reading

Personal Tribute to Sharon Skaggs

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By Patrick Nachtigall

Editor’s Note: Patrick Nachtigall is Sharon’s son-in-law. Patrick and Jamie Nachtigall are the Global Strategy regional coordinators for Europe and the Middle East. Scroll to the bottom of the page for memorial service arrangements and memorial gifts. This tribute appeared originally on three-worlds.com.

The longer I live, the more I think life boils down to two things: strength of character and love.

We lost our mom suddenly and unexpectedly this past week, and more than anyone I have ever met, Sharon Skaggs exemplified these two things. Her strong character meant that she was exactly who you thought she was and who she said she was. There was no disparity between the public Sharon and the private Sharon. The kind, graceful, gracious, smiling Sharon that you saw in public was exactly who she was behind closed doors. And as far as love is concerned, she had no enemies and showed love to all equally, regardless of their status. Sharon, unlike most of us, was who she needed to be every day in the exact same way. Continue reading

Remembering Sharon Skaggs

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By Patrick Nachtigall

Sharon E. Skaggs
January 9, 1947–January 8, 2016

Sharon Elaine Skaggs passed away unexpectedly in Salem, Oregon, on Friday, January 8, 2016. Born to Ed and Marilyn Gossen on January 9, 1947, she lived a full life characterized by her service to others. Sharon grew up on a farm in South Dakota and, after graduating from Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon, financially managed The Double K Ranch, a nonprofit organization providing alternative care to troubled teens in Washington State. From 1981 to 1991, she and her family lived in Cairo, Egypt, serving the church community throughout Egypt. She was a loving caretaker and primary support for her late husband in his battle with cancer from 1988 to 1993. After his passing, Sharon continued serving others, working in missionary care through Global Missions (now Global Strategy) of Church of God Ministries in Anderson, Indiana. She served in many roles including Living Link coordinator, director of personnel and head of finance, and retired in 2011, having served the organization and the greater church for thirty years. Sharon served on the Children of Promise board of directors for fifteen years. She also served on the staff of Children of Promise for much of 2015. Even in retirement, Sharon was actively involved with the local food pantry and traveled internationally as a volunteer for Children of Promise. Sharon recently moved to Salem, Oregon, to be closer to family. She had already begun to serve in another local food pantry and anticipated more international travels. Continue reading

Church of God Mourns Loss of Pastor’s Wife, Mother-in-Law

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Photo: Shelly and Mitchell Burch

Every day in the Church of God around the world there are people who suffer great loss, yet they find strength to press on in ministry because of the grace of Jesus. Church of God Ministries recognizes this reality as exemplified in the news of yet another unspeakable tragedy. Pastor Mitchell Burch, his family, the Towne Boulevard congregation of Middletown, Ohio, and the Church of God movement are at a loss for words. Today we mourn the passing of Rochelle “Shelly” Burch—faithful pastor’s wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, accomplished musician, minister, and friend—as well as Shelly’s devoted and loving mother, Linda Golden.

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Boldly Preaching Jesus at Age 100: Linvel Arington

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By Steve Nelson

Retired Church of God pastor Linvel Arington turned one hundred years old on November 24, 2013. Instead of the typical birthday celebration, Linvel spent the morning preaching from the pulpit of Oaklawn Church of God in Hot Springs, Arkansas. What started out as a tongue-in-check joke about preaching his “next-to-last sermon” on his one hundredth birthday turned into a momentous reality. Continue reading

Gift Giving with a Purpose

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By Kirk Bookout

It was fall, the air was crisp and the leaves were a bright orange. Debbie and her husband had been with our church for a few months and were new to the whole idea of church. Their faith was new, fresh, and bright.

“It’s my birthday tomorrow” she said. “Pastor, I own everything I want. So my husband and I decided to celebrate my birthday with a gift for others this year. Do you have any ideas?” (Yes, I did!)

There are times in people’s lives, or in the life of the church, that that we want to celebrate all we have received by merrily giving. It may be a birthday, a holiday—or God may move us to give. Continue reading