Tag Archives: life cycle

Messy but Miraculous: Missouri Churches Merge to Maximize Kingdom Impact

Co-pastors Rick & Johnny conduct salt ceremony to signify the merger.

By Carl Stagner

Johnny Phifer was serving as the pastor of Walnut Lawn Church of God in Springfield, Missouri. Rick Herald was the pastor of LifeQuest Church, also in Springfield. Neither church was on life support or even in serious trouble. Still, each church did have its fair share of challenges; in particular, the average age of the Walnut Lawn congregation was progressively older, while LifeQuest faced a sizeable debt. But, while it’s true that the notion of a merger seemed to address these basic needs, these were not the primary motivators for a decision of such far-reaching implications. There had to be more. And there was. Continue reading

Church of God Ministries Reignites State, Regional Assemblies with ‘Boot Camps’

Georgia_bootcamp2015_groupselfie_FORWEB

Photo: Handel with Church of God leaders in Georgia.

By Carl Stagner

God is truly moving in the Church of God. From the local church, to the state and regional assemblies, to the offices of Church of God Ministries, real change is taking place to position the movement for maximum kingdom impact. Baptisteries are getting wet again. Altars are filling up again. Churches are making more and better disciples. Walls that recently separated saints from one another are crumbling. As ministries coalesce around our common subject, Jesus, we’re reclaiming what hell has stolen. Many of our state and regional assemblies are seeing renewed unity and fresh missional fervor thanks in part to what are being called revitalization “boot camps.” These opportunities, offered by Church of God Ministries, and led by Handel Smith and the domestic ministry team, are now open to any district, state, or regional assembly that longs to see revitalization. Continue reading

The Camp Warren Strategy: Illinois CHOG Campground Celebrates Turnaround

Camp_Warren_Bible_student_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

Crumbling and outdated facilities, financial hurdles, and declining attendance have prompted many states and regions in the Church of God to sell their campgrounds. But not Illinois. In the face of such obstacles, a steadfast belief in the timeless vitality and relevance of church camping ministry led the General Assembly to commit to the revitalization Illinois’ Camp Warren. After years of investment, research, networking, strategic planning, promotion, hard labor, and plenty of setbacks, regional pastor Eric Livingston says 2016 is on target to be their best year yet. Continue reading

New Life Breathed into CHOG District

HandelSmith_MaxWareatfarright_CDPmeetingNov82014_FORWEB

Photo: (L to R) Patricia Vines, Handel Smith, Kevin Johnson, Maxwell Ware in November 2014.

By Carl Stagner

When the term life cycle is uttered, many pastors and leaders quickly scatter. It’s an all-too-common scenario that plays out in churches and Christian organizations. Wrestling with societal evolution, advances in technology, and keeping up with the latest marketing techniques, have left many organizations struggling with identity, reach, and dollars. In recent years, grim prospects threatened to spell the end for one Church of God district organization. Now it’s plain that it was just the beginning of what God had in store. Continue reading