Volunteers from Highland Park assist local community for veterans.
By Carl Stagner
Sometimes, on the scale of size and influence, smaller churches can feel insignificant. The truth is that the impact of the smaller churches among us cannot be overstated. The Church of God in Gloucester City, New Jersey, for example, has a rich history of impact for the kingdom. Highland Park Church of God also has benefited from pastoral longevity; as senior pastor Bill Dilks prepares for retirement later this year after twenty years, associate pastor Debra Conner surveys the faithfulness of Highland Park, encouraging the congregation to press on in ministry during this time of transition. Through community partnership, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, the New Jersey church believes God will do many more amazing things in their midst. But they’re not waiting for some elusive big breakthrough to live out their purpose—Highland Park carries on the work of the gospel, even in the face of adversity. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Northeast
Tagged adversity, Bill Dilks, blessing, celebration, city, community, Debra Conner, dreams, faithfulness, Gloucester City, GriefShare, growth, healthy churches, Highland Park Church of God, hurdles, interim, longevity, meeting needs, men's ministry, ministry transition, mission, missional, need, New Jersey, NJ, outreach, partnership, pastoral longevity, Philadelphia, plans, programs, small church, smaller church, struggle, the struggle is real, turnaround, urban, Vacation Bible School, VBS, victory, vision, William Dilks, women's ministry, youth
Pastor Edward and Jean Cross.
By Carl Stagner
After forty-seven years shepherding the flock at New Community Church of God in Wilmington, Delaware, Pastor Edward Cross has made more than a few observations about the surrounding culture. For example, there’s a prevailing suspicion that nothing’s ever really free, and if you’ve got something to offer, you must want something in return. But by building authentic relationships in the community, not just hosting events and doing more programs, the Delaware congregation is catching a few people off guard—in a good way! They’re demonstrating that they really do care, surprising the world with God’s love. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Give Life, Northeast
Tagged Caring Hands, Christmas in July, community outreach, connecting, DE, Delaware, Edward Cross, generations, Horace Sheppard, Jean Cross, longevity, millennials, relationships, Wilmington
The congregation honoring Pastor Walls for his faithful service (Image courtesy Ferman Brown Photography).
By Carl Stagner
They came from near and far. Pastors, politicians, family, friends, and members of the community descended upon East Second Street First Church of God in Xenia, Ohio, for a very special and very unique occasion. On Sunday, March 18, notable Church of God figures addressed the over-capacity crowd, including—but not limited to—Ed Foggs, former executive secretary of the Church of God; Miki Merritt, presiding elder of the National Association; Demetrius Booker, associate state pastor of Ohio Ministries; Timothy Clarke, senior pastor of First Church of God in Columbus; and Dennis Kidd, senior pastor of Front Street Church of God in Hamilton, Ohio. Morning and afternoon services, complete with preaching, presentations, and powerful moments of worship, celebrated the sixty-five-year ministry of Dr. J. Douglas and Lady Donna Walls: fifty faithful years at one church. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Great Lakes
Tagged age, Award, bivocational, book, celebration, ceremony, Columbus, commuting, Demetrius Booker, Dennis Kidd, Dr. Walls, East Second Street First Church of God, Ed Foggs, faithfulness, fiftieth anniversary, honor, J Douglas Walls, Joel Lee Allen, Lady Donna, LaMonte Monroe, longevity, mentoring, Miki Merritt, minister, ministerial calling, NACOG, National Association, National Association of the Church of God, OH, Ohio, pastor, pastoring, service, testimony, time, Timothy Clarke, vocational ministry, Xenia
Pastor Milan with friend Domique Billups, special needs ministry.
By Carl Stagner
Statistics don’t tell an altogether encouraging story when it comes to the average stay of a pastor. Some recent surveys suggest the average is on the rise, but the present picture of pastoral tenure in the United States and Canada could certainly improve. Milan Dekich accepted the senior pastorate at Fairview Church of God in Falkville, Alabama, when the size of the church was about twenty-five. Thirty-seven years later, he preaches to a gathering of 450 strong, and has helped plant two churches and assisted in the revitalization of a third. Just because the congregation is doing well today doesn’t mean the struggle hasn’t been real. In fact, it has, and there were times Milan might have preferred to throw in the towel. But a commitment to God’s plan kept him there, and today he’s blessed to share a few of the experiences he’s had, as well as a few of the lessons he’s learned along the way. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Southeast
Tagged AL, Alabama, church growth, church health, community, Fairview Church of God, Fairview The Grace Place, Falkville, leadership, lessons, longevity, Milan Dekich, outreach, pastoral stay, pastoral tenure, special needs ministry