Tag Archives: Louisiana

Subject to Jesus: Louisiana Pastor Reflects on ‘Jesus is the Subject’

By Stephen Nelson

Jesus is the subject. Yes, a recurring theme on my blog, in my social media feed, in my sermons, and in my conversations. This is because this has become the constant theme of my life. It’s Easter weekend, and our senses are more in-tune with Jesus. It brings to mind questions about empires, crucifixion, and the resurrection. And also, are Jesus and the Easter Bunny friends? And, why do bunnies lay multi-colored eggs once a year? 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

UPDATE: Louisiana Disaster Donations, Work Teams Needed

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Photo: Inside the damaged sanctuary of Chapelwood Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

Louisiana’s unprecedented flooding disaster may be fading from the headlines, but the cleanup is only beginning. Two of our Church of God buildings sustained severe damage, one of which lost everything they had. All of our Baton Rouge-area congregations had members whose homes—sixty houses in total—were completely destroyed. Because the flooding hit areas not considered flood zones, these families did not have flood insurance. Refrigerators and ovens are no longer operable, so most are left without a way to prepare meals. Black mold is a serious threat, and FEMA can only offer minimal support. The Church of God must do something. Continue reading

Louisiana Underwater: How You Can Help

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Photo: Chapelwood posted this TV news image on their Facebook page, showing the floods surrounding their church.

By Carl Stagner

Emily Fontenot has lived in Louisiana since 1990. She says she’s never seen flooding like this. The youth minister at Faith Chapel Church of God in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is one of hundreds of thousands of people experiencing a living nightmare that has only just begun. More than twenty-five inches of rain has fallen in parts of Louisiana within the span of just two days, resulting in a deluge likely to happen only once in a thousand years. As a result, waters continue to rise downstream, leaving in its wake widespread destruction characteristic of a war zone. This ongoing disaster has forced an estimated forty thousand families from their homes, claimed at least thirteen lives, and left abandoned cars and trucks littered across the landscape. With extensive power outages and damage to churches, congregations have had to cancel worship services and events this week Several families within our congregations have completely lost their homes. It is a bleak situation, but thankfully, you can help. Continue reading

Freedom Sunday Fuels Reclamation of Hope in Fight Against Trafficking

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Collage: South Creek Church of God (Kokomo, Indiana) Freedom Sunday observance.

By Carl Stagner

Though Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday this year, chocolates and paper hearts were not the focus of thousands of congregations across North America. For the Church of God and several other faith groups, February 14, 2016, was about something bigger, something bolder. While the culture celebrated romantic love, God’s people celebrated God’s unconditional love for the least of these, including victims of human trafficking around the world. As ambassadors of God’s love, believers gathered to not only worship the Lord on Freedom Sunday, but also to raise awareness and funds for ministries entrenched in the fight for freedom. While Freedom Sunday stories continue to come in, initial reports reveal yet another groundswell of determination to reclaim what hell has stolen. Continue reading

Former CHOG Missionary, Sister Host Asian House Church

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By Carl Stagner

You may be able to take the missionary out of the country she served for twenty-two years, but you can’t take the missionary out of her. Though God had called Zonia Mitchell off the field after faithfully investing more than two decades of her life in Japan, he had not called her out of missions. Zonia and her sister Keri now minister together to Asians in their West Monroe, Louisiana, home. Continue reading

Outside City Limits: Muddy Ministry in Monterey, Louisiana

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Photo: Pastor Joey celebrates first baptism at the lake.

By Carl Stagner

When doing ministry in the sparsely populated countryside of Louisiana, one comes to an inescapable conclusion: life…happens…slooooowly. Not that everyone speaks at the rate of Mountain Man (fans of the state’s famed Duck Dynasty television show will understand); rather, the pace of everyday activities seems to take on a refreshing calm. Ask Joey Pepmiller, pastor of Eva Church of God in the unincorporated community known as Monterey. Joey knows the blessings and challenges posed by this relaxed atmosphere. While some readers might panic that the closest Walmart is forty minutes away, these down-to-earth folks take it all in stride. Though large churches often garner the most press, the smaller, rural churches are also making an indelible mark on the kingdom. Amid the cultural nuances, God is up to something big at Eva Church of God. Continue reading

CHOG in Louisiana Still Celebrating Unity

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By Steve Nelson

After a year and a half of working together, unity is alive and well in Louisiana! When I became state coordinator in Louisiana in April 2012, one of the first things I did was to make a twenty-five year study of the congregations in Louisiana. I found out that we had decreased from sixty-three congregations to fifty-five. We had only planted two churches during that time, and only eight of our existing congregations were larger today than they were twenty-five years ago. While I was pastoring, I also had experienced two attempts to merge the existing assemblies, but both had failed. However, there was still a desire for most of the Church of God people in Louisiana to unite. Continue reading

Slow, but Steady Growth for This Spanish-Speaking Congregation

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Photo: Adolfo Zenteno (right), pastor in Shreveport, Louisiana, with wife Loida (left).

By Carl Stagner

Oakmont Church of God has a rich heritage of international missions work. The Shreveport, Louisiana, congregation enjoys a long history of not only supporting several Church of God missionaries but also putting boots on the ground in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. When it seemed that fervor for missions to Spanish-speaking countries was at an all-time high for the congregation, God revealed a plan he’d been working on all along. Some 1,200 miles to the northeast, God was raising up a leader to reach the fastest-growing segment of the population. Continue reading

Disaster Update: Tornadoes and Severe Weather

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Photo: From 2013, this file photo shows a tornado-damaged home in Moore, Oklahoma. Photo courtesy Wayne Auker.

Some 75 million people across the United States are threatened by a severe weather system this week. A number of damaging tornadoes have already struck several states, including Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Alabama, and Louisiana. Church of God Ministries is in the process of communicating with regional pastors and other state leaders. As of this morning, no damage has been reported and no lives have been lost in Church of God congregations. Continue reading

CHOG Youth Pastor, Lay Leader Fight Teen Suicide

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By Carl Stagner

You are not alone. That’s the chief emphasis of Teen Christian Ministries, an organization started by Larry Roy and Leslie Lamb. As today’s teens are struggling with a myriad of issues that threaten to tear their lives apart on a daily basis, TCM is pouring heart and soul into a ministry of hope and healing. Larry Roy is the youth pastor at Liberty Grove Church of God in West Monroe, Louisiana. Leslie Lamb attends North Crossings Church of God in Monroe. Together and, with the help of several young leaders, they form a team poised to prevent suicide and transform young lives with the love of Christ. Continue reading

Unity Breaks Out in Louisiana

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By Carl Stagner

Incredible things are happening in Louisiana. The Church of God in the Pelican State has long functioned with two separate state organizations. In 2012, however, both assemblies voted to come together and form one new association. Since that historic vote, new bylaws have been written and the Louisiana Congregational Ministries of the Church of God has come into being. On January 1, 2014 the newly united Church of God in Louisiana will officially begin operation! Continue reading

No Ordinary Haunted House

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By Carl Stagner

Whether the church likes it or not, each October 31 brings a holiday shrouded in controversy, if not in spider-webs and sticky candy residue. Some Christians decry the dark images and practices of Halloween, while others use the popular day as an opportunity to reach the culture where they are. In West Monroe, Louisiana, Liberty Grove Church of God has creatively captured the attention of the community with an outreach through which visitors confront something far more frightening than ghosts, goblins, and ghouls. Guests of this outreach come face to face with reality. Continue reading