Timothy J. Clarke (top left), Margaret A. Lewis (top right), Melissa Pratt (bottom left), Todd R. Clear (bottom right).
Anderson University will honor distinguished alumni and friends on campus when it celebrates its 100th commencement on Saturday, May 5. Bishop Timothy J. Clarke will serve as the commencement speaker and will receive an honorary doctorate of divinity. Bishop Clarke is the senior pastor of First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio. Clarke has served in several leadership capacities with the National Association of the Church of God, on the boards of various community and political organizations, and is the author of seven books. He will also assume the role of chairman of the General Assembly on July 1. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Colleges & Universities
Tagged Anderson University, AU, Award, commencement, graduation, honor, honorees, Margaret Lewis, Melissa Pratt, Timothy Clarke, Todd Clear
The Cove on a clear, moon-lit evening.
By Carl Stagner
At 3,885 feet above the cares of the world, Cedar Cliff Overlook, just minutes from the Billy Graham Training Center, reminds guests that the Artist who painted such breathtaking scenery is the same God who wants to give us a chance to catch our breath. Even in ministry—or especially in ministry—moments of rest and renewal are a must! When the vantage point of a pastor or layperson constantly focuses the eyes on the next task, it’s time to retreat. The CBH Retreat to the Cove has long served as a prescription for long seasons of work, ministry, and hurry. This October 15–18, join Jim Lyon, Larnelle Harris, Joe and Merry Cookston, Melissa Pratt, Wesley Duff, and Rob Kespelher for a mountain-top experience unlike any other. And, as you pull away from the crowd, you’ll find yourself in good company with Jesus (Mark 6:31). Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, CBH: Christians Broadcasting Hope
Tagged Asheville, Bill Stapleton, Billy Graham Training Center, CBH, Cedar Cliff Overlook, Christians Broadcasting Hope, Clergy Appreciation Month, Denver and Marcia Burns, getaway, Jim Lyon, Joe and Merry Cookston, Joseph Cookston, Judy Lighty, Keena Wood, Larnelle Harris, Melissa Pratt, NC, North Carolina, October, Pastor Appreciation Month, refresh, renewal, Rob Kespelher, travel, ViewPoint, Wesley Duff
Photo: This year’s community Easter celebration.
By Carl Stagner
You’re now a big church. You’ve poured your heart and soul into the people and the place, the church and the community. The service projects, carnivals, car shows, car washes, neighborhood walk-throughs, mission trips, Easter egg hunts, and “harvest festivals” are too many too count. It might be easy to kick back and relax, to feel like you’ve “arrived.” But nothing could be farther from the truth for Teays Valley Church of God in Scott Depot, West Virginia. Nine years have passed since Melissa Pratt became the senior pastor, and though attendance has jumped almost 500 percent and the number of first-time decisions for Christ is approaching 300, she’s not stopping to stare at the scenery. Don’t misunderstand—Teays Valley knows how to celebrate what the Lord has done like few other churches do. But until all of Putnam County experiences the transforming power of Jesus Christ, it’s full steam ahead. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Northeast
Tagged church growth, church health, expansion, Melissa Pratt, new construction, outreach, salvation, Scott Depot, Teays Valley Church of God, Thom Pratt, turnaround, West Virginia
By Carl Stagner
From the earliest days of the Church of God movement, women have skillfully served as senior pastors and evangelists. Church of God pioneers like Mary Cole and Lena Shoffner paved the way for more recent heroes of the faith, like the late Lillie McCutcheon (and countless others), who faithfully demonstrated by their gifts their divinely-called roles in the body of Christ. Today, women ministers in the Church of God are speaking out. Offering a glimpse into what it’s like to serve in the vastly male-dominated field of ministry leadership, the following women senior pastors responded to a series of questions in a recent interview with Church of God Ministries: Cheryl Sanders (Third Street Church of God, Washington, D.C.), Diana Swoope (Arlington Church of God, Akron, Ohio), Donna Rothenberger (Whole Life Community Church of God, El Cajon, California), Melissa Pratt (Teays Valley Church of God, Scott Depot, West Virginia), and Shannon New-Spangler (Harvest Point Church of God, Lordstown, Ohio). Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God
Tagged Cheryl Sanders, Diana Swoope, diversity, Donna Rothenberger, female, gender, gifts, interview, leadership, Melissa Pratt, preaching, roles, senior pastors, Shannon New-Spangler, women in ministry, women pastors
Photo: Tyler Weiford, ready to support sustainable hunger relief.
By Carl Stagner
Imagine a world where a McDonalds or a Taco Bell couldn’t be found on every corner. Recent news coverage cited a report that showed, for the first time in history, Americans spend more money on eating out than on groceries. In stark contrast, the convenience of a fast food restaurant—let alone, a supermarket—just doesn’t exist for some three billion people around the world. Even where fresh food is available, extreme poverty only prohibits adequate nutrition. The children of Teays Valley Church of God in Scott Depot, West Virginia, have decided to do something about the problem. They’ve raised money to purchase a cow. Continue reading
Photo: Convention 2014 attendees in fellowship.
By Carl Stagner
The Be Bold fervor that has swept across the Church of God over the past six months originated at the convention in Oklahoma City in June 2014. A new wind began blowing in the movement that has continued to gain strength to propel us into a brighter future together. Perhaps none can better express this fresh spirit than those who attended the landmark Oklahoma City gathering. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Church of God Convention
Tagged Be Bold, camp meeting, Campmeeting, Che-Che Mobley, CHOG Convention, Church of God Convention 2015, Gillian Grannum, Larry Mobley, Melissa Pratt, Milton Grannum, NAC, Oklahoma City, Reclaim
Photo: Free haircut at Teays Valley Church of God, July 2014.
By Carl Stagner
We were created to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph 2:10). The best kind of good works are the kind that meet real needs. In July, Teays Valley Church of God in Scott Depot, West Virginia, hosted a day of free haircuts, free hair products, and plenty of free hugs and expressions of God’s love. In a culture that often questions the authenticity of churchgoers, the compassion behind these friendly faces was genuine. Continue reading
On Sunday, April 6, at 2:00 PM, Teays Valley Church of God in Scott Depot, West Virginia, will be one step closer to seeing their dream of a new community center realized. The church will break ground to develop the seventy-four acres of property they own, known as Teays Valley Acres. The fast-growing church has plans to develop the seventy-four acres into a recreation park, conference site, and community center. “God has given us a vision to serve our community by meeting the needs of the whole person,” said Dr. Melissa Pratt, the church’s pastor. “This is the first step in a multiphase plan to create a space that is open for our community to use every day of the week.” Continue reading
Pastor Melissa Pratt, of Teays Valley Church of God in Scott Depot, West Virginia, had no idea what she was in for when she decided to walk across Putnam County in just four days. The personal walk-a-thon, dubbed “Mission Possible,” took place during the week of October 7. In just four days, the pastor walked 68.8 miles total through every major town and area in Putnam County. Continue reading