Tag Archives: merge

Regional Convention 2020 Host Church a “Center of Hope” in Los Angeles

Pastor Geremy Dixon encouraging the saints at Center of Hope LA.

By Carl Stagner

Convention 2019 and General Assembly have come and gone, but the Regional Conventions scheduled across the country next year are on the horizon. Registration is now open for all three events as program details continue to be finalized for Inglewood, California (April 22–24); Anderson, Indiana (June 24–26); and Brooklyn, New York (September 16–18). Pastor Geremy Dixon, who spoke at CHOG Convention 2017 in Wichita, Kansas, says his Los Angeles congregation is “pulling out all the stops” for the three-day gathering next April. An interview with the influential leader offers a glimpse of the people and the ministry giving life to their city in such a way that merits the name “Center of Hope.” Continue reading

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

Spanish-, English-Speaking Churches in Texas Become One

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Photo: Pastor Carlos Lamelas baptizing a believer on Feb. 5.

By Carl Stagner

Pastor Malcolm Tyree described it as a “Super Sunday,” but not because of a certain football game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. What happened on Sunday, February 5, at New Vida Church of God in Dallas, Texas, was nothing short of incredible, especially in light of all that had transpired over the past year. Eleven people were baptized, ranging in ages from six to sixty. Wonderful, sure. But not so uncommon. Uncommon was that these individuals represented multiple cultures originating from the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Cuba. Such celebration came on the heels of a year of transition which saw the finalization of the merger between a Spanish-speaking and an English-speaking congregation. But for New Vida Church of God—once New Life Fellowship and Iglesia de Dios Vida Abundante—this wasn’t the grand finale. This is just the beginning. Continue reading

Church Merger a Stark Contrast to Divided Culture

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Photo: Brad Ruggles (left) and Matt Gaylor (right) celebrate unity!

By Carl Stagner

“People can find all kinds of reasons to be divided today. But we found one to be united.” Matt Gaylor, engagement pastor of the new Nspire Church in Westfield, Indiana, couldn’t be more excited about what God is up to in the growing city just north of Indianapolis. As the pastor who helped restart and reclaim New Life Church of God as CitySpring Church in the early part of this decade, Matt had every reason to continue down the successful path he was on. But God had other plans. These plans wouldn’t involve him leaving CitySpring, but they would involve change. And they would prove to be a powerful witness for Christ. Continue reading

A United Church for a Divided World: An Illinois Snapshot

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Photo: Gathering Place Church of God marriage retreat.

By Carl Stagner

Remember that slogan? “A United Church for a Divided World.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? But it doesn’t have to be just a slogan, and it doesn’t have to only represent a theme of days gone by. For The Gathering Place Church of God in Fairview Heights, Illinois, it represents present reality. They’re the product of two churches coming together; that is, a predominantly black church and a predominantly white church. While the rest of the world is busy arguing over this, that, and the other, this unified church across the Mississippi River from St. Louis is preoccupied with communicating Jesus to a lost and hurting community. Continue reading

Michigan Welcomes New Church to the Movement

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Photo: Footwashing at Berrien Community Church.

By Carl Stagner

With increasing regularity, congregations and local fellowships are seeking affiliation with the Church of God. Drawn by the dawning of a bright new day, reflecting the light of Christ at the center, established bodies of believers are asking the question, How can we join the movement? From the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to the Middle East, Christians have observed that God is on the move in the Church of God. Recently, the Church of God in Michigan rejoiced as Berrien Community Church in Bridgman, Michigan, became the newest Church of God congregation in the state. Continue reading

Gertrude Goode: Continuing to Break Racial, Gender Barriers in Virginia

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Photo: Gertrude Goode

By Donald W. Neace

For the past several years, the Church of God in Virginia has looked to and set several historical landmarks. From breaking the barrier of racial lines that existed between the former Virginia Association and former Virginia Assembly, to racially balanced co-chairs of the newly formed Church of God in Virginia, to alternating chairs demonstrating racial unity in leadership, the Church of God in Virginia has set an example for each local congregation, as well as the Church of God nationally. Continue reading

Fresh Vision, Lasting Legacy: Two Missouri Churches Pursue Future as One

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By Samantha Brown

“We will just have to start praying for God to give us a building.” These are the words that pastor’s wife, Amanda Simmonds, spoke to The Table’s leadership team in July 2014 before moving to St. Charles, Missouri on their church planting journey. And so they began to pray. One year later, they never expected that the facility God would provide would come with a group of amazing people who desire to leave a lasting legacy for the kingdom. Continue reading

Florida Churches Flourish Under Cross-Denominational Merger

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By Jonelle Frazier

Every church has a unique backstory. Some started in peoples’ homes, some started as outreaches to the homeless, and some grew out of larger churches. And then there’s TBA Church. TBA stands for Trusting, Believing, and Acting, and that’s exactly what this church did when it came together from separate churches that belonged to two different denominations: Epic Church, from the Church of God, and Church of the Highlands, from the Southern Baptist Convention. 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

Maximum Impact: Virginia and Maryland Congregations Unite

By Carl Stagner

Harvey Edge was a young evangelist in the Church of God who once spoke at a series of revivals in northern Virginia. Out of his work, the Fairfax church was born. It was his preaching at another revival in Maryland that led to the birth of the Church of God congregation in Rockville, Maryland. That Rockville congregation ultimately became Lakewood Church of God in Clarksburg, Maryland. Now, eighty-five years later, Fairfax and Clarksburg join a common heritage with a common ministry. Continue reading

Boldly Choosing to Build Life: Two Churches Merge in Illinois

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By Carl Stagner

One church was a beacon of light in the heart of the city. Another church was an assembly of believers on the edge of town. One church was considered white collar, while the other was considered blue collar. One church was used to doing church a certain way; the other had slightly different tastes. Both churches longed for revival, and both churches served the same Lord. So when Jesus is the subject, culture and preferences fade to the background. When Jesus is the subject, two different churches can come together, build life together, and function together as a single body of Christ. Continue reading

Church of God Ministries Publishing Merges with Warner Press

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At the beginning of January, the publishing work of Church of God Ministries in Anderson, Indiana, was reintegrated into its subsidiary, Warner Press, Inc. This ends a fifteen-year period in which curriculum, books for the Church of God, and hymnals have been produced by Church of God Ministries and distributed under the Warner Press brand. Continue reading

1 + 1 = ONE: Churches Merge for Kingdom’s Sake

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By Carl Stagner

No, it’s not fuzzy math. 1 + 1 = ONE. When two churches come together for the cause of the kingdom, two churches are no longer separate fellowships. They become one body, and 200 + 100 > 300. Continue reading